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  • The Summer Conundrum… advice sought!

    Hi all
    As ambient is rising as the summer approaches, I've noticed some unusual roast activity.

    • Firstly, my 1C/2C logged temps have increased by about 3 degrees (1C has been 199 like clockwork for 6 months now - but now closer to 202. 2C has gone from 221 and I'm heading towards 224 now). Same beans, same blends, same technique.

    • Secondly, despite consistent technique, in the cup these same roasts/blends, even when dropped at similar points (ie just on 2C) are becoming more acidic to taste.

    I suspect that because the ambient is higher, my overall roast times might be creeping shorter - so is the solution to reduce the overall heat input during the warmer months and lengthen the roast out again? Or take the roast to a higher drop point? Or roast at midnight?

    How do others adjust for the warmer months?

    Happy roasting
    Matt

  • #2
    You didn't mention if this is a popper/coretto?

    Just my thoughts - if you are roasting in a closed environment I wouldnt expect to see a temp change. From my limited experience I don't recall crack temps changing.. Except when making changes to the probe. I find that you will ramp faster when it's warmer but as you said heat can be dialed back

    If it is an open environment then it would hazard a guess that your observation is indicative of the inaccuracy (note not inconsistency) of your current probe placement. In this case I don't think it is necessary to try to manipulate anything to get the temp back to the initial probe temp

    Maybe the observation here that needs to be made is are you hitting 1C/2C at around the same time as previously? I think this will be more significant than the temp 1C/2C starts.

    As a general thing you are going to be able to burn off acids quickest starting on the lead up to 2C (when it starts smoking heavily), so as you said lengthening the roast should help you mute the acidity.

    Anyway hope it help =)

    Cheers
    Matt

    Comment


    • #3
      Thanks Matt
      Fully enclosed & insulated corretto, really consistent & accurate probe placement. Don't think this would be the problem, unless I need to scour the probe tip?

      I've been surprised over the last 12 months how consistent this system & these benchmarks have been for me - hence my conundrum! For all this time, I could pretty much guarantee 1C at 199 with any bean just about - but in the last 3-4 roasts it's been higher across the board, even with same beans/technique.

      What's more telling is that my same basic roasting profile/technique is giving slightly under-roasted results every time in the warmer weather. But this could have something to do with not having any warm weather last summer, so not really experiencing hot weather roasting yet!

      Just wondering if others have ever needed to adjust their technique in summer. :-)
      Matt

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by DesigningByCoffee View Post
        Hi all
        As ambient is rising as the summer approaches, I've noticed some unusual roast activity.

        • Firstly, my 1C/2C logged temps have increased by about 3 degrees (1C has been 199 like clockwork for 6 months now - but now closer to 202. 2C has gone from 221 and I'm heading towards 224 now). Same beans, same blends, same technique.

        • Secondly, despite consistent technique, in the cup these same roasts/blends, even when dropped at similar points (ie just on 2C) are becoming more acidic to taste.

        I suspect that because the ambient is higher, my overall roast times might be creeping shorter - so is the solution to reduce the overall heat input during the warmer months and lengthen the roast out again? Or take the roast to a higher drop point? Or roast at midnight?

        How do others adjust for the warmer months?

        Happy roasting
        Matt
        Morning Matt, I have been roasting in a single loaf partly enclosed Breville for approx three years and my numbers are very similar to yours.
        During the winter months I start my 725 gram roasts approx 100c hotter than in summer for same roast times, 1st and 2nd crack show up at about the same time regardless of season.
        I usually see FC at approx 200c, and do see a variation of a degree or two either way depending on bean variety.

        Comment


        • #5
          Thanks Yelta
          It's interesting that there is that much difference in temp needed to maintain a similar length roast, esp in a closed system. I imagine SA has pretty hot summers? We're much more mild here in summer - but get really cold winters.
          I guess that as in most things in roasting there's a bit of trial and error involved - I might try dropping all my input temps 20deg and see where that gets us :-)

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by DesigningByCoffee View Post
            Thanks Yelta
            It's interesting that there is that much difference in temp needed to maintain a similar length roast, esp in a closed system. I imagine SA has pretty hot summers? We're much more mild here in summer - but get really cold winters.
            I guess that as in most things in roasting there's a bit of trial and error involved - I might try dropping all my input temps 20deg and see where that gets us :-)
            Matt, by the time I notice I need to slow things down a little I find a drop of 20 degrees has very little affect, lowering the heat gun setting by 50c is more like it.

            Comment


            • #7
              Good- oh - I'll give that a whirl over the weekend :-)

              Comment


              • #8
                Well, the ambient has dropped right back for the time being - so have to wait for another hot roasting day - could be days or weeks away!
                But my 'ideal' profile worked perfectly this morning!

                Comment


                • #9
                  G'day Matt...

