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Roasting Processes in the FreshRoast SR500
comfortableshoes
I've always been interested in coffee but the coffee that got me into flavor profiles many years ago (maybe 1999, 2000) was a shade grown OG Mexico from Starbucks. This was back before they charred everything to ash, it was a nuanced cup full of chocolate and brown sugar flavor. I enjoyed coffee before this, but stuck to decent but not specialty beans. After this I started to seek out GOOD coffee from local roasters. Starbucks never offered the same OG shade grown mexico coffee again.

I experimented with many many beans and roasters. But I have always thought back to that great bag of OG shade grown mexico coffee and how much I liked it. I thought maybe I could recreate it by home roasting. I picked up a pound of Sweet Maria's OG Mexico La Lagunilla Coop to roast.

I've had some issues getting something consistent out of my roaster. I realized that when the dishwasher was on the heat level of the roaster dropped, stretching out the roast. I now know to turn off the dishwasher while roasting.

When the dishwasher isn't on my SR500 pumps out massive heat and is hard to control. Using many of the methods here I get a decent but not great cup. I had to adapt to my roaster and electrical situation. I roast 100g at a time because that is what is controllable in my roaster and kitchen. I may add in an extension cord but for now, it's 100g.

100g
High Fan/Low heat for 3 min. During the first 3 minutes I flip to cool for 5 seconds at 30 seconds, again at 1 min, and at 2min. This seems to keep the roast even.
at 3 minutes I switch to medium heat/ high fan for a minute and a half
at 4.5 minutes I switch to high heat and modulate the fan to keep the beans moving but not jumping and not sitting, generally the fan is between 7 and 10pm on the dial.
First crack starts around 4.5 to 5 minutes and rolls for 45 to 60 seconds.
I shut the whole thing down around the 6 to 6.5 minute and switch the roaster to cool, dumping the beans into a mesh metal colander.

ground dry smell: cocoa, molasses, smells like coffee
cupping smells, before breaking crust: cocoa, sweet, caramel,toast
cupping: molasses, sweet, dark cocoa, toasted almonds
First cup, 12 hours after roast: dark chocolate, sweet creme brulee, molasses, caramel, brown sugar, toasted almond

My partner agrees that this cup surpasses the Starbuck's Mexico by miles. There is more nuanced flavor, no hint of char or ash. Only 12 hours out from the roast, it's smooth and easy to drink.

Super happy about this roast.

I noticed that a few beans seemed to get snagged on the bottom edge of the roaster, and were scorched. In another forum I read about using a ring of heavy gauge wire set into the bottom of the roast chamber to stop this from occurring. I pulled some copper wire scrubbed it well, and formed 2 rings from 8 inch lengths of the wire. I may look into buying a stainless steel ring if this works. While it is pretty easy to yank out the early scorched beans, since I'm only roasting to about a city or city + and the scorched beans are oily at the end, but if I could eliminate the scorch in the 1st place, it would be best. (and easier.)
https://instagram...HdIHFxSnW/
https://instagram...FFfU7xSq6/
Edited by comfortableshoes on 09/27/2015 2:48 AM
 
comfortableshoesstudio.com
comfortableshoes
I have tested out the recommended 2 metal rings in the bottom of the roasting chamber (from another forum). Using 2 actually seemed to trap a few more beans and scorch them over and above not having the rings. I left one in for my last 2 roasts and it does seem to decrease the number of scorched beans, but there are still one or two, which is less than the half dozen or so previous. Results could be due to my careful watching and higher level of experience. I think a slightly larger diameter wire would do the trick.
 
comfortableshoesstudio.com
ginny
wow, what a great post.

I used rings in mine too...

your right about Charbucks. let me read through your post again as you have brought many things to this table.

thanks,

ginny


beach
 
comfortableshoes
A dear friend of ours used to work for charbucks and told us that there was a marked difference in how they roasted after 2000 (or 2002 the exact date escapes me). They stopped their more nuanced roasts of different beans and switched over to only the darker roasts, previous to this they had roasted each bean with a different profile that while dark, had nuances. The OG Shade Grown Mexico was one of the last lighter roasts they did, and it wasn't a great seller. They began to roast dark as a branding thing. Sad, because they were really quite decent in the 90s. I couldn't afford there beans often back then, but all my friends would buy me a bag as gifts.
 
comfortableshoesstudio.com
comfortableshoes
I tried out another green bean. SM Costa Rica Helisia La Petisa. I used the following method:
100g
Start with low heat/ high Fan with periodic 5 second intervals of cool/no heat
at 4.5 minutes when the beans had turned evenly tan, moved to medium heat with high fan.
at 5 minutes, right after I heard the first crack, move to high heat with modulated fan.

