Behmor Roast Profiles: Ethiopia Agaro Duromina Cooperative

It’d been awhile since I fired up a Behmor 1600 plus, and so I made a bit of a refresher course for myself out of this roast profile review. I burned through about a dozen batches (a couple of them quite literally!) before coming up with the profile outlined below, testing different roast presets and manual modes for a range of coffee origins.

For those not familiar with the Behmor, it’s a really efficient table-top roasting machine no larger than a medium sized microwave, and with somewhat shared exterior aesthetics. The interior roasting chamber is a grid drum that rotates in front of ceramic heating elements that are mounted at the back of the machine’s interior. It comes with several preset roast profiles designed to account for personal roast preference, varying bean sizes, moisture content, and densities, as well as ways to augment those profiles in order to fit specific roasting needs. For those wanting more control over roast dynamics, you can put the machine into manual mode where you’re able to choose from 5 different heat settings (including turning heat off altogether), and 2 different drum speeds. We’ve published a few articles outlining the Behmor 1600 plus features, but I won’t go into too much detail here (a good starting place though for those who would like to know the basics can be found HERE).

I learned pretty quickly that simply going full bore with heat in manual roast mode is not necessarily a sound approach with the Behmor. As a safety precaution, the roaster completely shuts down if the temperature sits at around 325-330F, displaying an error code on the LED screen, a function I learned about the hard way (see comment in parenthesis in 2nd sentence!). So I found myself trying to ride the outer edge of heat intensity by intermittently changing heat application to avoid the disastrous over temp shutdown. It’s a bit like trying to slow a spilling cup of water, easy to overcompensate, leading to either losing too much heat or shutting off the roaster altogether.

With all this in mind, I settled on trying to find a decent roast profile for Ethiopia Agaro Duromina Cooperative. Duromina is a fairly fruit forward for a washed Ethiopian coffee, packed with pectin sweetness, flavors of stone fruit and ripe citrus inherent to the coffee. I wanted to try to retain as much of that as possible, and so for roast level I was shooting for somewhere around City+. The Behmor’s standard presets tend to err on the long side, and so I opted for the manual roast function in the hopes of speeding things up a bit in order to avoid flattening out Duromina’s cup complexity.

Duromina has a fairly low moisture content at right around 9.5% (10 – 12% is what we normally see). Low moisture coffees can be difficult to tame in the roaster, development tending to take off once all the water evaporates, and resulting in a violent first crack (evidenced by ashy flavors in the cup). So one of my goals was to slow the roast down just before first crack, figuring the coffee would have enough charge built up to continue developing on up to City+ at the lower heat and drum settings. I played it fast and loose the first time around, making a rather “freestyle” attempt at hitting roast targets. Then I took into account the failures from that initial attempt and wrote out my final roast plan.

Putting together a simple roast plan ahead of time is helpful for me. First I come up with a set of roast goals that I then sketch out a path of how to achieve. Most times it takes me a couple shots to get there, and I usually have to adjust my methods and expectations along the way. But writing out even the most basic roasting guidelines keeps me from shooting in the dark.

Below I’ve included the parameters for my roast in the form of a minute-to-minute diagram the way that it was written on the notepad I keep next to my roaster. In order to replicate, read through the information at top to familiarize yourself with the parameters I’ve used for this particular roast. Look over my “Notes” column to see where the different roast development stages should fall (more or less), and where heat adjustments should be made. You’ll see my notes at the far right, which are what I initially jotted down before actually starting to roast.

**Please keep in mind that roasting experiences with this coffee may vary depending on things like environmental temperature, how your coffee was stored, how clean the sensor on your machine is, etc. That said, we’ve replicated this roast on two different machines, and the results were very similar, and so hopefully yours are too.

A couple notes on the roast outline. First, it’s worth mentioning that the minute markers in my graph advance, whereas on the Behmor LED the time subtracts. I tried to include both the actual roast time in minutes as well as the time on the LED readout for the notes around 1st crack. The temperature readings are viewed in manual mode by pressing B, and so are reading the heat sensor, not the exhaust (the exhaust temp generally does not change until cool down, when they exhaust vents open). You’ll notice the temperature continues to drop between minute markers 7:30 and 8:00 even though I adjusted the heat to full blast at the start of minute 7:00. In my experience it takes at least 30 seconds for the heat to begin advancing, which is good to keep in mind when planning your roast adjustments.

Also, I’ve made a little cooling tray to cool my roast batch more quickly. The Behmor cooling cycle is on the long side (12:00 for 1lb), and so I’ve put together a simple cooling solution by fitting a colander inside a cardboard box, in which I’ve also cut a small hole in the bottom in order to insert the nozzle of my mini shop vac. It’s surprisingly efficient, and brings your roast to room temp in just a couple minutes. Make sure your hands are protected when opening a hot machine and dumping your batch (I use a couple oven mits)! And always re-insert the drum immediately and run the cool cycle to gently safely bring your Behmor back to room temperature.

Brewing:

This year’s Duromina was a real knockout, and in general, as long as you don’t burn it up, a coffee that’s fairly easy to get really nice sweetness and fruited notes in the cup. Putting even just a little bit of intention behind your roasting can elevate cup results to the next level, pushing a harmonious balance between sweet and bittering tones, fruited complexity, and structuring acidity.


I brewed this roast of Duromina after 24 hours of rest using a Beehouse dripper, brew ratio of 40 grams ground coffee to 300ml of water. There’s so much stone fruit in the cup, and piping hot, which normally makes tasting difficult, apricot and peach notes are easily picked out, and a you get a sense of the impending sweetness still obfuscated by heat. Letting the cup cool for 5 minutes or so, a honey sweetness is pushed to the forefront, contrasting a mild bittering coffee flavor, which culminates in a nicely balanced core. Top notes include Turkish apricot, dried coconut, and a perfumed orange blossom floral accent. Any worries I had of flattening acidity with long roast time proved to be unfounded, as an orange/citric aspect props up this flavor and aromatic compound. The coffee showed tremendous sweetness at this roast level, and body was so silky and heavy on my palate.

Duromina has proven to be incredible espresso too, and I think my next time around I’ll try dropping the heat to P2 instead of P3 to see if I can keep a steady roast progression without stalling, adding an extra 30 seconds of development, nearing but not hitting 330F (remember, this will turn the machine off altogether, which will likely cause scorching and ruin your roast!).

This is the first in what we plan to be a series of Behmor roast recommendations specially tailored for individual coffees on our green coffee list. Look out for the next one in a couple of weeks in which I’ll be selecting a dual use coffee, and posting roast profiles for both brewing and espresso.

-Dan