I ultimately decided to back the IKAWA Roaster. Now comes the long wait as the team at IKAWA starts to fill the orders. The estimated ship date is February 2016 but I hope they take their time and get it right. This is a fairly pricey item to back on Kickstarter but I weighed the risks as I perceived them and am happy to be a backer of what I think could be a phenomenal product. 

First, my biggest complaint with my current roasting set up is having to do it out in the garage. The change in the ambient temperature makes it very hard to dial in consistent roasts with my Fresh Roast. The ability to have the IKAWA in a controlled environment will be huge.

My second complaint with my current roasting process is the time it takes vs the yield. I mentioned my desire to move to a bigger roaster like the Behmor 1600 and had plans to do so later this year when their upgrades launched. The IKAWA does much smaller batches than the Behmor but the key difference should be in the replicability of roasts in the IKAWA. If it works as advertised I should be able to dial in a profile and then replicate it multiple times with ease.

Good luck to the IKAWA team and I look forward to your updates along the way. 

IKAWA Roaster Finally Lands

I first heard about the IKAWA and wrote about it over a year ago. I am happy to say the IKAWA has launched on Kickstarter. I am really excited about it and what it may be able to do.

Part of my excitement is it seems it can be used right in your kitchen. As I have state before, I currently roast on a Fresh Roast SR500 which is best suited in a garage. I don't roast much during the cold months. The other part of my excitement around the IKAWA is the app that will be integrated into the system. Not only can you record, track and monitor your roasts but it sounds like there will be a way to share roasting techniques with other users. 

I am going to ponder and research more on the technology of the IKAWA but one thing that is very apparent is the roast size is fairly minimal. I have complained about this being my number one issue with my SR500 and why I was looking forward to the Behmor Plus coming out later this year. I did find a message board post from 2012 in which Andrew from IKAWA says it will do 50g of coffee at once. 50g isn't too bad. I have not backed the IKAWA yet. The ~$750 price tag (all the early bird specials are sold out) is steep but if it does what it claims it may be worth it.

By Hand

Building a workbench without a workbench is hard. But, Building a workbench without handtool skills is just dumb. The first time I roasted a batch of coffee it was so under roasted it wouldn't even grind. I wish there was a grinder big enough to shred my workbench into a fine powder. 

I was pretty naive to believe my first major hand tool project should be to make the most important tool in the shop. I'm going to finish this god forsaken workbench but I am not ruling out buying one. 

I am sure I would be breaking some sort of woodworking code buy doing so but the monstrosity I have been building may not be suitable as a main bench. Everything I have done so far with the bench was "a first" and, as expected, it looks like it. My first major glue up. My first attempt at trying to flatten a large surface. my first mortise and tenon. The list goes on. 

All is not lost, I am learning a ton. 

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Chris Kresser takes on the long held belief of coffee being an unhealthy vice and explains why most people don't need to feel guilty for having their 3rd or 4th daily cup.

In his latest podcast Chris lays out all the reasons why coffee is actually healthy....for most people. I follow most of Chris' work in the health and nutrition world. His research of research is as good as anyone's and I really respect his opinions. He isn't a die hard "paleo" guy but more of a natural foods and natural living guy. He is a also a firm believer in everybody being different. Still, he lays out a convincing case of why most of us shouldn't feel guilty for drinking coffee. It's worth the listen.

I am glad I didn't buy the Behmor 1600 last year when I was thinking of upgrading to a larger roaster. They have unveiled the "1600 Connected" with roasting app integration. It comes out in September and for "only" $600 it is a great deal. Read the full story and Daily Coffee News.

Press App

In my never ending search for the best coffee brewing and logging app, I am now trying out Press and so far I am really liking it. They have said some great upgrades are coming. For example, the ability to add pictures to your coffee logs. Anyway, test if for yourself. Go spend a few bucks so these folks continue to develop this app. It has really great potential and has become my top used coffee app as of late.

Finding the Middle Again

Well, I've gone and done it. Somehow over the course of trying not to be overly fussy about my coffee I went to far the other way. I have been drinking coffee like it was water and losing my sense of what is crap and what is good. January and February are typically extra busy months for my real job so I blame life for this swing to swill.

I think It started over the holidays when I had a cold. I don't take medicine so instead I chug coffee and water. Other than the having to go pee every 10 minutes, it is quite effective. With my sinuses blocked I couldn't taste and I came out of that cold addicted to "coffee on demand". I forgot what good coffee tasted like. I forgot the most important part of what got me so into coffee in the first place. The experience.

I wasn't appreciating the cup. I was chugging caffeine. I feel like I owe it to myself to slowly enjoy the cup and lately, I haven't been doing so.

With this in mind, it's time to get back into tasting more coffees. I have shut down roasting for the Winter. It's too cold in the garage this time of year. Instead, I'm going to restart a coffee subscription. I haven't decided which one yet. All the ones I have done in the past have changed recently. MistoBox has grown and now offers full bags as well as their 4 small samples. Tonx is no more and is instead a Blue Bottle subscription program. Counter Culture has rebranded but still seems to offer amazing coffees. A new entrant is Moustache Coffee Club. I am thinking about giving them a try. We'll see. 

As for my newest hobby I mentioned, hand tool woodworking, I'm really enjoying it but haven't done much over the past month. I still haven't lost the excitement over it. I am consuming everything I can get me hands on. It's a really neat community. My business gets back to "normal" after February so I look forward to roasting and creating some wood shavings real soon.