Tips For Programming The i-Roast
Hearthware i-Roast has a very advanced feature: the ability
to set your own roast temperatures and times for a 3 stage
roast curve. If you have not started
programming your i-Roast or if you are not yet satisfied
with the results, perhaps this write-up will help you improve
your results. We invite your comments or suggestions to help
make this guide more useful!
Before the programming begins, it may be helpful to cover
some basic roasting concepts which are just as appropriate
to consider when using the i-Roast as they are when roasting
on a stovetop in a frying pan. There are 4 main variables
when roasting coffee:
Weight/Volume of coffee: Increasing the
quantity of coffee will also increase the roast time because
there is more mass to heat. Thus, to get consistant results,
always use the same amount of coffee. Weight is a little
more accurate than volume, so if you have a kitchen scale,
Type of coffee: Coffee beans vary in density
and water content, and this has an impact on roasting time.
A new crop very high grown coffee will have a very dense
bean and a high moisture content and will take longer to
roast than an aged coffee that has dried out over time. By
keeping a record, or roast journal, you will be able to duplicate
results for a particular coffee.
higher the temperature, the faster the roast. If the temperature
is too low, the
beans cook too long instead of roasting, and flavor and aroma
is lost. If the temperature is too high, the beans roast
so quickly that the outside is roasted but inside the bean
the flavors have not had sufficient time to develop. A coffee
roasting machine such as the i-Roast offers a fine degree
of temperature control, but the outside ambient temperature
and initial bean temperature can still effect the final outcome.
This is especially important to consider if you roast outside,
as even a 10 degree temperature difference can affect the
Time: The best coffee is usually roasted
for 5 to 15 minutes if using a hot air roaster, which is
generally shorter than drum or pan roasting. Overcooking
is usually not a problem unless the roast temperature is
set too low. At the end of the roast the roast color can
change very quickly, so accurate timekeeping is essential
if you want to duplicate results.
When using a coffee roasting appliance, there is a 5th variable:
Voltage: Although every household outlet
looks the same, the actual voltage coming out can vary enough
to impact results from location to location. To adjust for
this, you may need to slightly reduce temperatures or increase
them to adjust for your own particular voltage. To insure
consistant results, it is best to use the same outlet every
time you roast, if possible.
In case you haven't already tried it, here is how to set
up a program:
1. Make sure the glass chamber is seated and locked on the
base unit of the i-roast. Press the roast/temp and cool/time
buttons simultaneously. This starts the program mode.
2. Set the first roast curve: press the roast/temp button
and then use the up and down arrows to set the desired temperature.
Then press the cool/time button, and use the up and down
buttons to set the desired temperature.
3: Repeat the above process 2 more times to set all 3 roast
4: Press the roast/temp and cool/time buttons simultaneously
again to set the program.
5: To start the roast with your custom program press the
roast/temp button which will start the roasting cycle.The
program you set is saved in the machine until you unplug
Although programming seems complicated at first, it is really
no more difficult than setting a microwave, and entering
a program takes just a minute once you get used to it!
The i-Roast has 2 built in programs. They are good starting
places for a good dark roast coffee. They work especially
well with very dense seeds from higher elevation growing
regions. A simple program would be to use one of the preset
profiles but changing the roast time to match the time when
you would normally hit the cool button when roasting with
one of the presets. The preset programs are:
• Stage 1: 485 oF for 6:30 min.
• Stage 2: 440 oF for 3:00 min.
• Stage 3: 485 oF for 1:30 min.
• Stage 1: 485 oF for 5:00 min.
• Stage 2: 440 oF for 5:00 min.
• Stage 3: 485 oF for 1:30 min.
A few other things to know:
*The onboard temperature reading is normally different from
the programmed temperature, sometimes by more than 50 oF.
This temperature reading is accessed during the roast by
pushing the temperature button while the roast cycle is running.
The temperature reading is not the bean temperature, usually
it is cooler, which is caused by flowing air inside the chamber.
*Decaf is sometimes a challenge to roast in the i-Roast
because there is no chaff, and having some chaff in the chaff
collecter actually helps to increase the chamber temperature
by trapping heat. If you having a hard time roasting decaf,
try leaving some chaff in the collector from a previous batch
of regular coffee when roasting decaf and setting the temperatures
a little higher.
*Some tropical coffees, older or aged coffees, and coffees
grown at lower elevations are less dense and are more sensitive
to roasting too quickly at too high temperatures. Try a lower
temperature warm up period for this type of bean- it will
help to develop the more subtle flavors as well. A roast
profile we use for such coffees:
1: 330oF for 2:00 min.
• Stage 2: 400 oF for 3:00 min.
• Stage 3: 450oF for 4:00 min. (adjust last setting to your
*Keep really good
notes! A small notebook to record each program, roast results,
and ideas for the next program can
be invaluable to duplicating sucessful efforts and improving
results. If you take a methodical, scientific approach, making
small adjustments after each batch, you can attain that "perfect" roast
you have been seeking.
let us know if you found this information useful. Your
feedback will help us to bring you the kind of information
you can use!