They turned yellow at roughly 3.5 min, tan at 4.5 min. First crack was at 4.75 min. The first crack didn't roll quite like the other beans I've had, it would crack, pause, crack pause.

The end result is a city to city+ roast. The cup is sweet, tones of cocoa, hint of raisin, with a hint of tartness that is quite pleasing. Once it's no longer piping hot the cup mellows out into a smooth tasty cup.

The single ring seems to help with scorched beans, still had 3 in the mix, easy enough to pull out. I suspect that the reason this time has to do with the beans being heavy. Though they were in the roaster for longer than any of my other roasts they only lost 15% of their weight. They never lofted as well as other beans either.

Really happy that I got a good roast my first time withy these beans. I was worried that I'd have to mess around with a bad batch or two while I figured out the beans. Next roast of these I'm going to see if I can get that 1C to really roll along a little faster.
 
comfortableshoesstudio.com
comfortableshoes
I roasted two more batches of the Costa Rica La Petisa (SW) after work last night. I used the same roast profile for the first batch and it looked perfect, the second batch I forgot to turn on the timer on my phone at the same time I turned on the FR. I remembered about 15 to 20 seconds into the roast. Even knowing this I took the roast to the exact same time as the previous roast. I could smell that it was much darker. However this AM it tastes pretty darn good. The smell of the ground beans is sweet and cocoa like while the cup smells like a good commercial coffee. the cup itself is surprisingly smooth with nice flavors of cocoa and raisin. There is a hint of the darker roast in it, but not as bad (I prefer lighter roasts) when I get my next batch of green beans I'm going to try stretching out the drying phase and tan stage a bit to see how it affects the flavor.

Really digging this hobby.
 
comfortableshoesstudio.com
comfortableshoes
Did a single 100g roast of the SM Costa Rica La Petisa and it came out perfect, just 6 scorched beans even with these heavy bean. I noticed in my last roast that switching over to the cool cycle didn't stop the roast, in fact I heard a few beans crackle as the machine cooled. It makes sense as the electric coils need time to cool off and the base itself stays quite hot for about 30 minutes after the roast.

I started to think about how I can get those beans cooler faster, clearly it's not going to be on the FreshRoast.

My solution was to take a roughly 2 gallon food safe square bucket (I get these from a friend who owns a small specialty shop), attach a small fan to the side, cut a hole in the lid for my sieve, and dump the beans into it. This creates a gentle but effective cooling fan. To get it blasting a cool gentle breeze over the beans I dropped an ice pack into the bucket. The effect? the beans cooled fast. I haven't taken a temp reading, but I could feel the temp change just holding my hands over the beans. I was able to pull the scorched beans out in 30 seconds or so when I'd normally have to wait 3 minutes plus some time after I pulled them out of the roaster.

I'll post pictures soon, but I'm buying a smaller sieve used for dusting cakes with powdered sugar, 7.5 inches and solid sides, instead of my current sieve that has open sides. The cooling effect should be more effective with the solid sides, forcing the cold air up rather than around.

This is another brand of the cheap 4 inch fan I'm using. http://amzn.to/1V...

This is the cake duster. http://amzn.to/1R...
Edited by JackH on 10/02/2015 8:19 AM
 
comfortableshoesstudio.com
MPSAN
Quick question about TOTAL time!
My first SR500 roast was OK, but way too dark. I like your profile, but am confused about TOTAL time.

Step 1. I understand the 3 minutes on High Fan-Low heat and then cool for 5 seconds at 30 seconds, 1 min and 2 min.

Step 2. OK, then @3 minutes Medium heat, High Fan 1.5 more minutes. This is a total of 4.5 minutes from start. So far so good. :-)

Step 3. Then at 4.5 Minutes total so far, High heat and fan between 7 -10 O'Clock.

