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Gene falls flat?

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  • Gene falls flat?

    Since having taken deliverance of my Gene (thanks Chris!) i have done a steady stream of roasts (about 5-6 per week)of a variety of beans, most of them BB greens, but also a few i bought elsewhere: Capricorn, Margopype, Mandheling as well as the de-caf i ave been using since my first forays in roasting.

    i have tried Dennis suggestion: "set the Gene on 20 min at 230 degrees" as well as on occasion run the Gene for a few minutes on about 125C to "dry" then ramp up to 228C or 230C.
    some of the roasts were done with a quicker ramp (set Gene at higher temp) ,then stall when getting to about 227C,.
    and some were longer, but slower, roasts such as the ones for the Ismalii and the Capricorn, again like the ones i did with those beans in the Corretto.
    the roasts are pulled at my "usual" levels of CS 9-10 like i did in the Corretto (with the. exception of the first few, which ran away ..)

    but, i find the resulting cupping results curiously flat... all of the roasts have been nice, but none have had the WOW (sorry, Andy... :P) factor that i got when i roasted Corretto.
    the Harrar lost its fruitiness, the PNG was not as sweet, even the Ismalii was lovely, but almost one dimensional, and without that beautiful rich aftertaste.
    they all "just" tasted of coffee, with a bit of difference here or there... nice coffee, true, but...

    am i the only one with this experience?
    could it still have something to do with the way i used the Corretto, with a relatively high level of heat (due to the position and output of the HG), which brought on FC at about 8-9 minutes ,against about 13-15 in the Gene?

    is anybody using the Gene with fairly aggressive profiles, high heat initially and such? or is the majority of Gene users setting the knobs and leaving them there for the duration?
    if so, is the general setting 230C for 20 min?

    the only other thing i can think of is the cooling cycle of the Gene... i let it run itself down until it hits 150C then take the bin out and spread the beans out, whereas with the Corretto the beans got dumped immediately... perhaps the cooling in the Gene is too long and i need to look at dumping the beans straight away??

    i would really love to bring back the sparkle in my coffee...

    any help would be appreciated... i have got a lot of Christmas beans to roast!! ;D

  • #2
    Re: Gene falls flat?

    Hi Lizzy,

    I havent used the Gene, but if youve lost the fruit in the Harar, the 13-15sec FC would probably be too late, aim for more of a 10-12min FC and slow down and ramp up slowly to 2C (or just before in the case of Harar).

    Dumping the beans straight away and cooling separately would be a good start also.

    Hope you find your sweet spot Lizzy.



    • #3
      Re: Gene falls flat?

      Hi Lizzi!

      When I cook my beans in the GC, I normally start off at 230* and leave them from anywhere between 15-17min roast, this is including the cool down time after the Gene finishes the roast...I have yet to have a problem with this time and cook.

      I am actually doing a roast of 3 SOs which I have aptly called the "Knockmysoxsoff" blend  ;D which I actually cook the beans at 230* for 14 mins and then turn the Gene down to 220* for the final 2 mins or so, as these beans go into R.S.C.

      I have tried this technique 3 times on this roast, and every roast turns out exactly the same.

      I do know that Dennis does occasionally ramp his roasts, and I have tried it out myself and it does work.

      I hope this helps you somehow.



      • #4
        Re: Gene falls flat?

        Thanks, Marc, i will try to dump and cool out of the Gene...

        and also thanks for the info, Linda... i am curious as to what your sox are made of? what beans are in the blend?

        hmm, the learning never stops, does it.. :-/



        • #5
          Re: Gene falls flat?

          Hi Lizzi, as mentioned before, one gene does vary from another, though think my benchmark is still a good guide for a starting point. Are you working with 300gm of greens to start with?

          If set at 230* unless the ambient temp is quite warm, my experience has been that the gene will never get quite to the temp set - so that seems normal. So does the 15-17minutes to 1st crack depending on the bean varietal - the way the gene works, I dont think you can ever achieve 1st crack in a shorter time.