                  Have noticed similar characteristics up here too mate, especially when the day-time temperatures can switch from ~20C to 30C+ in next to no time.

                  Have found it is much better to control the roast profile via Rate of Temperature Change of the Bean Mass, rather than any fixed temperature setting as such. Batches from one roast to another remain much more consistent doing it this way I've found...

                  Mal.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Cheers Mal
                    If only it was as simple as one fixed temp procedure … maybe when I get my subterranean climate & humidity controlled roasting cave! :-)

                    Temp adjusting for ambient it is then.
                    Just out of interest - I think you've got the same gun - what ball park temp setting would you expect to raise/lower for an ambient rise of, say, 10 degrees?

                    Matt

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Well, couple more roasts under the belt, and I've got some more data :-)

                      Looking back through my archives, my best roasts were achieved during winter with a very low ambient (7-8 degrees), giving 1C in around 13-14 mins then 2C around 4-5 mins later with my 'standard' inlet temp procedure.
                      With ambient's up to 18-20 degrees, and using the same inlet temps, the time to 1C dropped to around 11 mins, while 1c-2c remained pretty consistent. This gave quite sour results.
                      After a few more roasts (having in mind that my corretto is fully enclosed and insulated - which I think reduces to some degree the variance caused by ambient temps) I've managed to get back to a comparable profile, and much better results in the cup.
                      And the small adjustment needed were quite surprising! On my Bosch I only needed to drop my temp inputs by 20deg (of gun temp - 15 deg inlet temp) at all my steps leading up to 1C - after 1C and through to 2C I could keep them the same. I haven't done any real hot weather (amb 30+) yet - I'm sure this would require much more adjustment.
                      But, got something to work with now - for every 10deg ambient drop 15deg inlet temp!

                      That's the theory for this week, anyway :-)

                      Happy roasting
                      Matt

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        "Quote • Secondly, despite consistent technique, in the cup these same roasts/blends, even when dropped at similar points (ie just on 2C) are becoming more acidic to taste.
                        I suspect that because the ambient is higher, my overall roast times might be creeping shorter - so is the solution to reduce the overall heat input during the warmer months and lengthen the roast out again? Or take the roast to a higher drop point? Or roast at midnight? "

                        Have you read the "Stretchin out the Roast" articles at Sweet Maria's ?. There is some interesting stuff there along the lines of your queries.

                        Before I read them I was fixated on extending the time between 1C and 2C. Now I'm trying harder to stretch the time before first crack and less concerned with the time after it, but I'm going to be struggling for the next few months. I don't want to get too deeply into major electrical mods on el cheapo poppers, but I suspect it might be where I have to go next.

                        Because I roast small batches, I have stuck with poppers, even though I would really like the extra control that comes with a corretto. In summer I will probably have to roast very early in the morning, since that is usually the coolest part of the day where I live.

                        Cheers, Leo.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by leograyson View Post
                          Have you read the "Stretchin out the Roast" articles at Sweet Maria's ?. There is some interesting stuff there along the lines of your queries.
                          Hi Leo
                          Will certainly have to track that down!

                          Originally posted by leograyson View Post
                          Before I read them I was fixated on extending the time between 1C and 2C. Now I'm trying harder to stretch the time before first crack and less concerned with the time after it
                          I think this is the point I've reached too. I have played with taking the roast drop point higher (ie dropping at 224 instead of 222 etc) but all this has done is give me a sour bean with an oily/bitter/overroasted undertone! So I'm thinking the time to 1C is very much the key too…

                          Did a lovely looking & smelling Mocha/Java yesterday with a longer 1C-2C, and earlier drop point (CS8 ish) - we'll see how it cups in a week or so.

                          Happy popper modding!

                          Matt

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                          • #14
                            Just had a read and some interesting roast articles on the Sweet Maria's site - but gee he roasts quickly! Most seem about 10-11 minutes all up…! :-)

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by DesigningByCoffee View Post
                              Just had a read and some interesting roast articles on the Sweet Maria's site - but gee he roasts quickly! Most seem about 10-11 minutes all up…! :-)
                              Yes Matt, in this series the times are akin to my popper roast times, which is one of the reasons they caught my attention when I first noticed them. In cool weather I can achieve these times with a popper, but in warmer ambient temps, I suspect my current methods will be tested.

                              I have wondered whether they are typical times, or if they were deliberately kept short to accentuate the effects of prolonging just one stage of the roast, while keeping the others short, but I did find this in another section of the site

                              " Q: How long does it take to roast coffee?"

                              " A: Air roasts ideally take 8 to 12 minutes and drum roasts about 14 to 20 minutes."

                              So by their standards the times are probably typical for an air roaster, but shorter than for a drum type.

                              And that begs the question : Which is a corretto ??

                              Cheers, Leo.

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