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Thread: New and doing saucepan roasting

  1. #1
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    New and doing saucepan roasting

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    Hello :)

    Ive just started out recently with roasting thanks to AndyCJ bringing in some of his home-roasted stuff to the office. This promptly convinced me I had to try it too.

    I didnt want to become too fanatical too quickly so Ive just tried to use stuff I already had in the house for my setup at this stage.

    Hence I am roasting inside on the stove in a stainless steel saucepan. I should add, I try to do this on windy days or nights with all the windows and doors open. Luckily the kitchen/living room is the back room in the house so I can shut it off from the rest of the place!

    The first roast I did using Nicaraguan Maragogype completely turned to charcoal :( ... Id read something somewhere on the net about saucepan roasting which said to leave the lid on the saucepan and just stir every 1 - 2 minutes. Never going to do that again!

    Im only roasting small amounts at a time (100 - 150g) and the best results Ive had with saucepan roasting come from putting the heat at medium-high, using a small saucepan with approx. 120g of green beans, putting on an industrial strength oven glove (cos it gets very hot very quickly) and constantly stirring VERY rapidly with a big fat wooden spoon as soon as the beans are on the stove (not putting the lid on at any time during the process - and Im definitely noticing a muscle or two forming in my right arm!)

    It takes about 7-8 minutes until the beans are making a constant crackling noise (which I believe is second crack), but I am mainly going by the colour and amount of oil appearing on the beans. At the point I am happy with the look of them, I throw the beans in a big stainless steel sieve, run outside and shake the beans in the sieve til they cool down.

    Apart from my first disaster, Ive been pretty happy with the roasts and the taste of them. Ive tried Nicaraguan Maragogype, Timorese Organic Maubesse, New Guinea Peaberry and just today Kenya AA. The bean Ive found is the easiest and most even to roast on the saucepan by far is the New Guinea Peaberry. But for the taste I have to say the Kenya AA is my definite favourite.

    To brew the coffee I just use a moka pot and occasionally a plunger ... dont want to invest in an expensive espresso machine at this point but I am thinking of buying a Bodum Mini Electric Santos as Ive heard that vacuum brewing produces a very clean coffee ... and the brewers are relatively cheap.

    For grinding, Im afraid to admit it, but I used a really cheap Tiffany blade grinder, $7 on special from the supermarket. Anyone got any suggestions for a decent budget grinder which would be an upgrade from this (doesnt necessarily have to be electric)?

    All in all Ive been pretty satisfied with my roasting so far but would really appreciate any elses suggestions or experiences with saucepan roasting. And, if I were to change to another type of roasting, would do people think is better, popcorn popper or heatgun ... or something else?

  2. #2
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    Re: New and doing saucepan roasting

    Gday JenW,
    Nice to meet you, welcome to the fold. I havent tried stovetop roasting; my experience is in the Heat Gun and colander/sieve area. There are some photos in the roasting folder. I get very even results, and the mess is easy to clean because its all out side, better for smoke too.

    As for the grinder, if you make coffee you like, then stay with what you have, unfortunately, any improvement in equipment is going to cost you. Any of the electric chopper type grinders basically pulverise the bean. Unless you smash them to pieces every time, its difficult to consistently get the right grind size, because its all random contact.

    Next level might be hand grinder, looks like an old jack in the box sort of thing, with a winder handle. You could try a couple of the specialty coffee shops around town.

    From there, its in to the business end of the market. A decent conical burr grinder is going to set you back at least a few hundred sheckles. There are cheaper versions where the burr set-up varies, but they wont grind as well.

    Having said that, there is the “for sales” folder to watch, related sites who specialise in coffee equipment and the good old classifieds.


    Hope this helps

    Boris.

  3. #3
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    Re: New and doing saucepan roasting

    JenW welcome to CS from me too.

    We roast every now and then in a SS frying pan and I think it works a treat.

    I did a Barrista course once and the teacher advised the classs that Single origin Coffees dont make a good brew, So I brought along a couple of handfulls of green beans to class the following day and roasted them in a frying pan over a gas stove with extractors going at the Local TAFE......... he was very impressed and had to admit that his theory was all wrong...... As for grinders... hehehehe we started out with a Mortise and Pestle...... If you get a grinder get a good one, the benefits of it are a far superior cuping experiance.... Only problem is the cost, at times it is hard to justify, however in the long run it certainly is worth the money.

