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Roasting terminology

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  • Roasting terminology

    When posters on this forum refer to a motley or mottled roast, does it mean that the individual beans are mottled or does it mean that each bean is uniform in colour but some of them are lighter, some darker and some in between ??.

  • #2
    Hi Deegee
    The second is probably more accurate - when beans are uneven in colour in themselves they are often described as 'tipped' (scorched). But some bean origins, due to varying size etc roast more unevenly overall - giving an uneven or patchy looking roast. Normally doesn't impact on flavour though.
    However - some more aggressive roasters (fast, unmodded poppers for eg) can give this results too - even with beans that can be roasted much more evenly with a slower, more gentle roast (say KKTO). Just the nature of hot spots/ slow mixing etc
    Cheers Matt


    • #3
      To me it means a range of things.
      Some beans are unevenly coloured after roasting without being tipped or scorched (two different faults caused by two different roast dynamics).
      Generally, motley refers to dry process Ethiopian and Yemeni beans where the colour palette of the whole roast
      appears mottled due to the different roast levels achieved by the individual beans,
      as well as describing the presence of uneven or misshaped beans, which add to the visual texture of a roast.
      Beans that are carrying marks from the pulper will have an uneven roast colour as well.

      For the most part though, I use the term as a positive descriptor rather than one to describe faults,
      where I'm a bit more specific.


      • #4
        Thanks for the replies. I asked because I have seen remarks here, ( by Andy I think ) regarding motley looking roasts that look bad but taste good.

        I had just roasted some Mandheling Kuda Mas in my modified popper, and there were about four or five different levels of colour in it.
        No variation of colour on individual beans, but lots from one bean to the next. Everything from about CS6 to CS10.
        So I did a second batch and slowed the time to 1C from 9 min to 12 min, but they looked exactly the same.
        I'll have to try one with a bit more time between the two cracks to see if that will even them out a bit more.
        With both of these batches it was only 2 to 3 minutes, because I'm still on a learning curve with my latest mods.

        The green beans were quite ugly looking - varying in size and colour, and some of them broken or chipped, which you both mentioned.
        That is probably the main cause, but I guess I will have to test the them in the cup before I fire off a critical email to the supplier.

        Shortly after that I did a batch of Indian Tiger Mountain, ( 1C ~ 12min ) and they came out quite even, just slightly two-tone, like most of my roasts,
        so it was almost certainly caused by the beans, not my equipment or technique on the day.

        Cheers, Deegee.