October 24, 2014
A couple of years ago when Hunt Slade of Safehouse Coffee Roasters called me up to ask me about my opinions on some different roaster models, we ended up having an even bigger conversation about realizing and actualizing the potential of any roasting machine. From that I knew that Hunt would be a perfect roaster to talk to about “why” he roasts in the first place and what has pushed him to take his interest in roasting and turn it into a profession. Building a business for the purpose of supporting a community and organization could easily put any number of extra pressures on maintaining a love for roasting coffee, but Hunt faces all of it with a contagious positivism.
CS: What roasters have you played with? Everything.
HS: Chronologically: Many different consumer popcorn poppers, both stock and hacked Various heat gun/metal bowl combinations Freshroast ( I forget the model - from 9 or 10 years ago ) Long handled pan over open fire RK 5lb perfed drum in a LP gas grill - this is what we actually started SHCR with Sonofresco fluid bed 1lb roaster (LP gas) Freshroast SR500 Has Garanti 5k (natural gas) Behmor 1600 Quest M3 110v Limited roasting on: Deidrich 24k both IR and direct flame Probatino (natural gas)
CS: Have you ever built a roasting device or kit?
HS: I didn't originally build our old RK drum/gas rig - Ron Kyle gave it to us years ago, but I have deconstructed and reconstructed it many times. I learned several things through this although much of what I learned was really only painted in broad strokes. In this rig, I found that modifying drum speed would either promote or inhibit scorching and tipping. I also found that air flow for removing effluence from the roasting chamber was highly desirable to limit certain "roasty" attributes in the coffee. Other things learned: the need for roaster cleaning, even in a grill rig; the limitations of batch size/ achievable roast profile vs available BTUs; slow batch cooling robs your coffee of sweetness in the cup.
CS: Do you enjoy roasting more on a bigger machine, or did it ruin a hobby you like?
HS: It may not be the right choice for someone else, but I absolutely love roasting on machines larger than home or sample roasters. For me, it felt like a natural progression of learning. However, I have no experience with anything...