I have been roasting Coffee since 2018.
During college, I never opted for a cup of coffee, instead I drank soda or energy drinks for caffeine to get me through the late nights in engineering school.
It wasn’t until after graduation when I started working at Honda that I started drinking coffee as a more socially acceptable morning stimulant. I quickly grew sick of the cheap Javia/maxwell house provided for us and started looking for a better alternative. As I looked for better coffee, I stumbled upon forums of people roasting their own! I quickly grew fascinated in the process and looked into different roasting methods and where to get green coffee beans.
My first attempts at roasting were on a hot plate popcorn popper. The results were.. unsatisfactory. The plate did not get hot enough to properly develop the coffee and reach a ‘roasted’ state. My next attempt was to use what is referred to as the “dog bowl method”. Using a metal bowl, a wooden spoon, and an adjustable temp Heat gun, I was able to roast 0.250kg (1/2lb) of green coffee in 6-10 minutes depending on the desired roast. I was surprised how well it worked and I was able to make enough quality coffee to drink at work as well as share with friends and family who were tired of the free dirt water stocked in the break room at the office.
It became a fun morning activity to brew a new roast and sample it with my coworkers who sit near me to get opinions and see if we can identify any new flavors or aromas. The problem came about whenever we found a specific roast which was perfect for that type of bean. I struggled to repeat the exact same taste despite tracking as many variables as I could with my rudimentary set up. Additionally, after spending an extended amount of time in my garage holding the heat gun and constantly stirring the beans, I (and my wrists) quickly grew tired of the incredibly involved process required to keep a consistent uniform roast. I began looking for alternate options which would allow me to produce a higher volume of coffee, and track/control more variables to improve the quality and consistency of my roasting.
I looked at several options ranging from grill top roasting drums to commercial gas roasters. Most options didn’t offer the level of sophistication I was looking for, and the ones which did were priced pretty far out of a budget which could be justified for a hobby. After hours of reading home roaster forums and blogs, I stumbled upon a new product to the roaster market. Two brothers name Jonas and Jacob Lillie had just started the company Aillio and began selling the first induction heated roaster on the market called the Bullet R1. As an engineer by trade, I got incredibly interested in this new piece of hardware and read as much of the minimal information which was available about this new product.
The description seemed too good to be true. A piece of equipment you could carry under your arm which plugs into a standard electrical outlet and can roast up to 1kg of coffee with the sensors and control typically only applied on commercial roasters which start at over double the cost. The forums were quick to voice their skepticism, but after reading several positive reviews from roasters and seeing Aillio make improvements to their already released designs, I decided to save up and make the purchase.
I received my Aillio Bullet R1 roaster in August of 2019 and immediately started to experiment.
*to be continued*