The Joy of Home Coffee Roasting (With a Behmor)

We just returned from Peru & that always means lots of mail, email, and work related stuff that had gone “on hold” for the holidays. All while trying to overcome jet lag & a time difference. Although we always stay busy & productive when we travel via the internet, there’s a whole lot more that pops up once one is at the home desk again.

Long before any work can begin there are the myriad things to check around the ranch. This time we had a couple of frozen pipes in the garden area, but otherwise everything seemed to have survived our absence fairly well. Solar system, check. Batteries, float voltage good (charged.) Water pressure, check. Water tank, low (our main storage.)

Now, returning to the house I realize that we have no fresh roasted coffee. This is of course completely unacceptable. However, since I import coffee & have volumes of green coffee beans, we just have to roast some…Enter the Behmor…

Behmor 1600 Home Coffee Roaster

One of our favorite roasters is the Behmor 1600 home roaster. It has the not so insignificant capacity of up to 1 pound per roast & produces consistent repeatable results. We have the previous version of the Behmor, the newest model offers a computer control which we will be retrofitting to ours soon.

We love this roaster! It is the absolute perfect machine for personal & gift giving use. You can produce reasonable quantities of delicious roasted coffee for small events etc. We personally have used ours nearly 100 times & it’s easy & fun. The quiet motor allows even this half deaf author to hear first and second crack of the coffee clearly. Well designed and priced at around $300, it just can’t be beat.

Behmor 1600

At first glance, one might mistake the Behmor for a small microwave oven. If you open the door, you see two items: a metal chaff tray (below,) and a metal drum for the green coffee beans.

Behmor 1600 looking inside

Note the control panel to the front right of the Behmor. We’ll reference this panel further along in this post.

chaff tray & roasting drum

Preparing to Roast

Before beginning the roast, we’ll gather the following items:

metal colander

another metal bowl

oven mitts, potholders etc


green coffee beans

small vacuum cleaner

Weigh the coffee beans, remove the metal chaff tray & drum. The drum is removed by lifting up on the left side until the drum is free. Then sliding carefully slightly left, the drum will slide out from the right & you can then remove it.

Next, put the green beans into the drum, replace the drum by sliding the square peg side of the drum & carefully lowering the left side into the slotted metal. Slide the chaff tray back into the Behmor.

Now, for this example, we’re going to roast a small 1/4 pound batch. This is what the manual recommends for the first time roaster, and is a great place to start.

Roast a Batch

We start the roast cycle through a series of easy steps:

1) Select the quantity to roast (default 1/4 pound)

2) Select the roast profile (default P1, we’re going to select P3 for a darker roast)

3) Press the “+” key until the roast time is at its maximum. (The Behmor has default values that will start cooling sooner than we want, we add this time now.)

4) Press start & the roast begins!

We use the interior light to see the color of the beans as the roast progresses. A spotlight or bright flashlight is useful here as well. The existing light is rather weak.

The roast progresses, and at 8:37 minutes we hear first crack. We’ll now begin our countdown timer to see about where we are in the roast cycle. About 1:30 minutes to second crack for 1/4 lb is about the timing. Our goal is to stop the roast right at the very beginning of “second crack.” This will result in a nice medium roast slightly on the darker side.

Cool & Clean

At 10:30, the roast is finished, and we begin the cooling cycle. Cooling goes for 8 minutes & the we open the door, remove the chaff tray & then the drum. We then open the drum, pour the roasted coffee bean into the metal colander, and begin blowing and transferring between the colander and metal bowl to remove the coffee chaff.

We then usually like to weigh the resulting coffee. It’s typical to lose between 15-20% by weight between green coffee beans, and the final delicious roasted beans.

Cleanup is done with the vacuum, and afterwards, we like to wash the interior carefully, and scrub the chaff tray and roasting drum. Keeping the buildup of residual coffee oils will keep the Behmor working optimally, and avoid any flavor taints.

A mason jar works great for storage, be sure to leave it slightly open as the coffee will “gas” for 24-36 hours. Coffee is best after it has “rested” for at least a day. This allows the full flavor of the roast to mature and develop. Enjoy!

©2015 Ben Gangloff

You might also like:

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Brew the Perfect Cup o’ Joe

Curibamba Coffee (It’s special to be a good coffee bean)

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