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Thread: How do you train your ears to hear the cracks

  1. #1
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    How do you train your ears to hear the cracks

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    I am a novice roaster and I when I roast on my new Gene Cafe I am not yet 100% when I hear first and especially second crack. What are they like? How do you train your ears to hear one?
    I tried to roast some of Decaf from bean bay (which I got from Chris) and I am not sure I heard the SC reliably. I set 230C/20min and what I thought was SC happened at about 17min. Ambient temp is 20C. Does that look credible?
    What did you guys do when you were starting to roast? How did you train your ears?
    Ed

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    Re: How do you train your ears to hear the cracks

    I have never roasted decaf in my Gene, but have "heard" that they are harder to roast from hearing the crack and monitoring the colour.

    Try a well processed, *large bean, non decaf bean to start with.

    Depending on temp / profile / your Gene, you will hear FC as a fairly pronounced popping. You wont mistake that. *Assuming your FC stops and you get to SC, it will sounds more like the crinkling of paper, softer cracks.

    Again - depending on all the variables, *on average I get to FC around 11-12 mins and SC around 14-16 mins

    B

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    Re: How do you train your ears to hear the cracks

    I think first crack is like a pop, second is like a snap. do a roast til they show oil, and you should hopefully have heard both along the way. I suspect sometimes people pull before SC comes, and wonder where SC was. Ill add I dont know anything about gene cafe, so cant comment in relation to that.

    damian.

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    Re: How do you train your ears to hear the cracks

    hi Chatres
    The decaf is a difficult bean to listen to as the FC and SC noises are much softer than other bean varieties.
    As far as how to learn, i guess its a matter of focus and concentrating on what sounds emerge or change from the normal sound of the roast process.

    With some beans it is very simple as they are quite loud, i dont have a Gene Cafe so cant comment on how easy they are to hear using this roasting method but for me with a corretto i just tend to focus on the ambient noise of the process and then you will hear the cracks stand out against the noise.

    Mal

  5. #5
    Senior Member Dennis's Avatar
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    Re: How do you train your ears to hear the cracks

    Hi Chartres

    Decaf is certainly a lot quieter than many other beans, and if it originates from some of Andys recent offerings, its better if you stop the roast short of 2nd crack. If youve roasted this batch into second crack, then thats a good thing, as you now know how close its getting.

    FC sounds a lot like popcorn; second crack more like crinkling cellophane, or snapping match sticks. The more you use the gene the more accustomed youll become with the sounds. I think theyre a great unit.

    Interestingly, when I used the gene I often found it easier to identify FC and second crack when I would stand a few metres away from the roaster - maybe give that a go?

    Cheers!


  6. #6
    Senior Member Lizzie's Avatar
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    Re: How do you train your ears to hear the cracks

    Hi Chartres.. FC and SC are very difficult to hear with my Gene, particularly if i have her set up under the rangehood.
    apart from the "cracks" there are also a few distinctive aromas/puffs of smoke which indicate transition from one stage to the other, and i use those more than FC and SC.

    Dennis is right, though: often the sounds from inside the Gene are easier to hear if you stand a bit away from the noises the motor/fans make.

    i also agree with Ben: start your discovery with some nice big ( and hopefully cheap!! ) beans and roast them until the oil starts spotting... throughout the process keep note of what you hear/smell/see at what time.
    then repeat the process quite a few times, to see if the sounds/aromas/sights are repeatable and were indeed indicators of the roasting process .

    it might sound wasteful, but it will help your learning curve. ;)

    decaf is hard to roast, as it has different aromas, the colours are darker and it can easily be overdone.
    i generally put mine at 228 for 20 mins, get FC/increase in volume of bean-mass around 12m, then moderate the temp to 223 and pull about 4 mins later, when i smell the beginnings of SC.

    good luck and enjoy the process!

    L

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    Senior Member askthecoffeeguy's Avatar
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    Re: How do you train your ears to hear the cracks

    heres a method that I use on my gene - its not infalable and apparently ideal roasting temps can vary from machine to machine:

    try pre-heating the gene cafe to 100Cwith the drum inserted but no beans inside then add the green and roast at 235C

    first crack should appear with most beans around the 11 or 12 min mark, signified by loud popping sounds, and second crack 3 or 4 mins after, acompanied by a puff of smoke as the internal oils combust and a sound not unlike tin foil being rubbed together

    remember that the roast continues to cook a bit as it cools so pull your roast at the first signs of second crack

    I allow the cool down cycle to do its thing but others use fans etc to do the same job

    if youre not sure preset the time to 15.5min at the above temperature and then experiment timewise from there with say 30secs either way with additional roasts, and youll soon see a difference in the beans and ideally be able to taste the difference in the cup

    cheers,

    pat

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    Re: How do you train your ears to hear the cracks

    Quote Originally Posted by 426368686F75060 link=1234414268/4#4 date=1234422509
    Interestingly, when I used the gene I often found it easier to identify FC and second crack when I would stand a few metres away from the roaster - maybe give that a go?
    thanks for advice, Dennis, I will certainly give it a go. I guess my problem for starters was that I am not quite sure what Fc and SC should sound like and when they are not very obvious and I am not very experienced it makes it hard a bit, I guess. But from what I heard in YouTube FC and SC were quite obvious. I would have heard that, I guess. I guess its the beans..



