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Ramp to first crack

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  • Ramp to first crack

    Reading through the thread I was thinking why the 9-11 min mark for first crack?

    I do aim for that from reading through Coffee Snobs. I did find that it did reduce tipping.
    So I thought how quick can I get to first crack without tipping?

    I chucked the beans in cold and put on the BM heating element. Once the beans get to 50C I put the heat gun on low for one minute then on high.
    From 50C I get to FC in four and half minutes to five. Second crack about 5-6 minutes after that.
    Little or no tipping occurred. I seem to get tipping when the drop in temp is high or push too fast (heat gun high) straight away.

    Also the post roast weight is a little higher.

    Tried some this morning, only one day post roast and the results have been good.
    On the plus side it has added more body and flavours. On the minus, the flavours are rounded off, not as bright.

    Anyone else tried this?

  • #2
    Re: Ramp to first crack

    Hi Bassway,

    That is fascinating! Thanks for sharing.

    Ive been asking some related questions over on this thread. If I remember rightly, your Corretto uses the BM element as well as the HG? In your opinion, what allows your system to reach FC so soon while avoiding tipping? I have a theory (you might piece it together from reading the above thread) that the air flow from a HG can be too harsh. I think Mal made the same point on the Sulawesi thread you mentioned.

    In which case, the answer to the question that I posed MIGHT have to do with lowering the air flow during the beginning of the roast. That makes a lot of sense to me (intuitively) because tipping is essentially an uneven drying-out of the beans.

    Now, Im not that interested in reducing the time to FC (9-12 mins tastes best to us), but I think the principle can help me because Im looking into doing larger batches - which have proven impossible in our Corretto because we have to turn the HG to 650C in order to reach FC in good time and the heat is too harsh.

    Any thoughts?

    ps. sorry I ignored the topic of flavour differences! That, too, is interesting.


    • #3
      Re: Ramp to first crack

      Hey BW and Stuart,

      On beans tipping in the Corretto and the 9-11 minute mark for FC...I always thought the 9-11 (or 10-12 :) minute mark was to allow the flavors to develop in the bean. Its the profile you use up to FC/RFC that predominantly determine the flavors in the cup. I think it was Mal that mentioned this to me in a post once. Anyhow, this has helped me produce sweeter coffee roasts with more character/depth.

      FWIW, I cant remember experiencing tipping using my Corretto and I put this down to always using the low fan setting on my HG and I even preheat the bowl till the probe reads ~200 degrees C. My HG is the digital Bosch one that lets you set the temp in 10 degree increments from 50-650 on both low and high fan settings.

      Once I get to the start of FC/RFC (depending on the bean), I increase the fan speed and decrease the temp as there is a lot of thermal mass in the beans (bean to bean heat transfer) that I try and get control of and use for the remainder of the roast.

      One thing I havent tried is the accelerating ramp to FC, backing off the heat thru RFC and then increasing the heat once RFC starts to taper off. Guess I dont buy enough of one bean variety to try this out...

      Happy to hear what others chime in and say.


      • #4
        Re: Ramp to first crack

        For what its worth,

        Ive found that varying the rising gradient towards Rolling First Crack(RFC) from when the bean mass has turned yellow/straw colour, to have the most effect on the top notes of the intrinsic flavour profile of a bean, its sweetness and ultimate complexity in the cup. Gradient variability between the end of RFC and start of and into Second Crack(SC), seems to have more impact on the bass notes, body and truncation of the top notes.

        Pushing through the former stage quickly, doesnt seem to allow for the maximum spread of piquant flavours in the spectrum that might otherwise be detectable. There seems to be a top end to this too though. If you drag the gradient out too much (in my Corretto), the end flavour in the cup can be very dull so you need to experiment a bit with your particular setup, to see where this end-point might lie.

        All in all, I tend to clamp my slowest gradient towards RFC so that it rarely exceeds 14 minutes or so, but regardless of the length of this gradient, that from the end of RFC to the start of the first few crackles of SC never exceeds 5-6 minutes and never under 4 minutes. Seem to end up with a much more interesting palate sensation if I stick to these simple guidelines. I always experiment outside the box every now and then of course, you just never know when a bean wont follow what appears to be the normal trend.....



