After much deliberation I purchased the Home roaster from Ikawa last week. As I understand it, Ikawa have been in the sample roasting industry for a number of years, and popular with commercial roasters.
The ‘Home’ version is essentially a 100g capacity roaster controlled via an app. Out of the box it offers a hugely simplified roasting experience but can be customised for users who want more control.
Why did I buy this roaster?
The biggest factor for me is that I don’t have a garage or outbuilding where I can create a dedicated roasting space with proper venting.
Second, I’m new to roasting and wanted a straightforward intro to drinkable, enjoyable results with the opportunity to learn a bit more about roasting and perhaps create some good profiles that I like.
Out of the box
First impressions are very very good. Obviously spending over £1000, one has high expectations. The packaging, and design has been very very well thought through and the unit itself feels very robust. The details are really nice too, the little bean hopper slots into the machine and is held in place with magnets. In one rotation it’s closed so you can load the green beans in, then turn it 180 degrees and the beans drop into the machine.
It feels like a premium piece of equipment, and everything fits together nicely.
It’s ‘almost’ smokeless
I’ve run 6 back to back roasts on the Ikawa and positioned next to a window with all nearby windows open, it produces little more than a pleasant smell of roasted coffee. I roast mainly medium, and smoke may be more of an issue if you roast larger quantities of very dark roasted coffee.
Small capacity isn’t really an issue
Most people’s first thought is that 100g is a tiny capacity. True in principle but with an average of 7-8mins start/finish roast times and a roasted yield of about 90%, I can easily roast the equivalent of a 250g bag in under half an hour.
So far I’m roasting a week’s worth (500g) once a week, which takes under an hour.
Sure a 1kg capacity would be ideal but that comes with its own factors like more space required and some kind of ventilation.
It’s incredibly easy to use
Ikawa have made it incredibly simple if you buy their beans. In my experience these beans are good, but slightly more expensive than if you were buying elsewhere.
The greens have a QR code on the bag, you scan this and it brings up recipes for that bean, you select one, drop the beans into the machine and press go.
At the end of the cycle the app prompts you to empty the chaff collected in one cup, it then ejects the beans into an empty cup.
The beans are cooled by the machine so you can just drop them straight into whatever your storage method is.
The Apple product of home roasters
Given the price, the build quality and user experience, I’d liken this to an Apple product. Yes there are (much) cheaper roasters which do an equally fine job, but you’re paying a lot for convenience here. Also, if you’re drinking 500g a week, and enjoy premium coffee (at £10-14 a bag) I think there’s a cost saving to be had ultimately.
More advanced editing
The roast profiles can be heavily customised, with the graph editor allowing you to change the roast curve entirely. I’m guessing you could create profiles from scratch although this is way beyond my ability at this point.
It’s still early days but I’m incredibly impressed.
Will report back when I’ve actually tried the coffee as my first batches are still resting.
The roaster unit (not my photo)
Greens loaded in. You load them into that hopper and twist it and they fall into the machine.
The app showing roasting process
Beans during roasting
Chaff collected during roast
Made a quick label template (the ‘company’ is named after my own business) to easily package them up and label them