HomeRoast Digest


Topic: six months in (is it a report, or a rant) (3 msgs / 94 lines)
1) From: Vicki Smith
I've been home roasting for six months now, and I've learned an enormous 
amount through my participation in this list. What a terrific resource 
Tom and Maria have created for us here!!!
I thought this might be a good time to jot down a few things that have 
really helped me approach roasting--not so much the specifics of how to 
roast, as much as some things that I think have helped in other ways.
1) Buy big. I mean, buy various beans in 5 lb or greater weights, along 
with smaller lots, so you can have some beans to really learn on.
2) Don't be afraid to experiment with roasting profiles, method of 
roasting, resting periods, and brewing styles. Some things will work out 
well, others not so great. Chances are nothing you do will make really 
terrible coffee if you are paying attention and using SM beans.
3) Find a way to document what you are doing--both in roasting and 
tasting. It may not be entirely useful to me next year to have a good 
record of my experience with Green Stripe, but it sure is handy now, as 
I make my way through the ten pounds I do have, and it will be useful, 
in a general way, as I develop a sense of what works well, and what 
works less well.
4) Get close to the roasting process, if you can. I love my IR2, and an 
appliance like that is a necessity in our climate, unless you have a 
really good ventilation system indoors. That being said, the heat 
gun/bread machine roasts I have done have been satisfying (I am not just 
talking results) in a way that is just different than the less hands on 
method of roasting coffee.
5) Learn from others, but trust yourself too. I always do the first 
roast (or two)of any bean at Tom's recommended level. I listen carefully 
to what other home roasters have to say, combine that with what I have 
come to know about my own preferences, and then I try things that seem 
to resonate with me.
6) Work within your budget, and don't get too hung up on the idea that 
you can't have great coffee without breaking the bank. I know that if 
someone gave me several thousand dollars, I could produce beans and brew 
that would be better than what I am enjoying now, but it really is an 
incremental thing. If you pay attention to what you are doing, you can 
make truly great coffee without taking out a second mortgage.
7) Be generous--with your beans and with your knowledge. Even noobs and 
demi-noobs (like me) can have moments of insight that are helpful to 
other people, and if we sometimes get it wrong, well list discussion 
will help clarify and correct. Nothing spreads the word about home 
roasting more than sharing your beans. Do it enough, and you can even 
create your very own real-life roasting community.
Anyway, that's my six month report (or rant)
Vicki

2) From: an iconoclast
On 9/1/06, Vicki Smith  wrote:
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Here, here!  Excellent work, Vicki!  It's funny, but one of the
reasons I started giving samples at work is to encourage people to
become home roasters.  Only one has taken up the challenge, but at
least the others liked the samples so much, I'm now able to sell
enough to support my habit...kind of.
Tomorrow, at the End of Summer Espresso Jam, I finallly get to talk to
some home roasters in person and sample their wares.  Such fun!
Take care,
Ann

3) From: Gerald and Beth Newsom
Great advice, Vicki!  You've learned a lot in your six months.  I'm working
especially hard on Tip #7 (giving your coffee away to friends and relatives
as a way of encouraging them to give homeroasting a try.)  No takers yet,
but it has generated a great deal of interest. I'm beginning to think I need
to show a few of them just how easy it is to roast your own coffee, though.
It's not nearly as much trouble as they might be thinking.  If they saw that
first-hand?  Who knows?
Gerald
----- Original Message
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