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Thread: 1st roast yay! (I think)

  1. #1
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2005

    1st roast yay! (I think)

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    Did my first roast this morning in the garage. Should have waited until later, but I had a day full of activities. Ambient temperature was about 10-12C (this might have affected the roast time). It seemed to take forever, although I didnt take any sort of timekeeping device with me. ::)

    The bean of choice was the enigmatic monsooned malabar. Why this bean? I dont know, just the challenge of making it work. From what I read, this bean works well at a lighter roast.

    I turned the popper on, and put the beans in. The popper comes with a butter tray/measuring cup. Started with a long chopstick to agitate the beans. The beans seemed light, and the air coming out of the popper had no trouble swirling them around. I took a temperature reading and it was at 164C within the first minute. I thought that it would take no time, boy was I wrong. It seemed the beans wouldnt take colour, and the popper was so noisy, I couldnt even hear the cracking. I think I got lucky pulling the beans out when I did, because to my surprise, they were a nice light roast. I looked over the beans, and noticed that they had cracked. Aroma of the roasted beans is a bit plain. Overall colour is a bit inconsistent from bean to bean, but that could just be the popper process.

    Excuse the flash, it brightens the beans way too much in the picture... 8-)

  2. #2
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2004

    Re: 1st roast yay! (I think)

    Congrats on getting the first roast under your belt.

    They do look very light in colour, but as you say, it might just be the flash.

    Did you hear 1st of 2nd crack at all? If not did you get much smoke? Smell and smoke are good nonvisual indicators of roast level.

    Fairly standard (wise) advice for a first roast is to continue roasting right through the various stages until the beans are pretty much black. This extended roast allows you to see first hand what happens to the beans at the various roast stages.

    It is also a good idea to break open a couple of the roasted beans to check for even colouring.

    One other thing you could do is weigh the roasted beans. Generally you lose 15-17% (generalistation) of the green beans mass through roasting.

    Did the mesh sock thingy work well?


  3. #3
    Senior Member robusto's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2005

    Re: 1st roast yay! (I think)

    Congratulations on the roast -- on two counts: 1) having done it and 2) done it amid circumstances which you initially found discouraging.

    Very unusual not to hear first crack. *You worry that with all that noise youll miss it, but *the cracks are very loud and distinctive, even above the ambient din. *Usually it begins as an isolated crack, like *snapping a dry stick, or the sparks from wood burning in a fireplace.

    After a few seconds, another, and another until they occur rapidly without pauses in between. Very unmistakable.

    Id advise using a timer, and seeing whether first cracks happen with 3 minutes.

    Also, I began using a chop stick, but now find the blunt end of a wooden spoon is more effective as a stirrer.

  4. #4
    CoffeeSnobs Owner Andy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2004

    Re: 1st roast yay! (I think)

    You did start with some tricky beans... these are very light weight and the rules change a little. Tomorrow you will have an idea if the roast is good, if it tastes "grassy" they were a little light.

    If the load in the popper was a little low the beans would rocket into a spinning frenzy... this is no good as they move too fast to get heated. I would guess you could have 10 beans in there all day and they would never get to first crack.

    When roasting in a popper I found the trick was to keep adding beans until the mass is just moving. As the beans loose water they will start to move around more and cook fairly evenly.

    If you add too many beans they will sit motionless and burn the bottom ones, this is where the stirrer comes in.

    I would suggest having a go with the colombian beans, they were graded to a large screen and will cook very evenly. You will want to pretty much cover the "shark fins" inside the popper with beans... if they move fast as soon as you turn the popper on then add a few more beans to slow it down. Then watch and listen.

    Keep playing, you will get there!

  5. #5
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2005

    Re: 1st roast yay! (I think)

    I reckon the ambient temperature was one of the sources of the problem. Being first thing in the morning, I was too excited and really forgot that if the temps low youll have a rough time of it.

    I was expecting first crack fairly quickly, and I thought I missed it when I took a quick check outside the garage. Smoke was a bit difficult to tell as well, since it seems that theyre doing hazard reduction burning this weekend, and the air is quite smoky.

    I reckon the malabar was a bit under-roasted, but it still was an interesting cup. There was a definite flavour profile in the shot. The top was extremely "earthy", almost like having a mouthful of sand (flavour, not grit :P). As I got down to the bottom, I was surprised by intense "cedar" (if you can imagine what cedar would taste like), as well as a hint of "smoked dried apricots" (like using hickory chips to smoke a batch of dried apricots).

