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Thread: Roasting - A Guide

  1. #1
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    Roasting - A Guide

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    I was thinking last night after looking at 2 of my roasts that were quite dark and a little oily, I wish there was something that would explain some of the roast colours better.

    As a rookie roaster and relatively new coffeesnob myself, I find there is heaps of information on all the roasting machines but not much about the different types of roasts. (apologies if its right in my face and Im just being blind)

    The snobs card is great but its also very small.

    I was thinking maybe something that had a sample colour (ie a bunch of beans) and an explanation of what you may find (eg more acidic, better for plunger etc) regardless of bean type if roasting to that colour level.

    A guide on the different regions and typical roasts for these regions would probably also be good.

    I would appreciate any advice or a point in the right direction. Id also be happy to write some information up if I knew a bit more.


  2. #2
    Senior Member flynnaus's Avatar
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    Re: Roasting - A Guide

    This one is pretty good Click here
    Generally
    Lighter roasts: more acidic, suitable for plunger, syphon and filter. Reveals floral and citrus flavours
    Medium roast: Some acidity - suitable for plunger and espresso. floral and fruity flavours
    Dark roast: Low or no acidity. Suitable for espresso and stovetop. Usually caramel and chocolates
    These arent hard and fast rules and you can expect variations depending on the bean, roaster and temperature profile.

    I dont think there is any substitute other than working it out for yourself. Its all part of the fun/experience and, as youve would have often read on these pages, it is your preference. I find I enjoy espressos made from lighter roasts but I dont like much acidity.


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    Re: Roasting - A Guide

    Thanks flynn, I will give that a look at.

    I know its all about learning as you go, but was thinking a good pictorial guide would assist some of us that need visual aids hehe.

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    Re: Roasting - A Guide

    As the Behmor is fairly new to this community, i dont think anyone has done a pictorial on it on this site, if you are interested in the roasting process itself there are some good guides set as stickys at the top of the roasters page, especially the corretto ones, they are good because they are an open top roaster typically so you can see the colour of the beans as it roasts, youtube is a great source too for roasting, tonnes of vids there, if its the actual colour your worried about, prolly the best bet is to have a look at some professionally roasted beans and ask the roaster how far they were taken, eg prior to, into or past sc. that should give you a base line to work off....... ;)

    Cheers
    warren

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    CoffeeSnobs Owner Andy's Avatar
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    Re: Roasting - A Guide

    Quote Originally Posted by 7F75607777786C6A190 link=1268182888/1#1 date=1268184103
    Generally
    ...and there lies the problem. I can roast an acidic bean dark and it will still be acidic. I can roast the same bean to the same visual colour and have little or no acidity. Colour is a rough guide to the expected flavours at very best, forget colour and use your taste buds.

    Its a little like cooking, you can buy a book that shows you how to bake scones but unless you have done it 100s of times and found your own tips, tricks and techniques the best you will ever get from a written recipe is average. (just ask your grandmother!)

    You really need to paint your own path. Make changes one at time and taste the difference. Keep plenty of notes and use some family and friends as a "sanity check" with some blind tastings.

    In time you will "find your roasting zen and feel the bean". You will also have a better idea on how to adjust your roast to add or remove a sensory trait.

    8-)

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    Re: Roasting - A Guide

    Listen to Andy he is spot on. Different profiles can result in vastly different tasting coffee, but with the same color. Likewise different beans can be different in color but actually a similar roast depth. For example Ethiopian yirg in my experience is very dark in color which has no bearing on how charcoal it tastes. At the opposite end some brazils will look like they have barely gone past first crack but in the cup have very little acidity, any deeper and bitterness will start to come through. Oil whilst indictivive of a roast that has got to second crack has limitations as an indictor of roast depth for the same reasons. Roasting equipment, profile, and variety all play a role how dark it needs to be roasted to show oil. For some reason proffesional roasters seem to get a bit of oil coming out at lighter roast depths then I do with my gene cafe.

    Imo bean texture is a better indicator then color. When the surface of the bean smooths out, and gets a more consistent color I know that Im nearing second crack and need to think about pulling the roast.

