Post By LeroyC
Post By simonsk8r
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Behmor and Lighter versus Darker roasts
Recently I bought a Behmor and Iíve been experimenting with different profiles, with a few different beans. Iím trying to understand the relationship between profiles and roast colour.
For example, using Indian Elephant Hills beans, the default P1 gives a much lighter roast than the default P3. The temperature ramp graphs Iíve seen indicate that P3 doesnít start out full power, whereas P1 does. So, what I think is going on is that if beans are brought up to temperature quickly, then the sugars etc arenít roasting for as long, before first crack. And so the roast is lighter in colour.
Thinking this was right, I tried a default P1 with Ethiopian Yirgacheffe - and it came out quite dark. Probably because the beans are smaller, not sure. I then tried P3, same result.
I know thereís also the time leading to second crack to take into account - and that itís not just about light or dark colour that makes a good roast. But, some beans have nice complex flavours that can get squashed when theyíre roasted quite dark - and then other beans donít get interesting until theyíre roasted dark. Iíve started experimenting with going manual as soon as first crack starts, as a way of stopping roasts going quite as dark as they sometimes turn out on the auto settings.
So, roasting experts - am I on the right track with my thinking - counter-intuitively higher temperatures equals lighter roast - if a test roast comes out darker than I want, I need to try to reduce the overall time of roasting, which means getting the beans up to temp quicker? And likewise, if a roast is too light, I need to prolong the time to first crack?
here's a good thread: coffeesnobs.com.au/home-roasting-tips-tricks-ideas/41319-behmor-plus-roasting-approaches.html
you may find that cutting power to 25% at first crack helps you end up with a lighter roast. adding *too much* heat during first crack tends to skyrocket your roast.
Hey there. Well, yes and no, but not really. You are at the entrance to the rabbit hole my friend, you need to read, read, read. The CS thread that ‘woodhouse’ has shared above is excellent. For some more structured information about coffee roasting read all the resources on these websites:
Originally Posted by HowardJones
Hey mate, hmm I wouldn't get too much into what profiles produce what depth of roast as such.
It's not that higher temps produce a lighter roast, any profiles will produce any depth of roast and this is dependent on how long they're left roasting/how high the bean temp eventually gets.
With the Behmor the preset P1, P2 etc all have different times they roast for, so P1 has the quickest total time on the clock, so maybe this is why it seems P1 roasts lighter? Am not sure, but I never really look at that time. I pretty much exclusively use the 1lb option (which extends the time), even for 250g-300g roasts, and just stop the roast when I need to.
I'm learning that harder more dense beans generally respond better to higher upfront heat (P1/P2, although I never use P1, feel its a bit too much heat and no heat drop off at the end), and softer less dense beans need a slower ramp up (P3, P4, P5). So some beans may roast faster when using the higher upfront heat option like you've experienced, and others not so much.
When you end the roast is up to you, not the roaster, so there'll always be time left on the clock when I end mine. (I use a separate stopwatch to time my roasts and FC/SC stages, easier to count up than downwards like the Behmor clock).
Not sure if that helped, but experiment and have fun with it anyways mate
Well as Leroy said, it's a rabbit hole isn't it.
I did a lot of reading on this forum, and others, before and after getting the Behmor, I guess what I've been looking for is not so much a bunch of settings to use, but an overall logic to why different settings are used. For example, the roast is coming out too dark, what to try or adjust? Maybe, roast it for less time I guess - but what if it's already well on the way to being too dark before C1?
And I think Simon you're on the right track with the bean type and what they need. I'm pretty ignorant about that side of it still.
Experimenting is fun, for sure. I've found that I can get more control over the end result with larger batches - at the suggestions of a co-roaster, I'm doing 350g batches now. I go to manual at first crack, and try to judge from the colour what P number to hit, or even just leave well enough alone, and I check the B temp regularly. I keep a log of what settings and timings I had for each roast, and how it turned out.
