Why Roast at Home?
What I love most about roasting at home is that it allows you to roast the coffee to your liking. Once you discover your favorite coffee profile, it’s hard to drink anything else. Is there a right one way to drink coffee? Yes, the way you like it. That’s the beauty of home roasting. It’s about what you love. Unroasted coffee has become more available in recent years, making home roasting even easier.
I have been roasting my own coffee for a few years. I got started because a group of my husband’s friends roasted at home, which includes Matt Kellso. We didn’t really know that roasting at home was possible. We figured you buy coffee from people that know what they’re doing…right? As the saying goes “ignorance is bliss.” We had no idea that we could get the flavor that we loved until we started roasting. As we learned to refine the roast, it got lighter and lighter. We now drink coffee much lighter than we did before. That’s probably why I liked it so much, since I preferred more medium roasts. I don’t like it too dark, but I don’t like it too light either. Now, after years of home roasting I’ve learned that everyone has their unique way of drinking coffee and one of the great ways to find your unique flavor is through home roasting.
Our Choice of Home Roaster
We started with a whirly popper. Unbeknownst to me, the whirly popper can be used to roast coffee not just popcorn. We used this method for a while but got to the place where it was time to up our roasting game. We also wanted to roast indoors. Roasting coffee outside during an Arizona summer is not easy.
We decided to try the Behmor. The beginning was a little rough. We couldn’t quite get the right profile. We burned a fair amount of coffee. We learned the hard way that coffee can ignite and that once your house is full of smoke, the smell lingers for a while. After more trial and error we figured out the perfect coffee profile that we love. At first I didn’t really know what the buttons on the roaster meant. I was just pushing the buttons that my husband told me would work. Turns out, I was following a specific coffee profile that he determined to be what he liked. Since we didn’t know a lot about the roasting process, we didn’t really even know what a coffee profile was. Over the years we’ve refined our favorite roast. Now it’s a hobby we really enjoy.
Our Ideal Coffee Profile
We generally prefer Latin American coffees and usually roast one pound. We use the 1lb setting, with the C program and the P1 profile. When the timer blinks, we continue to add time by pressing C until we hear the right double crack. If you don’t add time, the cooling cycle begins. I make sure the light is on so I can see the darkness of the bean. I know it’s ready by the crack, color, smoke, and smell. Once you get the profile you like, it is easy to use, but don’t forget coffee can ignite and every bean is different. Even if you’re using beans from the same batch, every roast can be different. It’s best to stay close to the roaster and make sure you are alert to the signs of your coffee being ready. Staying near by will ensure that the roast is exactly what you want and you can prevent the coffee from burning or even igniting. It’s incredibly easy to burn coffee.
The Behmor roaster has been great for us. If you’re someone who likes the smokey coffee flavor, know that the Behmor may not do it for you. It’s not a roaster that works for really dark roasts. When I say dark roast, I mean along the lines of a traditional French or Italian roast. I’ll be experimenting with other coffee roasters. As I experiment, join me on Sagebrush Unroasted blogs to see if home roasting is a hobby you’d like to take up.