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Aiming for lighter roasts

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  • Aiming for lighter roasts

    I have been home roasting for some years now and I'm happy with my results. However, I have just started trying to do some roasts for a friend of mine who is getting into pourovers. I normal go for a 'medium' type roast (around CS7-8) depending on the bean. However, he has found that to be too dark and is keen for roasts to be as light as possible. The problem I have is that I'm already dropping my beans after just after 1c. I cant drop them any earlier or they are not coffee.

    I live in Cairns and while our ambient temp might be higher then many places the humidity is significantly higher. In comparing my roast info with others (I'm using a first gen Behmor 1600), my roast times are significantly longer than others appear to be. My standard roast would be something like 400gm of Peru 1lb, P2. I will add time to that before I start to take it out to about 20:30-21:30 and that will get me through 1c but not much further. I have had roasts on winter days where the temp is lower (say 23) but the humidity is still high (>70%) and I have reached the max time limit and i have not got to 1c!

    Anyway, I wanted any suggestion on how to get to 1c at a lighter roast depth. Do you think a low slow roast might work best? My thought is that the slower profile might work to dry out the beans a bit before they start to cook. I have also tried leaving the beans out in the sun for a few hours before I roast... I cant tell if that has helped or not. I have had some success using 100gm batches, but would love to hear from others.


  • #2
    Do you use a long extension cord for the roaster?
    You might also want to try a lower weight like 300g which will give you a faster roast


    • #3
      I would say its dependent on a few things. The type of beans would be a big factor as each different type would require a different approach. A stretched out drying phase at a lower heat wouldn't really work for a Central American for example, but most CA's are awesome as a lighter roast for manual brewing. And don't forget that colour is only one thing that shows the stage of development. Other than a 'lighter' roast what sort of coffee does your friend like? Do they like the sweet fruitiness and floral aroma of a Kenyan or Ethiopian, or do they like the brightness of a Central American? This is what you need to know as there's no point roasting something lighter that doesn't suit that style of roasting or brewing. Other than that just read up on Coffee Snobs and other places online about how to roast successfully to this level.


      • #4
        Thanks Sullyboy and LeroyC

        No, I don't use an extension chord at all. Yeah, smaller batches are an option... but annoying because I'm already doing, on average, 6 roasts/week. But if I am going to use a slower roast profile, I would need to, or else I would end up baking beans for over 30mins.

        Some great things there. I guess its the blind leading the blind. He is new to the manual brewing and is yet to be clear on what he likes, I'm new to this style of roasting... so thats a lot of the fun. From what he said he has enjoyed some Colombian he has bought.

        What I probably did't make clear enough was I don't have a problem with my usual roasts, its only when I'm trying to get something very light to be used in a pourover. The reason I gave the other info was to preempt the 'just stop the roast sooner' reply when I ask how to get a lighter roast.

        What do people do when trying to get a light roast?


        • #5
          I roast in a Corretto where I have full control over the temperature. I don't know much about Behmor 1600, not sure how much control you have over the charge temperature and how well you can control the temp during the roast but when I roast for filter I start with a higher charge temperature. In addition to this I apply more heat during the first part of the drying phase. This helps bringing the internal temperature of the bean close to the outside temperature of the bean earlier in the roast. Applying more heat in the beginning also allows me to keep the heat low in the later phases so I avoid scorching. I drop the beans as soon as the first crack is finished, with some coffees (Ethiopians for example) even a bit earlier.


          • #6
            Yeah you could do something similar to that in a Behmor. Most Colombians should take a fair bit of heat up front. I've been roasting Colombian Excelso recently and I was pre-heating the Behmor for about 2.5min until I reached a 'B' temp reading of 77degC. Then I was getting the drum in quickly and get it roasting on P1. If I'd been aiming for a filter roast I probably would've roasted on P2 Auto with an eye on 'B' temp readings to ensure it didn't stall. Maybe hit P5-D just before first crack to give a good, robust 1C then pull back quickly by hitting P1 or P2 and C at 1C. I'd hit cool at about 30secs after the end of 1C, or thereabouts, depending on how it's looking.


            • #7
              Thanks very much roburu and LeroyC, that gives me somewhere to start. I really appreciate your suggestions!


              • #8
                How have you been progressing with this UCC? I picked up a Behmor earlier in the week and have started getting some tasty espresso shots, however I want to learn the art of the filter roast as I'm also a keen pour over drinker.


                • #9
                  Hi supastar,

                  As mentioned in a previous post, your approach will differ with each bean you choose to roast.

                  I'm of the opinion that smaller roast batches are a better way to go in order to have a decent level of control over the whole roast. I stick with 250-260g. Some beans I have roasted won't tolerate much more than 1:30 post 1C for a good filter roast. Other beans I have been able to take up to 3minutes post 1C with the Behmor in order to develop some complexity for filter ( and I am very picky, no roasty flavours for me in filter, nor is acidity always the highlight).

                  We all have different tastes but sweetness and some body is desirable in filter over a distinctive acidity. When you roast coffees for filter that are not exactly 'top end', you will often find yourself pushing the bean to develop a little further ( or might I just say it, proper development).

                  You will have to play around with each bean and look at general guidelines on how some beans from a particular origin might behave e.g faster start vs slow start etc.
                  If you find yourself having trouble with your roasting experiments, there are plenty of members here to help


                  • #10
                    Thanks for the reply. I've much to learn but appreciate the tips!