I know there are no easy answers, and nothing is as simple as "always do this, never do that". Roasting is a dark art, but at least my last few batches of Sulawesi Blue and Yirgacheffe have been delicious
Most aspects of coffee production, roasting or brewing, can become bogged down with chemistry, technobabble and guff. That's not to say this stuff is irrelevant, but deciphering its relevance is a long term process of gaining experience
While I haven't used a Behmor, it works on the same principle as most roasters - applying heat over time. And different combinations of of heat and time will do different things to different raw product – the beans.
When it comes to roasting, I reckon a great analogy is cooking beef. Depending on the type and quality of the beef, and the desired eating experience (rare or medium or well done or falling off the bone) you can then choose different cooking methods (or profiles). Chuck steak? Potentially horrid on the BBQ - but great in the slow cooker. Prime Wagyu rib-eye? Rare on the BBQ – high heat, shorter time. Yummmmm
How do you know which to use? A cookbook will give you some good general ideas – but in the end, only you have the exact meat, the exact pan or the BBQ, and the exact taste expectations for what you want. So the process is then really down to your trial and error. Same with coffee roasting.
I would start with a good amount of one type of bean – perhaps a PNG or Peru or even the India Elephant Hills. Mixing up different beans or blends at the beginning just leads to roast tasting confusion. Perfect one bean - then start playing with others.
I believe that Andy (owner of CS’s and very experienced Behmor user) has suggested that 400g and P2 is a great place to start for general type beans like above with the Behmor. So I would roast one batch of the beans you have in this way to get to the very first snaps of second crack. Write the time it took. Taste the results as espresso and then a FW and write them down. Do another batch 1/2 hour later, but go 30sec longer into second crack. Taste & write. Final batch hit cool 30sec before the second crack time.
Some people freak out about the cost of 3x 400g batches and try to do 100g batches etc, but this is counter intuitive IMHO. 100g is hard to roast, and only gives you a couple of shots, and you won’t see the roasts develop of the next fortnight. 3x 400g gives you about 4x 330g roasted - three bags. And will cost about $15 in greens - less than you’ve been paying for 250g up till now!
3 bags will also give about 2-3 weeks sampling as the beans age - often beans improve over time. And very rarely will you get undrinkable coffee. And if you do – chalk it up to a learning experience! How much would a day roasting course cost? $300? That’s a fair few kg of beans to play with even if you discard one bag in 10!
Anyway, back to roasting. A fortnight later, rather than go to a whole new setting - add or take away 50g of beans and repeat the above process. The change in mass will speed up or slow the roast slightly (I think less bean mass gives a slower roast in the Behmor - which is counter-intuitive) and therefore will change the taste slightly without changing roaster settings. Maybe a fortnight later - change settings if you haven’t found one you like.
This is the process I’ve been doing (well, roaster differences aside!) for years on my corretto with each new batch of beans.
FWIW, I have found that tasting all roasts as espresso and then a flat white is the best way to learn, and then you adjust 'cooking technique' to suit your taste. Is it too sour as espresso? Then the roast time should be slowed a little next time. Too muddy or flat? Sped up a little. Roast, taste, adjust. Repeat.
I have also found that in general, most beans (90% or so) will roast well on a general standard profile to just the first snaps of second crack for me. The exceptions are the Ethiopians that seem to like a hotter, faster roast – and the Brazilians like a slower one. Trying to sort out origin, hard beans, soft beans, density moisture etc just adds a whole extra layer of complexity that is slightly irrelevant at this stage with the types of roasting we’re doing. Using a 250kg roaster? Much more important!
Anyway, that’s my 2 cents - feel free to try or ignore
But it is a great journey - enjoy! And let the taste be your guide.
One of the best posts I've read regarding roasting, brilliant stuff Matt, should be stickied I reckon! Got so much out of that!
Cheers Simon. Glad you found it helpful.
We're all on a roasting journey – and sharing just a little knowledge & experience can be a great help to others. I've received a lot of assistance from other CS'ers over the years, which I've really appreciated. It can be a great forum like that
Spot on Matt...
The only addition to Matt's excellent post is to remember that all roasts take a while to develop fully. If it smells green - it is...
Light roasts take longer than dark roasts to develop - which is also why they trade off less crema for more regional characteristics and greater subtlety.
Enjoy your journey.