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The Kelvin Streamlines Countertop Fluid-Bed Home Roasting

kelvin home coffee roaster

The Kelvin countertop coffee roaster. All images courtesy of ICA Collaborative.

Many professional coffee roasters’ earliest bean-brownings came by way of the classic homespun hack of an electric fluid-bed popcorn popper. It’s an entry-level method so popular in fact that green coffee retailer Sweet Maria’s keeps one such machine in stock specifically for its cost-effective appeal to roasting hobbyists.

A new device called the Kelvin Home Coffee Roaster builds upon the simplicity of a countertop fluid-bed solution, while boasting a modern, tidy appearance along with additional built-in features such as chaff collection and automatic cool cycle.

kelvin brand coffee roaster

Currently rocketing on Kickstarter, the Kelvin shot past its $40,000 funding goal within the first three hours and has at this point collected pledges from more than 1,000 backers that amount to more than 600 percent of the original goal, with more than a month still to go.

Interestingly, although a passion for coffee lead its creators to the idea of an accessible home roaster, the Kelvin also equally emerges as a kind of test case in product development and marketing.

home roasted coffee

Coffee roasted in a Kelvin machine.

The Kelvin Coffee Roaster is a product by IA Collaborative Ventures, the “in-house incubator” of Chicago-based design and innovation consultancy IA Collaborative. The firm’s product development and launch services have been performed for clients including GE, Samsung and HP. Through the Ventures program, IA Collaborative builds and launches its own product ideas, apart from its projects for other clients and companies. IA Collaborative Founder Dan Kraemer and Engineering Director Luke Westra are the creators at the helm of the Kelvin.

Of course, it wouldn’t make nearly as snazzy a portfolio page if it weren’t first and foremost a capable home coffee roaster. Sean Sanders, senior design engineer at IA Collaborative, told Daily Coffee News that the designers worked closely with professionals and home enthusiasts alike during research and development, involving roasters, baristas and green coffee experts. Said Sanders, “We can’t name names yet, but will be announcing some exciting partnerships soon.”

kelvin prototypes and designs

Sanders said the ideal batch size for the Kelvin is roughly 100-120 grams (approximately 0.22 to 0.26 pounds), an amount small enough that smoke can be vented through a home kitchen range hood. The basic resistive heater draws 1,200 to 1,400 watts to produce a single consistent roasting temperature for a duration set by the user with a knob control.

A chaff filter at the top catches the chaff, time can be added or subtracted during the roast, the double-walled chamber stays cool to the touch and the machine blows ambient air through the coffee after the heat shuts off, providing a cooling cycle to end the roast, the company said. The company is also launching a green coffee subscription program along with the roaster.

kelvin coffee roaster design research

“We are in active discussions with several potential partners for green coffee imports,” said Sanders. “We will make an announcement at an appropriate time once these partnerships are finalized.”

The final retail price of the machine has also yet to be determined, although the campaign indicates it will be over $330. The machine is currently expected to ship to backers at the end of 2018, after which time sales will continue directly to consumers through the company’s website. Sanders said that discussions are also underway for potential brick-and-mortar retail partnerships for the roaster.

kelvin coffee roaster design controls




Apparently, based on the text in this article, this machine allows user to preset heat application and time. It does not seem to enable the user to profile.
While the iRoast 2 was clunky in its programming, it IS possible to design a sophisticated profile which the machine would follow very accurately.. unless ambient air temp was too low to enable the machine to maintain the rate of rise desired.

I used to be a dealer for the iRoast, and have kicked myself many times for not having the clout to buyout the rights when Hearthware pulled the plug. In my view, that machine is still by far the best countertop home coffee roaster out there. I’ve not seen anything to rival it since, in quality of roast, robust construction (some people to whom I sold those things ten years ago are STILL roasting on them regularly) and price. The $199 figure from ten years ago would be about the same as $259 today. What is out there for that price point that WORKS and gives the user functional control? Sure the Ikawa is nice.. at 50 gm the batch, and about $3K to buy it. The Behmor is a reliable and repeatable machine, but the programming is so arcane most folks can’t figure it out. Its price point is mid-$300’s. It is still, despite Joe’s claims, a half pound roaster. It cannot provide enough energy on a 1t amp mains circuit to roast a full pound and provide great results.

This new machine does appear to aim at the budget minded home roaster, though. Much will hinge upon how accurate/repeatable it is, and the ease of creating a real profile to get the best out of each bean.

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