Ikawa Roaster Thoughts/Recommendations - Page 2

Discuss roast levels and profiles for espresso, equipment for roasting coffee.
rhtrevino (original poster)
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#11: Post by rhtrevino (original poster) »

drgary wrote:Congratulations on your choice! Please let us know your experience with the Ikawa Pro V3. Also, what do they cost these days? The site doesn't list cost but instead gathers your information before providing a quote.
Absolutely! I'm looking forward to it. Will send a PM with pricing information since it's not something they readily list.


#12: Post by ste »

if you are looking for an IKAWA, I would seriously consider a KAFFELOGIC then!

I recently posted about it. It's a 120g capacity profile roaster with a sophisticated software that allows to draw any sort of profiles, unless you don't wanna use their pre-set core profile by bean altitude.

It is often used as a sample / precision roaster and you will find only glowing reviews out there.

I purchased mine directly from them in NZ, but they are now going global on Kickstarter.

Sadly they are only at around 75%, but the machine and their support is amazing. They have a coffee consultant especially who is so supportive

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/ka ... ic-nano-7e

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#13: Post by drgary »

Yes, but this thread is about Ikawa. Discussion about the Kaffelogic roaster should be in its own thread as should comparisions between Ikawa and Kaffelogic by someone who can actually run them side by side.

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#14: Post by MerleApAmber »

Congratulations! The Pro has got a stellar group of folks using it and there is a great beginning of a library of profiles offered by those using it. You'll find citations, direct links to profiles in blogs, and articles documenting events where Ikawa has been present. Ikawa did a wonderful thing in that linked profiles auto-update the local app and afterward synchronize any other instances of the app you have associated with your account. Enjoy!

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#15: Post by rhtrevino (original poster) » replying to MerleApAmber »

Thanks! I hope we can get a nice thread going at some point for all things Ikawa. What put me over the edge was the ability to use profiles from places like Royal and then connect with some local roasters who either use the Ikawa already or would like to use it for samples. As luck would have it, my friend and neighbor recently informed me that his brother-in-law just got promoted to head roaster at Onyx and he's very interested in checking the Ikawa out. Being able to make connections like that is pretty cool.

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#16: Post by rhtrevino (original poster) »

Now that I've had the Pro V3 for a week, I thought I would follow up on this thread. In short, I love the roaster. It's built like a tank and, while I don't expect it to compare to the Bullet I just sold, I can honestly say that I've already ended up with one of the sweetest cups I've ever roasted at home. I had one of the first Decents in the US as well and the experience is similar...just great right out of the box with minimal effort.

Ikawa sent 4 500g sample bags of green, 1000g of a washed Colombian and 1000g of a washed Rwandan. I have only gone through one bag of the Colombian and started with Royal's standard roast profiles. I was most pleased with the standard 6 minute roast which yielded roughly 18% DTR on a 50g batch size. Bright, full-bodied, and brown sugar sweet. For anyone using an Ikawa, even the Home version, I would recommend those as a starting place. You can't import a Pro profile into the Home but there's nothing that stops you from downloading the Pro app and approximating any of the profiles. You don't get a warm-up or as many temp/fan points to manipulate but you can get close.

Today I spent about an hour roasting 350g of the same Colombian which included about 8oz (yield) that I bagged up to send to a friend in San Jose. This was using the Royal 6.5 min roast that ended up closer to 20% DTR. I cupped this same roast earlier this week and it was nutty and chocolatey. And that's one of the really great things about this roaster. Because it's made for samples with such small batch sizes - and what I can also credit to Decent-level tech - it's spot-on capable of repeating roasts back to back with no fuss.

Sorry for rambling but I'm really excited about digging in further with the Ikawa! I also forgot to mention that the roaster came with a welcome kit including the previously mentioned greens, an Ikawa t-shirt and enamel pin, sample trays, and some great coffee roasting theory resources from Coffee Mind. Oh and that Pelican case.... :D

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#17: Post by Peppersass »

rhtrevino wrote:...while I don't expect it to compare to the Bullet I just sold...
In what respect(s)? Batch size? More ways to tweak the profile?

I'm *thinking* about moving on from my modified Quest M3 MkII (M3s drum, copper pipe, Arduino/TC4, nice hopper, cooling tray with vanes). It's a great little roaster in many ways, but it's not meeting my needs because of the time required for warmup, roast, activities between roasts, repeating when mistakes are made, cleanup and cool down. Each session is usually 3-4 hours, time I don't have on a regular basis, not to mention a lot of noise from the range vent I use for exhaust and the shop vac I use for the cooler and chaff removal. Consequently, I often find myself putting off roasting and buying roasted coffee instead. I'm also having trouble getting consistent results, which means I need to spend more time roasting than I can spare.

I only consume 100g-200g per week for espresso, so the Ikawa products might be suitable for my needs.

