Sample/small roaster that doesn't require outside venting?

Discuss roast levels and profiles for espresso, equipment for roasting coffee.

#1: Post by Frenchman »

So, I am very lucky in that I work with one of those companies that sponsor "maker spaces" for employees to build stuff. The typical tools in those spaces range from wielding equipment to sewing/embroidery machines, with the bulk of them being 3D printers, CNC routers, laser cutters, etc.

I've been pitching the idea of getting a coffee roaster for people to learn/experiment with roasting (and coffee in general; we have plenty of self-serve espresso machines around, typically GS3s that people sadly set badly, or Unic volumetric two groups setups, all paired with Mazzer Mini e grinders). And I should be able to get a machine, and some budget for green beans.

We have multiple sites in the Seattle area. The one I work at doesn't have the possibility of outside ventilation. So... This probably means looking at something like the Ikawa Pro, or the Kaffelogic? Is there anything else? The Ikawa Home is crippled by design to make one buy the subscription for experimentation, so I think that's out.

Are there other options? If you'd be spending your employer's money, is the Ikawa Pro automatically the best choice? My goal is to set up an environment where we can learn as a group about both roasting and the wide world of coffee varietals and origins.
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#2: Post by mgrayson »

The Ikawa home is not as crippled as it looks. The editing app is not very expensive now, and the inlet profiles are very good. See other threads on Home profiles.

If money is *really* no object, the Pro is great. I'm just not sure it's 5 times as great.



#3: Post by Milligan »

Be aware that no matter what any machine will put off smoke without some kind of suppression system. My Ikawa Pro100 will set off my house's fire alarms after 2-3 batches if I don't vent it to the outside under a vent hood. My house is particularly vulnerable to this because my HVAC pulls the air up the stairs on my split level home and they accumulate in the hall. Sample roasters don't put off as much smoke due to the smaller batch sizes, but smoke is pretty much inevitable. Roasting smells aren't always pleasant either. At the front end you get wet grass/hay smells and on a darker roast you get straight smoke smell. Middle/end of Maillard and all the way into a medium roast have quite pleasant smells though.

If you have welders there you must have a way to discharge the fumes correct? Sample roasters put off MUCH less smoke/fume than a flux-core/stick welder. Perhaps if you only have TIG/MIG on clean metal then you aren't too concerned with fumes but they would still be a concern for me. Also 3D printers are sometime vented due to various types of plastic that off gas that can be harmful.

As for the roaster itself, I'd say the Ikawa Home would be a good option. This seems more like a space to try out a craft instead of diving extremely deep. The home can make repeatable, consistent, and rewarding beans in a quantity that folks could enjoy and showcase without too much smoke. That seems like the easy choice here. Even better Ikawa has greens that are already dialed in so no need for lots of expertise to get started.


#4: Post by ShotPull »

Wow, that Ikawa Home seems expensive enough ... the Pro is FIVE TIMES that?

I'm still using a Fresh Roast but have had my eye on upgrading. I gave up on smoke a while ago and I just roast in my basement workshop. It has a small garage door that I open but the smell still permeates everything and I can smell it upstairs for hours after.

People think "oh but you're roasting coffee ... must smell wonderful!" LOL! Most people assume I smoke tobacco when I show up wearing the same clothes. How is it something that smells so wonderful when you grind and brew it smells so MEH when you roast it? Still worth it though!

Keep in mind if you run a vent line, make it a powered one if it's more than a couple of feet long. The longer it is and the more turns it takes, the less effective it will be. It takes force to move that air out and the little fan in the machine itself isn't enough.

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#5: Post by Nunas »

IMHO, all roasters used indoors need to be ventilated at least to some degree. Some tiny ones, like the original FreshRoast models and the Ikawa can be run under a range hood, but, that's ventilation :wink: Even those with inbuilt smoke suppressors will often trip a smoke alarm, even though there's no apparent smoke. The problem is exacerbated with darker roasts.


#6: Post by GDM528 »

Roasting your own coffee in a legendary coffee town is a bold move!

A public space implies the potential that someone there may not get along with the fumes produced. I'm one of those, so I direct the airflow into a range hood - which reduces the smell to a tolerable level.

Unlike the Kaffelogic, the Ikawa produces a narrow jet of superheated air that could theoretically be captured by an overhead duct in many office spaces. Everyone would still know you're roasting however, so if you have a rule against microwave popcorn or fish...

If you can crack open a window, the output of the Ikawa can be redirected with a couple pieces of copper tubing from the hardware store. You could also tap into whatever venting system your laser cutter uses, but keep in mind the superheated air issue.

How about the bathrooms? I think it may be a first-world rule that bathrooms are vented. Will take some serious marketing spin to call a meeting in the bathroom...

Yes, the Ikawa Home is gelded, but the workarounds are easy IMHO. The free, curated recipes are a good point of entry for new/casual users and the paid editor and curated greens are optional. You can create from-scratch profiles with the free Android app (at least for now) and there are recipes posted on HB that are editable with the free iOS app. OPM (Other People's Money) notwithstanding, the price difference between the Home and the Pro can buy north of 400 pounds of greens, which should last a while - even for Seattle.

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#7: Post by yakster »

The reaction bi-products of roasting coffee are unhealthy and must be vented, especially when you are roasting multiple batches.

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#8: Post by mkane »

At my age who gives a hoot. I roast in the shop without ventilation, unless the winds not blowing. Then I open the door.

Frenchman (original poster)

#9: Post by Frenchman (original poster) »

GDM528 wrote:Roasting your own coffee in a legendary coffee town is a bold move!
Haha. Yes, maybe. Hopefully we can also pull some experience out of that legendary context. I remember when Cafe Vita offered public cuppings to learn, for example (something I didn't pay enough attention to).

This is fodder for a different post in the Coffees forum, but I think I need to find some good modern coffee roasters in Seattle. I find that many roast too dark Seattle definitely started on the dark side with Vivace (which i loved, but have evolved away from). I started building a small list from Internet readings but haven't tried them. I buy Kuma now when buying loca (or order from Rogue Wave Coffee because we all think that Canada is local too ;)).

But first I will have to go through the 29 bags of coffees roasted in Australia that I brought back in May, and resist the temptation to bring home a lot of Parisian roasted beans like I did last year too :D.
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#10: Post by Trjelenc »

ShotPull wrote:How is it something that smells so wonderful when you grind and brew it smells so MEH when you roast it?
The period from when it yellows to tan and into brown smells incredible. First crack and beyond is definitely meh