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Gene Cafe Tipping!
Well, just got my first real noticeable roast defect in the GC. This is about the 6th roast I have done. Up to this one, aside from overshooting my target roast, I have not seen any other defects. This time I was roasting a Costa Rican free trade organic (of unknow origin purchased from my local roaster). Ambient temp was about 85* with the roaster sitting in the sun (not sure how that affects my roast since all the others up to now have beenn done in my garage in about 70* ambient temp). The roast profile I used was as follows:

preheat to 400 for 5:00
dry phase @
300 for 3:00 (shortened up from my normal 5:00)
446 to 7:30
465 to 9:15
482 to 13:30
465 to 15:30 (EOR)

1C started about 12:46 and ended about 14:15

was shooting for City+ and got about right except for the tipping. Here's a pic.
Any suggestions on what I did wrong?
Frankly I do not think you did anything wrong unless your Gene is allowing beans to settle too long in one spot.

I think it is the moisture in the bean though I have bean wrong before.

Where did you get the beans? Did you ask where they came from and how OLD they were? If not you most likely bought garbage beans.

John Despres
Hi, Sean. Good to hear you're having pretty good luck with your GC, for the most part.

I think you went to heat too soon. Tipping is typically a result of too much heat too soon. The moisture inside the bean got too hot and was exploding out of the bean rather than evaporating out slowly.

I suggest next roast you warm at 300F for 5 minutes rather than 3 minutes. Keep logs - this bean may want a slightly lower temp preheated drum as well.

Let us know how it works. We'll help as much as possible.

Next, I'd like to suggest you buy your beans from a source that will give you much more information about them. Costa Rica is a huge place, these could be lower grown beans and softer, requiring less heat. Try Sweet Maria's, for instance. They are my favorite.

Have fun!

Respect the bean.
John Despres
Fresh Roast 8, Gene Cafe, JYTT 1k, Quest M3, Mazzer Mini, Technivorm, various size presses and many more brewers.
zombie girl
I would for sure use Sweet Maria for beans though there are many other places that are very good. see out greens section for some ideas on that.

I buy all of my personal beans from Sweet Maria. Why? I have never had an issue with greens from Sweet Maria.

many sellers/roasters have old/extra beans that they will clearly sell if they can to anyone.

why you would consider roasting in sun at 85 to roasting in your garage at 70 degrees not different? seems like it could be the old glass in the sun thing we did as kids to start a fire or burn something. the GC is glass, sun = burn maybe.

clearly there was a huge difference in that roast to your other roasts.


Edited by zombie girl on 04/03/2012 4:16 PM
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well guys and gals, thanks for the quick feedback. I don't believe it to be a problem with low quality beans. I got them from my local specialty roaster here in Tucson ( I have had great luck buying from these guys (a father and son operation). He says he roasts about 2 tons/month. all sold locally at the farmers markets and a few wholesale accounts. I have had his coffee, and it is good! I also spend quite a some time talking to the fellas when I am there. He just got this crop of Costa Rican on Monday. He also mentioned that he gets his from the same place as Sweetmarias (which is where I have purchased the majority of my greens in the last 10 years). For the most part, I get pretty good details on what I am getting, but not always. Generally, I trust his judgement and advice. He is pretty serious about sourcing good beans and even told me that he audits the fair trade documentation to verify where the $$ is being spent. He mentioned that for him to label his product certified organic/certified free trade, it cost him a fair amount and he gets inspected as part of that process.

John, I was thinking the same thing you suggested that the change in the preheat is what did it. My reason for the change was due to something I read that you had posted here about shooting for yellow somewhere between 5-7min into the roast. Mine (never roasted this bean before) recently have tended toward about 7:30 to go yellow, so I thought I would try it. I guess this is how we learn this art huh? I bought several Lbs of this, so I will have a chance to try again and see what we get. I have not tasted it yet (gonna wait a day or two). I will report back after that.

