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Thread: Blending then roasting vs blending after roasting

  1. #1
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    Blending then roasting vs blending after roasting

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    Hi there...
    I am relatively new to the roasting scene yet have roasted around 200 roasts so far in my trusty Imex.
    I have always roasted one origin of bean at a time and then combined this in ever-decreasing experimental ratios with other single origin beans that I have roasted. This has always seemed to be the method that would allow really even roasts (as each bean is roasting with its brothers and sisters, so to speak) and has allowed maximum versatility with each and every cup of coffee that I have had. Often I drink a cup and in the following one have made small changes to the blend in search of that perfect blend.

    I have often thought of asking more seasoned roasters if this method is lacking, compared to the "blend and then roast" method so I am doing just that now. What would I have to gain?

    Thanks,
    Paolo.

  2. #2
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    Re: Blending then roasting vs blending after roast

    I think this (individually roasting single origin beans and post-roast blending) is a great way of being able to experiment with blends. I used to do this exclusively as well.

    These days, I look at the following factors:

    * Do I want to alter the ratios of the constituents as I try out the blend?
    * Do any of the blend constituents require special attention? (eg if you take it into 2nd crack it loses all of its personality)
    * Do all the constituents roast at the same rate?
    * Do I have enough time to roast perhaps 4 batches separately?

    So in the end, if you know what youre aiming for you can save time, but you may end up with a compromise result.

    I have a blend that I roast in two phases. Two beans go in at the start, then an additional 2 get added about 3 mins later. The first two take a little longer to roast, and I also prefer them to be a little darker roasted, so this gives me about an ideal result in a one-off roast, saving me time.

    I know there are (commercial) roasters out there who use both approaches.

  3. #3
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    Re: Blending then roasting vs blending after roast

    Hi Paolo,

    This is what I have been doing for a couple of years now for the very reasons you outline.... lots of flexibility in allowing you to "design" a blend that suits your palate. I imagine it wouldnt suit commercial roasters or large scale home-roasters because of the extra labour required to carry all this out on a large scale.... having said that though, Im sure it would be used by them when trying to work up a new or different blend prior to committing to large roasts :),

    Cheers,
    Mal.

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    Re: Blending then roasting vs blending after roast

    Larger roasters do post blend. It would be impossible to get all the beans in a particular blend to the roast level you want them at when theyre all in the same batch. At a recent roasting tour, there were tubs of roasted coffee. The main beans in the blend have several tubs allocated, whereas the "spices" or minor components of the blend take up one tub each. As long as you monitor the stock of roasted beans you have, you just have a list of what to roast each day. The main beans are getting roasted every day, while the spices get roasted maybe once a week.

    Us home roasters are simply doing the same thing on a much smaller scale.

    If you were to do a simple blend of light and dark Colombian Supremo, how on Earth would you pre-blend this?

  5. #5
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    Re: Blending then roasting vs blending after roast

    There are times where they may pre-blend also....For example, you might use an espresso base of a couple of origins both with very similar size, water content and roast time. In this situation, a pre-blend might be appropriate...

    I just depends on what you wish to achieve.

    I pre-blend one of my blends.....and then leave it to sit in calico for a few weeks. The theory is that the water content of each origin can average out a little. Whatever happens, I get a really uniform outcome!

  6. #6
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    Re: Blending then roasting vs blending after roast

    If the beans are "blood brothers" in size and density, much time and mucking around can be saved by blending first and roasting once, together. But if they are so disperate that some will be overdone while others in the batch are still aiming for first crack, its not going to be viable.

    If the batch size is, say, 300 grams, and there are tree or four SOs to be blended later, it can be a nuisance preheating a barbecue, doing one batch, waiting for the drum to cool, starting batch two and so on.

    Against that is the freedom to consume the SOs as SOs, or blend them if they are done individually.

    Robusto


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    Re: Blending then roasting vs blending after roast

    Another thing to think about is the length of resting time needed for particular beans. Malabar for example needs a bit longer to rest than most other beans. So youd need to roast them 3-4 days before other beans in the blend.

    Im not advocating post-blending as the only option, merely one that takes place the majority of the time.

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    Re: Blending then roasting vs blending after roast

    Thanks to those who shared their experience and wisdom with me. I realise that I have been on the right track all along (the coffee that I have been producing has tasted way-too-fabulous for something to have been in error!).
    Cheers,
    Paolo.

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    Re: Blending then roasting vs blending after roast

    Quote Originally Posted by Paolo link=1144049547/0#7 date=1144215532
    I realise that I have been on the right track all along (the coffee that I have been producing has tasted way-too-fabulous for something to have been in error!).
    Cheers,
    Paolo.
    Thats the spirit!

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    Re: Blending then roasting vs blending after roast

    Even if it hasnt tasted fabulous, chock it up to experience. You never know until you try. Compare sometime the same blend blended pre and post roast and see which you prefer. Not saying either is wrong, just which one you prefer, keep doing it.

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    Re: Blending then roasting vs blending after roast

    The other obvious consideration is how much coffee do you want to end up roasting?

    One pre blended batch is much smaller than multiple SOs post blended. I find that an issue with my HOTTOP so I tend to pre blend similar beans unless I am roasting for some friends at the same time in which case I have more flexibility.

    Cheers

  12. #12
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    Re: Blending then roasting vs blending after roast

    I found that blending and then roasting has not been a problem in the Imex. I find this is a useful method when you know what quantities/end blend you want and want to save time. Not very helpful method when trying to create a blend though. the initial method suggested is the way I would do it.

    Beans that are of a different size (peaberry roasted with another larger bean for eg.) do not seem to roast evenly however. Again not such a problem in the Imex, it was more of a problem when I was roasting/stirring in a cast iron pot.

    The method suggested by 2MCM sounds good and Im going to try that in the future, thanks for the tip. Careful 2MCM, you dont want to give away all your secrets.... ;)

  13. #13
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    Re: Blending then roasting vs blending after roast

    I had a roasting experience on the weekend in the beast, that Ive been building up to. For the past few roasts Ive done (ie the past few months, I usually only need about one a month in the behemoth) Ive been trialling pre blending, and I now get great results. This is a 4 bean blend, two need more roasting than the others so they go in first, and then the other two when the first beans reach a colour I think is right. This weekend I did a 5kg batch, producing 4kg of roasted beans. Bewdy. At last all those work people who wanted to try my coffee can be satisfied, from one batch.

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    Re: Blending then roasting vs blending after roast

    Recently Ive been reading on coffeegeek forums that its improtant to roast separately if the beans are of different production methods- wet or dry!
    It all seems a bit too much really. Could it be that the wet processed ones have more water content and have different roasting profiles? I mean different enough to justify a separate raost? I dont reckon- but what would I know? 8-)

  15. #15
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    Re: Blending then roasting vs blending after roast

    Post-roast blending leaves you able to more fine-tune the ratios within the roast. A good example would be the Dominican blend I recently did. It is impossible to do a single origin blend with pre-blending. Also, if you wanted to do a 65/45 blend, youd have to roast a completely different batch for each trial. When you roast a couple hundred grams at a time, theres a ton of permutations you can go through until youre out of beans and need to roast again.



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