Coffee lovers may not have considered home roasting or knew it even existed. I bought my coffee from a drive up coffee stand like everyone else. Growing up in Washington State, coffee stands were on every street corner so it didn't cross my mind to roast my own. FIREFLY grew organically from my dependency of coffee, curiosity of how the little green beans get dark and the voice in my head asking how can I do this. I do have a product design and engineering background so I knew the process when I started experimenting and developing FIREFLY. I have worked for the past 19 years as an Industrial Designer and have some 40 something patents under my belt. This and a friend of mine is a Master Roaster in Washington State, he was a wealth of information any time I need it brought and helped bring this concept to life.
Design - I researched and experimented with many types of heat sources, air movement mechanisms, containers and electronics. I found there were mainly two types of roasters that were being used in the home environment, the fluid bed (air popper) and drum type. The fluid bed uses forced hot air to move the beans and roast to desired level. The drum type uses a stationary heat source and a rotating screen drum to agitate the beans. There are pros and cons to each method, I decided to use a hybrid of forced air and agitation to get the best of both types for an even roast and larger capacity.
Controls - I found there are many factors that go into the coffee roasting process but broke them down into two basic elements, controllable adjustment of heat during the cycle of the roast and time. In order to keep it simple there is an adjustment dial with a push button on the dial to set the heat and the same to adjust the time. Both functions can be changed at any time during the roast for full control.