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End of first crack signs!

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  • End of first crack signs!

    Just curious how you guys define the end of first crack? What is your defining measurement point or hallmark that you go by to know that first crack is finished? May very well differ for everyone I'm sure! I only ask as some beans have very different sounds or frequencies of pops happening then, some will have the odd pop still going while others really just stop popping more abruptly. I sort of go by if the time between singular pops was 5 seconds or more then I considered first crack to be finished, but curious what everyone else considers it as having ended? Looking forward to your thoughts, and also hoping everyone is well and safe

  • #2
    That's a good measure to use Simon, I use a similar one and has served me well for many years now...

    Mal.

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    • #3
      Agree with this method . It is my approach that has some practical sense to me .
      I find some of my beans have this distinct separation between first crack and approaching second crack , very few I have don’t have this break .
      I find the following beans have very very light sound at first crack and very few first cracks at all . Decaf and my Yemen 2019 batch are hard to track through first crack and beyond .

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      • #4
        Interesting question. I think the answer will be very machine/roaster/bean/technique specific.

        The "crack" is intrinsic to the bean, it's a great marker because near all Arabica beans will crack at 196C.
        This means that if your machine/roaster/bean/technique is perfect all the cracks will happen in the same second with no trailing cracks after.

        Of course, this never happens and the longer the first crack period runs, the more uneven your machine/roaster/bean/technique probably is.

        The bulk of the cracks are in a bunch, when they spread out somewhat you would call that "the end of most of first crack" and yeah, a few seconds gap is probably right unless you want to count the amount of beans in the roast and then count the cracks.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Dimal View Post
          That's a good measure to use Simon, I use a similar one and has served me well for many years now... Mal.
          Originally posted by NJD View Post
          Agree with this method . It is my approach that has some practical sense to me . I find some of my beans have this distinct separation between first crack and approaching second crack , very few I have don’t have this break . I find the following beans have very very light sound at first crack and very few first cracks at all . Decaf and my Yemen 2019 batch are hard to track through first crack and beyond .
          Awesome, thanks guys. I also ask as I had a roast in which I totally misjudged the end of first crack and the roast ended up being much darker than I aimed for, as I aim for either certain degrees above or a certain time after end of first crack. And yeah very true NJD, some beans have a different "type" of FC, or rather they respond differently in your roaster than others. Great thoughts!

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Andy View Post
            Interesting question. I think the answer will be very machine/roaster/bean/technique specific. The "crack" is intrinsic to the bean, it's a great marker because near all Arabica beans will crack at 196C. This means that if your machine/roaster/bean/technique is perfect all the cracks will happen in the same second with no trailing cracks after. Of course, this never happens and the longer the first crack period runs, the more uneven your machine/roaster/bean/technique probably is. The bulk of the cracks are in a bunch, when they spread out somewhat you would call that "the end of most of first crack" and yeah, a few seconds gap is probably right unless you want to count the amount of beans in the roast and then count the cracks.
            Ahhh... never really thought of it like that! Didn't really think that it's basically one "crack" per bean... but of COURSE... that makes sense... The geek in me now reeeeally wants to count all the cracks haha. And say 75% of the cracks we can call first crack being over ;D. But some great thoughts, appreciate that. Yeah in a perfectly ideal roaster they would all crack all at the same time, wouldn't that be awesome haha.. It's so hard to judge the end sometimes... when I'm listening super carefully, and just when I think it's definitely the end within that 5s range, I hear a sneaky crack! Hard to know when to definitively say it is over haha.

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            • #7
              I've joked before about modifying the HeatSnob to use a microphone that would plot the noise of first crack. Then you would see how closely grouped your roast was.

              Don't get too hung up on the timing of the "end of first crack", like most things coffee roasting, best results are about consistency and repeatability more than an exact scientific point.

              Full first crack should be fireworks, if you can identify single cracks then first crack is over, other beans were just late for the bus.

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              • #8
                Yep, ignore the stragglers. And don’t worry too much about the time that first crack ends, worry more about the time and temp that it starts and trying to get the overall time it’s lasts as short as possible within reason.

