About every two months or so, I get a customer that tells me how they roast their own beans at home. They usually seem to be proud of themselves.
The two main ways to roast at home is: in the oven or in a popcorn air popper.
I am a barista. I trust my roaster and his knowledge and skill. In turn, he trusts his growers and all the hands that get good green beans to him. I am also a smart guy, and knowing what I know, I would never roast at home unless it was purely for the entertainment value of it.
Roasting is complicated. Getting the right beans in your hands can be just as complicated. I have to ill feelings towards home roasters, but I surely wonder if they have even asked the questions needed to roast quality coffee or espresso. Here are some things to think about …
Where did the bean come from? When was it picked? What quality grade is it? What species is it? What elevation did it come from? Was it from a “first pick” or an after pick? How was it cleaned and dried? How many rejects dos it have? Were these prepurchased lots or leftovers in the warehouse?
Here are some roasting questions… How long will you roast it? What’s your ramp up temperature going to be? Are they done by temperature or by appearance? How will they be cooled? Are you doing a blend of beans, if so do you blend first then roast or roast separately then blend? How long will you allow them to de-gas?
Coffee is easy. Good coffee takes a lot of skill. When you pick a coffeehouse, seriously consider their roaster. No barista will be any better than the beans they get.