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her63
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· 06/02/2020 9:10 AM
keep healthy bro, love roaster form home

pisanoal
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· 05/27/2020 10:14 AM
Anyone else have issues seeing the whole window of a thread when accessing from a mobile phone? Any fixes?

allenb
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· 04/02/2020 4:50 AM
Morning Ed, I haven't done any green coffee hoarding yet but am hoping the supplies don't end up like the toilet paper isles!

snwcmpr
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· 03/31/2020 2:53 PM
Hey Ed. Thanks. roar

homeroaster
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· 03/31/2020 11:21 AM
Hey quarantined home roasters! I hope you have great coffee! If they have a run on coffee, I hope you're set with your great home roast! Find me on Facebook! Ed Needham

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Beginner having a heck of a time . . . HELP
IMOprefontaine
Alright, I have yet to even try my hand at roasting. However, I have green beans on the way and a hot air popcorn popper to roast them in. I have some general questions that I would love to have answers on, whether they come from someone or whether I am directed to a helpful website. I apologize if these are easy to find answers with a little research, but I've done hours of research and still have these questions. Alright.

1. From what I understand, beans are ready after the first crack, and its up to the roaster how long they want to go after the first crack and depending on how dark they want it. But Are certain beans meant to be roasted darker than others? How do I know how dark to roast a given bean? Is it trial and error?

2. How does the second crack fit into the roasting process? If beans can be stopped any time after the first crack, what does the second crack mean for beans?

3. The biggest question I have is in regards to time. I know some roasters allow you to control the time of the roast, does this mean you are able to control how quickly the beans roast? What is the difference between a slow roast and a faster roast. If I roast a bean to a given point in 4 minutes, will it come out differently than if I roasted it to the same point taking 12 minutes? How does the seed in which beans roast effect beans?

4. I currently have stars in my eyes, but I dream of starting a very small roasting business. While I understand I would need an upgrade from the 'ol popcorn popper, what can someone tell me about their own experience at starting a small roasting business? Tips and tricks? I'm looking for as much as people want to share.

Thanks, and I'm excited to begin! This definitely has the feel of a new hobby for me!
 
DavidG
IMOprefontaine,

Welcome aboard! The world awaits! I am still a new member and a new roaster (80+ roasts only). We all keep learning together. Best hints:
1. SCOUR the old posts and make notes
2. SCOUR www.sweetmarias.com and make notes
3. Keep asking great questions like the ones you posted above.

I continue to be inspired by the great folks here, the collected wisdom and the passion for great coffee.

Godspeed,
David
 
endlesscycles
I was where you are now not long ago.
I recommend recording everything you do, and cupping daily.
I'll diverge with DavidG and suggest ignoring the banter; it's 98% false.

A few other suggestions: roast between 440F-500F environmental temp, with finishing bean temp of 425-445F, and between 3-6minutes spent post first crack. NEVER LET THE BEAN DECREASE IN TEMP. Record. Cup Cup Cup Cup Cup.

Oh yeah, there's actually no "right" way to roast any given bean; it's all about what you want. Therefore: CUP CUP CUP CUP.

As far as going commercial: Be ready to build your own or go ahead now and drop an enormous amount of loot (20k+) on a real setup and have a place to put it. Keeping up with customers and accounts takes time, so you need the capacity to roast and still have daylight to spare.
-Marshall Hance
Asheville, NC
 
stuartgrant
Hey IMOprefontaine,

1. You're right that, technically, you can pull the beans any time after first crack. I personally don't enjoy them unless they've gone at least 3-4 minutes beyond this point. Others' tastes vary, of course.

It does depend on the bean. My preferences for beans suiting a lighter roaster include: most Central Americans, many Brazils and Columbians, PNGs, some Ethiopians such as Harar and Yirgacheffe, and some of the milder Africans. For darker roasts: some other Centrals (Guat), higher quality Brazils, most Indonesians, most dry-processed Ethiopians, harder/brighter Africans (Kenya). It's complicated, in other words! There will always be exceptions, so the roaster really needs to be able to think outside the box anyway.