I'm attracted by the Pro V3 and Pro 100 ability to import profiles from greens vendors (e.g., Ikawa and Royal Coffee), as well as commercial roasters and perhaps other enthusiasts, and using them as a starting point for creating my own profiles. This is something that's pretty-much impossible with the Quest due to significant variations from one Quest to another (lots of models, mods, probes, electronics, usage patterns, etc.) Also, I like the fact that no action is needed during the roast -- i.e., it's completely automated -- so I can do other things like grind and measure the color of the last roast, prepare the next batch, etc. In contrast, I have to watch the Quest like a hawk and can do nothing else while it's roasting (of course, I would never leave a roaster unattended!)

I can live with small batch sizes as long as the roasts can be repeated consistently and sessions don't take too long. Obviously, the Pro 100 would be the best match for my consumption. Once I have a profile I like, I'd only have to do one or two roasts a week. I don't know the pre-heat time for the Ikawa, but it sounds like the roasts take 6-7 minutes and cool down is maybe 1.5 minutes. So it would seem that I could do two roasts in half an hour or less, with a lot less noise and mess. I feel like I can find the time to do that on a regular basis.

Having never used a fluid-bed roaster, one question I have is whether there are limitations in the quality of the roasts that the Ikawa can produce? In other words, for a given green, can the Ikawa roast it to the same profile and quality as, say, a North 500g gas sample roaster?

Of course, I'm choking on the price of either of the Ikawa Pro models. It'd have to be my final roasting solution. I know about the Kaffelogic, but as has been pointed out, that's a discussion for a different thread.

Any comments, particularly on Ikawa session times, suitability of the V3 for my consumption, Ikawa versus a gas-fired drum roaster, etc.?

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#18: Post by rhtrevino (original poster) »

Peppersass wrote:Any comments, particularly on Ikawa session times, suitability of the V3 for my consumption, Ikawa versus a gas-fired drum roaster, etc.?
I'm in the same situation as you having gotten to a point where I was roasting less than I would like to and for many of the same reasons (long sessions, larger batch sizes that were frustrating when not developed properly, etc. Also similar to you, my consumption is about 200-250g per week.

Given ~15% loss during roasting that means about 6 50g batches and each batch takes about 8-10 minutes. That is 6-7 minutes roasting and 2 minutes cooling. The V3 is still very new to me and I've seen profiles roast in as short as 5 minutes (Tim Wendelboe's profile - seems underdeveloped) and as long as 10 minutes but the standard Royal profile I'm using is 6 minutes with a 2 minute cooling cycle. So still less than an hour for a week's worth of coffee which is pretty reasonable. Add in the fact that I don't plan to stop buying great coffees from other roasters and it's all good.

My comments about the Bullet were primarily from the perspective that, in the right hands, you can roast a lot more coffee at a time and I suspect achieve a lot more variability in roast development. However, I found that for me it was hardly repeatable and I'm already loving that about the Ikawa. Once you find a profile that works for a particular coffee the tight tolerances and small batch sizes really make it easy to "set and forget".

I also hear you on the expense. It's overkill probably for most people and I suspect the Home roaster may have been "good enough" for me but I also think I can learn quite a few things about basic roasting dynamics from the Ikawa. The Pro100 is around $1000 more than the V3. I've been going back and forth about whether or not I should have gone that route for no other reason than it would cut session times in half and maybe give me the opportunity to roast a small bag here and there for friends. Both of the Pro roasters are rated for 60 roasts per day so I could still make it work every now and then.

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#19: Post by Peppersass »

Thanks, Ryan. It's really helpful to get the perspective of someone with a very similar situation to mine.

After several years with my Quest, I've concluded that I'm less interested in becoming a great artisan roaster or perfecting my ability to roast on a particular roaster than I am in learning more about coffee and getting the taste I prefer by roasting my own and exploring different profiles. I'm perfectly happy to start with profiles published by great roasters as long as I can continue learning more about coffee and coffee roasting by tweaking those profiles, and maybe sometimes creating a profile from scratch, while also being able to easily roast what I need for my own consumption with whatever profile works for me. Repeatability and time efficiency are a must.

When I started my roasting journey, I figured I'd learn the basics on the Quest, and if I became fully committed to home roasting I would eventually move on to something like the North 500g for better control and larger batch size, even though I didn't contemplate roasting for more than my espresso consumption and my wife's and son's drip consumption (they go through about 350g per week.) Now I know that's not the right direction for me. But if it had been, the cost of setting up a proper gas hookup and exhaust, plus shipping, would have cost more than the Ikawa Pro 100.

So for me, the only remaining question is whether I'm committed enough to home roasting to spend that kind of money. That means producing most of what I drink, and maybe supplementing or replacing the roasted coffee I buy for my wife. That seems to point to the Pro 100.

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#20: Post by rhtrevino (original poster) »

Good luck with making the decision. I might be a bit jealous if you go with the larger roaster!

Have you considered roasting in shorter sessions more than once a week? I feel like that's what I might do. For instance, I got the itch to try out a new profile this morning in a Rwandan coffee and roasted up 50g in less than 10 minutes total. Sort of wild.