Lighting for Roasting

With many roasters, it's often hard to see the colour of the beans

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I learnt this little trick from a pro roaster.

When you roast in any roaster, it's not always under ideal conditions and usually the roaster is not near a window….even if it is daylight can vary so much. This makes it very useful to have a source of light with a known and standard brightness (does not vary) and a decent colour temperature.

Incandescent Bulbs and Fluorescent are not great for detecting variations in shade and are not usually bright enough. The best light is actually Halogen (ask any car spray painter)….those 150W Halogen lamps sold in DIY shops for around £5.00 are ideal. If you are using a Gene Cafe, one of these pointing into the chamber and you have a great way to check the beans whilst roasting…..with any other roasters you can get a better and more standardised idea of the colour of your roast (both in the tray and in the sample spoon). As the light is a standard brightness it avoids under roasting on a dull day and over roasting on a very sunny day….unless your roaster is by the window of course. On a dull day I will actually turn the Halogen light on, not just at night, because this standardises my perception of colour.