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  • S.O / Blend Roast Sampling Techniques?

    Hi fellow thirsters for knowledge (and coffee :-)

    I've been playing around for about 2 years with the corretto roasting caper, and have finally reached the place where I have a 'generic' roast profile that allows me to get every roast to a standard that is pretty good in the cup. Whether S.O. or blend, they seems aromatic, smooth, sweet and flavoursome. Sometimes I'll go a little darker (+2°) sometimes lighter (-2°) but always based on this baseline profile (ramping to 12-13mins 1C, 17-18mins just on 2C).

    However, seeing the huge range of different 'profiles' people use for different beans 'to get the most out of them', I'm wondering if anyone is willing to share some basics on their technique for deciding what will get the most out of a bean? Why go to a 9min roast for a MTE bean?

    Is sampling as apparently simple (as I saw once on youtube) as using the one roast profile and sampling beans before, during then after 2c and trying them all for each SO bean?

    Or do some roasters have a southern/african/central base profile that they then do above?

    How do you know if you're not getting the best out of a bean, when it tastes good - but maybe could be better? I've learnt with practice that fiddling about too much with a good profile seems to go pear shaped - but don't know for sure LOL!

    What do you do?

    Cheers Matt

  • #2
    Sorry
    Maybe that was a bit long winded & confusing!
    Here's the scenario. You pick up a bag of Mudgee Monsoon Malabar or Bathurst Bourbon AAA that you've never roasted before…
    What's your process of 'testing' the best roasting technique for that particular bean? Do you have a standard go-to system?

    Also - why did LOL change to "I had a laugh" in the above post! Big brother is watching!

    Comment


    • #3
      Hi Matt,

      Not long winded and confusing, just deserving of a good answer - great discussion topic I think! I'll try and get round to posting a reply today.

      Pete

      Comment


      • #4
        I have only been on the corretto for a year or so now. I cant really answer your more specific questions.

        I have thought more recently about going down the temperature measurement route with the products available in BB.

        However after much trial and error I have got a standard method down pat, using my senses, time and partial / removable covering, aka small plain steel pizza tray.

        My heat gun stays at a set height. It only has high and low setting, I only ever use the low setting, unless on the odd occasion I feel I need to get a bit more heat into the roast briefly.

        I keep the amount of greens the same at 500g.

        So with a new bean I will hit it with my standard method and watch closely how it behaves. If it was a bit finicky, I will take some notes so I can remember for next time. I then add to that what the end result tastes like and from there I know where I can make slight adjustments in my roasting process the tweak it.

        I generally do 2 or 3 roasts of a SO before I think about blending it. If I really like it as SO I usually don't blend it, just play with its roasting profile and how early I pull it before SC. I like to try and finish a bit earlier before SC to see the difference. However this usually ends up better for Aeropress or Cold brew.

        I am pretty happy with where I am at and I find it easy to get repeatable results or make small tweaks as needed, which are time and temp adjustment is made by how much / how long covered for.

        Like you, every bean seems to turn out pretty dam good on my standard go to method, even if I know that something could have gone a bit better. Adjustments can always be made in the brewing process as well. If I am happy with how the roast goes the first time, next time I happily go sit down and read the paper on the ramp to FC.

        My standard method is.

        30 secs preheat - extend this to 60 - 90 in colder weather.

        Beans go in with no cover for 4 mins. - if I want a longer ramp time to FC I will lengthen this.

        Cover goes on with a small gap for heat gun nozzle, until nearing the end of FC, - adjusting the opening slightly results in a less intense heat to FC, this is an interesting variable. If a bean ends up with some slight tipping, I can significantly reduce or eliminate it next time by opening it up a bit.

        After FC has wound down cover comes off for 1 minute then goes back on. - some beans need longer, some shorter to reach just prior to or very first snaps of SC in as close to 5 mins as I can get it. I like this 5 mins to be from rolling FC.

        Overall I generally don't deviate to much from my set method, the results are usually pretty good to fantastic / excellent. Where you would have to hunt around and pay a pretty price to find something better from a cafe.

