Coffee Roaster is a solo-only game with the objective of roasting a perfect batch of coffee beans. After you roast your beans, you are presented with the cup test which determines if you are a master roaster. The game is Japan-exclusive, but several copies were made available on BoardGameGeek, which we jumped to grab after after discovering how much we liked Let's Make a Bus Route.
Stand Out Features
Excellent Theme: While playing, you feel immersed in bean roasting and everything coffee-related ranging from roasting techniques all the way through to the cup test. Each bean card also contains a description that includes fun facts about the coffee bean. After playing, if you are not already drinking a cup of coffee, you will definitely crave a cup (or two).
Interesting Bean Roasting System: To score high, you need to find the right balance of roasting coffee beans. During each roasting phase, you will take as many tokens from the bean bag as indicated by the turn disc. The roast phase usually increases the beans’ roast level by one. However, if there is a smoke alert, then the beans will roast up by two levels. This can be a make or break moment of over roasting your beans!. If you happen to draw a lot of level 3 or 4 beans, your beans will be burnt to a crisp!
What We Liked
The flow of the game is straightforward and easy to follow. All you need to do is keep roasting until you are either ready or cannot roast anymore. Once that is done, you perform the cup test to see how good your cup of coffee tastes.
There are a variety of coffee beans that you can potentially roast. The beans are put into three different groups: light brown, medium brown, and dark brown. In the three different groups, there are also different difficulty levels. This allows you to mix up the difficulty levels to your taste.
The scoring system is not based solely upon roasting level. Bonus points are also awarded to flavorful cups and cups that require skill. Flavored points are acquired through the flavor tokens being added to the cup while skill points are added by the number of same level bean tokens in the cup. Points are deducted when adding items such as hard, burnt, or rotten beans.
What Could Be Improved
Overall all of the actions possibly serve a greater purpose, but I felt some were weaker than others. Some of the immediate effects as well as flavor effects don’t serve as a huge benefit. For instance, the Extra Tray Token in the Flavor Effects is much more powerful than the riskier Draw & Select Token or Redraw-2 Token. At a first glance, those two Flavor Effect feel powerful, but since they cannot be placed on the tray, they can hurt you during the final pour.
The design of the board could do without the roast counter. The roast level is simple to calculate. Some may prefer to keep track of the exact roast level after a new bean has been added to the cup, but it is not necessary.
Coffee Roaster is a great solo game that is easy to learn and fast to play. This game is easy to set up and clean up as well. Overall, it is a solid bean building game.
Time To Learn: 15 minutes from reading the rule book.