I do log meticulously, to indclude notes on the roast and pictures of green and the results, so next time I will have a good startiing point to modify my profile and see the results.

again, thanks for the feedback.
ps. I attribute my success lately with the new GC roasting almost completely to the knowlege I have gained here at HRO. So thank you for that. My friends and family who get to enjoy good coffee thank you as well.
you just saved yourself Sean


great post though I still wonder about outside v. inside temp.

let us know. we love to help and please continue to give us feedback on how we are doing.

we are small but mighty.

if you have not guessed by now I am the resident trouble maker.

thanks. Ginny, I think I had you pegged within a day or so of finding this site. You can say all you like about troublemaking, I have seen more helpful advice from you than trouble. A little attitude just keeps us all honest.

anyway, thanks for the encouragement. I plan to roast another batch of that same coffee soon. I will most likely revert to my previous (successful) habits roasting in the garage, and go with the 5min drying time and back to my standard profile to see what the result is that way. then I will adjust between the two results to try for perfection. wish me luck.
Army Coffee
After reading this I am tempted to add a minute to my drying phase. I read the same piece about achieving YELLOW between 7-8 minutes so I have been drying for 4 min on 350 (I preheat too). That generally gets me to pale/early yellow at 4 min and yellow usually around 7min.

There are several Green Bean Suppliers that I have grown to truly appreciate. SM and Burman are the two that immediately come to mind. Wondering if others agree and have others that they have found to be as professional and customer oriented as these two???

Thanks for the posting!!!

North TJ-072 2kg Roaster, Hottop 8828B, Gene Cafe Roaster, Baratza Vario Grinder, Breville SmartGrinder, Behmor Brazen, Cona "D", Bialetti Moka Express, Aero-Press, Quick Mill QM67

Your beans has to be high grown. First crack at 12:46 is a tip-off. I'm so pleased we have a fellow roaster that logs his roasts. My charts log every minute after the 3 or 5 minute drying phase.

I have gotten tons of tips from John Despres but, looking back, charting was the most valuable. Plus his advice about lowering temp so as to not rush toward second crack after first.

In studying your roast profile couldn't help but notice at first crack you didn't dial down your heat from 482 to 442 range so it wouldn't rush toward second crack too quickly.
Wonder if that was a contributing factor?

Most of my roasts yellow between 7:00 and 8:00, never sooner. A lot of my C+ roasts end at 15:30 range in the sun. I roast on my back deck in summer with my GC and prefer to roast in the sun!
My experience tells me to listen very carefully to John-Could be entirely drying phase.

All this give and take with other roasters is what makes roasting so fun.
I know they are there when I have a prob.
Gene, you are completely right about logging things. I learned that back on my iRoastII. I also learned that John knows his roasting and GC info as soon as I found this site. So a lot of what I do is a direct result of his posts. I was playing around a little with my profile on this one. I dropped my temp to 465 about half way through 1C. Previously I had been pulling the temp down at the first signs of 1C. So what I was trying to do with this roast was get more heat in the beans more quickly, and then I had also read about the beans tending to drop the temp as soon as 1C starts, so waited a bit to drop my heat due to that process as well. We can see the results did not match my intention. My previous profile I got from the downloads page here goes something like this:

400 preheat for 6:00
300 for 5:00
446 to 9:30
465 to 11:00
482 to 13:45
465 to EOR...

the only tweaks I had been making to that one was dropping back to 465 at the onset of 1C and then obviously adjusting EOR times to achieve the target roast. It had worked excellent for me in ambient temps between 60* up to 75* in my garage. I think I will go back to that one and try a roast. I have had good results with no noticeable defects up to now using that one on quite a variety of beans. So again, thanks for all the advice. I will post up results.

as far as tasting, I used some of the tipped bean in a blend this morning 2 parts Bali Blue Krishna (full city) 2 Parts Costa Rica CoE (city or city+) and 1 part tipped Costa Rica. I have to say it was pretty good still. Not sure if I am not getting the "ashy" taste said to come from tipped beans due to the low ratio of that in the mix or not. Will try it single origin tomorrow morning and report back again.
John Despres
Gee, thank you gentlemen, you're very kind.