        • #5
          Re: Ramp to first crack

          Originally posted by 4C61656964080 link=1252301366/3#3 date=1252327618
          you just never know when a bean wont follow what appears to be the normal trend.....
          so true mal!,
          Just last week i was roasting a mexican organic from di bella, started out ok......first problem, someone in the house put on the kettle during my lead into first crack, causing a drop in temp (around 7C just prior to FC, so then the roast ran too long trying to recover the temp loss, and the BM stopped after 22 mins!, (i stuffed around abit before dumping in the beans in and starting the roast) , and it ended up finishing about 10C shy of SC! about CS7, i thought wow this is going to be one light sparkly roast!......turned out amazing, loved it, and have since roasted another batch to the same level of CS7 (without the temp drop), and i never would have experienced it if the kettle wasnt turned on!, i never throw out any stuff ups now, ya never know! :


          • #6
            Re: Ramp to first crack

            Well in the end it only really worked with a couple of beans. Most beans tasted bad. Always to good to experiment!
            In the mean time I have found my Brugnetti was way under temp. Fixed that. I noticed that most of my roasts were too sour.

            I now have gone the other way. Partly from reading about other CS members with commercial drum roasters.
            I now aim for about 12 mins for FC and 4-5 mins for SC after that. Previously I was aiming for 6-7 SC after FC. The way my Corretto is set up this was very easy to achieve.
            This has toned done the sour and brought out more flavour, maybe the sour was hiding the flavours?


            • #7
              Re: Ramp to first crack

              Thanks for the update, bassway.

              Im assuming you still use the BM heating element? In order to achieve a 12min FC, do you need to leave the HG on low the whole way to FC?

              You mentioned that you got less moisture loss (weight loss) with the shorter ramps to FC. What percentage loss are you getting with the above profile compared to before?

              Excuse my curiosity! Im still looking for more anecdotal evidence that reducing the airflow though a Corretto would improve things in terms of tipping/gentle heating/moisture loss etc...



              • #8
                Re: Ramp to first crack

                Yep, I still use the heating element.

                With a 300 gram load I get to FC with the heat gun on low (one of those Tarus Aldi specials). This is with a lid and I have insulated in between the outer and inner wall of the bread maker. Sometimes I even have to use the PID to slow it down.

                The idea behind it is to reduce the input temperature but keep the thermal energy high. In other words instead of running a heatgun on high, pumping out 600C (temp) using 2000Watts (thermal energy) use the heatgun on low PLUS the element pushing out 300C using 1500Watts. The lid and insulation making the thermal energy more efficient (more heat into bean rather then the outside environment).

                I havent done any weight comparisons yet. I have found that weight and colour have little to do with the end result in the cup. Maybe I should clarify that before someone takes that out of context! I can change the roast profile, same FC and SC points, have the same colour but the cup is very different.
                So to me colour and weight are indicators not a defining mark.

                Tipping has been a weird one in my roaster compared to what I read about other peoples roasters. I get tipping at a much lower drop in temp.

                If I heat the pan up to 80C then drop in I get tipping.
                If I cool down to 80C I dont.
                If I ramp quickly (30-40C/min) from 50C I get tipping.
                If I ramp quickly from 80C I do, sort of. If I have heated the beans from 50C to 80C slower (10-15C/min) then ramp quickly I dont.

                So tipping seems to be a set of differing factors.
                The drop in temp, the drop in heat energy of the roaster, the point of speeding up the roast.
                I havent played with air speed at all. One day I will fork out the dollars for a better heat gun.

                One important point is that the temp probe is measuring temp only. It doesnt really measure heat energy. So 80C from heating up would contain more heat energy than 80C cooling down. Also the element would be above 80C on the way up, below on the way down. The pan is effectively acting like a heat sink.
                It also is measuring the air temp in the pan, not what the beans are at. The air temp is what the beans, the HG, the pan and the heat gun are putting out. Yes, sometimes the probe is in direct contact with a/some bean/s.

                Most of roasts are done by dropping the beans in, switch on the element, wait till 50C and start recording. The heatgun is usually turned on at the 1 minute mark.
                This seems to be the most consistent way.


                • #9
                  Re: Ramp to first crack

                  Its quite strange how we all measure and start our roasts differently......
                  Hes my latest method , probably done 25-30 roasts like this.

