Thinking about brewing coffee

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Thinking about brewing coffee

Postby Pugsly » Mon Nov 07, 2011 5:05 pm


I've been a beer homebrewer for quite sometime and am giving serious consideration to roasting my own coffee. This is my first post and I'm guessing the topic has been covered before. I have a simple question......Is it worth it?

I'm not concerned about saving money. I'm simply interested in great tasting coffee. I was considering buying the Behmor 1600. Since I like dark coffee, I was concerned about the notes in the operators manual about not doing anything as darks as French or Italian roasts.

I'm guessing most of the people on this board would not be involved if they didn't think it was worth it but I have to ask....... Versus coffee at local coffee shops, is it a significant difference? Any thoughts on the Behmor dark roast issue?

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Re: Thinking about brewing coffee

Postby hwasone » Tue Nov 08, 2011 2:34 am

I roast my own using a tricked-out popcorn popper. I probably spent about $90-100 (parts, shipping, etc) to put it together. For me it's part enjoyment of the fresh roast, part DIY spirit, and part Tokyo coffee price/quality ratio (ie you can get great coffee but boyhowdy do you get to pay for it). I pick up a couple pounds of green whenever I make it back to the States.

Obviously the more you use it the more likely it is that it pays for itself. A pound of green beans can be purchased for ~ $6 or so. Compare to say Peet's or Sbux and you have savings. Keep in mind that you'll have a learning curve and your first couple batches might not be the same quality. Also keep in mind that it's the ultimate in custom roasting and blending!
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Re: Thinking about brewing coffee

Postby MDixon » Tue Nov 08, 2011 5:29 am

My litmus test is if the green beans can be had for less (including shipping) than the same beans roasted, then it is a good deal.
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Re: Thinking about brewing coffee

Postby snitramc » Mon Jan 02, 2012 9:27 pm

Lemme tell ya...
I roast my own and brew my own. Both are a blast and delicious. I've been doing both for about ten years.

I've been through about five roasters and have been using my trusty HotTop - for about 5 years. This is a fantastic roaster. It does 1/2 pound at a time, gets up to 420 degrees in the chamber on 110VAC (Even during the hottest midwest summers. If you've ever studied electricity, you'll know that's not an easy feat), is so quiet I can hear the crack ten feet away, and is highly maintainable.

I've replaced the heating element several times, the control board once (I wanted newer features, the old one still worked) and body parts once when it fell off a shelf 5 feet in the air. HotTop sells every part online and their shipping is excellent. And no, I don't work for or rep HotTop. They just have a great product. Expensive, yes. But it works.

I roast 1-2 pounds a week (have college students living at home) and think roasting is the bee's knees. It is much easier than any brewing; extract, all grain, or anything in between. Takes me 5 minutes of effort, 20 minutes of time, sitting in my kitchen watching the HotTop do its thing. I'd recommend roasting to anyone interested in real coffee.

I've commented to friends that if I had to give up home brewing or home roasting, brewing would go, because roasting is much easier and provides nearly as much consumption enjoyment.
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Re: Thinking about brewing coffee

Postby MDixon » Tue Jan 03, 2012 5:26 am

1000 bucks!!!

I used a popcorn popper for years which I got for free, but never liked the small batch size and it was a bit inconsistent. I could have added a thermometer for about $30, but never did.

My current roaster is a $15 old bread machine. I spent a bit of money I did not need to on rewiring the element and in the end should have just bypassed the heating element and control panel to run the stirring motor. Could have pulled that off for less than 5 bucks. I used a digital heat gun, I guess that was $40, and an old fan I inherited. So all totaled including themo less than 100 bucks.

It's not exactly cool looking, but I can roast a couple of pounds at a time and now have it to where I only have to watch the thermo, once I hit roast temp I dribble in some cold water until I get it down to 220F or so and then let it keep stirring with the fan blowing to cool.
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Re: Thinking about brewing coffee

Postby BKG » Fri Oct 12, 2012 9:50 am

One thing to consider about roasting is that further you get into roasting the more likely it is that you gravitate away from French or Italian type dark roasts. We've probably all had coffee roasted too light which scares us away from lighter roasts but too dark of a roast kills the individuality of the bean. For those of us who also brew it is like putting so much hops in a huge IPA that with the super high bitterness you can't really taste anything else. In a really dark roast the roast flavors dominate and any flavors that are unique to that bean are more likely gone. Of course it depends on the particular bean and how dark you go. Just a heads up for new roasters that your taste for the dark roasts might change with time.
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Re: Thinking about brewing coffee

Postby Deadeye » Fri Oct 12, 2012 10:45 am

Have you guys tried cold brewing? I just had a Stumptown coldbrewed coffee and wow was it great.
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