Step 4. OK, then you say FC starts at 4.5 to 5 minutes and lasts 45-60 seconds...Is that FROM Step 3, for a total of 9 to 9.5 minutes?

Step 5. Shutdown (COOL) 6 to 6.5 minutes. Same question about total time. My questions were because my first roast was a total of 6.9 minutes after 2 minutes of high fan low heat. Then switched to High Heat fan at about 1 o'clock and was too dark, but drinkable and I had been told that I shuold never expect to roast for less than 10 minutes.

Thank you.
 
comfortableshoes
I believe that the "never roast less than 10 minutes" adage doesn't apply to the FR and popcorn popper roasting. I've seen some roast profiles for Poppers that are in the 6 minute range. That being said my favorite cups out of my FR have been from longer roasts than are typically associated with the FR and poppers.

Here is my typical roasting outline without the yellow/tan/1c info and every 30 seconds a flip to cool for 5 for the first 3 minutes of the roast.

Roasting with 100g or 114g green beans.
Start: Low Heat/High Fan
Roughly 3 to 4 minutes in: medium heat/high fan
Roughly 4.5 to 6 minutes in: High heat/ Modulated fan.
depending on the crack end, usually between 6 and 9 minutes, I switch to the cooling cycle. It is important to note that they can continue to roast in the cooling cycle. I now pull mine out about 30 seconds into the cooling cycle and cool in my home made cooler. I don't count the cooling cycle as part of my roast time.

I go until I no longer hear any more of the first crack. I am roasting relatively light, as that is the flavor i prefer. I modulate the fan to keep the first crack (1C) popping like popcorn. I call it done when it is too spaced out, sort of like popcorn in the microwave. I let it go about 15 seconds or so longer, with the fan on higher.

I have been seeing the beans go yellow around 3 minutes and tan around 4 minutes. Usually when the beans are evenly tan I switch to medium heat. When they are evenly a darker shade of tan or brown (usually brown at this point) or I hear and outlier 1C I'll move to high heat and modulated fan. My goal is to keep the 1C popping like popcorn in the microwave (maybe a little slower)

It is my belief that the slower start of this profile lends itself to more control over the finished roast. Many of the fast roasts go for dark roast, which tastes bitter and burned to me. If I wanted Charbucks I'd go to charbucks. I want something that is more like George Howell or Tandem Coffee Roasters (great stuff but pricey) I want a developed flavor without being baked or grassy. I'm getting there.

I also found better luck by roasting easier to roast beans. Mexico and Costa Rica over Yirgacheffe and Kenyans. While I really want to get a nice fruity Yirge out of my FR I am trying to nail down my profile and roast with easier to roast beans. I need some successes.

Hope that helps and makes sense. If I don't make sense ask away.
 
comfortableshoesstudio.com
MPSAN
Great! I, too, like a light roast. I am from New England, and when we were in the SF Bay area for years I could not believe the dark roast that the shops sold like Peets, etc. Now in Oregon it is no better. My first roast is drinkable, but is FAR too dark. I will let you know how it all turns out!

Thank You
"If it Ain't Broke, Fix it 'til it is"!
 
ginny
I believe that the "never roast less than 10 minutes" adage doesn't apply to the FR and popcorn popper roasting.


you are correct it does not and all of these "rules" are simply guides. you roast so it fits you which you have done.

that is one of the reasons so many of use recommend to a new roaster getting a few pounds of junk beans to try out their skills.

you know the kind of roasts you like and all you need to do is play around, shake the roaster a bit to toss the beans more until you get it the way you want it...

I started to think about how I can get those beans cooler faster, clearly it's not going to be on the FreshRoast.


right again, you have made what many have made a great bean cooler. way to go!

so many forget that the beans continue to roast after you stop the process, I always suggest stopping your roast early.




ginny


roar
 
MPSAN
OK, I will see how my 2nd roast goes. I guess the best thing I can do is stay away from High heat.
"If it Ain't Broke, Fix it 'til it is"!
 
comfortableshoes
So I ordered some coffee from a seller that has little to no reviews online and little information. I saw that they were on the East Coast and offered free shipping. They offered a sample pack for a decent price. At the same time I ordered bags of beans I knew I liked from SM as well as some decaf from Bodhi.