        I will also mention that all my taste testing is usually in the form of straight espresso heading toward ristretto range. However I do usually enjoy a piccolo once I am happy.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by DesigningByCoffee View Post
          Hi fellow thirsters for knowledge (and coffee :-)

          I've been playing around for about 2 years with the corretto roasting caper, and have finally reached the place where I have a 'generic' roast profile that allows me to get every roast to a standard that is pretty good in the cup. Whether S.O. or blend, they seems aromatic, smooth, sweet and flavoursome. Sometimes I'll go a little darker (+2°) sometimes lighter (-2°) but always based on this baseline profile (ramping to 12-13mins 1C, 17-18mins just on 2C).

          However, seeing the huge range of different 'profiles' people use for different beans 'to get the most out of them', I'm wondering if anyone is willing to share some basics on their technique for deciding what will get the most out of a bean? Why go to a 9min roast for a MTE bean?

          Is sampling as apparently simple (as I saw once on youtube) as using the one roast profile and sampling beans before, during then after 2c and trying them all for each SO bean?

          Or do some roasters have a southern/african/central base profile that they then do above?

          How do you know if you're not getting the best out of a bean, when it tastes good - but maybe could be better? I've learnt with practice that fiddling about too much with a good profile seems to go pear shaped - but don't know for sure LOL!

          What do you do?

          Cheers Matt
          Been roasting with a Coretto for about 3 years Matt and my profiles are quite similar to yours.
          I find all beans respond pretty well to this profile, sometimes, but not often, minor temp tweaking takes place.

          My weekly roast is 725 grams of green.

          Start at room temp, heat gun set at between 500 and 550c, depending on time of year.

          Take it to FC from the starting temp approx 14 mins then drop temp by approx 50c.

          Depending how dark I want the roast I usually stop it after approx 19 to 20 mins @ between 225 to 230c.

          I buy at least 2kg of any one variety and go for a full batch 725g for the first roast and roast all new varieties as described above making adjustments on subsequent batches.

          "How do you know if you're not getting the best out of a bean" guess this doesn't really have a definitive answer, however I am, and those that partake of my brew are more than impressed.

          FWIW here are a couple of pics of my setup, not pretty but very affective.



          Comment


          • #6
            Thanks all
            Sounds like we all have a fairly similar approach both in roasting techniques and the 'tweak the last few degrees at the end' system which seems to work pretty well for espresso across the board.

            I guess I'm intrigued to know whether all the occasional comments about certain beans (hard african bean so get the oxy out - lots of heat early - gently gently at the end etc etc) actually come from very different profiles giving very different results.

            I've played with lots of variation of three basic profiles:
            1) lots of heat at start - then let it taper off ie no heat ongoing heat increase
            2) start gentle, gentle ramp as you go (my most successful technique)
            3) really slow for a fair while, then ramp hard

            All of these can be 'shaped' to give identical times & CS colour rating - but give very different results in the cup. My everyday profile works well - brilliantly for pre-blend Mocha Java roasts. But some other blends or SOs it doesn't seem to stand out as much.

            Is this profile - or just beans I don't rate? I just wonder if some beans respond better to any of the others profile? I don't play too much any more as I'm afraid of poor results - but if you don't experiment, you might also miss stunning results! Ohh the conundrum!

            Comment


            • #7
              Hello People,

              Thanks Matt for starting this thread and to those who have replied so far, very interesting.

              It sounds to me like these approaches are all driven by experience with each particular process and the feedback given by the bean and the resulting brew. Almost an art to get nailed down but then repeatable one's it's nailed. Knowing nothing about roasting and given, with little doubt, that the end product for you all is indeed pretty good, I can't help thinking that "following your nose and adjust as you see fit" achieves good results. Is this a reasonable description?

              If so, I'm left wondering about Matt's questions:

              > best roasting technique for that particular bean
              > How do you know if you're not getting the best out of a bean, when it tastes good - but maybe could be better?

              Is there one and how to I know I've found it?

              > I've learnt with practice that fiddling about too much with a good profile seems to go pear shaped
              Sounds like Matt has tried varying what he is doing but can't improve on his own "best".

              Great questions Matt, and something I can imagine myself wondering. Hard to find in isolation though, but there may be a way to find out.

