Could home coffee roasting benefit the specialty sector?

Pavel Corena
July 31, 2023
An image of a home coffee roaster using home coffee roasting equipment, roasting coffee at home, home coffee roasting, in an article about home coffee roasting

The specialty coffee scene has spurred a deep interest in quality coffee for many consumers. As customers have access to a wider range of coffees and equipment than before, home coffee roasting has increased in popularity.

Many consumers have taken an interest in the coffee roasting process and how it affects the final cup. Therefore, the trend of roasting coffee at home may open a niche market within the specialty coffee industry – presenting new business opportunities and challenges for current roasters.

Read on to explore why consumers are increasingly eager to explore home coffee roasting for fun and how this could affect the specialty coffee industry at large.

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Understanding the appeal of home coffee roasting

It is important to remember that roasting coffee at home and micro-roasting are different things. For instance, micro-roasting will involve buying small lots of quality green coffee directly from importers or traders. It is then roasted in small amounts for cafés or other businesses.

Home roasting is usually undertaken recreationally, without the goals of profit and purely for enjoyment. Notably, roasting coffee at home dates back to the 1400s in Africa and the Middle East, and is almost as old as the discovery of coffee itself. However, as it produced messy and inconsistent results, it was abandoned in favour of the cylindrical roaster in the 17th century.

Roasting coffee at home offers enthusiasts a sense of personal satisfaction and can lead to a deeper appreciation of specialty coffee. Furthermore, home roasting encourages experimentation. 

This can lead to a better understanding of how various roast levels impact beans and how different varieties respond to the roasting process. In some circumstances, it could save money compared to buying roasted coffee.

Learning to develop a roast that meets certain goals will help home roasters develop skills that are often only acquired through years of experience. This includes being able to discern a roast’s level according to bean colour or control the degree of roasting by judging the level of smoke emitted. 

Home roasting equipment is unlikely to offer the same control over specific variables compared to commercial machines. Therefore, roasters will experience diverse results, and no two batches will be the same – something that could appeal to those looking to explore various qualities of a particular bean.

Beyond this, home roasting can encourage enthusiasts to exchange their experiences and information about the process. Furthermore, as it requires a lot of experimentation, coffee knowledge and interaction between coffee lovers, home roasting could lead to an expansion of what the industry knows about specialty coffee.

An image of a coffee roaster weighing roasted coffee, roasting coffee at home, home coffee roasting, in an article about home coffee roasting

What are the positive elements of home roasting?

Home roasting holds several benefits not only for the development of the specialty coffee industry but also for the members of the supply chain. Enthusiasts roasting at home gain a deeper understanding of the dynamics of the industry.

This implies many home roasters understand the imbalances within specialty coffee, and tend to look for fair-trade beans. They are concerned about the dynamics around fair trade and are willing to pay a higher price for coffee if it is passed along to the farmers.

In turn, this puts pressure on coffee traders to make certain information, such as purchase prices, more visible to consumers. This leads to a transparent value chain, and possibly, more equality within the industry. 

More so, roasting at home requires experimental techniques, which could lead to the development of new roasting curves. This may help expand the knowledge of the roasting process and present new roasting profiles.

However, it is important to remember that home roasting can come with pitfalls. Roasting without training can result in green beans being burnt, or not developing their full flavour potential. Furthermore, a lack of knowledge on how to store roasted coffee can also result in a failure to degas the beans sufficiently, preventing the coffee grounds from being fully extracted during brewing.

An image of a coffee roaster weighing out roasted coffee and packaging roasted coffee using a heat sealer, in an article about home coffee roasting

How could roasting coffee at home benefit the specialty coffee industry?

One way large-scale specialty coffee roasters can benefit from the home roasting trend is by sharing information. For example, well-established roasters could develop educational programmes to share their skills. This can provide roasters with an additional source of revenue, and help create a stronger coffee community. 

Many home roasters are interested in single-origin coffees sourced directly from coffee farms. However, because of the small quantities used in home roasting, this can be costly. Beyond this, it can be challenging for a home roaster to manage the logistics of this process. Large-scale roasters can source green coffee in smaller quantities and then sell it on to home roasters. 

Overall, specialty coffee roasters could develop an entire business unit dedicated to the home roaster market. Home roasting is a growing trend and is a clear representation of the consumer’s desire to go beyond the cup. 

Whether a person is partaking in home roasting purely for the fun of it or wants the satisfaction of being able to roast and brew their own coffee, investing in equipment and experimenting with it is a useful way to gain a better understanding of coffee and its origins. As a result, coffee will become more demystified, leading to a deeper appreciation of specialty coffee in general.

At MTPak Coffee, we keep an eye on the trends sweeping the specialty coffee industry. That’s why we offer roasters and coffee brands a variety of sustainable packaging solutions to suit their business and budget. 

Our range of coffee packaging options is 100% recyclable, biodegradable, or compostable. Our coffee bags are made using sustainable materials such as kraft and rice paper, as well as LDPE and PLA. Our custom coffee boxes are made from recycled cardboard and are the perfect choice for coffee subscription services, gift boxes, and more.

Our digital printing technique means we can customise your coffee packaging in the most eco-friendly way possible. Our services include a range of packaging finishes, including a metallic sheen or rough matte feel, as well as creative design techniques, such as embossing, debossing, and hot foil stamping.

For more information on sustainable coffee packaging, contact our team.

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