The seller who I won't name right now, mostly because I haven't made my way through all the beans, included 3 bags of beans marked 2014 Crop. So they could be nearly 2 years old at this point depending on growing season etc. The beans and website don't offer up much in the way of tasting notes, but I thought, "How different can green beans be?" The prices were decent and the shipping is free.

Anyway. I've roasted several batches of the beans with varying results. I watch the beans develop, take big whiffs of the smoke, and start with a tried and true method of roasting. First roast of the first 2 bags was only ok. The next roast also mediocre.

Today my Bodhi decaf arrived and I roasted a batch of their Guatamala Swiss Water Decaf. Again using my standard roast profile for my first go and again carefully watching the color, aroma and listening for the cracks. I went 30 seconds longer than when I really wanted to take them out of the roaster, that is to say, I switched to cool and let them finish then pulled them to the cooling box. Sorting out quakers and scorched beans, I was pretty happy with the results.

I immediately ground and did a pour over to see how the roast lined up with my expectations and Bodhi's cupping notes. Spot on. A nice clean bright lemony cup, with sweet notes of date and cocoa.

anyway, as I'm a relatively new roaster, i tend to blame myself for things tasting off, but I'm not sure that is the case with the currently unnamed vendor. My hope is to be able to roast up a bunch of different varieties on my 2 days off during the week and enjoy them in small amounts through out the week. I figure if I roast a batch or two of a handful of varieties my taste ADHD will be sated and I'll be less likely to head to the cafe for a cuppa.
 
comfortableshoesstudio.com
comfortableshoes
The profile I used for the Bodhi Swiss Water Decaf Guatamala was as follows:
114g green beans
Start low heat/high fan
at 3.5 min med heat/high fan
at 5 min high heat/mod fan
During the first 3 min flip to cool for 5 seconds every 30 seconds.

Development was as follow:
2 min Yellow
2:50 tan
4:13 1C
6:15 last crack
6:40 end
30 seconds on cool then roughly 2 min in my cooling bucket with a fan

Final weight 101.6g 11% reduction in weight, but more than double in size.

INterestingly this is the first time I've had whole beans turn to charcoal as I roast. There were 3 beans that were as I like to call 'em "briq'd" There were also a half dozen that just never developed any color, quakers.

INterestingly I decided to grind up a cup and taste them. I used a standard melitta pour over with a rinsed paper filter, 500g of water to 31g coarse ground coffee. I used a slow pour method. Anyway, the coffee tasted great even right out of the roaster. Cocoa, sweet, bright, lemony. The mouth feel was a little thin, but I've found that I'm not getting the thicker mouthfeel which, in all the reading that I've done so far, is a characteristic of the roaster. It is just something to get used to. I cannot wait to taste this one in 2 days. It will make a nice evening drink and I suspect that the lemon burst will tone down a lot.
 
comfortableshoesstudio.com
MPSAN
I believe I am going to do my 2nd roast today and will let you know how it goes.

I wonder about your first 3 minute cool down every 30 seconds as you said you still had some burnt beans. When I did my first roast, I tilted the roaster a bit every 30 seconds or so until the beans did not hang up on the rim. None were burnt. So, I may try your 5 second cool down at 30 seconds, 1 minute and 2 minutes BUT, also tipping it to be sure nothing hangs up. I used an oven mitt, but when I held the top it was not too hot.
"If it Ain't Broke, Fix it 'til it is"!
 
ginny
The seller who I won't name right now, mostly because I haven't made my way through all the beans, included 3 bags of beans marked 2014 Crop. So they could be nearly 2 years old at this point depending on growing season etc. The beans and website don't offer up much in the way of tasting notes, but I thought, "How different can green beans be?" The prices were decent and the shipping is free.


there is a thread about bean sellers and I will find it and we can move this later but let me say that I am called all sorts of names because I am picky about where I buy beans. nothing wrong with online sellers at all but if they give you nothing about what they want to sell you walk away...

to me that is a flag they are simply trying to cash in on a new BIG BUSINESS...

we can guide you to some sellers that have flat ship fees that are really great regardless of where you live. free ship can be a menace...

this reminds me I need to update that list...

thanks for you comments.


