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Thread: Hmm, I suspect this is not going as planned

  1. #1
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    Hmm, I suspect this is not going as planned

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    Hey guys, armed with a $10 B&D 1200W popper, the CS starter pack, and a PID I use as a thermometer I was all set to use a "home alone" Christmas day to launch my home roasting empire. Oh yes my friends armed with this I intend to take over the world ... or at least stink my house out!!

    Now I must confess I feel like a complete idiot because Ive been involved in the "coffee scene" for a few years now and know my way around machines ok, grinders a bit, and certainly the techniques quite well. But home roasting I know NOTHING about other than what I can gather from the net.

    So Ive chosen the "Uganda Sipi Falls" as my first victim from the pack, poor little fellas if only they knew what they were in for! Popper goes on and I start pouring them in until they basically stop turning and I have to give them a wriggle on (I measured the amount later, I began with 85 g and it would have been about 40 g). It all went terribly quick, blow by blow (ie 1 min intervals) temps were 168/204/216 FC/232 SC and I stopped there so 4 minutes and the show was over! Well ok, roasted a little darker than I prefer but I thought Id just try brewing a shot to see roughly what the taste may be like once theyve had a rest. Holy Crap! It was HORRIBLE, 30 minutes later and Im still trying to get the taste off my tongue!! Ergh! Ok it was an absolute gusher but even then I wouldnt expect it to be THAT bad.

    Right, well maybe I had too few beans in there so Ill try again with 85g. This time it was 137/196/ F snaps (about 2:30)/ FC 212/225/243 stopped at 5 mins. The first and second crack just seemed to pretty much run together. Im pretty sure Im listening to the correct things as the finished roast is just a tad darker than I would normally buy. I can only emphasise again that I know NOTHING about roasting, but if I was to have a crack (excuse the pun) at the problem here I might be inclined to say its roasting too quickly? Typically I would buy roasted beans that have just gone into second crack, Id suggest this was pretty much Vienna and I was getting a LOT of the roast in the cup.

    Now my questions. Firstly, this doesnt smell at all like "coffee" as I know it, even the roasted coffee doesnt really smell like coffee. Whats the go with that??

    With 85g in the popper I had to stir them for quite a while (I think almost a minute) before they could keep going by themselves. My probe sits dead centre so shouldnt affect them rotating. Is this normal? Im suspecting the whole shebang is getting too hot too quickly but I also wonder if more beans could be kept going or if I would need to stir the pot for a while. Ive read people typically use 100g and I can give this a go but dont want to just waste them.

    Finally, yes I know the beans need to rest for a few days, but should they at least be "drinkable" immediately? I mean Im wondering if the first batch didnt do permanent damage to my taste buds *;D

    Thanks for the help. Oh, and Merry Christmas *:D

  2. #2
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    Re: Hmm, I suspect this is not going as planned

    Have you tried it after a few days rest? You might find the taste improving then. Also, what was the ambient temp when you did the roast? I find the ambient temp affects the temp a lot which is why I moved on to a corretto. There are ways you can try and slow down the roast a little (look for popper mods in this site) which could be as simple as removing the bottom cover, top cover, have a fan blowing across or from below, or could be as complex as trying to regulate the heating element in the popper.

    I started roasting in winter with a Breville Crazy popper and even then, the whole thing probably took 7 minutes from start to second crack... Got worse in warmer months and decided to go for a corretto...

    Ive never tried brewing immediately after a roast but immediately after roasting, the beans dont smell anything like what it smells like after some rest. Usually it starts smelling better after a day.

  3. #3
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    Re: Hmm, I suspect this is not going as planned

    Ok thanks for that. The OAT is 22 degrees. I just tried a 3rd lot, this time 100g which I think may be getting close to the limit of the popper as I was getting a few escapees. I may have been a wee bit harsh on my first batch as it was a shocking pour but I just ran with it. I tried to stop this last one a wee bit early at 4 mins, but still reckon it was into second crack. Seemed like a slight pause then sounded a bit like Rice Bubbles on steroids.

    Id have to say the overall smell is more like a grain store than roast coffee! Ill do some more research before the Grand Poobah bans me from the BeanBay for butchering too much perfectly good coffee!

    Edit: I can see how this could be a fascinating part of the whole farm-cup process. Now, just an hour or two later its interesting to compare the two batches. The first has an ever so slight hint of oil on the surface yet is only marginally darker than the final batch. Indeed the only really reliable way to tell them apart is the smell which is quite distinctly different; the former very clearly a much "darker" roast.