    As a consequence, I got some time this arvo to try my hand again. This time I chose the Colombian. Measured out a level scoop, which I weighed out to be 60g. Headed out to the garage, and measured the temperature - 18 degrees. Started the popper and let it run a few seconds. Added the beans and put the popperdom on. It works reasonably well. Every 30 seconds or so I would remove the screen and break up the concentric circles of beans with the chopstick. Measured the bean temperature - 190C. Let it run a bit and heard 1st crack at about 7-8 mins. Let the beans go, and first cracked stopped. Checked temperature again, and it stabilised at about 205-210C. Waited till I got some good colour, and stopped the roast at 15 mins.

    Sample shot was good. Touch of fruitiness with acidic overtones. Majority of flavour was concentrated in the mid-palate (along the sides where sour is detected mainly). A friendly but generous aftertaste, coupled with a decent mouthfeel.

    Its hard to describe exactly the sensations and flavours, because you really have to compare it to something, and Im just really learning to explore the differences in beans.

  6. #6
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2005

    Re: 1st roast yay! (I think)

    Love the avatar.. "weve got nothing to say, so heres a guinie pig with a pancake on its head!"

    Those beans look like peanuts hehe. Dont worry though, I doubt ill have the guts to post my first roast on these forums as it will most likely be very, very bad. haha.

  7. #7
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2005

    Re: 1st roast yay! (I think)


    Havnt posted in a while, but thought Id say good work on that roast, especially after all the hard work convincing your missis.

    The beans are underdone by their colour. Which is surprising because the "sample roast" you took a picture of in your "mod" thread look a lot darker.

    Few things - how much did the beans weigh? how long did the roast take exactly (time them, its important)
    You mention that you used 60g? In a single roast in the popper? That seems WAY too light. If you use more then they move slower and roast faster, especially since youve got a chimney too.

    Your popper fan makes a difference too - I have found you need to balance a few things..
    1. ambient temprature
    2. fan speed
    3. beans weight
    4. amount of stirring required before beans move (upward and round) on their own
    5. time (use second crack)

    Once you figure out these things you will be able to predict how to alter the bean weight, time, and stiring (because thats all you can change). I live in Woodend too, so the ambient temprature when I roasted on Thursday night was under 10, probably closer to 6 considering we had a megafrost overnight. So I dont think thats effecting it that much.

    I have a couple of different poppers, a "Mistral" and a "Black and Decker". To highlight the difference a strong fan makes I gave these two a go:
    B&D - weak fan, cool ambient temp, 150gm beans, stir for a good 2 minutes before beans more upward on their own, 6min first crack, 12min second crack.
    Mistral - freaking strong fan (stronger than any Ive come across), cool ambient temp, 220gm (YES, thats right - 220!), stiring for about a minute till beans move upward on their own, 6 mins first crack, 15min second crack.

    So... if I had put 60g in the Mistral... it would have probably taken 15mins to get to first because of the airflow!! where with the D&B it would be less.

    As for 1st and second crack.... you WILL hear it. They crack, and snap - and you hear it. Ive not heard anyone who uses a popper say theyve never heard it because of noise. Close your eyes... use the force. You WILL hear it.

    Try adding more beans - and seeing how long it is before they start moving on their own. Try taking it to second crack, even if it takes what seems like an age (20mins can seem like an age if youre in the garage with the popper on). Dont go by colour - go by listening... you will hear the cracks... then there is a few minures where its the popper noise again... then youll hear them again.

    Good luck - hope some of this helps out.

  8. #8
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2005

    Re: 1st roast yay! (I think)

    Behmor Coffee Roaster
    The popper I use is a Chief brand, which is basically a Mistral in disguise. It has a very strong fan, and with 140g of beans, it doesnt take much agitation before the beans get moving vigourously on their own.

    When I took the picture of the bolivian, I noticed the flash made the beans very light. Something to do with the light reflecting off the shinier surface of the beans. Anyways, the first roast was with the monsooned malabar, which is notorious for not colouring as much. If you try to get a similar colour to the bolivian, the beans would be too far gone to drink. I wanted to try them with an American" roast. The shot produced a definite flavour profile. I got the wet cardboard on the top of the shot, but didnt give up. About halfway down the glass, I got intense flavours, coupled with crisp acidity. Ill be sure to try it a bit longer next time, since I know what Im doing.

    The popperdom works much better now that Ive put the chimney on. Theres always a little bit of lost chaff, but those really are tiny pieces. I have to get around to closing the end up a bit better.

    Heres a pic of the bolivian with the flash...Compare to the same beans in the other post, definitely makes a difference.

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