Thanks to my friend Charles for sharing his story of roasting coffee beans at home. Interesting read!
Coffee roasting at home; A review of the Fresh Roast SR800.
About 20 years back, I thought roasting my own coffee would be my thing. However, living in South Africa then my options for home roasting equipment were limited. The idea quickly faded due to likely mess, smell, and cost!
For Christmas 2022, I was given a coffee roaster by my wife (bravo to Robyn for encouraging you! – mm). It is a Fresh Roast SR 800. Nothing fancy, but with many good reviews. It is not a barrel type of roaster; no disrespect to it, but think of a multi-heat level hair dryer blowing up into a cylinder.
Here is my short review and perspectives on roasting at home.
Is it easy?
Yes, with practice. It has taken me three months to master (my opinion, backed by the wife’s tasting skills) to deliver a consistent roast, which I would classify as mid to dark. We like Italian coffee, so think of the color of medium Illy beans (my initial color guide).
From start to finish, it takes 20 minutes to roast 250g of beans, 15 minutes of which is the roasting process. I then allow at least 24 hours before using the coffee (which is based on reviews I’ve read).
Be in the moment! To roast correctly with the SR 800, you must immerse yourself for 15 minutes. Dedicate yourself to watching the timer, controlling the heat and airflow levels, watching the beans changing color, and waiting for the essential cracking noise of the beans.
Is it messy?
No. Definitions of ‘messy’ may vary, but honestly, there is minimal mess. The SR800 catches the husks that detach from the bean, and you can easily place them in the bin after roasting stops. A quick brush/wipe down and you are done.
Does it smell?
Not really. I place the SR800 on the electric hob area to benefit from using the extraction fan. The neighbors get to benefit from the roasting smell!
…is very easy. Depending on your preference, there are many choices for buying green beans. However, not all beans are equal! I use Fresh Roasted Coffee LLC for my beans, as they will send starter packs containing small packets from different regions. I’ve found that organic beans appear to roast and taste better than others. I now understand the different types of beans from the different regions, and that each bean type when roasted roast grinds slightly differently.
Levels of roasting
Take your choice. The SR800 can go from mild through to a mid/dark roast. It may struggle for a pure full dark roast compared to more expensive options, but it is perfect for me. Remember my mindfulness comment; you control the heat and airflow levels, which in turn impacts the roast result. The SR800 performs better when approaching from a slow roast perspective, ramping up the heat, and then bringing it back down. Allow 15 minutes (max) of pure roasting and another three minutes for cooling.
Very good. I’ve found it easier to get the grind right from a well-roasted medium to dark bean using the SR800 than a shop-bought bean. This benefits the ease and completeness of the espresso shot.
Excellent. Taste is a personal perspective, but a blind test (my wife and I) confirmed that on numerous occasions, the home roast beat similar shop beans every time. The home roast has a cleaner and more punchy taste.
Should you try?
Go ahead! If you have the time and commitment, this will be a gadget that stands proudly next to your coffee-making appliance and not placed away in a cupboard.
One thought on “guest post: home roasting”
Sounds like a fun hobby