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First experience with roasting

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  • First experience with roasting

    After reading so many fine stories of people roasting at home, I decided to give it a try today.


    1. Set up the air popper (popcorn popper) outside
    2. Filled with 100grams of beans and turned on.
    3. Left the top part of the popper on, but without the little circular lid, leaving a hole for me to stir the beans while roasting.
    4. Continuously stirred the beans.
    5. First crack was at 3:46, and went for a minute or so.
    6. Stopped manually stirring at the 5 minute mark, it had dramatically increased the rate that the beans were turning over just by the power of the air popper by then.
    7. 2nd crack was at 6:45, and I stopped the roast at 7:00 and tipped into a strainer to cool down rapidly. They were a pretty consistent deep brown colour, look like CS9.

    I waited until the beans were room temperature, and then was curious so I ground a shot and pulled it through the espresso machine as a ristretto. Also made an aero-press from it.

    Thoughts on the taste:

    Espresso: Heaps of crema (obviously), and there was a noticeable bitter taste to it, but not too much, just more than I was expecting.
    Aero-presss: Definitely more pronounced bitter flavour. It was a bitter harshness that I haven't tasted in the commercially roasted beans before, so it seems that there is probably one or more quite obvious things that I am doing wrong, just not sure where to begin troubleshooting.

    Based on this, any advice that more experienced roasters have would be appreciated!

  • #2
    The bitter flavor you tasted was most likely due to the beans being fresh from the roaster. After roasting beans out gas CO2 which is very acidic. As your beans were fresh from the roaster the CO2 was still in the beans, hence their bitter flavor. As the beans age they will gradually mellow and typically hit peak flavor in 5-10 days with some beans taking as long as 3 weeks. Store the beans in a airtight/one-way valve container/bag in a dark cool place and try tasting them on a daily basis to determine when they taste best to you and your brewing method.

    Java "Enjoy the journey!" phile

    PS Get rid of the popper's top and replace it with a chimney/can.
    Toys! I must have new toys!!!


    • #3
      As a roasting newbie it can also help to know the taste zones of your tongue/palate.
      Sorry if you already know but I've tried to help people in the past only to find that bitter is sour, if you get my drift.
      Sweetness on the tip of the tongue, sourness on the front sides (and if it's really sour then it feels like a smack in the mouth and gets your tongue going overtime).
      Acid is like a saddle about 2/3 the way back, the more acid the more sensation on the sides, bitterness is at the back, almost on top of your throat. Body and mouthfeel between the tongue and roof of your mouth.
      If you're already familiar then apologies.

      That said it will really help your roasting journey if you teach yourself to cup your roasts. This way flavours, mouthfeel and other characteristics including faults can be determined quickly. I have cupped straight after roasting but mainly 24hrs later. Like Java "love ya style" phile says putting a really fresh roast under pressure won't necessarily show its true character. To cup, medium grind 12 gms of beans into a small bowl, I use ramekins, that will hold 250mls of water. Pour 180gms (mls)of water, off the boil, over the grinds making sure that they wet thoroughly, don't stir. Smell at every stage. Allow to sit 4 minutes, break the crust with the back of a stainless soup spoon, getting your nose right in close and smelling all the time. Scoop off the scum, then wait another 4-5 minutes and slurp/suck a small amount off the spoon so the coffee sprays into all of your mouth.

      Do this repeatedly. It's also a good idea to taste the coffee as it cools as more is revealed about its character. You can also under/ over roast deliberately to see the difference and it really helps when starting off to try some diametrically opposed beans.
      I'd suggest some Kenya or light / med roast dry process Yirg and compare it to something like the Sulawesi blue at a medium/ medium+ roast and a sweet, fat Brazil. A good way to train your palate.
      Enjoy the ride!
      Last edited by chokkidog; 22 October 2012, 07:16 PM. Reason: cupping times, musta been tired