the link to greens is:

http://forum.home...orum_id=78




ginny


party
 
MPSAN
OK, I was good up to switching to High Heat. I used 4 oz of Colombian...same as before. Even with the 1.5 minute Medium heat and high fan I heard the first crack or two. At 4.5 minutes total I did switch to High Heat, but I moved the fan to 1 o'clock from high as the cracks were fast. At the 3.8 mark ( I did reset the timer when I went to High to 5.9) the cracks were about gone and the roast looked OK...not Very Dark like before. I guess TOTAL time was 3 minutes low (with 5 second cool and my tipping), 1.5 minutes Medium and finally 2.1 minutes on high for a total of 6.6 minutes!

I can't wait to taste it. It is lighter than my First Roast, which is great, but only the taste test will tell me if it is too lite. I ALMOST kept it at Medium Heat, but I will see how it tastes. Might be something to try to extend the total roast time.
Edited by MPSAN on 10/08/2015 10:39 AM
"If it Ain't Broke, Fix it 'til it is"!
 
comfortableshoes
ginny wrote:

there is a thread about bean sellers and I will find it and we can move this later but let me say that I am called all sorts of names because I am picky about where I buy beans. nothing wrong with online sellers at all but if they give you nothing about what they want to sell you walk away...

thanks for you comments.


the link to greens is:

http://forum.home...orum_id=78


Good to know. the seller had been mentioned in a thread on here, and not negatively, but not with praise. I'll stick with SM for now and stretch into the GCBC eventually. (The seller had sent you an 8lb sampler for free. In comparing the several bags of beans from SM and Bodhi to these beans the quality seems lower. Now I have been able to roast them up to something that is okay, but I certainly won't be buying from them again, ever.

As someone who worked in customer service for years before heading back to school, the way to win new customers is not to send them your old stock. A customer buying a sampler pack is TRYING to be sold on your product. You send them the best you can even if it costs you more. By short changing me with their old stock of beans, they lost me for good as a customer. It's bad business.

Onto a better topic. I brewed up a pour over of the Bodhi Guatemala decaf, the lemony notes toned way down, the chocolate and sweet date like flavors are amped up and man is this tasty. What a nice way to end a long day!
 
comfortableshoesstudio.com
comfortableshoes
MPSAN wrote:

OK, I was good up to switching to High Heat. I used 4 oz of Colombian...same as before. Even with the 1.5 minute Medium heat and high fan I heard the first crack or two. At 4.5 minutes total I did switch to High Heat, but I moved the fan to 1 o'clock from high as the cracks were fast. At the 3.8 mark ( I did reset the timer when I went to High to 5.9) the cracks were about gone and the roast looked OK...not Very Dark like before. I guess TOTAL time was 3 minutes low (with 5 second cool and my tipping), 1.5 minutes Medium and finally 2.1 minutes on high for a total of 6.6 minutes!

I can't wait to taste it. It is lighter than my First Roast, which is great, but only the taste test will tell me if it is too lite. I ALMOST kept it at Medium Heat, but I will see how it tastes. Might be something to try to extend the total roast time.


I've found I can control the heat, lower it and make it even more controllable if I turn on the dishwasher while I roast. There is something to be said about how much an electric current effects your roaster.

I also agree that there is something to be said for extending roast times in the FR. While not all of the conventional wisdom surrounding roasting applies to us, we can translate and apply some of it. For instance, I like to dray out the roasting phase- which a lot of popper roasters just don't do. I have a few 2 lb bag of my fave Mexico and Costa Rican coffees that I'm going to play around with. I'd like to see if I can extend that drying phase to yellow to 4 minutes and see how that affects the outcome.

There is a post over on home-barista by poster another_jim that really gets into some theory about roasting. Go to post #2 and read it, it's good stuff:

http://www.home-b...t3914.html

He really boils it down into understandable terms and things that we can use in our FR. It is stuff to test out.
Edited by JackH on 10/08/2015 9:40 PM
 
comfortableshoesstudio.com
MPSAN
Great, and I will read all of it. I still can't wait to see how this Roast 2 tastes. It was lighter and that already was a good thing. I did dry it for 3 minutes as you do.
"If it Ain't Broke, Fix it 'til it is"!
 
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