May 11, 2015

IKAWA – The World’s First Digital & Smart Phone Controlled Micro Coffee Roaster


Roasting coffee can be quite a learning curve on the journey of a coffee aficionado, but without a doubt it’s one of the most rewarding practices. There are several well-known domestic sample roasters for the home-user, but they do not offer a relatively simple or repeatable roasting experience for those who want to enjoy home roasted coffee straight out of the box without a decent level of roasting knowledge.

Andrew Stordy, an engineer and industrial designer from London, UK spent the last 6 years developing the IKAWA roaster, with co-founder and design director Rombout Frieling, motivated by this very dilemma. The IKAWA is a professional calibre sample air roaster for the domestic market that can accurately reproduce results regardless of the environment it is used in, thanks to its unique patented roasting technology.


How the IKAWA works.

Where It All Began and Why?

Andrew Stordy’s connection with coffee began as a child when he was growing up in coffee producing countries such as Vanuatu, Papua New Guinea & Burundi (Ikawa means coffee in the Kirundi language).  His parents were missionaries and his father was an agriculturalist who guided coffee producers to adopt improved practices. Andrew’s past and studies collided during a lecture about the popularity of coffee pods, which he was opposed to due to their negative impact on the environment, coffee experiences and producers. He wanted to improve the quality of the domestic coffee experience to another level and also wanted to create a way to help out producers by encouraging more sales of green beans to domestic consumers of coffee. The IKAWA roaster could not only achieve all this, but also give producers the ability to roast and brew the quality of coffee that is enjoyed in the specialty coffee industry internationally. Andrew was determined to adopt the concept of simplicity behind pod, but to also change the supply chain. Andrew and the team intend to set up an ethical supply chain where IKAWA purchases green beans at a respectable price, packages the green beans and then sends them to the users of the roaster. 10% of the revenue from these purchases would be donated to the Café Direct Producer’s Foundation in order to aid producers to grow quality coffee. This helps attract higher green bean sales prices, while also giving producers a reputable name for themselves in their industry.

IKAWA Founder Andrew Stordy with co-founder Rombout Frieling.

IKAWA Founder Andrew Stordy with co-founder Rombout Frieling.

How Does the IKAWA Offer a Simple Roasting Experience?

The most outstanding feature of the IKAWA is its judiciously designed preprogramed roasting profiles that allow the user to roast professional grade coffee with no prior knowledge. The IKAWA by no means intends to take the fun or education out of roasting coffee. The Bluetooth function of the device allows customisable roast profile control and monitoring via an app (Android & IOS). Much like the Acaia app’s brew recipe sharing function, the IKAWA app allows users to share roast recipes with each other. If you source your green beans from IKAWA directly you can make the most of IKAWA’s perfected roasting recipes for particular beans.

The device has an incredibly small footprint and an appealing modern design to comfortably fit in your kitchen like any of your other appliances. It is truly a plug and play device that you can take with you wherever you go without the hassle of an exhaust, which is necessary on most roasters.

The video below outlines the steps to home roasting: choose a recipe and send to roaster,  add green coffee,  let roast begin,  follow roast via app,  remove chaff jar & replace with collector jar – enjoy.

What Is the Quality of the Components and the Build? How Does It Operate?

While the aim of the IKAWA roaster is simplicity, its build is of a high quality and designed in a way that eliminates the chances of failure. The only moving part of the roaster is the fan, which can reach speeds of 22 500 RPM. The fan drives the heat from the heating element through to the roasting chamber. There is no chaff filter that can be clogged during the roasting process; the roaster simply uses air to drive out the chaff and also the beans once the roast is finished. To ensure safety, the design isolates the heat from the roasting process in order to not affect other internal components. Multiple safety checks have been conducted during the development of the hundreds of prototypes that it took to get to this final design.

The outer shell of the roaster is made from strong aluminium and the roasting process is made transparent by a quality safety glass.  The consistent and accurate roasting profiles are made possible with the assistance of an ultra-sensitive A-grade platinum temperature sensor and PID controlled heating element.

The technical details of IKAWA

Roaster Capacity

The IKAWA is a sample roaster, so out of the 60g max green bean dosage you will yield about 50g of roasted coffee. This process can often be completed in as minimal time as 3 minutes. The machine can roast consecutively without difficulty, so with such a simple process it is not a tedious exercise if you need to roast several batches in a short time frame (a 250g bag of roasted could be roasted in about 15-20 minutes).

The roast recipes can even be adjusted via the smart phone.

Where to Get One?

The IKAWA is currently available through Kickstarter for another 20 days. The best news is that pledges have already exceeded the target so it is funded! You can seize the opportunity to buy yourself an IKAWA roaster at a discounted price of £500-£600 (approx. $772USD- $926USD). See the Kickstarter campaign for detailed videos of the roasters functions as well as pledge packages. Don’t forget to tell us what you think!

 Article edited by N. Bhatt.

Perfect Daily Grind.