For the next several posts I am going to try to share some of what I have learned about roasting coffee in the Behmor 1600 home coffee roaster. If you are a home roaster or if you are a fan of Sweet Maria’s website on the internet you may know that Josh recently posted a YouTube video on how to roast with the Behmor. Before I write anything else about the Behmor and its use I guess I need to include a disclaimer: much of what I have read on-line about the Behmor by those who use or who have used it, tends to criticize it as not being able to take a roast into the darker levels. My Behmor must be an exception. I have never had a problem getting my Behmor to roast as dark (and yes, unfortunately darker, than anyone could want to go). Just a few weeks ago I had someone ask me if I could roast some coffee for them and they specifically requested that I “take it dark.” I may have gone a little too dark – at least I would never drink coffee that dark. I started with 16.20 ounces – that is just over a full pound. I did the roast on the one pound setting, and I did it on profile 4 (it was a low altitude, soft-bean coffee). I had to stop the roast early and even then it was darker than I would have ever wanted it.
All that is to say “Your ‘mileage’ may vary.” Apparently, what may be true for one may not be true for another. For the record, my Behmor is the USA 110v model and not a 220. I did invest in a Kill A Watt to measure and monitor my line voltage and do not roast if the line voltage is below 118v. I am not sure if this is the difference or not, but I put it out there for those who say the Behmor cannot roast a dark roast coffee. The bottom line: you are going to have to experiment for yourself to see what works. You may have to roast ½ pound on the one pound setting and watch and listen. I use the setting for the amount of coffee I am roasting, and I (if you read the last post) still watch and listen quite closely.
Enough technical junk. As you may know from all of my previous articles I have roasted in a popcorn popper, a Nesco Professional Roaster, and the Behmor and the single greatest HINT that I can give anyone about any coffee roasting method you choose is cooling is critical. I would guess my Behmor is out of warranty now, so it does not matter that I admit this, but I do not allow my coffee to cool in the Behmor. I do keep the Behmor running through the cooling cycle so as to not damage the equipment (because it does need to go through the cooling cycle). As soon as I stop the roast, or as soon as the roast is complete I put on a pair of gloves and I lift the drum and slide it left to remove it from the roaster. I take a few seconds to quickly shake the drum to get rid of as much chaff as I can, and I then stick it on a metal grate inside a small apartment sized refrigerator to cool the beans as quickly as possible. It is this quick cooling that I personally think makes all of the difference in the world.
Whatever method you may choose to roast your coffee, popcorn popper, pan, gas grill, metal dish and heat gun, or a commercial roaster, my first and foremost recommendation is to find a way to cool the beans as quickly as you can to prevent the “rolling roast” that occurs with most non-commercial roasting methods. This will keep the flavor from “dulling” and will lead to a cleaner, brighter, crisper, flavor in your cup instead of the typical “mud” most slow roast slowly cooled roasts provide.