How to Roast Coffee at Home, Chapter 2: Is Manual Mode on the Behmor Worth the Effort?

How to Roast Coffee at Home, Chapter 2: Is Manual Mode on the Behmor Worth the Effort?

Green coffee beans from Zambia roasted on a Behmor 2000
As you can see above, Automatic (left) and Manual (right) roasting on the Behmor produced similarly colored beans; however, they tasted quite different (chocolate vs raspberry, respectively).

Some of you have asked, "Is learning how to use the manual mode on the Behmor 2000 worth the effort?" To help answer that, we experimented with a couple batches of our Zambia Mafinga Natural.

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The Short Answer 

Yes! It's worth the effort. Sticking to the automatic mode will still give you a fresh, delicious cup, but we preferred the subtlety we got from the manual mode.

  • Batch Size: 12 oz (340 g)
  • Batch A, Automatic Mode, Button Sequence: 
    • To Start: 1, P1, Start, D
    • When timer reads 3:00, press Cool and open chamber door
  • Batch B, Manual Mode, Button Sequence:
    • To Start: 1, Start, P5, D
    • When timer reads 5:00, press P3
    • When timer reads 3:00, press Cool and open chamber door
  • Tasting Notes:
    • Batch A (Automatic): Cacoa nibs with hints to toasted cinnamon
    • Batch B (Manual): Raspberry-rhubarb pie

The Long Answer

Let's start with a shortcut to understanding the Behmor interface. You roast in Automatic or Manual mode based on whether you press the Profile button (P1-P5) before or after the Start button.

  • Pressing a Profile button before Start = Automatic
  • Pressing a Profile button after Start = Manual 

(We wish we had clever mnemonic to help remember this. Alas, straightforward bullet points will have to do.)

We chose the Zambia Mafinga Natural for this experiment because it's a pretty versatile bean (i.e. it makes a tasty cup at a variety of roast levels).

Each of our two 12-oz batches of Zambia Mafinga Natural roasted for 15 minutes. For Batch A in Automatic mode, the Behmor ramped up to full power and stayed there throughout. For Batch B in Manual mode, pressing P3 with 5:00 left on the timer halved the power at the start of first crack (1C).

However, despite the similar appearance, they tasted quite different. Batch A (where the chamber stayed at a higher temperature after first crack) tasted like a solid medium roast, with chocolate flavors (specifically, cacao nibs). Batch B on the other hand, displays the nuances of a lighter roast coffee, and offers the classic sour fruit notes of natural process beans (we think the best description is raspberry-rhubarb pie).


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