Watch TGITC's Video Review on the
Bonaverde-Berlin home roaster!
Roast | Grind | Brew
Originally this Bonaverde-Berlin green bean to cup roasting machine was a product of kickstarter which to me is a huge indicator that people are interested in roasting green coffee beans at home.
Interest in roasting beans has become so popular over the past few years, taken up by baristas and enthusiasts alike. Some try popcorn makers, in a saucepan, build DIY roasters (as seen on Jamie & Jimmy's Friday night feast). There’s a kind of romance that comes with the idea of roasting coffee – the solitude, the concentration, the reward of roasting delicate beans that will eventually be made into a delicious brew that we all crave and enjoy everyday. It seems to me almost cathartic!
I actually visited Bonaverde in Berlin recently where I met their lovely team and Kike Morales - who is head of Roasting, and a lively and passionate guy! This is where they do all their testing, roasting and demos. They have been working on this for quite some time, and there is a decent number of these being used in peoples homes already. Kike took me through how to use it and I was able to trouble shoot him questions I thought other coffee professionals, and enthusiasts might have – which will hopefully be answered throughout this blog,
Initially I was sceptical about roasting your own small batch of coffee at home, but as you know, I don’t like to comment until I’ve actually experienced something myself, so I got one for myself to try at home!
Even though I have my own beans available online (here) and I’m very involved in the process of tasting, sampling and choosing the coffees, I have only roasted on a commercial roaster a few times - but that is enough insight to show me how in-depth and specialised it can be! It’s really important to me that I work with talented roasters who know what they’re doing and can produce the types high quality coffee that I want. Through my experience, I have realised, it’s a highly intuitive process to roast beans with skill and precision; sourcing, tasting and of course roasting. In my case Dumo Mathema from The Roastery Department does an amazing job on The Girl in the Café Beans.
For those unfamiliar to the actual roasting process, I’ll briefly recap here. One of my first blogs was on the process of roasting coffee (featuring my friend and brilliant roaster Phil Sung). The bean and air temperature are measured against a profile, which is predetermined based on previous sample tests that a Roaster has done (in this case, Bonaverde-Berlin). They will pre-test time, heat, bean type and origin. In a commercial roastery, this is usually closely tracked on a time and heat continuum and attentively adjusted by dials on a computer that controls the temperature of the Roaster. Partly intuitive, it needs constant tracking and attention and quite a bit of focus from the roaster. But here, with the Bonaverde-Berlin, everything is pre-set and controlled by the time it gets to you with this machine.
Green beans must go through two phases when roasting; Maillard and Caramelisation. The first is the reaction between protein (amino acids) and sugar particles and the second being the browning of sugars. I often use this example, that if you’re a Sunday roast fan or have a sweet tooth, it’s really similar to the process of roasting meat or baking a cake and necessary to develop flavour, so the heat must be controlled over time, and depending on the amount of coffee you're roasting.
However, don’t let this put you off roasting your own beans with a Bonaverde-Berlin! In fact this is why I actually think that this Bonaverde-Berlin machine is great, because you really don’t need to know much about how to roast coffee at all (other than you like it fresh!), because Bonaverde-Berlin has done it all for you!
It is very easy to use:
After plugging the machine in, you empty the green beans into the glass tray, scan the barcode (RFID chip) attached to the pouch that the green beans are sealed in, and press go!
You can actually use the pouch as a filter paper, but the filter cone fits a Melita paper filter which I preferred to use (make sure you rinse it first).
The bar code attached to the green beans programs the machine to roast the beans to a specific profile. So for different beans Bonaverde-Berlin supply, they will have different profiles for different origins and processed green beans.
The dish lights up like rocket ready to launch and it’s all a bit dramatic and exciting!
From there it takes approximately 10-15 minutes to roast and immediately afterwards it will be dropped into a grinder and automatically made into filter coffee. So you can go have a shower and come back to a hot fresh brew!!
It’s actually quite nifty and cleverly compact. On the left-hand side you can fill it with water. Each pouch is about 45 grams, so I would put 600-750ml water in. It also means you can't roast large batches. On the right-hand side of the Bonaverde, there is a vent that catches all the husks and gives the roaster ventilation. This is easily cleaned out as well, and contains the mess of fly-away coffee husks.
One concern I had was that I tend to enjoy coffee that has been aged for a few days to give the coffee a more settled quality. Roasted beans oxidise and release CO2, so if it’s too fresh it can taste a little acidic or ‘bright’ for me. But usually this is more evident in espresso coffee where you have much higher pressures and temperature. In fact I would say it's essential to age beans for espresso. However, for filter, it's not as necessary. SCAA recommend cupping coffee from between 8-24hours so if you do want to age your coffee beans, you and Bonaverde-Berlin can be connected by Facebook messenger app where you are able to program the roaster to stop immediately after the roast and take it out of the drum or pause for a period of time – I was naughty and just pulled the plug out!! (probably don’t do that!). So technically you should be able to stock pile your own mini-roasts for however long you’d like to age them for! I like this idea. It’s always good to be fresh, but not too fresh! But it actually still tasted pretty good going straight to cup.
There are lots of things you can do with Messenger App other than operate the machine. Things like ask questions concerning origins, roasting profiles, tastes and order coffee.
This is a great prelude into the technology we can look forward to seeing from Bonaverde-Berlin. Apparently they are currently working on some products that would make the roast-grind-brew experience even better, but we’ll know more about that in spring!
Consumers generally don't have ready access to small amounts of green beans, so it makes sense to be able to easily order green bean pouches from Bonaverde-Berln who trade directly with farmers. Their coffee is fair trade and they are planning to expand trade to offer a wider variety of coffee and profiles to choose from.
I think this is a great machine for people who are perhaps in a more rural setting or hard to get to homes, who don't have ready access to good cafes and specialty coffee. I keep imagining it in a remote holiday home, because green beans keep longer than roasted beans, so you could come in and roast your beans for the holiday break.
But generally, if you’re into a machine that roasts and brews coffee at home all at the same time, without having to know too much technical background, then this is a good machine to compliment your coffee habit!
I think it's affordable at around £700!
To find out more, get in touch with them here
Also, Bonaverde-Berlin are part of The Consumer Electronics show from Jan 9th - 12th in Las Vegas, so if you're in Las Vegas (hey, its still holidays for some people) you can check the machine out here (booth 51431).