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    Re: Roasting - A Guide

    Thanks for the words of wisdom everyone. For some reason I was under the impression that the colour was the only factor, which was the reasoning behind a quest for some sort of guide.

    Looks like I should keep writing my notes and keep going as I am really and keep the testing going.

    Reading through the link flynn posted pretty much says the same as Andy. "no one element (appearance, sound, temperature, etc) can determine degree of roast. Most importantly - TASTE THE COFFEE - and see what that tells you about how it roasted."

    Now when I roast I must "feel the bean" hehe.

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    Re: Roasting - A Guide

    And yet its not that hard to tell whats going on. Its been a long time since i kept a log book, using a gene I normally just throw the beans in and roast away. I normally pull my roasts just prior to, or on the very first snaps of second crack. Mottleyness, the time since first crack and smoke being the main indicators, color in the mix somewhere.

    Adjusting to taste-

    Once you have done a roast, and if your not happy with the results or just want to experiment. Some basic parameters that impact on taste.

    -If your roast is too acidic, then roast it slower or darker.
    -If it is bitter then roast it lighter.
    -If it is has no acidity or bitterness but not much flavor at all, then roast it faster.
    -If it tastes both acidic and bitter at the same time then roast slower/gentler.
    -grassyness indicates that your reaching first crack too soon, woodness too slow.

    Get in the habit of doing a crunch tests following a roast, you can generally taste straight away how well you have done.

    hope this helps.

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    Re: Roasting - A Guide

    Quote Originally Posted by 445C59594C5D764448471F1E290 link=1268182888/7#7 date=1268198378
    Adjusting to taste-

    -If your roast is too acidic, then roast it slower or darker.
    -If it is bitter then roast it lighter.
    -If it is has no acidity or bitterness but not much flavor at all, then roast it faster.
    -If it tastes both acidic and bitter at the same time then roast slower/gentler.
    -grassyness indicates that your reaching first crack too soon, woodness too slow.
    a lot of my roasts lately have been too acidic, even if taken darker - based on your table, I guess I should roast slower. What affects this most - slower to first crack? longer time from first to second?

    Are there other factors in roasting (other than bean selection) that make the roast more/less acidic?

    Roasts have generally started first crack at 7-9 minutes (dependant on weather and heating), and second starts around 11-13.

    Any advice appreciated!

  10. #10
    Sleep is overrated Thundergod's Avatar
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    Re: Roasting - A Guide

    Quote Originally Posted by 08382F212F264A0 link=1268182888/8#8 date=1268683152
    What affects this most - slower to first crack? longer time from first to second?
    Time to FC is longer to time to SC so this would be the first and easiest place to stretch out your roast times.

    Quote Originally Posted by 08382F212F264A0 link=1268182888/8#8 date=1268683152
    Roasts have generally started first crack at 7-9 minutes (dependant on weather and heating), and second starts around 11-13.
    A very good roaster I know gave me a ballpark figure of 6 minutes between FC and SC.
    It looks like you could improve here as well.
    This, Im told, is when the sugars develop during the roasting process and the more time you give them (to a point) the better.

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    Re: Roasting - A Guide

    Sugars actually start to develop and caramalise at around 180c long before first crack starts. This should be kept in mind when making a profile that deliberatly slows down towards the end. Others may disagree with me but I see no reason to hurry through this stage of the roast, and I believe a steady increase from this point on has some *benefits in the cup.

    I dont think your stretch between first and second sounds to bad, but based on the profiles others use for heat gun roasting, most seem to be aiming for first snaps of first crack around 10-12 minute mark. Professional drum roasters are far more effective at drying, and getting heat into the center of the beans, which is why their typical profiles are quicker.

    My recommendation is to get in the habit of weighing your beans before and after roasting so you can see the weight loss percentage. As a starting point aim for around an 18% weight loss without roasting darker and see how you go.

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    Re: Roasting - A Guide

    Really interesting comments muppet man. Especially those on taste, and tasting a bean straight after roasting.

    I guess the main thing with the Behmor is that you cant adjust the profiles.

    I guess this was what I was querying in a round about way. Again everything is subject to taste but I like you reasoning behind the different roasts.