My roasting regimen includes reading about the bean (The study) then choosing the profile I'd like to use. I don't have a "stock" 4 or 5 profiles, but maybe 30 or 40 or ??

My point being, very few beans get the exact same treatment as any others. There are similarities, of course.

First time out with new bean gets a profile and notes are made, the next roasting of that bean almost always gets tweaked and then tweaked again. I'm not firmly set in the idea that a bean has a perfect sweet spot. I think there may be more than one sweet spot, so unless I find a profile that truly knocks my socks off, I often keep playing and tweaking.

Try adding half a minute and taking half off somewhere else, Maybe 15 second or five second adjustments.

I'm saying don't settle on a pattern, but have fun!

Now, when I can afford a Quest, I'll start all over.

Respect the bean.
John Despres
Fresh Roast 8, Gene Cafe, JYTT 1k, Quest M3, Mazzer Mini, Technivorm, various size presses and many more brewers.
Army Coffee
I have settled on using one profile to roast until I get through a majority of the countries and just recently started to blend single origins 50/50 City and Full City + in an attempt to add some depth to a few of the countries who's coffee lacks complexity. Pretty nice results.

Of course each coffee reaches First Crack at different times and I log everything so I can repeat and improve. The general profile I have used following Preheat to 425 is:

350: 4min for Drying (might Try 5min)
482: Until First Crack (I let the GC do the ramping up for me and it usually reached First Crack right after it gets to First Crack). I wait 30sec into First Crack
456: Until desired roast is achieved.
Emergency Dump to Cool

Been working great for me and after I get through a majority of the countries, I will start to experiment on my favorites...

What a great hobbie!!!

North TJ-072 2kg Roaster, Hottop 8828B, Gene Cafe Roaster, Baratza Vario Grinder, Breville SmartGrinder, Behmor Brazen, Cona "D", Bialetti Moka Express, Aero-Press, Quick Mill QM67
I kinda figured that the "stock profile" is not the way to go. I am still learning how tweaking during different stages affects the result. I sure wish I had a way to have a probe in the beans to really tell me what is going on, but have have made the realization that is not going to happen. I feel the biggest handicap with the GC is that the display temp is not the bean temp. Having realized that shortcoming, I am still learning how the temp during each stage play into it. Hard to believe that 10 years of doing this and there is still so much to learn. That is part of the fun. I know what I am shooting for, but still figuring out how to get there. John, how do you figure out which tweaks you want to make? I figure experimentation is the only answer. My last batch was the second roast of the Harrar I had. Unfortunately I am out, and so is my supplier, so I have to move on to a different bean. My second roast on this one had ever so slight evidence of tipping. Not as bad as the previous roast of the Costa Rican bean, but, nonetheless, still a little bit (maybe 10% of the beans were ever so slightly tipped). I think my next attempt will be to drop the preheat temp a little and bring the heat up a bit more slowly at the beginning stages of the roast. Puzzling part is that the same bean, same ambient conditions, same exact profile, and slightly different results. I figured that same bean, same conditions, the same profile would yield the same results. Not so. Hard part of the equation is that now I have to start with a different bean. I basically follow the same philosophy about learning the bean's nature before I roast, and then shoot for good results. I guess one lesson here is to buy larger quantities so that I have more of the same variety to play with.
John Despres
I think I learned early on one cannot repeat a roast profile exactly. Sure we can dial in the same numbers at the same time, but atmospheric conditions affect the roast. For a while I was tracking ambient temps and humidity, but I gave up.

To determine what tweaks I make, I decide first what I want out of that batch. Brighter? More deeper notes? Sweeter? Then I change accordingly.

Respect the bean.
John Despres
Fresh Roast 8, Gene Cafe, JYTT 1k, Quest M3, Mazzer Mini, Technivorm, various size presses and many more brewers.
Again John, I think we arrived at the same conclusions. I was hoping for some insight to specifics of where you are tweaking the profile (dry time/temp, how fast you are bringing on the heat and how much etc.) I am all about experimentation and learning the art, but don't have a problem "cheating" and gaining from other's experience (expecially you). so as you start to tweak the profile, where do you adjust?
John Despres
Making me think here, Sean...