    FB

  4. #4
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    Re: New and doing saucepan roasting

    Jen, welcome!

    grinding consistency is a big requirement for espresso machines, but less so for say a plunger. I dont really know about Moka pot or vac pot, but I suspect they are more forgiving. If Tiffany is doing OK for you at the moment, then Id say shes probably fine. There are a number of cheaper but acceptable grinders, and many say the Starbucks Barista grinder is a good start to more consistency (it is apparently a Solis rebadged - once again I have no experience there) and comes in somewhere over the $100 mark, so its a bit more outlay than Tiffany was. As FB said, the more you spend the more precise and long-lasting your grinder should be, but you have to be able to justify it too.

    Onto options for roasting. I havent tried roasting in a popcorn popper, but from what Ive heard its less work but you lose more of the bean characters due to the rapid roast process. A heatgun is a bit of work to roast with, but I found the results quite good, and certainly the hands-on nature of it makes for a great consistency across different roasts on different days (something that I sometimes lack now Ive moved to roasting in a BBQ drum roaster). But its all good, and if your current roasting technique is producing the goods, then why change?!!? Compare a roast you do to one of AndyCJs (actually, cant remember seeing how hes roasting) that might tell you if its not working as well, is the same, or is better than, his process. The other thing that your description seemed to imply is that you could change the roast profile by lowering the heat, so it takes a longer time to get to the end-point, which should alter the taste somewhat - only you can tell if you prefer one or the other, and that is what this whole shebang is about, making something that you enjoy.

  5. #5
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    Re: New and doing saucepan roasting

    Thanks all for your replies and nice to meet you! *Looks like I just may have to wait and fork out for a decent grinder eventually. *Though a hand grinder might be worth considering as Im getting a bit fed up with the grind being half talcum powder and half gravel! *Is there much difference from one hand grinder to the next? *(Maybe I should be asking this in the grinders section ...)

    With the roasting ... guess I am fairly happy with pan roasting at the moment (until I grow one big arm that is ;) ) just was interested to see the comparisons. Seems like a lot of people do popcorn popper roasting and I was wondering why - might just be the convenience factor? Has anyone done a taste comparison between roasting methods, e.g. taste, roasting consistency?

  6. #6
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    Re: New and doing saucepan roasting

    JenW,
    WRT the hand grinders, like everything else, you pay for what you get. A "cheap" hand grinder may be as inconsistent as the electric chopper/ smasher. Definitely ask for a demo first and tell them what youre grinding for such as moka pot, espresso machine etc to make sure it does what you want. Also see how easy to clean, and replace burrs if necessary.

    I think youll find the more expensive hand grinders will be comparable to some of the lower end electric burr grinders. As Poundy says, if your happy with what youve got, why change. That said, if youre ready to upgrade, the sky and the plastic card are the limit.


    Cheers
    Boris.

  7. #7
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    Re: New and doing saucepan roasting

    Thanks for the advice Boris ... Ill go to a speciality store and get them to demo a few as Tiffany is rapidly losing her charm. ;-)

    cheers,
    Jen

  8. #8
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    Re: New and doing saucepan roasting

    JenW,

    I been doing saucepan roasting for about a year now. I started with poppers, but wanted a larger volume. I normally roast 300g~400g of green. My experience is the type of pan is important, it is better with one that heats up slowly and evenly. A wok, for example, is not quite ideal, as it has hotspot, and heats up too quickly. I use a deep soucepan with a glass lid, throughout the process I use a saute motion. As you noted, it is good way of developing your arm muscle.

    My setup is a portable gas stove, soucepan, a fan and a sieve for cooling. I roast outdoor, once a week, and an hours work for one week supply.

    slowpod


  9. #9
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    Re: New and doing saucepan roasting

    Hi Slowpod,

    Thanks for the advice! Im thinking I might try a bigger saucepan, might invest in a deeper cast iron one so I can roast more at once and hopefully get a more even result.

    cheers,
    Jen

  10. #10
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    Re: New and doing saucepan roasting

    Hi JenW, I have been roasting in a wok over a portable gas stove (cost $29.95) for years now. Every now and again I try one of the means sprouted here, but I have always returned to my trusty wok.
    I sit in the open bay of my shed - out of them wind and in winter in full sun.
    I find outside compulsory because of the smoke, and I find I can have finer control over the heat with a gas stove. I roast 150g at a time wirth a total time of 11-14 minutes. I try to get first crack within 5 minutes and then turn down the heat to accomplish an eleven minute total time. Sometimes the gas blows out hence the 14 minute roasts. Yeah three minutes to wake up to the fact that the gas has gone out. I always blame sitting in the sun!
    Ken