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                • #9
                  Great info here thanks! I'm still a novice roasting with a bread maker and heat gun but still getting decent results

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Andy View Post
                    Interesting question. I think the answer will be very machine/roaster/bean/technique specific.

                    The "crack" is intrinsic to the bean, it's a great marker because near all Arabica beans will crack at 196C.
                    This means that if your machine/roaster/bean/technique is perfect all the cracks will happen in the same second with no trailing cracks after.

                    Of course, this never happens and the longer the first crack period runs, the more uneven your machine/roaster/bean/technique probably is.

                    The bulk of the cracks are in a bunch, when they spread out somewhat you would call that "the end of most of first crack" and yeah, a few seconds gap is probably right unless you want to count the amount of beans in the roast and then count the cracks.
                    That's good to know. I had my first roast using a clay pot few weeks ago. The first crack did not even appear.
                    After a few researches and trials runs, I learnt the initial temperature was too low and the beans were not roasted properly.
                    I do have now more consistent first crack signs but still working on my 'arm-moving' techniques to produce more evely roast.

                    Comment


                    • Andy
                      Andy commented
                      Editing a comment
                      Initial temperature isn't that important. Green beans have 10% water in them so nothing really happens in the roast till you get rid of that (ie: over water boiling temperature of 100C in the bean).
                      If you didn't get to first crack in your clay pot, look at the temperature it's at when first crack should be happening, it needs to be 200C odd.
                      Heat and agitation - it's all they need to roast well!

                    • BoP
                      BoP commented
                      Editing a comment
                      Andy does the speed of the drying matter? Or is it really only important to dry it evenly, no matter what speed?

                    • mason4035
                      mason4035 commented
                      Editing a comment
                      I should probably rephrase my comment. Lol.
                      Clay pot is prone to crack if in contact with direct flame as empty pot. I started with cool pot and small flame and not enough heat input. The first roast went for almost 40 mins and ended burnt beans but no crack.

                      "Heat and agitation - it's all they need to roast well!"

                      Totally agree :P. Using medium flame to start with now and increase the flame at around 190C, lower the temp at around halfway through first crack. Now my first crack usually kicks in at around 12-15 mins and finishes by 18-20 mins.

                  • #11
                    does the speed of the drying matter? Or is it really only important to dry it evenly, no matter what speed?
                    Read less, roast more, taste more.

                    There are no correct answers except what tasted good to you.

                    If you can roast twice in a row the same, then you have some consistency, you can then change one thing (drying time, C/per min, drop time/colour cooling speed etc etc) and taste the result. If it's better, then you are on the right track, if it isn't then back track and change one other thing.

                    Continue till you can't improve and that's as good as you, that bean and your equipment can do!

                    There is plenty of crud written about coffee on the interthingy, some by people trying to sound clever, some by people that like the sound of their own voice, some by people that regurgitate something they read but can't actually produce something drinkable. It's a minefield and will only lead to confusion.

                    If you are roasting commercially the best you can hope for is a roast that appeals to the average consumer, if you are home roasting you can get it to match your taste perfectly (with some practice and lots of notes so you can replicate it)

                    Trust your own taste buds to determine if what you are doing is good!

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                    • #12
                      Well said mate...

                      Mal.

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                      • #13
                        Originally posted by Andy View Post
                        Interesting question. I think the answer will be very machine/roaster/bean/technique specific.

                        The "crack" is intrinsic to the bean, it's a great marker because near all Arabica beans will crack at 196C.
                        This means that if your machine/roaster/bean/technique is perfect all the cracks will happen in the same second with no trailing cracks afte
                        Must have my probe in the right spot, my roasts consistently begin first crack at 196C!!!

                        Comment


                        • Andy
                          Andy commented
                          Editing a comment
                          Nice one.
                          There are a lot of variables in reading the number including probe variation and thermal mass around the probe, most setups will be somewhere around that number give or take 10C.

                          Personally I don't care if your probe reads 315C when it cracks, at that point you know the bean is actually 196C and whenever you see 310C you know 1st crack is soon. The actual numbers are not that important, knowing where you are is!
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