2. Second crack happens something like 20 degrees C (+35 F) beyond first crack. Reaching second crack gives you a moderately dark roast. You can, of course, go well into second crack (when the crackling gets more rapid - it's called rolling second crack) but only some beans can handle this level of roast without tasting ashy.

3. I was always taught to aim for first crack to start around 10minutes and second crack to follow 5-6 minutes later. That's been a good rule, IMO; whenever we rush a roast and get first crack before 8-9 mins we get strange acidity which we don't like that much. Others obviously prefer it that way. The most important thing is to slow down the roast between first and second crack, or first crack and the point that you stop the roast. This is where a lot of the flavour development happens (caramelisation etc.) so if you rush it the results won't be as good.

At the other extreme (not likely with a popper), if you take too long you risk the beans' flavour not developing much either. The general description is that they taste "baked" rather than roasted. In my experience, the flavours just get muted/dull.

4. Don't we all!! My advice is to follow DavidG and Marshall's advice above - keep finding out as much info as you can AND keep taking notes and being methodical about your roasting. Be obsessive about it, if you want a future in roasting!

You'll want several years' experience before attempting anything like commercial roasting, but I think having a mindset of "I want to do this all my life" is very helpful and gives you that drive. Hey - it's worked for me! I just got offered work at a roastery based on passion alone (as opposed to experience!).

Have fun with it!
Cheers,
Stuart.
 
http://stuartgrant.wordpress.com
seedlings
What great questions, IMOprefontaine! These are the same questions I had a couple of years ago, and the very same questions we all ponder through!

First, let me say that you won't care about any of these things during your first many roasts. You'll be so excited to watch smell and taste that you won't really follow any detailed profiles - and that's GREAT!

The very best way to learn roasting is to do it wrong a few times first. And, you won't really know what wrong is at the beginning.

More to come...

CHAD
Roaster: CoffeeAir II 2# DIY air roaster
Grinder: Vintage Grindmaster 500
Brewers: Vintage Cory DCU DCL, Aeropress, Press, Osaka Titanium pourover
 
IMOprefontaine
Thanks you all for your patience and help! I look forward to beginning this process and was thrilled to find such a great resource in this website.

You'll be hearing more from me.
 
Koffee Kosmo
You can roast coffee with a pot and a wooden spoon
I have done it for years with great success B/4 building my roaster

Best way to learn is to participate in the forum for a while and soon all the snippets of information will become a big picture ThumbsUp

KK


I home roast and I like it
Blog - http://koffeekosmo.blogspot.com/
Bezzera Strega: Mazzer Robur Grinder: 5 Box hand grinders: Pullman Tamper Convex: (KKTO) Turbo Oven Home Roaster: CONA Glass Rod Syphon: Pyrex Brewer:
 
http://koffeekosmo.com.au
dja
Ok you got your green beans and a roaster/popper.
turn popper on put enough beans in it so that they stop spinning, max load. Stir with a long wooden spoon handle, they will spin on their own after lossing some moistue.

like everyone else is saying note and log everything that happens that you can.

Roast beans till they are charred black burnt Mexican Roast. this will let you see what happens and see all the color changes the beans will go through.

Throw these beans away, unless you like a really dark Europian Style Espresso.

like eveyone else here all your roast will not be perfect. but like everyone else here you will drink some of the best coffee you will ever have with you new found pleasure
Edited by dja on 10/06/2009 12:39 PM
I pour Iron and roast Coffee BeansThumbsUp
If life seems normal your not going fast enough Mario Andrette
 
Clifford
My roasts are never the same from the same bag. I have over roasted two of my last batches so that oil shows. My friend asked me to leave it out of the cups that brew for him. I have also had roasts that hit an incredible sweet spot that transported me to heaven.. That is the greatest thing about home roastingShock.
May the Force be with your cup
 
David

Quote

IMOprefontaine wrote:
1. How do I know how dark to roast a given bean?

2. How does the second crack fit into the roasting process?

3. The biggest question I have is in regards to time. If I roast a bean to a given point in 4 minutes, will it come out differently than if I roasted it to the same point taking 12 minutes?


