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Thread: Newbie gets Good roast

  1. #1
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2004

    Newbie gets Good roast

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    Hi All. Just recently joined and am just getting started in all this.
    I just completed my first “good” roast.
    I only wish that I was one of the guys in Melbourne that got to go to roastings, toastings, cuppings, etc. That’s OK however because I used to wish that there was a roaster within 100k so I could get fresh roasted beans. Alas this is not the case. Importantly the good news is threefold. 1- I don’t care that there are no roasters nearby as now that I have been roasting my own I would Never go back to buying roasted beans. 2 and 3 I have two sources of green beans now. Coffeesnobs where I obtained most of the information I wanted to actually try roasting and Capricorn Coast Coffee is only 30 k from my home. The manager there is kind enough to supply me with green beans as well. I bought 5 kilos of beans and decided to do roasting tests.
    I started off with 150g (about 1 cup) of beans for each roast. Used a wire colander in a SS bowel and the infamous XU1 heat gun. Out of 5 roasts I only had one not drinkable. Holding the gun 50-75mm form the beans ( high heat) was getting me to fast crack rapidly (7 minutes +). I never actually heard 2nd crack and by 8-9 minutes would start to turn too dark. My first batch, the darkest, was very oily and dark and smoked lots. It produced decent FP coffee, but I thought tasted a bit dark and had a definite acidic finish My second batch was better as I pulled the gun back a bit and got it to around 9 minutes, pulled it off just as I was seeing a bit of oil and it was pretty good, but had gone a little further than I wanted by the time I cooled it (pouring between 2 colanders in front of a fan). Roast 3 was a failure as started out on low heat then powered up to high, but didn’t roast it much past 1st crack. Tasted green or I suppose “Grassy” is the term. Roast 4 I managed to get a bean that was dark, but only the slightest trace of oil. Good, but not as dark as I like. Roast 5 went a little dark.
    Now I’m basically just eyeballing these beans and getting acceptable coffee each time, but with no control. Hard to fine tune. The difference of 10 seconds near the end of the roast was critical and hard to judge. Fortunately, Warren, on another thread suggested that I back the gun off more AND use 300 g of beans instead of the 150 I had been using. Roast number 6 using 300g of beans, the gun about 150mm from the beans, constant stirring. After about 4 minutes the beans were changing colour and starting to release lots of chaff material. I then started moving the gun around from 50-75 mm from the beans and constantly stirring with a wooden spoon. 1st crack was reached at a little less than 9 min. Now this is where things started going just to fast for me before with only 150g of beans with the the roast actually completing in less than 9 minutes. But with the greater mass of beans I had greater control and things happened slower. It was easy to hear the second crack at a total time of about 11.5 minutes. Around 30 seconds later the beans had a nice even light coat of oil and I stopped the roast. Perfect! Or at least I can proclaim that they look perfect as they look exactly as I wanted them to look and Im confident I can do it again.

    What I learned (so far)
    1. Start off slower and allow beans to accumulate heat gradually before driving harder.
    2. Aim for a first crack of around 9 min. I found that if it reaches it much sooner things will end up happening too rapidly to control. (for me)
    3. Use at least 300 g of bean. I have no doubt that one could do 1/2K at a time, but 300g is just right for now.
    4. I cannot comment on an espresso as I am waiting for delivery of my Silvia and Rocky. Only have a stovetop unit at the present. Both that and the FP produced the nicest tasting coffee I have ever made. I’m hooked on roasting.
    5. I see no reason to buy a roasting machine that you must still watch and stop it at just the right time. Why have to purchase and clean another machine? My only mess is a cooled pan, colander, heat gun and wooden spoon to put away.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2004

    Re: Newbie gets Good roast

    Hi YT

    I agree wholeheartedly with your findings with timings against the size of the roast. *I only started roasting 2 days ago and my first batch was raw. *:-X

    I figured after the first attempt that I shouldnt be a chicken and push on into second crack - which after reaching once and knowing what to expect is much easier now.
    I find that smoke really builds as you start to hit second crack and then almost pours out as it starts to roll, but dont necessarily need to stop there. *I have found that I get the colour and taste that I was expecting at 15 seconds past "rolling" 2nd crack. (I back off with the HG as the smoke builds and coax the last bit of the roast)
    Once this is done I drop my colander into a bucket with a vaccuum attached to the bottom and whisk for around 30 seconds at which time the beans are cool enough for me to put my hand into.

    Im going to try and move my operation further down the yard though - the smoke is fairly invasive and the chaff is pretty messy too :)

    I also found that bringing the beans inside too early also brings the smoky smell in. *Im now leaving the beans outside for a couple of hours to air and then leave them until the following day to make my coffee.


  3. #3
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2004

    Re: Newbie gets Good roast

    Good tip about leaving the beans outside for awhile after roasting.Trouble is so far I cant wait to run inside with them and wave them under everyons nose
    Cheers, YT

  4. #4
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2004

    Re: Newbie gets Good roast

    If youre planning on freezing any of your output then bag them up as soon as they are cool and straight into the freezer. Using this process beans frozen for 2-3 months will be almost indistinguishable from fresh roast. NOte this does not apply to ground beans!

  5. #5
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Sandringham NSW

    Re: Newbie gets Good roast

    Behmor Coffee Roaster
    Not sure if I like the idea of freezn the beans.
    Have experimented in various containers and they always seem a little more brittle.
    As an espresso I think that you will find a difference in taste. Possibly not as much difference in the milk based drinks. You will also have to play with the grinder setting. Obviously, do not grind them when frozen. Careful about any moisture on the outside of the bean before grinding.

    However my thoughts on freezn the beans are below:
    Once frozen the structure of the bean might change.
    Most modern freezers are frost free.
    They suck moisture out of the freezer compartment, hence no frost.
    This action might also suck out the moisture from the beans and have a tendency to dry them out. The bean moisture content migh be reduced.
    It might also be difficult to ensure a container in the freezer is air tight.
    Suggest to simply roast or buy enuf beans to last a week or so.

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