Homeroasting Chapter 1

The controversy about homeroasting (part-one)– by glenns

Glenn's modest roasteryGlenn takes a look at the home roasting controversy.

Photo at left: Glenn's little homeroasting set-up draws little or no attention...

After some years experimenting with air and drum home roasters, he has reluctantly come to the conclusion that home roasting still has a long way to go.
You tell your best friend that his homemade coffee tastes like shoe polish remover and is the worst thing you ever tasted in your life.
Your former friend naturally, would have no choice but to kill you immediately.
In reading an older Sweet Maria’s newsletter, Tom says that even though he is the business of selling home roasting appliances, that all of them more or less, have design flaws, have short lifetimes are overpriced for what they are and in a general sense, all of them – are disappointing. A brave and honest man, this Tom and scarcely a ripple from USENET....

altJust to clarify, Tom does not say anything about the quality of the final product that these machines produce, however, depending on how you read or interpret his comments, it begs the question: Are consumer home roasting machines woefully inadequate? Are they a waste of time, money and green beans? It is rumoured that a very small number of mad scientist types with their bread board electronics, dimmer switches and Variacs have transmogrified 1970’s popcorn makers into a Frankenstein style Diedrich equivalents whose output ranks with the best that George Howell can produce.

Photo at right: CoffeeCrew creator, Colin Newell, used a Hearthware Precision roaster (not the one shown) until such time as 90% of his hair was pulled out.

These roastmasters I think, are exceedingly rare. As a homeroaster myself, it is difficult to remain objective about something that you pour so much blood, sweat and tears into. In the end though, homeroasting is a compromise.
If like Tom says, the equipment has “deficiencies” then it stands to reason that the output is similarly affected.

Great grapes do not necessarily make great wine.

By all means, this article is not to dissuade or discourage homeroasters at all.
All people who appreciate coffee should at least experience its creation and that, in itself is worth the price of admission.

As Colin mentioned many years ago, we need better home machines that can do a better job. None yet exist. A kingdom for a reasonably priced +500g capacity, solid drum, propane fired roaster! No, sample roasters do not count!

Glenn, going under the pseudonym glenns, is an avid (but slightly disappointed) homeroaster and Contributing Editor for coffeecrew.com. He continues to annoy neighbours with blue smoke and chaff.