We’ve been lovingly pushing our little Ikawa Pro Bluetooth-enabled air roasters to the edge of what they’ve been designed to do, and it sure has been fun. We figured now was as good a time as any to offer a few tips and tricks for programming your own roast, and share a few of our favorite profiles.

On Startup:

  • About the highest start temp you can program with success is 375F / 190C. Much higher than that, and the machine will enter its auto-cooling cycle before you can charge your coffee into the roaster.
  • I’ve placed two small marks on the cork on the hopper to help me know the exact placement of the opening.
  • Lower starting temperatures will enable you to charge your coffee more quickly after pressing start, but may not give you the results you’re looking for.

On Programming:

  • Recently I’ve been roasting a few batches back to back, making note a heat movement at one or two points in the roast, editing the profile in those points, and then immediately repeating. Saving a copy rather than overwriting will enable you to go back and look at the differences.
  • Because we publish detailed profiles, we download the spreadsheet file a lot, which is great for you data junkies out there. With the appropriate roast history log, select “Roast graph” and then “Export data.” The file shows you both programmed and actual temperature (setpoint / temp above, both export in degrees (C) as well as things like your programmed fan percentage, the state of the roast, and the heating element percentage.
  • First crack can happen at high temperatures, particularly if you’re more familiar with using a traditional drum roaster. With the Ikawa, the higher your fan speed at FC, the higher the programmed temperature you’ll need.
  • You can “hack” sharing profiles quickly and easily. When you connect to an Ikawa, it will already have a roast profile loaded onto it. You can then download it to your device. This will enable you to connect and upload with one device, and then disconnect and connect with a new device to download.

On Fan Speed:

  • Minimum fan speed (60%) at the beginning of the roast will give you no fluid bed movement. The coffee will rest on the metal until it (a) begins to lose density or (b) increases airflow.
  • Maximum fan speed (90% or above) at the end of the roast might eject your coffee into the chaff chamber, and it will limit your high temperature to 430F or lower. You’ll definitely lose a few beans during roasting while you’re at 80% or more fan speed.

On Cleaning:

  • Get some denatured alcohol and a can of compressed air for cleaning. You can use it to quickly clean the interior of the glass top and metal sides of the roasting chamber when they get chaffy.
  • Be super careful with the temp probe: don’t touch it. It’s the part that costs all the money.

Here are some of our favorite profiles we’ve used for Crown Analysis and other roast applications:

Jen Apodaca:

  • The 5:15 / 406 “Wave” – a multi-use profile with great capability for showcasing a coffee at a sample roast level. Works well for nearly any type of coffee.
  • The 4:45 / 408 Long Maillard “Wave” – a shorter roast with longer Maillard stage with potential application for low moisture/water activity coffees.
  • The 5:15 / 412 Late Wave  – a modification of the wave that delays the dip and rise in airflow, seemingly accenting jammy fruit sweetness in some recent trials

Chris Kornman: