Home roasters come in...
all shapes, sizes, and prices. This one, the Hive Roaster, is small, portable, and looks like a bee hive (hence the name). It's also affordable, clocking in at a price of $70 and made by hand by Hive's only employee, Mathew. He is currently trying to raise money via a Kickstarter campaign to help purchase more reliable manufacturing equipment, so check that out as well. While in town he dropped by my place with the most recent version of the Hive and wanted to show me how to use it. He was also kind enough to leave one with me for my enjoyment and feedback.
After a few practice roasts I got the hang of it, and started to build up my endurance. Yes, I said endurance. You'll need a bit of it to agitate the roaster with roughly six ounces of coffee throughout the entire roast. A roast can range from from 8 to 12 minutes depending on the profile, coffee, and the flame itself. All of which are variables controlled solely by you. There is a learning curve, and you'll need to season the roaster by doing a dark roast prior to dumping in some of the more expensive green coffees.
In the video I dropped in a nice single origin Ethiopian Guji that wholesales for nearly $5 a pound. I then compared the final product (after a few days to let the beans rest) to the same coffee from the Ikawa sample roaster I use at work. I was very impressed with the results of this test, and how well the the Hive stood up to a much more technologically advanced and expensive roaster. Check out a quick how-to, review, and cupping of the two coffees in the video above.