  4. #4
    Mal Dimal's Avatar
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    Re: Hmm, I suspect this is not going as planned

    Gday Pete,

    Theres a very good Primer on how to get the best out of a popper as a first time roaster here mate.... http://coffeesnobs.com.au/YaBB.pl?num=1174699442

    Has been put together by several CSers whose sum total of knowledge and experience is quite considerable, so is highly recommended as an informative read. Stick with it mate, the end results will eventually blow you away.... 8-)

    Cheers,
    Mal.

  5. #5
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    Re: Hmm, I suspect this is not going as planned

    Gday Mal, I saw that one, even copied and paste into a document I printed out and eagerly scurried into the workshop armed with. Was good advice. I think there were just a few things I was surprised with. My temp profile was WAY faster than Lucindas and many others I read. Maybe just because warmer on the day. I tried to do some research on what it tastes like immediately after roasting but couldnt find anything. The good thing is that now the last batch is beginning to actually smell like coffee so I reckon thats a start ;)

    If Ive blown my 10 bucks on this popper and have to lash out of a second hand bread maker you guys will never hear the end of my moaning :P

  6. #6
    Sleep is overrated Thundergod's Avatar
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    Re: Hmm, I suspect this is not going as planned

    If you want to persist with the popper for a while (I did) you need to modify it to lengthen the roast times.

    My first popper roast took 4:50 and my best modified one took 11:50.
    No electrical mods; all to do with cool air intake and heat dissipation.

  7. #7
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    Re: Hmm, I suspect this is not going as planned

    Quote Originally Posted by Thundergod link=1230170513/0#5 date=1230193382
    If you want to persist with the popper for a while (I did) you need to modify it to lengthen the roast times.

    My first popper roast took 4:50 and my best modified one took 11:50.
    No electrical mods; all to do with cool air intake and heat dissipation.
    Ok, well actually thats good then because mine pretty much mimicked yours then and I hadnt screwed up. Ill see how they go in a few days, and I cant expect it to be perfect first time I try. All learning I guess.

  8. #8
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    Re: Hmm, I suspect this is not going as planned

    I have just recently started using a coretto. Have been using a hot air popper for a couple of years. Try this link
    http://www.sweetmarias.com/airpopmethod.html
    It is counterintuitive, but the more beans you put in, the faster they heat up, to stretch out the roast add less beans. I ussually just pour them in till the circular motion begins to slow, however the popper may have a safety cut out that prevents the heat from staying on if you try this way. I disabled the safety switch on mine. But keep trying. I also dont always let my roasted beans degass, all I have noticed is a lot of "foaming" or crema when I brew. Actually, the flavor is not as good as if it had degassed, but better than tea.
    Besides, its your coffe, try it different ways and see what you like. keep roasting, john

  9. #9
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    Re: Hmm, I suspect this is not going as planned

    Ok, my wife and I had another go tonight, Zimbabwe Pezuru would be the victim this time. First batch, I unscrewed the black top off the machine as I thought it could be an easy way to lower the heat rise. Nope, boom it was all over just as quickly. Also only half survived the journey, the rest fell down into the (now open) machine.

    Right, time to pull out the drill! Drilled a series of 1" holes around the base and put in only 60g. The temperature climbed just as steeply at first, but around first crack it stalled! Managed to keep it going by covering up the holes with a sheet of paper and get it up to second crack where we stopped it.

    Last time we tried again with 100g (this time they WOULD stay in as the top of the machine was reattached after the first fiasco) Once again it climbed rapidly at first and first crack was around 3 min at 207, then we stopped it just going into a rolling second crack about 7:30ish (I forgot to tell my wife to write down the total time, she was the designated data-logger for the evening).

    Unlike the first beans, the smell is normal "coffee roasting" and with no wind tonight I expect the neighbours are very jealous. The whole exercise seemed much closer to what I was expecting.

    PS We DID actually drink the beans from the first try at this (as above) and to be honest they improved after a week or so. Not great but certainly had worse!!

  10. #10
    Sleep is overrated Thundergod's Avatar
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    Re: Hmm, I suspect this is not going as planned

    Are you using a chimney?
    One thing a chimney does is allow more room for the expanding beans.

  11. #11
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    Re: Hmm, I suspect this is not going as planned

    Behmor Coffee Roaster
    Quote Originally Posted by Thundergod link=1230170513/0#9 date=1230984019
    Are you using a chimney?
    One thing a chimney does is allow more room for the expanding beans.
    No I didnt have a suitable can etc to use. However with the popper assembled (unlike the first batch tonight) there werent any escapees with 100g so I didnt feel it was necessary. They needed stirring for the first 1-2 minutes so dont think it would take much more than 100g anyway.

    Pete



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