          One of the drawbacks (perhaps the only one) to the gene is that it just deosnt cool rapidly enough. Even at 150* I figure that the beans are still roasting. So nowadays I do shut down immediately and dump the beans in a cooling/fan bucket and restart the gene, turn the timer down to zero, and allow it go go through its cooling cycle normally. By the time the beans are at room temp in the bucket, the gene is still cooling down at around 120* to 150*. I understand that Chris has great success simply allowng the gene to go through its natural cycle though.

          You could certainly try moving the temp from 230* to say 235* after 1st crack and monitor the beans closely at that point - I find this works well with some beans too.

          One other point may be that your palate is looking for something different - maybe try roasting closer to 11 than 9?

          Hope that helps - will be interested to hear.


          • #6
            Re: Gene falls flat?

            thanks Dennis..
            yep, 300 gm every time...
            i realise my Gene is different to yours and so on and so on... and i must admit i havent done an empty test run to see how quickly she gets up to temp.

            when you say your Gene never gets to the set temp, do you mean on your read-out or your TC?
            my read-out gives both 230C for set temp as well as measured temp... and i do not have a TC installed so cannot comment on the bean temp.

            yes, i think i will dump the beans asap... rather than letting the Gene cool them; even if just for comparisons sake.

            my palate? hmm, dont think it has changed, and the first few roasts i did in the Gene were definitely high 10s or 11s and i found them too dark, no subtleties.
            i am not sure what it is that i am missing in the recent roasts...the best i can describe it is "the sparkle", the round flavour which lingers, the depth ... what i am drinking now could be any old coffee, there is not a lot of colour in the palette, yet they are "strong" beans! (SOs: harrar, monte carmello, capricorn, margopype...blend: yirg/ismalii)
            they just taste like coffee, if you get my drift.... :-?

            i think i might have to investigate playing with the temp during the roast...the more i think about it, the more i suspect i used to bring them up to temp quicker, then slow them down for a longer gap between FC and SC...whereas in the Gene i often get SC only about 3 min after FC....

            thanks for the advice, Dennis...



            • #7
              Re: Gene falls flat?

              Hi Lizzi- with mine, I very rarely exceed 228 deg C (except with hard beans and robusta where I may go to 232 deg) and I preheat for the first batch to 150deg C.

              I generally get the first snaps od 2nd crack in the somewhere in 19-20 min window....

              I reckon slow is best- so as to roast the whole bean, not just the outside!



              • #8
                Re: Gene falls flat?

                thanks Chris... i did "more than a spot-check" on some of my batches because i felt there was a bit of underroast in there.. but the beans were roasted through and smelled good...
                but, yes, that is probably part of the "missing" flavour: almost like an underdone, not finished taint.
                and yet, crisp crunchy easy to crumble beans, with some oil forming on the 2nd or 3rd day.
                the capricorn has now quite some oil (day 7).

                something else i have noticed, is that FC and SC are gentle, sometimes very hard to hear indeed..., very few batches have fireworks, and then only for a few short snaps... so, maybe, just maybe, there is some humidity in the beans which would slow down the conversion of the sugars, even if the beans seem roasted through??
                after all, no matter how much we "dry" the bus-environment with aircon and ventilation, the humidity here is alwasy going to be higher than in the average house.
                perhaps , when i was roasting Corretto, the higher heat blasted the humidity away...



                • #9
                  Re: Gene falls flat?