Great questions. I'll take on the first three.
First crack is the noise of steam and CO2 breaking out of the bean. Second crack comes from the cellulose in the cell walls breaking down. Home roasters typically aim for the very beginning of second crack, plus or minus. It is the safest target, as most beans taste pretty good at this level of roast. Earlier and the roast is somewhat acidic, later and it gets the charred taste.

Having said that, some beans are at their best earlier. For example the Ethiopians get their distinctive blueberry flavors right after first crack has ended. They are still good darker, but the peak comes earlier. With that peak comes some distinct acidity, but in an amount that is considered very tasty. Consider how strawberries and raspberries have a tart taste when you bite into them. That is good acidity.

Some beans come into their own much closer to second crack and some can "take" a very dark roast. The darker roasts of these are sweeter rather than acidic because the sugars are more developed and the acidity is reduced. Some coffees get an ashy, chalky taste/texture if taken too dark.

The person who is buying the coffee will often indicate in their cupping notes what are the best roast levels.

Your third question about time is also a very good one.
Much of the art of coffee roasting lies in the timing and the temperatures applied. The general topic is called "roast profile" and refers to the curve of a graph of temperatures across time. That is a long and complex discussion. However, you basic profile for your very first roast is "wide open" until it burns to charcoal. Stop just before the charcoal catches fire and you will avoid discovering the "third crack." Shock Yes, this wastes a few ounces of beans on a test drive, but you will get a lot of useful information about the sights and smells of the roast as it progresses over time.

Because the unmodified popper gives such a pedal-to-the-metal roast profile, your second roast profile will be an attempt to SLOW DOWN the roast . There are several ways to do this and they can be found in many threads at many sites. You have a few basic choices to slow down the roast that do not involve rewiring. They include tilting [or shaking] the popper to let most of the heat escape, turning the machine off for a few seconds here and there, and adding a long extension cord to drop the voltage to the popper. If you use the extension cord method, be sure to monitor the heat dissipated in the cord so it does not get too hot.

In this second roast your profile goal will be to get two or three minutes between first and second crack. It can be quite a challenge, but it is worth the effort. Good luck, and keep posting your progress here.
 
Jimbo
Good post David! I'm trying to move a bit outside my box with regard to the way I roast. I do not particularly like bright coffees, and prefer my roast darker. But I think I may be missing some of the favor overtones of a lighter roast.

It's really a bit of a balancing act. I read up on the information the supplier has on the bean. Sweet Maria's does a great job on the notes, and I like their cupping scores.

So now I just need to do a few lighter roasts with the appropriate bean, take notes about time and temp, etc. And learn. And hopefully enjoy.

What's the worst that can happen ...
 
seedlings
What are you using to roast, Jim...? You might try to get to first crack as fast as you can, in less than 10 minutes, THEN slow, slow, slow the roast down (actually, start decreasing the temperature around 385F, before the onset of first crack, to get control). Take another 8 minutes after rolling first crack to get to second crack and points beyond, if you can creep the temperature slow, like 5 or 6 degrees per minute. You should get the high notes from the fast first half, but also get your darkness and tons of carmel flavors.

If you're going to roast light, go nice and steady, adding a few more minutes between drying (250F) and finish (410F~415F, maybe).

I haven't found too many light roasts that extract as nice espresso... Usually take to Full City to FC++ for espresso.

CHAD
Edited by seedlings on 10/10/2009 1:53 PM
Roaster: CoffeeAir II 2# DIY air roaster
Grinder: Vintage Grindmaster 500
Brewers: Vintage Cory DCU DCL, Aeropress, Press, Osaka Titanium pourover
 
IMOprefontaine
Alright, I'm back again! I've completed 3 batches of columbian and 3 batches of Costa Rican. Surprisingly enough, the very first roast I ever did, was by far my best. I have learned that I greatly under roasted the other batches. A lot of things I was asking are now beginning to make sense. I do have a new question . . .

Any thoughts on how the weather effects the roasting processt? I roasted my remaining beans the day after my first roast and they took much longer (The first day it was rainy but warm and the second day it was cold but sunny).
 
bvwelch
Thank you all for these tips -- I can't wait to try some of them out. Keep 'em coming!

I'll just say 'ditto' to David's suggestion above -- go ahead and 'waste' a roast or two -- take them all the way to charcoal.

