As many of us do when we start a new hobby, we research common accessories to make the new hobby more enjoyable. So if you are looking to get a Kaleido coffee roaster, what might you need to get going?
Green Bean Storage:
We recommend storing your green beans in their original packaging, typically a heavy food safe ziplock bag. Store away from other foods so they do not absorb odors. It is best to keep them in a cool dry location.
Folding Table or Roasting Cart:
I don't have room for a roasting cart, one can dream. So I opt for the classic plastic top folding table. Most are rated for 200-400 pounds, so make sure not to buy a cheap one. Consider the size you might need for your roaster, laptop, scale, green beans, and roasted beans. I know you can find locally for less, but here is a link.
A rolling workbench or rolling bottom tool chest with a nice top would make for a great roasting cart.
Most kitchen style scales should work good. I recommend keeping in mind to make sure the scale is large enough for the container you use to weight the beans. I also recommend that your scale gives the readout in grams. Extreme precision isn't really needed for most home roasting.
A good idea I have seen for weighing green beans:
The other day, when roasting with a friend, he was weighing out his green beans using a typical restaurant drink pitcher, you know, a beer pitcher, such as this one. He mentioned that he found for free in a cabinet at work, and they were about to be thrown away. I would imagine you could pick up locally for very cheap. It is important not to contaminate your roasted beans by putting them in the same container, so make sure not to use the same container for roasted as you are green.
This is an old Mazzer Superjolly Hopper, works great for weighing and dumping beans
Coffee Bean Roast Level Chart
I recommend, if you have a color printer, to run a few copies. Maybe take to your local copy shop and see if they can run one or two color copies and laminate? Not a must have, but if you are pulling out of the tryer, and want to compare to the chart, it is very handy to have!
Coffee Bean Sample Trays:
I typically just use inexpensive stainless steel bowls from a local restaurant supply store, but if you want some of the fancier sampling trays, see below. Make sure to purchase several, and make sure they are large enough for your roaster.
How long to degas?
Less of an accessory, but figured we could add here. A typical minimum is to degas for at least 48 hours. I put my beans into a bowl or container and cover with cloth or something clean but will prevent any air born contaminates from falling on it. Some beans require additional time. Don't worry though, I know you will want to try your fresh roasted coffee as soon as possible, so go ahead and give it a try, it wont hurt you.
So you are having so much fun roasting, that you have too many beans, and its time to give your friends and family some coffee. You can opt for the classic Ziplock. It works great. I however have been picking up these inexpensive coffee bean pouches. Their sizing is a bit odd, so you might opt for the largest bag. Beware of the coffee bags for sale on amazon, as most of them require a hot sealing tool similar to a food saver vacuum. I recommend looking for a simpler bag that is Ziplock only. The amazon link does not have degasing valves, so you might look around, but those have served me well for years! If you have a hot sealing machine, you might enjoy sealing the fancier bags yourself for that pro touch.
Other methods for storing coffee:
My all time favorite is the Airscape container. It allows gasses out, it removes quite a bit of the oxygen, and is easy to use, and fairly inexpensive (I lied, they got expensive). I have 3, just so I can roast and degas for a few days, and still have enough beans to get me by until the fresher beans are ready.
There are some other alternatives such as the flip top kitchen containers such as this one which could probably be found locally. Tupperware is common. Almost anything food safe should work, but some methods are better than others.
A trick I have used for years to fill my coffee bean bags:
So I discovered that filling the bags could be a bit tricky. I was going to buy one of the bean scoops with the funnel on the other end, but just to get by, I had several old bean hoppers. I simply fill the hopper on a scale, and use the shut off flap to dispense the beans. I have a spare hopper for green beans as well. So if you do not fill bags very frequently, you might be able to borrow the hopper from your espresso grinder to help you out. If you would like to purchase something more commercially made that does the same thing, see below.
I mentioned the Mazzer hopper above, well, I have two. I used to improvise, and then never stopped using. Just make sure not to knock your hopper over by accident. Don't ask how I know....
I only add this, because I have received the question several times "how do you make the labels on your bags?" Honestly, I recommend using a sharpie most of the time. The bags I use are lined with plastic, so the odor does not contaminate the beans, and the sharpie drys quickly. If you wanted to get a bit fancier, you can always buy some Avery printer labels and design your own custom label. I use a thermal transfer postage printer for my fancier labels when I give to friends, and it works great, but not necessary.
Coffee Cupping Spoon:
Every good roaster needs to learn to cup coffee. You could probably get by with a big kitchen spoon and cereal bowl if you really needed to, but go pick up a SCA cupping spoon and enjoy learning the complexities behind your roasting.
Any 6-8oz ceramic bowl works well for cupping. I recommend picking up a set of at least 4.
Cupping is great, but make sure to download a coffee testers flavor wheel. SCA has some awesome interactive ones, others are paid. Look around for one that works for you.
So as you can tell, there are not many accessories you will need for coffee roasting, many of these accessories you might already have. Not all are needed to get started, you might not need them at all! But just in case, we wanted to share the ideas above. Research local stores for similar items.