Tonight I roasted my first batch of coffee beans. They’re darker than I would have liked but I think they’ll be palatable.
My roaster is a bread maker and hot air gun. I hot-wired the bread machine’s stirring motor to a switch, and for now I simply point the air gun down into the basket. The dough hook does a great job of keeping the beans agitated so that they evenly roast. The red toolbox is my temperature controller. Today I only used it as a thermometer but soon I’ll install a thermocouple inside the bread pan.
Here’s a closer shot of the thermocouple and my advanced mounting method. It’s positioned such that the tip of the probe is down inside the beans. It never showed any hint of wanting to come loose so this could be a permanent solution but I’m a tinkerer so I’ll make something more airtight later on.
An important step in roasting is rapid cooling after you’ve hit your desired level of roast. I’m using a pizza pan & fan which worked out just fine.
The roast itself went pretty well except it got too hot right after the first crack and I think the second crack happened too soon for me to notice. I was going to stop the roast when the second crack started but because I hadn’t heard a second set of cracks I kept at it for a bit more and wound up over-roasting the beans. They looked good towards the end of the cracking, i.e. they had a nice brown color and weren’t too oily; I should have stopped there.
In this photo my beans are in the top-right canister – too dark as you can see. The other canister is Alterra’s Black & Tan blend, even its dark beans aren’t as dark as mine. The bag has the green beans.
Roasting is a smokey affair, especially when you over-do it! But overall it’s a straightforward process and should be easy enough to get proficient at. It’s just like baking but in a 8 minutes.