                  Originally posted by Lizzi link=1196982327/0#0 date=1196982327
                  but, i find the resulting cupping results curiously flat... <snip>
                  could it still have something to do with the way i used the Corretto, with a relatively high level of heat (due to the position and output of the HG), which brought on FC at about 8-9 minutes ,against about 13-15 in the Gene?
                  Could be. I saw this quote from Ken Fox on Home Barista recently which may apply, or not, to your problem:

                  My experience with my particular roaster, which is probably not similar to most peoples roasters, was that roasts that took 10 or 11 minutes to hit first crack invariably tasted "flat" or "dull." I had several people whose tastes I respect tell me that when I sent them samples of my roasts, and it was suggested to me by more than one of these people to speed up the time to the onset of 1st.
                  and this is what he typically uses now, which just happens to be the same profile you used in your Corretto:

                  The very beginning of first crack is reached at 8 minutes, never much less and never more than 9 minutes. The speed of temperature rise is not terribly important but needs to be relatively constant and adjusted during the process in order to meet this timing.


                  • #10
                    Re: Gene falls flat?

                    Hi Bill,

                    thanks heaps for that quote, seems i am not going crazy!

                    verbalising it out like this helps a lot, and i start to feel that i may be in my way to my old roasts again!!  ;D

                    something else which may be of influence, is the power at this caravan park...not always stabile...

                    thus from gleanings and musings, sofar:

                    possibly some humidity in the beans
                    consider drying them  (5 min @100C?? ) before the roast proper :-/
                    get to FC around 9-10 min at high temp
                    slow down roast and get to SC around 15min (ofcourse very generalising... hard beans would be treated different..)
                    dump to cool straight after roast

                    damn, it is too late now to do a roast... and tomorrow we are shifting furniture... Sunday!! cant wait to try this out!

                    thanks people!!



                    • #11
                      Re: Gene falls flat?

                      Generally, I am roasting at 230C and depending on the bean, I usually stop as soon as I hear second crack which can be anywhere between 17 and 19 mins. Lately I have reduced my size to 260g (I used to do 300g roasts, in which case they were usually all done by 16 mins - but I found with the reduced batch size I get a bit longer time between 1st and 2nd crack & the roast seems a bit more even).

                      I have only had one bean which did not reach 230C (I think it might have been the Peru Segundu).


                      • #12
                        Re: Gene falls flat?

                        thanks Myrtle, i will add "reducing of batch" to the list of possible improvements!!


                        • #13
                          Re: Gene falls flat?

                          Originally posted by Lizzi link=1196982327/0#9 date=1197008290
                          consider drying them (5 min @100C?? ) before the roast proper
                          or you could try the initial drying stage as Ken Fox recommends, ramp up to 150C over the first 4mins, or as Eddie Dove (from CoffeeGeek) uses in his Gene Cafe, 150C for first 5mins.

                          Good luck! And let us know what works for you.



                          • #14
                            Re: Gene falls flat?

                            to eliminate as many variables as i could, i decided to roast a blend which i have "Correttoed" many times, and it always came up beautiful, rich, deep, chocolatey with a "kick" in the aftertaste...
                            Brazil Daterra, PNG PSC "AA" and Indonesian Mandheling, this time blended post roast, each batch 2 1/2 Gene measuring cups (which is just a shad under 300 gm for each)

                            start Gene... pre-heat 5 min @ 150C
                            add Brazil Daterra, "dry-off" 5 min @150C
                            ramp temp to 235C, reach temp at 7 min
                            FC at 9 min
                            temp down to 227C
                            SC at 13 min
                            pull at very first snaps of SC, dump immediately.

                            BUT: while the bean were getting to SC there was an enormous amount of chaff which was blocking the chaff chute...
                            and during that time , while some of the beans were looking decidedly under-cooked, some were already getting very very dark, to the point that they were forming oil...
                            when i had the beans on the towel i had a closer look at the dark ones and they were most definitely over-done... so i picked them out.


                            • #15
                              Re: Gene falls flat?

                              next the PNG PSC "AA"...

                              same procedure:
                              "dry off" 5 min @150C
                              ramp temp to 235C,
                              reach temp about 7 min,
                              FC at about 8 1/2 min
                              down temp to 227
                              SC at about 12 min
                              pulled at first snaps SC,
                              dumped and cooled on towel

                              beautiful light, big beans, CS9-10