              Assuming though that you haven't all become waaay tooo accustomed to how your own coffee tastes, which would be hard with the coffee shops everywhere, for reference purposes, to keep you all on the same coffee wavelength. An interesting experiment would be for you roasters to start with a particular agreed upon bean, roast them to suit yourselves, and then pass them between yourselves just to see how they compare and whether they are similar.

              Seems like this is something friends who roast would be doing all the time but it would be interesting between half a dozen or so experienced roasters who all roast in isolation using the "follow your nose and adjust according" approach.

              So, do experienced home roasters, given time with a particular bean all end up roasting that bean in a very similar way so it produces the same sort of flavours in the cup, given that it's pulled the same? Or is it just way to complex and variable a process so that six roasters will inevitably hone in on six distinct excellent, and repeatable, ways to roast the same beans?

              Cheers!
              Rob

              Comment


              • #8
                Hi Rob
                Great feedback - thanks!
                It's interesting, I have actually done some roast swapping recently with Sando for that very purpose. It was a really interesting process.
                We swapped both greens & browns (we had pretty different collections!) then roasted & returned half. We both have very similar roasters - but achieved very different results in the cup due, mainly due to the fan speed used. But well worth the experience!
                Matt

                Comment


                • #9
                  Hi all
                  Development - here is a case in point…
                  I've developed a great profile for my preferred pre-blended Mocha Java variations. This roast was particularly good! (see profile 1)

                  Click image for larger version

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                  But I've been running all the SO base beans through just to try and separate their individual flavour characteristics using my same basic profile. Recently, I've done this with the Indian Elephant Hills…

                  Click image for larger version

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                  Almost identical profile, same drop point (225°) - but as a doppio this is as sour as all get out! (very third wave :-)

                  So, my initial idea is to extend the drop temp to roast a little darker (say 227°) which has worked really well in the past with Mexican beans. This would take this bean into 2C - rather than just on/before.

                  But - the key question for this thread - are there any other profile tweaks you could consider try to get the best out of this SO bean?

                  Hmmmmmm… what would you do?

                  Matt

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by DesigningByCoffee View Post
                    I've played with lots of variation of three basic profiles:
                    1) lots of heat at start - then let it taper off ie no heat ongoing heat increase
                    2) start gentle, gentle ramp as you go (my most successful technique)
                    3) really slow for a fair while, then ramp hard
                    G'day Matt...

                    Your No.2 technique is where I will always start with an unknown bean. Depending on whether it is a hard/soft variety, I will tailor the profile to suit but generally, harder beans will get slightly more heat than softer ones. The main thing though, is to do this with smallish batches until the end result is where you like it most and that's the one I thereafter stick with. Doesn't need to be made too complex a routine, so long as you have a plan and record all of your results (which I know you do)...

                    Mal.
                    P.S.
                    Each batch profile should taste pretty darn good in the cup on it's own, no good trying to blend batches where one is sour and the other is too deep, for example. It's probably just my palate but I always seem to focus right in on a defect when it's there, and then that just does it for where that blend is concerned - In the bin it goes...

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Dimal View Post
                      Depending on whether it is a hard/soft variety, I will tailor the profile to suit but generally, harder beans will get slightly more heat than softer ones.
                      Hi Mal
                      Long time no see! Great to see you back :-)
                      I think I see where you're going. So does this mean that you tend to do faster, harder roasts for harder beans (say Mexicans?) by using a similar technique to normal just with slightly higher temps across the board? This is the kind of stuff I'm wondering.
                      With my profile & technique now I can basically achieve a very similar shaped roast profile but compress or lengthen it (basically squashing or expanding the graph) by lifting or lowering the temp inputs. So if I had a harder bean, increase all my inputs by 10°, which would give a higher temp input but would compress the profile & shorten the overall roast by 1-2 mins? The softer beans - stretch it out?

