November 26, 2014
When I started this project of reaching out to roasters and asking them about why they roast and what their aspirations with roasting were, one of the first home roasters I had thought of was Carlos Aguayo because of his posts in the Sweet Maria's forums. For some time Tom and I have talked about designing a Sweet Maria's home roasting starter kit, and the flour sifter design that Carlos and some others have been discussion on the forum is one of the most inspirational set-ups that I've yet to come across as far as something to base it off of. I reached out to him to ask him about his how and why. -Chris Schooley
CS: What’s your name and what equipment have you used?
CA: I use my own homespun roaster built with a heavily-modified Poplite popcorn popper and a flour sifter. My modifications include splitting the fan and heat power so I can adjust the airflow (and thus, the air temperature) manually, and putting a thermocouple in the air flow to measure that temperature accurately. I don't know that I am the first to use a flour sifter for this, but it works really well in this configuration. See the original thread for details: http://www.sweetmariascoffee.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=5331
CS: What do you most love about roasting?
CA: I love that I can control the roasting process to get coffee that meets my tastes and preferences. I also really enjoyed the tinkering and experimenting that it took to get my roasting setup working well, and look forward to another design iteration when time permits.
CS: How did you get into roasting?
CA: I have moved to a new state several times in the last decade, and have struggled to find a consistently good source of coffee that I love every time. I got spoiled by fresh Peet's in the San Francisco Bay Area, and found that even if a place roasted it's own coffee, it often did not measure up. So when I found myself with a bit of time to tinker and a local source of green beans, I decided to give it a shot.
CS: What's your dream roaster set up?
CA: I'm more of a roast-your-own fanatic than a gearhead, so I don't know the various brand names and commercial options. But I would love to move closer to a true...