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    Re: How do you train your ears to hear the cracks

    Quote Originally Posted by 2B39213E222F29252C2C2F2F2D3F334A0 link=1234414268/6#6 date=1234436496
    if youre not sure preset the time to 15.5min at the above temperature and then experiment timewise from there with say 30secs either way with additional roasts, and youll soon see a difference in the beans and ideally be able to taste the difference in the cup

    cheers,

    pat
    Hi, Pat!
    I will try to resort to this kind of experimentation only when I completely fail to hear the cracks... I hope I dont have to do this, as I honestly dont have as much time as I would want and that would require to do all the tests ;-)

    Anyway,
    is there any patters in terms of which beans (washed/dry, origins, etc) would crack louder and which beans would be quieter? I suppose blends are out of question anyway, at this stage. If it comes to that, Id rather buy some easy beans first to get some experience.

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    Senior Member Koffee_Kosmo's Avatar
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    Re: How do you train your ears to hear the cracks

    I have conducted an experiment to reproduce the ticking/cracking sound roasting coffee beans make

    I sprinkled salt on the stove hotplate waited for it to pop and if I am not mistaken it sounds pretty close

    Well the sound is pretty close to ticking coffee cracks in sound also in volume
    The emphasis is on the word ticking at a double pace of of a clock ticking

    Hope it helps

    KK





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    Senior Member GregWormald's Avatar
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    Re: How do you train your ears to hear the cracks

    Tell your ears if they fail to hear the cracks, youll "do a Van Gogh" on them!
    That should perk em up.

    Greg :D

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    Re: How do you train your ears to hear the cracks

    Chartres
    I have found that all beans crack quite loudly anyway, some louder than others but all much louder than decaf, although having said that, i occasionally get a decaf batch with loud FC

    Mal

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    Re: How do you train your ears to hear the cracks

    Quote Originally Posted by 43766163536B7669656860040 link=1234414268/10#10 date=1234518945
    Tell your ears if they fail to hear the cracks, youll "do a Van Gogh" on them!
    That should perk em up.

    Greg :D
    I am not the only one, it seems. Greg Pullman wrote in his review that "Those with plenty of Gene experience claim [cracks] they learn to hear them and Id agree that my later roasts were easier in this regard than my first; however its a struggle at best and impossible at worst, and the inability to do this accurately and consistently is a big downer in my books.."


  14. #14
    Senior Member Dennis's Avatar
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    Re: How do you train your ears to hear the cracks

    Quote Originally Posted by 656E677472746375060 link=1234414268/12#12 date=1234742192
    I am not the only one, it seems. Greg Pullman wrote in his review that "Those with plenty of Gene experience claim [cracks] they learn to hear them and Id agree that my later roasts were easier in this regard than my first; however its a struggle at best and impossible at worst, and the inability to do this accurately and consistently is a big downer in my books.."
    Hmmm...and I would like a coffee machine, or even a tamper, that doesnt require any learning. But then, where would the fun be? ;)


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    Re: How do you train your ears to hear the cracks

    a bit of update
    I have done few roasts with my new Gene Cafe in the past few days.
    What can I say, hearing cracks was a challenge for me for all of three different coffees I was roasting (Decaf, some blend that I picked from Chris at TalkCoffee and PNG Grade A). So I was relying on colour, time, appearance, smoke, etc... I think the result wasnt too bad for the first go. I was roasting 200g of beans each time....
    The I decided to go with 300g, the max. It was PNG, grade A, washed. And I must say when I roasted 300g batch the cracks were more pronounced, smoke was clearer, I could clearly hear FC, I could clearly hear SC, but, theres a big BUT there. Its hard, I think, at least to my not quite trained ear, to hear very first cracks of SC... all in all I think the roast might be acceptable, but I guess I have taken it a bit further than I initially wanted - some oils appeared on a couple of beans by the time I started cooling. It ended up CS10-11. I guess I have to rely on appearance as well as sound when roasting further.
    Will give coffee a go when it rests a bit

    and once again, it seems that the size of batch here matters quite a lot... even though Id think 200g vs 300g shouldnt be that big a difference

    Ed

  16. #16
    Sleep is overrated Thundergod's Avatar
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    Re: How do you train your ears to hear the cracks

    Quote Originally Posted by 29222B383E382F394A0 link=1234414268/14#14 date=1234742783
    even though Id think 200g vs 300g shouldnt be that big a difference
    I havent experienced exactly what you have but for me the difference between a 600g and 700g batch was enough to make a routine roast difficult to control.

  17. #17
    Mal Dimal's Avatar
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    Re: How do you train your ears to hear the cracks

    Quote Originally Posted by 437F6279737265707873170 link=1234414268/15#15 date=1234743580
    I havent experienced exactly what you have but for me the difference between a 600g and 700g batch was enough to make a routine roast difficult to control.
    Ditto for me TG but different size batches with my particular Corretto. I think you reach a point where you just cant inject enough heat at the "ideal" rate to allow you to have complete control over the roast. Same for the other direction too with small batches.... Too much thermal energy available for the size of the batch. With the Breville Big Loaf BM and my trusty Hi-Lo version of the Ryobi HG, 750-800g batches seems to be the sweet spot with the smaller sized batches for mainly SHB and other tough/dense beans.

    When my original Aldi HG died, it took me quite a while to establish a new sweet spot with my setup, so as always, pays to experiment a bit... 8-)

    Mal.

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    Re: How do you train your ears to hear the cracks

    Behmor Coffee Roaster
    This afternoon I must have accidentally measured out 500g instead of my usual 600g.
    The batch suffered some tipping and the odd burnt bean.

    As Im currently using a bowl and spoon again without any temperature readout on the bean mass, a variation of 100g does not help.



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