  11. #11
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    Re: New and doing saucepan roasting

    Hi Jen, I have been pan roasting for a short while now, generally targeting a 25-30 min roast (just into 2nd crack). I use a wide skillet type pan, although I am going to change to a deeper, narrower saucepan (say about 18-20 cm wide and perhaps about 10cm high). I use a whisk to stir the beans (maintianing constant motion) considering the structure of the whisk provides inherently greater agitation than a wooden spoon. It is probably worth spending a bit more on a good thermal pan that you only use for roasting. Then, dont clean it until it gets very dirty, but give it a wipe after each roast.

    Unfortunately, I only have an electric stove so adjustment is not as as accurate or instantaneous as gas.

    My process is to put the pan on the stove, set a temp level that I plan to use for the roast (low-medium) and slowly let the pan heat up to about 200 deg F (about 10 mins or so). At that point I throw the beans in and start stirring.

    As I have only been doing this for a short period of time, I havent fully mastered the process (but, hey, thats half the point of home roasting isnt it?).

    I still use a popcorn popper for roasts also - 4-5 min roasts into 2nd crack.

    I then blend both pan roasted and popper roasted beans to get a complementary blend of good bodied (pan) beans and higher acid/sharp (popper) beans - the results are fantastic.

    I did a 5 bean blend last week, with a Brazilian Daterra & PNG pan roasted base with popper roasted Guat/Brazil/Costa Rican beans. One of the better roasts I have done.

    Cheers

    Patrick

  12. #12
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    Re: New and doing saucepan roasting

    Hello!
    I am using a popper and I looove it!

    I was given the breville burr grinder and it seems to work fine in my gaggia gran. I saw them in target and they are $70 new. In case your budget is small like mine :)

    Clarexican

  13. #13
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    Re: New and doing saucepan roasting

    Hi Ken & Patrick,

    Thanks for sharing your wok and pan roasting adventures - good to find out how others go about it! Ken, I know what you mean with trying to get an even heat ... I have to keep moving mine around on the stove so that all the beans cook at the same time, otherwise some are ending up scorched and others still light brown. Im trying your technique of adjusting the heat to roast slower towards the end, which has helped, thanks!

    I did actually finally go out and buy a popcorn popper (when Kmart had 15% everything) and have been doing some nice even roasts with it but I still think I like the pan roasted taste better, cant really put my finger on what it is but there is something different!

    Patrick, I really like your idea about blending the pan roasts with the popcorn roasts, Im gonna give that a go for sure as I just find the popcorn roasts lack something ... cheers for that!

    Jen

  14. #14
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    Re: New and doing saucepan roasting

    Hi Clare!

    I have to say, I do like my popper too, it is a lot easier to do the roasts with and get them to turn out very even. Just with the pan roasting you can see the beans changing colour more easily so it seems like you have better control over the roasts ... and the taste is a bit different (Im sure Im not imagining it! ;) )

    Thanks for the tip about the Breville Burr Grinder ... Ill check it out ... cos, yes, I am on a bit of a budget :(.

    cheers!
    Jen

    p.s. I like that eatstuff blog of yours ... Im going to have to check out some of those places next time Im in Sydney, Im getting hungry just reading about them. ;D

  15. #15
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    Re: New and doing saucepan roasting

    Hey Jen,

    That is so sweet of you :), I have only just started my blog... I hope to go to some better restaurants soon :)

    I might have to give a pan roast a go too :)

    Clarexican

  16. #16
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    Re: New and doing saucepan roasting

    Behmor Coffee Roaster
    I havent gotten off my lazy butt yet, but I plan to get a narrower (say, 18cm) but higher sided pan/pot for my stovetop roasting. I currently use what I guess is called a skillet/frying pan, and agitating the beans with a whisk often sees them flying everywhere.

    I would imagine that a good pot would allow you to constantly stir/agitate at a slightly higher heat with a lower chance of scorching.

    I roasted a blend of Ethiopian Harar Mao Horse (both pan and popper roasted), Brazilian Daterra (pan and popper) and a small amount of Kenyan AA (popper) - fantastic blend for espresso and milk based drinks. The Harar is great as a SO shot, and the Kenyan, as a SO, is full of fruit on the palate, but a little interesting.

    Cheers

    Patrick



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