Do this outdoors. Do this somewhere safe like a concrete driveway. Do think about how you would unplug the popper and put out a fire. Welding gloves are cheap at Harbor Freight.

Beware -- huge amounts of smoke is 'normal' and in fact 'required' for coffee roasting, so don't stop just because you see smoke.

Watch: green, yellow, tan, light brown, smoke, brown, lots of smoke, dark brown, oily, charcoal, lots of smoke.
Listen: nothing, a few pops, lots of pops, a few pops, nothing, very faint rice-crispy cereal snaps. nothing
Sniff: nothing, mowing the lawn, bread baking, ( not sure how to describe the rest of the smells)

-bill
Edited by bvwelch on 10/10/2009 2:25 PM
 
bvwelch
About the weather - yeah, with a typical modern popper, heat loss is rapid, so outdoor temps will matter. Humidity could be a factor too I guess.

If you can find an old popper, some of them are heavier and are a better at keeping in the heat. Lots of threads around on this web site. Here is a classic one: http://forum.homeroasters.org/forum/v...ead_id=270
Edited by bvwelch on 10/10/2009 2:31 PM
 
Jimbo

Quote

seedlings wrote:
What are you using to roast, Jim...? You might try to get to first crack as fast as you can, in less than 10 minutes, THEN slow, slow, slow the roast down (actually, start decreasing the temperature around 385F, before the onset of first crack, to get control). Take another 8 minutes after rolling first crack to get to second crack and points beyond, if you can creep the temperature slow, like 5 or 6 degrees per minute. You should get the high notes from the fast first half, but also get your darkness and tons of carmel flavors.

If you're going to roast light, go nice and steady, adding a few more minutes between drying (250F) and finish (410F~415F, maybe).

I haven't found too many light roasts that extract as nice espresso... Usually take to Full City to FC++ for espresso.

CHAD


Chad,

I use an older model digital Hottop roaster. It's not one of the programmable models, so I set the time, watch the roast and the temp and stop when the roast is where i want it. I tend to do most roast to FC+. I watch, smell, and listen.

While I enjoy espresso I do not currently have a very good machine, so normally only drink it out - at a local roaster in Dayton. I use a mix of drip, french press, and vacuum.

Jim

PS. Hopefully this is not a hijack (my apologies if it is ...) but perhaps good info that fits in with the topic.
Edited by Jimbo on 10/10/2009 4:06 PM
 
IMOprefontaine
Alright, just got done with 3 more batches. I roasted them, probably to a FC+ and now I have a new question. Some of them have, what can best be described as Craters. Big chunks taken out of the shell. What is this from? Is this to be avoided? What will it do to my coffee? Thanks, you guys have been great!
 
bvwelch

Quote

IMOprefontaine wrote:
I have a new question. Some of them have, what can best be described as Craters. Big chunks taken out of the shell. What is this from? Is this to be avoided? What will it do to my coffee?


Some folks call them divots. My two cents, don't worry about them, doesn't seem to impact the taste of the coffee at all. Have fun!

My wife reminds me often that even our 'worst coffee' is way, way better than the typical office or bank lobby coffee. :-) -bill
 
bvwelch
A suggestion for you, since you seem to have roasted a bunch of coffee today-- find a few jars, put some of your roast in each, and label them all with today's date.

Save some for 3 days, and some for 6 days. Enjoy. -bill
 
David
Weather and divots.

Think of your popper as heating the ambient air a certain number of degrees as it passes over the hot coils. The heat of the air coming out will vary according to the heat going in. That is a factor in roast times as well as the maximum temperatures you can reach. A lot of folks put some kind of shelter around their poppers in winter. A common solution is a large cardboard box open on only one side, the one away from any wind.
Moisture is a factor also, but not nearly as much as the ambient temperature.

Divots are from the beans' expansion, typically from being heating too quickly. They are hard to avoid in a dark roast with a popper, but it can be done. If you can get rid of the divots, consider it a landmark in your learning how to get control of the roast. If you can't, don't feel bad. Even CharBucks :( has a percentage of divots in their overpriced coffees, and they are experts in overroasting!
 
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