                      Originally posted by Dimal View Post
                      Each batch profile should taste pretty darn good in the cup on it's own, no good trying to blend batches where one is sour and the other is too deep, for example. It's probably just my palate but I always seem to focus right in on a defect when it's there, and then that just does it for where that blend is concerned - In the bin it goes...
                      I guess though there's the difference between sour and acidic? A lightly roasted central might be too bright for espresso on its own (you might roast it darker as a SO), but could add some nice contrast to cut through a deep roasted Ethiopian? I had an amazing pre-blended roast of 60/40 Yirg & Mex - looked like dark & milk choc peanuts! But tasted soooooo good… :-)

                      Lots of food for thought - appreciate your input!
                      Matt

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Hi Mat,

                        Nice questions as usual. I had a look and a think and always get confused because I roast with a modded popper and have total roast times of around 14 mins at most, so comparing and thinking about your roasts is difficult for me, but I'll take a shot.

                        I wouldn't have expected such a different result when roasting the components separately, but what other beans were in the blend? Were they all sour when roasted on their own??

                        I have played around with the drying phase and don't notice much (or any) difference at all, provided I stay below 150C until things are evenly yellow and get to that point in around 4 - 5 mins and keep the RoR positive, then things go ok. I'm pretty sure you can hit them hard at start and not worry because the moisture content is so high. I've heard something about an "expansion wave" that can happen if you dry too fast, but haven't found much detail about that.

                        So sorry, can't really offer and advice from my limited experience, but ...

                        I struggle with how long it takes to try this stuff out properly. What I mean is, assume I've got a profile that works ok but produces nothing special. So I try an adjustment (longer after 1st, longer through 1st, quicker to 1st, whatever) and then cup the two (original and adjusted). Might be able to pick a subtle difference, might even go to a triangle test to make sure. But then try it as espresso drinks (which is what I drink), with only one grinder is difficult, but doable. Say I think the new profile is a bit sour but there's a nice fruity flavor underneath I haven't got before, I think perhaps if a pull a shot a bit hotter I might get something great. So I up the temp by 1C and try again, or perhaps if I down the dose and fine the grind the increase in sweetness will overpower the sourness but I'll get that fruit as well .... and on we go. To get a definitive result for a roast designed for espresso drinks takes a long time.

                        Anyway, rambling a bit, might try and get more specific in another post.

                        Pete

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Hi Pete

                          Hmmm that's interesting!
                          I certainly haven't even played with brews temps! My E61 seems to limit that on-the-fly adj anyway :-)
                          I suppose one of the great advantages of the popper is the smaller batch sizes, allowing the chance to run small batches quickly - my minimum corretto roast is 350g, which is a weeks worth - so a long time to drink a bad batch!

                          Originally posted by Pete39 View Post
                          Hi Mat,
                          I wouldn't have expected such a different result when roasting the components separately, but what other beans were in the blend? Were they all sour when roasted on their own??
                          I pre-blend all my roasts, due to the batch size constraints (a four bean blend would take 2 hours to roast and last for a month!) so it is hard to separate the flavours for each. But in this case, you go in with the understanding that some beans will be darker roasted and some lighter in the blend - which might not be ideal for each as a SO but can work brilliantly together when it is in the zone. So my fav at the moment is the Mocha Java++ (MJ predominately + MMG + Central) which gives a great MJ with some MMG sweetness + light central zing. And if it works… :-)

                          But I might start playing with some more SO roasts using these ideas - then I might see what I've been missing! Or at least get a better understanding of the origins…

                          Matt

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            The only reason I mentioned brew temps is because I've been trying a new profile - a bit longer up to 1st, and shorter after (just after 1st finishes). I know this sounds too light for espresso, but had some at a local here and was really surprised - nice and sweet, no hint of sourness but interesting fruity flavors. Thought at first I'd had a win, but then couldn't pull a decent shot - all too sour. Almost gave up, then tried up 1C brewing temp and things improved heaps. So I guess now it makes sense to persevere.

                            So much to learn hey?

                            Pete

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Too true :-)
                              I've been finding that I prefer most roasts to end just before/on 2C after a longer, gentler roast (18-19mins) which then requires a finer grind, even dripping pour rather than the true 'mouse tail'. But tastes amazing!
                              If I go darker (into 2C) I have to really speed up the pour to stop bitterness. I guess thats the great thing about roasting - you can not only roast to taste, but also to the sweet zone of your machine!

                              Comment

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