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The Elusive Second Crack

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  • The Elusive Second Crack

    Have about 8 roasts on a target popper under my belt now, and whilst I have no problem detecting 1st crack (usually at somewhere between 4 and 8 mins), I dont think Ive heard second crack once.

    As a result, Im ending roasts by eye (anywhere from 12-18 mins, depending on ambient temp), but I think Im slightly over-roasting them to my tastes.

    How long after 1st crack is second crack likely to be? Am I perhaps not reaching a high enough temp with the popper?

    Any tips?

  • #2
    Re: The Elusive Second Crack

    Second crack is always a lot quieter than first, you will get a fair amount of smoke before 2C gets underway, what colour are your beans? do they look oily and have an ashy/burnt odour?

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    • #3
      Re: The Elusive Second Crack

      Hi Greenman,

      Notice that your avatar is taken at Howard St. Im there a couple of times a day during the week!

      I actually get very little smoke from any roast; in fact, the only time I seem to get it is the few seconds between turning off the popper, and dumping the beans (presumably from contact with the hot sides).

      Ive had one oily batch - it was roasted on 2nd Jan, and the oil was noticable yesterday. It was a short roast compared to some of the others, and didnt seem too dark.

      The aroma isnt ashy, but there is definitely a distinct ashy taste to some of them. I had some ethiopian Ghimli that as an espresso was like charcoal, but with milk was quite tasty (although, it might be that my tastebuds were still recoiling from tasting it prior to adding the milk!).

      The beans dont seem any darker than the commercially roasted ones I have (from Antz Inya Pantz).

      Definitely longing for more control over the roast (or at least a thermocouple...)

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: The Elusive Second Crack

        Photos photos photos

        Seriously have no idea how you are getting roasts out of an unmodified popper that go for that long without them being burnt, unless the wattage is very very low.

        Majority of unmodified popper roasts are lucky to go to 8 minutes without being burnt, 6 minutes to second crack is about right.

        LOL as to dont seem any darker than the commercially roasted ones well it depends on how you like your coffee, a lot of commerical roasted beans are overroasted.

        Details of the popper and photos would help a great deal to find out what is going on, or even a video of the roast.

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: The Elusive Second Crack

          I roasted with a Target popper for the first time yesterday and didnt hear a second crack either. I did my first batch for 9 minutes and a second batch for 9:30. The colour of the second batch was similar to the vittoria rubbish I used to buy. I am not going to taste until tomorrow, I will report my results.

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: The Elusive Second Crack

            I really think there is a huge difference between identical looking poppers. I have a generic branded one which required all sorts of airflow management techniques to stretch the roast time out to 10 minutes, yet my mothers unmodified Black and Decker popper (identical appearance, identical wattage, gotta be the same factory) today took 14minutes to hit 2C, with an ambient temp of 30degrees!
            We did 2 roasts today, CS8 and CS9, both well over 10minutes.
            I think some poppers may struggle to gain that last few degrees of temperature to tip the beans in to 2C? Perhaps looking in the threads for various tips from people roasting in cold climates would help?

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: The Elusive Second Crack

              Originally posted by 78477F54565E350 link=1326016496/2#2 date=1326026084
              Notice that your avatar is taken at Howard St. Im there a couple of times a day during the week!
              Emanuelle took the pic on my camera when I was taking a few shots in there last year, very observant--might see you at a bean pickup soon
              cheers
              Trevor

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: The Elusive Second Crack

                Dropped a batch of the Peru into Ristretto for some feedback. They tactfully confirmed my suspicions that there was "a lot of roast character".

                Given the difficulty Im having with hearing 2nd crack, my inability to roast by colour, and the strong influence of ambient temperatures, Im going to try to standardise my method:
                [list bull-blackball][*]Take the beans to 1st crack.[*]Continue the roast without the lid on the popper, for X% of the time to first crack.[*]Vary the X% in back to back roasts and compare.[/list]


                Whilst I dont believe this will give me an entirely consistent end temperature, it should allow me to remove one factor - me!

                If I get enough roasts under my belt, it may even allow me to make some correlations between ambient temp, and time to first crack, and with palatability!

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: The Elusive Second Crack

                  Originally posted by 112E163D3F375C0 link=1326016496/0#0 date=1326016496
                  Have about 8 roasts on a target popper under my belt now, and whilst I have no problem detecting 1st crack (usually at somewhere between 4 and 8 mins), I dont think Ive heard second crack once.

                  As a result, Im ending roasts by eye (anywhere from 12-18 mins, depending on ambient temp), but I think Im slightly over-roasting them to my tastes.

                  How long after 1st crack is second crack likely to be? Am I perhaps not reaching a high enough temp with the popper?

                  Any tips?
                  Best is to get some cheap greens and roast a batch till they turn dark black and oily. youll know 2c then. If you cant see the oils or turn the beans charred in 20 mins or so, then maybe your popper doesnt get hot enough to reach 2c.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: The Elusive Second Crack

                    I found a chimney made using a can raises the temp in the chamber. Plus roasting 110 gms gets me to second crack around 8.40 minutes. Second crack is like a quieter 1st crack and almost like sizzling than cracking.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: The Elusive Second Crack

                      I did one test roast on my sunbeam cornelius with some cheap green beans a barista gave me to test with (he said not to actually make coffee with them as they were used for practice and would be rubbish). After a bit of research I was expecting 7-8 minutes for second crack but found my self still going at 12 minutes unable to hear any discernible hiss or crack over the whirring of the popper and the bean colour seemed to be stuck at what I considered to be maybe medium roast.  I ended up trying them out in my plunger but was suspicious when the beans still didnt have a strong "coffee" aroma after degassing for a week - more like a woody smell.My suspicions were confirmed after tasting - gross burnt wood flavour, not charcoal, more like the smell from drilling into wood with a power drill...

                      At the moment im going to put this experience down to bad beans and try again with some new good beans i bought and see how I go. Will try and do some more research for what to expect in terms of noise for 1st and second crack but has anyone else struggled with hearing the cracks over the noise of the popper?

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: The Elusive Second Crack

                        Originally posted by 7B6C6D7A6667606A090 link=1326016496/5#5 date=1326370202
                        I really think there is a huge difference between identical looking poppers. I have a generic branded one which required all sorts of airflow management techniques to stretch the roast time out to 10 minutes, yet my mothers unmodified Black and Decker popper (identical appearance, identical wattage, gotta be the same factory) today took 14minutes to hit 2C, with an ambient temp of 30degrees!
                        We did 2 roasts today, CS8 and CS9, both well over 10minutes.
                        I think some poppers may struggle to gain that last few degrees of temperature to tip the beans in to 2C? Perhaps looking in the threads for various tips from people roasting in cold climates would help?
                        I have gone from having a popper that would turn beans black at 4min with no mods at 25 degrees ambient, after mods and extension lead i extended time to almost 9mins for start of 2C.
                        Now im getting lower ambient temps 12 degrees and struggled to get to 2C. The gap between 1C and 2C was getting to long so i held some foil over the machine with my wooden spoon and it seemed to bump up the heat enough to hear the first snaps of SC.
                        I could ditch the extension cord but then that will make it too hot again, i am happy with 1C at 4 - 4.30min.
                        From what i have read having extended times of stalling just before 2C cant be good, promoting burnt/ashy/baked flavours.
                        I have just discovered how bad my rainwater is for making brewed coffee so am pretty excited how much better it can taste (Syd Brita filtered tap water)

                        Comment

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