                  430-460 g Beans
                  Warm the BM to about 100* then allow to cool, start BM & add beans at 35-40* and temp continues to drop to about 30*
                  HG is turned on @ 260* fan/2.... HG sitting up high & warming slowly. At 50* I place 3/4 timber cover on BM when temp hits 60* I call that 2 min on my roasting sheet and then start a 15*/min all the way to 190*@11min, then steady to FC @ 200-202 @ 12 min + .....

                  In other words ...... I may well take 3+ min to reach my initial 60* even though I call it 2min..... but it has been achieved with gentle heat and slower fan speed and the HG not too close to the bean mass.
                  After that point I will manage temp increases as I see fit , though I try not to be too aggressive with the HG till I have passed 120*....... All this time keeping the BM 3/4 covered with timber.

                  At FC I will lower temp , and 2min into FC I will remove timber cover to monitor steady ramp to SC.
                  Mostly I hit FC @ 12-20 and SC @17-30 to 18 min

                  My results of late have bean (sic) very good...

                  Happy Roasting


                  • #10
                    Re: Ramp to first crack

                    Originally posted by 4A4D56514A4D46220 link=1252301366/8#8 date=1261963219
                    430-460 g Beans
                    Why the range?

                    I roast exactly 600g.

                    I tried 700g once to explore the capacity of my corretto.
                    It was a tricky roast to control.
                    The difference was 16% extra beans.

                    The difference between 430g and 460g is only 7% but it may be an unnecessary variable to introduce.


                    • #11
                      Re: Ramp to first crack

                      Since getting my Makita variable temp/fan speed I have been able to have my heat gun in one position and control the variables from the gun. I have the top of the bm half covered and the gun angled towards one corner of the bucket just below the rim of bucket.
                      I start out at full temp and fan speed No. 2 until I reach 5min mark and then up it to fan speed 3 and adjust the temp back as required until I reach 1c and then reduce temp to 3C a minute until I reach 2C or just before depending on bean I am roasting.
                      I tried larger batches up to 1.2kg but had no control and scorched roasts, 900g worked better but still not total control, 600g is the optimum batch size, I get no tipping and am able to control the profile I am trying to follow.
                      I generally reach 1C around 12-12.30min 195-200C mark and 2C between 4-6min after that 217-220C mark.


                      • #12
                        Re: Ramp to first crack

                        Originally posted by 293C2B2B20232F204E0 link=1252301366/10#10 date=1261993327
                        Since getting my Makita variable temp/fan speed I have been able to have my heat gun in one position and control the variables from the gun
                        Have found the same with my Bosch Greenman, easy eh?


                        • #13
                          Re: Ramp to first crack

                          Originally posted by 063A273C363720353D36520 link=1252301366/9#9 date=1261984757
                          Why the range?

                          The difference between 430g and 460g is only 7% but it may be an unnecessary variable to introduce.

                          No,Not a problem......

                          I find it is best to roast the largest amount your coretto can handle and still hit all your desired temp/min marks.
                          From my experience the FC to SC period is easier to control with more volume.

                          Depending on bean also .... I know the decaff can be roasted in larger volumes compared to others.

                          My original post was to show how I manage the first few minutes of a roast to avoid tipping and excessive early heat input.


                          • #14
                            Re: Ramp to first crack

                            [QUOTE=2D2A31362D2A21450 link=1252301366/12#12 date=1262119413][QUOTE=063A273C363720353D36520 link=1252301366/9#9 date=1261984757
                            From my experience the first crack to SC period is easier to control with more volume.

                            I agree. I now load 300 gr beans into the Hottop (250 gr is the recommendation) simply because it allows more control over temperature and minimises the chance that a roast will runaway. And, I usually end up with a nice 250/1-3 grm finished roast.


                            • #15
                              Re: Ramp to first crack

                              I use a bigger Breville big loaf horizontal pan and 2 heat guns.
                              I manage to control a 1.2 Kilo (green bean weight) pretty easily which yields a 1 kilo roasted...

                              I used to take a slow approach to first crack, because I was afraid of tipping, but have recently attempted to ramp to first within a 10 - 12 minute mark and the taste in the cup has been massive! Especially recently roasting a batch of Sumatran.

                              The darker roast was spot on with Andys notes on it!