Since there are so many variables, I'm not sure how to specifically answer in detail.

In each case it depends on the bean and the results I want.

Let's take a Costa Rica, typically a brighter coffee than I care for. First I determine if it's high grown or low grown. Let's go with low. Also, let's assume I'm roasting this bean for the first time.

Goal: not too bright, more deeper notes.

Lower grown = slower heat and not as much throughout the roast

Preheat 300F
Drying phase 5M at 300F
Bump to 460F to keep the climb a bit slower
Wait 30S into 1st crack, drop to 445F
Watch, time, listen and smell
At about the time the aroma sweetens, I'm very close to the bright stage, so I'll let it go longer for the deeper notes.
Maybe dump 45-60S after end of 1st crack for a Full City

Now if I want the same coffee to be brighter than deeper:

Same preheat and drying
At 5M bump to 465F
Wait 10S into 1st crack, drop to 445F
Dump maybe as late as 30S after end of 1st for a City +

Areas you can tweak:
Preheat temp - higher or lower
Warming/drying phase: Longer, shorter, higher lower temp
Bump at end of warming/drying: how high, how fast
At 1st crack: How much time into 1st to wait until dropping?
How long after the end of 1st to end?
How long to 2nd?

It's all about how much heat we add and when. Too much too soon could cause tipping or end up scorching the beans. Not much good comes of warming at 350F and I move through it - 350F is getting close to baking the beans for 5 minutes - flat, dull coffee - Don't do it! Bleh. Not enough heat at the beginning is also in the realm of baking the beans.

Next stage, rate of rise is something we have moderate control over, meaning we can keep it slower by logic with a lower temp, but we have no real idea without a bean temp probe. Slow it down too much and it's baked beans again. Too fast and we're now at the stage of warming and perhaps burning the sugars.

I think best sugar development comes at and after 1st crack, so keeping that temp low into 2nd (if desired) will develop the sweetness nicely. Too high and they'll burn.

All of this changes with a SHB or SHG bean. More heat, for the extremely dense coffee is required at the onset and throughout the roast right up to the end.

I might preheat to 350F or even 400F
5M of warm/dry at 300F
Bump to 475F or even 482F

Tweak at and through 1st for desired roast level.

Gotta run as work beckons. Ugh...

I hope something here is helpful.

Respect the bean.
John Despres
Fresh Roast 8, Gene Cafe, JYTT 1k, Quest M3, Mazzer Mini, Technivorm, various size presses and many more brewers.
Sir, you are truly a gentleman and scholar. That is exactly the type of information I was looking for. I have been doing this a while, so in part I like confirmation of what I think I have learned, on the other hand, it is good to get the opinion of someone else who knows their stuff. That gives me a good place to start (funny I consider myself just starting even though I have been at it for 10 years). I guess when I step up to the commerscial grade roaster next, I can "start" over again.

Thanks for the tips.

ps. enjoying a cup at the moment that is 2 parts Bali Blue Krishna, 2 Parts Costa Rica CoE, and 1 Part Ethiopia Harrar. Made in my new aeropress (man I love that thing already, and I have only put 5 cups through it at this point).
John Despres
Thanks, Sean. I just roast, tweak & taste. Then I do it again. The lifelong quest continues!

Have fun!

Now I'm heading out for work. Really.

Respect the bean.
John Despres
Fresh Roast 8, Gene Cafe, JYTT 1k, Quest M3, Mazzer Mini, Technivorm, various size presses and many more brewers.
John Despres
Hmmm. Reflecting on my posts in this thread, something was bugging me. I thought about it for a while and it finally dawned on me: There are few if no low grown or soft Costa Rica beans. Most are SHG.

Sigh. See? I really don't roast much from Costa Rica.

Respect the bean.
John Despres
Fresh Roast 8, Gene Cafe, JYTT 1k, Quest M3, Mazzer Mini, Technivorm, various size presses and many more brewers.
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