A Coffee Roasting "Office"

After listening to the recent episode about Home Offices, which I loved, I was all prepared to show off my work office but I thought this would be more fun and a little more unusual.

I’m a college educator by day, but a coffee roaster by night. I run a small “micro-roasting” business as a side hobby and sell the freshly roasted beans at one of our local farmer’s markets. You can see more here: https://www.instagram.com/fireweedcoffeeco/

I love MPU because it not only helps me with my “front hustle” but I get a lot out of the tips, tricks, and workflows that help me keep up a small side business.

Anyways, here’s my coffee roasting “office.”


This is my roasting rig.

I have Seville Classics UltraDurable Commercial-Grade 3-Tier NSF Utility Cart from Amazon.

A bunch of these silver pots from discarded “Stovepop Stainless Steel Poppers” which are what I initially started my little business on until I could afford an actual coffee roaster (pictured behind the Mac)! I use thse to fill with coffee once it’s roasted, or in the case of the picture, prop my MBP on.

The MBP is the 2017 13-inch with 16GB of Ram and 2.3GHz with all the keyboard troubles to go with it. :cry:

To the left is my cooling rig.

When roasting coffee you need to cool it really fast so I rigged up this 5-gallon bucket with a colander and hooked it up to a Porter Cable Shop-Vac. When the coffee comes out at 430 degrees or so, I drop it into the colander and hit the on-switch. You can imagine how noisy my house is when I’m roasting!

Next is my awesome roaster: The Bullet R1 from Aillio.

These are made in small batches in Taiwan and mine was ordered three months in advance. I can roast about 2 pounds in it at a time and it has both manual controls and controls through the company’s software called RoasTime, which works on MacOS. The software is regularly improving and now has the feature to create roast recipes, which are essentially automated roast settings. As you can see, the roaster has its own cooling bin but it’s not powerful enough for the size roasts I do (1000grams +), thus my other rig. One other important piece is the exhaust fan just above the roaster. A couple of years ago we redid our whole kitchen and because I’ve been home roasting for almost ten years, I had an actual exhaust fan installed that went to the outdoors. This makes a huge difference in eliminating the smoke from the roasting process, and it also explains the strategic placement of the roaster!

A couple of app notes:
You’ll notice a few stickers and an NFC tag that I have for Launch Center Pro. The idea is to use that as a way to log in to togl and start time tracking my roasting. Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to get it to work and I think it has to do with the tag being on the metal body of the roaster.

I use numbers, drafts, and soulver (for doing math on batches) for tracking my batches, my customers, and more.

A couple of other things:

On the cart, I keep my little box of stamps, markers, and stickies. I use the stamps for stamping the logo on the bags and tons of these little tiny 3M sticky-notes for labeling what bean is what.

Finally, the other part of my office is the staging area. I keep the three or four 10 pound bags of green bean coffee I’m roasting off to the right of the roaster with my Acaia Pearl Bluetooth Scale, a stainless steel bowl I put the coffee in, and the funnel that goes into the Bullet R1.

When I’m all done I packed everything back onto the cart and wheel it away until next time.

Thanks for indulging me. Let me know if you have any questions and you can find out more about Fireweed Coffee and even order some for yourself here:
https://fireweedcoffeeco.com

-Wess

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Several years ago I bought green coffee beans and roasted them in a Great Northern stovetop popcorn popper, following the instructions of a lady friend who was a badass barista at a high-end coffee shop. Got some great results but I realized I was at the precipice of falling into a deep nerd-hole and if I wasn’t careful I’d end up… with your kitchen, lol. Best of luck with your setup and business! (I ended up buying roasted beans, downgrading my grinder, and settling on daily use of an unfussy coarse grind and an immersion dripper.)

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Wow what a great set up! I am a recent convert to home roasting but not in your league (yet!).

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That is awesome, and yes, you are exactly right. That’s how I started and I fell into a deep and lovely, coffee roasted hole. I’ve enjoyed learning and filling a bit of a lackluster coffee gap here in our neck of the woods.

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Thanks! I started very rudimentary and just kept at it.

Wow, looks super cool! Is there a big difference in quality form what can normally buy in a store? I never tried fancy coffee and I am curious if it is worth paying more for.

Well, you’re asking the guy with the setup above, so yes, I think it is a big difference! :slight_smile: The biggest difference is freshness. You should drink coffee within the first two weeks of it being roasted for the best and freshest taste. It basically has the shelf-life of bread. After that you’re drinking stale coffee or coffee about to become stale. We’ve just gotten used to that as the normal coffee taste.

I love coffee, my wife would not be amused if I started roasting my own coffee. The home brewing of beer is passable. I hear about it when I’m making a batch.

I will not tell her about this. That is a neat setup, cwdaniels.

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Thanks. And I understand. There are always limits. Fortunately enough my wife needs her coffee in the morning so this little hobby isn’t going anywhere.

What fun! Thank you for sharing the interesting details of your setup and your avocation.

Wish we could visit your neck of the woods for some of that fresh roasted “Fireweed” blend. :sunny:

Katie

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Thank you! I have a blast selling it at the farmer’s market each week. It’s fun to so easily put a smile on people’s faces!

Very cool setup! Roasting my own beans is on my bucket list. Like others have mentioned I fear the rabbit hole I’ll enter when/if I start!

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To answer a couple of points raised, my wife thought I had finally gone nuts when I came home with a Behmor 1600 home roaster. When she tasted the difference between what I could produce after a few attempts she was convinced, and these were not supermarket beans she was comparing with, but were from one of our good roasters here in Brisbane. Add in the $35 per kilo saved by buying green beans and the roaster paid for itself in months. With green beans lasting way longer than roasted you can always have freshly roasted beans available. There is no comparison between home roasted and bought beans (unless you can buy from @cwdaniels of course!)

And I haven’t even costed in the huge fun factor…

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Absolutely. It’s really like anything that can be made at home, it will be fresher, taste better, and most likely cost less and be more fun. I encourage everyone to jump in, the water is warm And we’ll-caffeinated! :slight_smile:

The extra fun challenge is to find ways to bring in automation and other Mac-related things for all my roasting management. As I often listen MPU or Automators while roasting, I’m often inspired to find new and creative ways to do this work.

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Great stuff, @cwdaniels! I’m on a much smaller scale (Behmor 1600 plus) but really enjoyed your set up! I’ve made a Shortcut to post data in an Airtable spreadsheet so I can track temps over the roast (again, because I’m just on a Behmor). It helps me track ROR and other basic factors (bean type, amount, first crack, etc.). I’m roasting about a half pound a week just for myself and tracking things through Airtable/Shortcuts has made it less painful to keep track of roast details. It’s also easy to track down previous roasts and view my notes on the roast, etc. I’d love to get a roaster in the next few years that can hook into RoasTime or some other program. Hopefully soon! Thanks again for sharing!

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That sound like a great setup. From what I’ve read Behmor’s are perfect for what you’re doing. People love them. Since being able to use RoasTime, I’ve actually had less data collecting because it all does it right there. One of the new features on RoasTime is a kind of workflow/recipe option that I haven’t really played around with much yet but it looks pretty slick.

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Are you tracking temps manually or using a probe like the heatsnob?
The down side of the latter is that the software is PC only :rage: