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You took your first baby steps into the coffee culture the day you broke down and bought a real espresso at a corner bistro and realized that coffee never tasted this good before. Maybe your next step was a French press or another coffee maker. Maybe it was investing in a twenty dollar coffee grinder and swooning over the difference that fresh ground made in your coffee. Bit by bit, you’ve been seduced into loving real coffee, fresh and flavorful coffee, wonderful coffee. Now you’re teeter tottering on your new-found knowledge of coffee getting ready to take the plunge headlong into the bold world of home coffee roasters.
10 Great Reasons to Roast Your Own Coffee at Home – Home Coffee Roasting
Home coffee roasters are a growing contingent of the coffee buying market. Roasting your own coffee at home lets you control the flavor of your favorite beverage(read 10 Great Reasons to Roast Your Own Coffee at Home), but it’s more than an exercise in control. Coffee roasting is considered an artisan craft, a skill that is part inborn talent and part learned skill. Home coffee roasters take a step beyond buying specialty coffees and learn to create their own signature blends and roasts of fresh, smooth coffee.
Some home coffee roasters will tell you that they do it because it’s cheaper to roast your own coffee at home. Depending on the green coffee beans you choose, that may very well be true – but it’s a smoke screen. The real reason that people choose to roast coffee at home is the same as the reason that people choose to bake bread at home, to make their own jams and jellies, to can their own vegetables and the brew their own ales and beers. It feels better. There’s something soul-fulfilling in in making it yourself. And once you have the hang of it, nothing, but nothing, tastes as good as coffee just off the roaster.
There are several methods for DIY home coffee roasting, but if you want to do things the “right” way, you can invest in one of the range of automatic home coffee roasters that are made specifically for the purpose. There are two basic types of automatic home coffee roasters: fluid bed (hot air) roasters and drum roasters. Each has its pros and cons, and there are several popular home coffee roasters of each style available from suppliers. Here’s a quick overview of home coffee roasters to help you decide which style will work best for you.
There are a few things to keep in mind about home coffee roasters before you decide to invest in a machine of your own. Machines made for home use roast in small quantities – up to about 6 ounces of green coffee beans at a time. They’re not meant to be production machines. They’re for personal use, and generally you’ll have to wait fifteen to twenty minutes between batches if you’re planning to roast more than one batch.
Using automatic home coffee roasters doesn’t guarantee you a consistent, good roast. You still need to know what you’re doing, and learning how coffee should smell and look at each stage of the roasting process is important.
You can spend anywhere from $45 for a fluid bed hot air coffee roaster to over $500 for a top of the line tabletop drum coffee roaster. If you’ve never tried roasting your own coffee by any method, you might do better with an inexpensive machine to try it out, then move up to another when you’re sold on the benefits of roasting your own coffee at home.
Your line voltage – that’s your house wiring – will make a major difference in your success at roasting with automatic home coffee roasters. Whether you’re using a hot air roaster or a rotating drum roaster, the appliance will be drawing current continuously for 12-15 minutes, powering a heating unit AND either a drum turner or a fan. It WILL draw a lot of electricity, and none of the home coffee roasters like current variances very much. If you have older wiring, or if you tend to flip circuit breakers regularly, home coffee roasters may not be your best choice of appliance. There are lots of other methods of roasting your own coffee.
Fluid Bed Coffee Roasters – Pros and Cons
Fluid bed home coffee roasters are very similar to hot air corn poppers. They’re easy to use, deliver evenly roasted coffee because the air keeps the beans in constant movement, and roast your coffee fast (8-12 minutes). On the con side, most air home coffee roasters can’t brew more than a few ounces of coffee at a time. They’re meant for home, not commercial use, and most are designed to brew about a three day supply at a time. They’re also smoky, so good ventilation is a must.
Drum Coffee Roasters – Pros and Cons
Most drum home coffee roasters allow you to roast larger quantities of coffee than the hot air style – up to 8 ounces of beans at a time. They take longer, but produce a smooth, even roast. Drum coffee roasters are also more expensive than fluid bed roasters – up to $500 and even more, but the higher end drum roasters include computerized chips that help you program roasting profiles for best roasting.