Roast your coffee by whatever means so long as you like the result. It is useful to know what to expect though, but whatever you achieve the proof lies in the taste. I once burnt a batch of coffee beyond (what Wikipedia would call) Italian roast. I dubbed it according to the Zoolander skit: “black lung”. I can’t say that it was pleasant, but (at least) the taste is now known, one that should be avoided.
There are a few methods to your disposal:
- Popcorn maker
- Home roasting machine, i.e. Gene Café
Pan-roasting is probably the most approachable. But, one of the most challenging. Try it at least once. Oven roasting can be one of the most wasteful. Get the oven to a very high temperature, about 260C. Frequently open and stir with a wooden spoon until roast is achieved. Let all that heat dissipate into the kitchen, now well-hung with a haze of smoke. A popcorn maker is easy or shall I say handy, simple, and quick. Allow for silver skins flying all over. Smoke is also a problem to it should be done outside.
Roasting at home with the Gene Café
In all methods, the end-goal is to obtain the kind of roast that you want to translate into a cup of coffee. Gene Café has a temperature and time setting.
I find that roasting at 240C and 16 minutes (including the cooling cycle) reaches the optimal roast that I like. How do you get t such a conclusion is up to your experimentation. Probably all people who roast with the Gene Café for the first time produce a batch of “black lung”. This is due to calibration. You need to calibrate your intuition to the machine’s standard function.
Generally speaking, roasting coffee goes through roast stages. Follow your own internal compass, the picture below, or the Wikipedia guide. You will probably burn (over roast) at least one batch. Most people, nowadays, like a lighter roast. It seems that the acidity of coffee is more appreciated. It probably is an American influence as they tend to drink filter-coffee, i.e. pour-over–a mix of water and coffee–that is weaker than a typical Italian espresso-based coffee beverage. The latter is preferred on the darker side of the spectrum. Personally, I prefer the stage just prior to any oil showing on the bean. I believe the sugars are best caramelised and the bean has that perfect balance of aroma and toast.
The Gene Café Experience
The Gene Café makes achieving the right hue on the bean quite easy. Easy on a successive roast. Not so easy the first time. initially, you need to match yourself with your machine. Roast a few times See what happens. Take note of the temperature and time settings.
Beans are also different even the same between batches. Moisture content and bean hardness play a significant role in how the bean behaves in the roasting chamber.
But, this is what makes it interesting. What will make anything more enjoyable than having to achieve mastery over a task that has a few variables?
Practice makes perfect and variety is the spice of life. Whatever the method you end up using, each has its pleasure. The Gene Café home roaster gives you a lot of control, visual appreciation, automation, and ergonomics for roasting at home with the Gene Café.