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Importance of moisture meter for home roasting
I'm hoping that some coffee roasting veterans can help me decide if a moisture meter should be on my purchase list. I'm a small-batch roaster (usually 1-2KG at a time) who roasts for myself, friends, family, and co-workers. I've read of the importance of the 10-12% moisture content of green beans (or 13% for naturals) and the only way to know this is through the use of a meter. How frequently do green coffees fall OUT of this range? Is it something I could expect to come across once per 1,000kg of green coffee consumption? If so, then I'm not sure I need to invest in the equipment to find that rare outlier. On the other hand, if it happens more often, then a meter could make more sense.
I have a friend who lives out of state that will sell me his fairly cheap ($100). For $100, I can add Phidgets and Artisan to my setup... or I can get a moisture meter.

Can someone chime in on their experiences with too-dry or too-wet beans? (And for that matter, what I would even do IF I were to come across beans that were out of range.) Thanks in advance!
What are you doing if you buy a ton of coffee and find it too dry ?
Do you expect the seller accept returns for this reason ?
Isn't simpler to buy from trusted sellers, that send the coffee in GrainPro bags, accompanied by a paper with all the physical data analysis ?

Also, how accurate are your storage conditions, to maintain beans within specs for 3-6 months ? This means 20-24C degrees temperature, and 45-50% humidity. This implies you need a humidity regulator in the storage room, a normal household can't be maintained so stable all the year long, I know because I did such setup for a friend roaster warehouse.
This is how I check the moisture of my beans. I put 100 grams on a cookie sheet and bake at 275F for 3 hours, then measure the weight. The loss of weight in grams is the percentage of moisture before the bake. Example: 88 grams after bake equals 12% moisture.

If the beans are too wet or dry, I might adjust my roasting profile. I might not buy from that source again.
Edited by bobbooks on 02/29/2020 5:19 PM


renatoa wrote:
What are you doing if you buy a ton of coffee and find it too dry ?

You answered my question by asking the same question. I literally asked "what I would even do IF I were to come across beans that were out of range".

However, the rest of your post made it abundantly clear... there's really no need for the meter as a small home roaster. If I buy from reputable sources in small enough quantities to get through in ~6 months, I will be in good shape. I'll pass on the moisture meter.

Bobbooks, that's a a good method to know! I have a friend who will be giving me several kilos of beans he's had in his basement for just over a year. I think I'll do this method just to see where they fall in the moisture range. Thanks!
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