  13. #13
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    Re: Roasting - A Guide

    Quote Originally Posted by 332B2E2E3B2A01333F3068695E0 link=1268182888/10#10 date=1268697967
    As a starting point aim for around an 18% weight loss without roasting darker and see how you go.
    Its always a gamble though to generalise like this but I guess the first thing to work out, is what % loss you are achieving at the moment and then work from there.

    With my setup for example, Ive found that most of my roasts fall within the range of 15-16% weight loss for the best results in the cup but some beans lose more and some less, so it would be easy to start chasing your tail a bit when aiming for a specific weight loss target.

    Try not to push through to Rolling 1st Crack too quickly as this can cause unwanted flavours in the cup. Id be aiming at 12-13 minutes to kick off with and then cut the heat back so as to sneak up on the start of 2nd Crack about 5-6 minutes after Rolling 1st Crack has finished.

    This should get you into the ball-park where results in the cup will be very acceptable. Once youve gained confidence in roasting to this profile, you can start experimenting more and more with a bean type that you are very familiar with, to learn how altering one stage of the profile at a time affects the results in the cup. Be as observant as you can, keep accurate records of each roast batch and then taste impressions afterwards. That way you will develop an excellent roast log for all of the beans you roast and can be used for future reference...

    Main thing though, is to have fun.... :)

    All the best,
    Mal.

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    Re: Roasting - A Guide

    Thanks for the advice.

    Ive been getting ~15-17% moisture loss (varies a bit). Id also been looking at some commercial roast profiles, so thought I needed to go a bit quicker, but you make a valid point about commercial roasters getting the heat in/moisture out more effectively. Ill slow the next roast down and compare.

    Thanks again,
    Brett.

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    Re: Roasting - A Guide

    Yes, go with the flow and get all senses on the job. Its good to keep on one bean till you know how it should look and smell too. Roasting profiles are handy to start with, but best results are achieved when you use the force Luke.

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    Re: Roasting - A Guide

    Thanks to all for the loads of info so far..
    I did my 1st roast the other day with the help of Dave and just had the first cup.
    Well either I got lucky or Daves guidance was perfect (no Dave your guidance was perfect).

    Best cup I have made myself EVER.

    15 min later and I still have this beautiful flavour in my mouth.

    Cant wait till the next one.....

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    Senior Member Vinitasse's Avatar
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    Re: Roasting - A Guide

    Hey there Sando... I have attached a rather informative Roast Colour Chart that I have found very useful. It is from the latest issue of Roast Magazine. Hope it proves useful.

    Cheers,

    Bruce


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    Re: Roasting - A Guide

    Roast profile is probably more helpful to discuss than just bean colour. I share my roast logs on my blog along with photos of the green and roasted beans so you can see the end result. I would never roast a bean to the point where oils begin to show as i prefer a roast dumped at or before second crack, but it would depend on the quality of the beans you are using and your individual taste.

  19. #19
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    Re: Roasting - A Guide

    Quote Originally Posted by 39223D2A27737A4B0 link=1268182889/17#17 date=1292713268
    Roast profile is probably more helpful to discuss than just bean colour...
    I couldnt agree more.

    When we run training sessions, we roast to the same colour on five different profiles using the same bean. To the eye, theyre difficult to pick as different profiles. On cupping the results usually vary from absolute garbage to terrific in the cup. Those who roast solely on colour often get the former rather than the latter result. ;)

    While consistency of colour may impress some punters and is good for big corporations creating blends using tonnes of beans, it has little relevance in our world.

    Concentrate on retaining good records so that the results of experimentation and cupping can be replicated when you happen on something really special.

    Chris

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    Re: Roasting - A Guide

    Behmor Coffee Roaster
    Thanks for the feedback.

    I have Raytek Infra red thermo and have been taking the temp every 1 min. (see log file Roast #5) would you like to comment on the figures).

    Roasting with a Ikon and a 2000w HG.
    Preheat to 150C then HG is about 1" above the top of the "bucket".

    I am very happy with the results so far......but will keep trying to reach "nirvana" no matter how long it takes !! :D




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