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Brand new to stack exchange and I am learning to roast coffee at home. I am wondering if there is an ideal or recommended coffee bean that is great for learning the basics? I understand this may be reduced to personal preference. I usually drink Italian dark roasted beans for espresso but I'm open to more exotic flavors. I'm trying to narrow my focus for learning purposes so I can really develop a sense of how the process works regarding one specific kind of bean.

For reference: I am using a JIAWANSHUN Home Roaster as seen here on Amazon.

So far I have roasted beans from Guatemala and Ethiopia purchased from Martini Coffee Imports as seen here.

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I'm trying to narrow my focus for learning purposes so I can really develop a sense of how the process works regarding one specific kind of bean.

That's a good way to start to learn the basics of your roaster, but keep in mind that other roasters will roast the bean differently, especially a tumble or hot air "popcorn" roaster. You'll learn more about the characteristics of that one bean, rather than how to judge the differences in roasts. To truly understand the roasting process, you need see the common events in different beans.

I suggest learning about roasting by trying several beans to the same roast level. Each will take different times to get there.

Get an Ethiopian, a Central/South American, a Sumatran, and a decaf (Brazil SWP!!) and roast 1/4 lb (125-135 g) lots to end of 1st crack or start of 2nd crack. Take notes on how they behave: time to start of 1st crack, time to start of 2nd crack, do I like the taste of the results, color change versus time, amount of chaff. Enjoy the results, a different cup every morning. Then take them to the middle of 2nd crack. With fire extinguisher at the ready, take them to end of 2nd crack.

All beans roast differently, even under identical roaster settings. Next year, the same source bean will be slightly different. Some beans are great 30 s after start of 1st crack and others are terrible (Sumatran need to be dark, IMHO, otherwise you get too much "earth"). Some need full city or beyond. A few make a great cup anywhere from 1st crack through 2nd crack with different flavors.

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Any Central American SHB is a good start. These beans provide familiar flavor profiles so you can better judge your own roasting skills, and they're pretty tolerant of a wide range of roast levels. Try hard beans from Guatemala, Colombia, etc., then just wing it branching out from there.

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    Thank you. That makes sense. Feb 22 at 21:05
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As above any beans from Central America are nice & easy to roast should be quite evenly roasted( more beans =better evenness I have found but they’ll be a limit. Same with any beans from Ethiopia-Sidamo, Yirgacheffe. All very nice flavours. Beans from Kenya & Tanzania tend to be very hard bean in texture so harder/need more heat/time esp Peaberry. Good luck 😉. My tip is to get yourself a hand held fire extinguisher (just in case)!

SHB =strictly hard bean SHG = strictly high grown EP European production (for the EU).

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