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Thread: A few pointers for a first time roaster

  1. #1
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    A few pointers for a first time roaster

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    I just got my starter pack of green beans, they include Brazil Santos, Zimbabwe Pezuru estate, Ethiopian Zambella Naturals and Ugandan Bugiusu AA.
    I have a crazy popper and I was hoping someone could give me a few pointers as to which beans to start off with? is there a more forgiving one amongst these? Also a suggestion as to how much to roast at a time.
    I have read a number of forums and posts about roasting with a popper, but I just thought if there was some one on this board who could give me advice about any of these specific beans Id be that little bit further ahead.

    One other thing is de gassing, I have had commercial roasters and internet forums telling me how important it is to use freshly roasted beans, but i have read that some beans take a week or so before the flavour develops. Is it different from bean to bean type, or is this "straight out of the roaster and into the coffee machine fresh" thing all just hype?
    Anyone have de gas experience with any of these beans?
    cheers, Aaron

  2. #2
    Mal Dimal's Avatar
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    Re: A few pointers for a first time roaster

    Gday Aaron,

    A quick search of the forum will reveal a wealth of information about the subjects you have raised. One of the most obvious being this one... http://coffeesnobs.com.au/YaBB.pl?num=1174699442

    When youre starting off, dont try to over-complicate matters; just roast one bean type at a time until you believe youre getting the best flavour possible from that variety; keep good records of all roasts, including cupping impressions and then move on to another bean type.

    Dont worry about blending any of them until such time as you fully appreciate the characteristics of each individual bean type and even then, dont blend prior to roasting rather, blend after the beans have adequate time to rest and degas. Only blend immediately prior to pulling a shot until such time as youve developed a ratio that tastes great to you and then youll have a handle on what works best for you.

    Regarding degassing/resting..... It can vary quite a bit depending on bean variety, depth of roast, roasting method, ambient temperature, etc but the most important criteria is what it tastes like to you. The only way to learn is to cup your roasts right from the outset, just after roasting, every four hours thereafter and every day afterwards until the roast batch is fully consumed and keeping notes all the way through the exercise.

    There really isnt any mandatory rule which states when the beans will be "right" for you as there are just way too many variables involved. There is the rule of 3s which, under ideal conditions, states that green beans can be stored for up to 3 years, roasted beans for up to 3 weeks and freshly ground coffee for a maximum of 3 minutes. I doubt if there would be too many of us here who would allow their freshly roasted beans to be hidden away for more than 4 weeks before cracking open the bag.

    Even if you are using Zip-Lock 1-Way Valve bags, there is no guarantee at just how effective a seal the Zip-Lock on its own will provide. Ive got into the habit over the last 12 months or so of Impulse Sealing each bag immediately after filling the bag (with the beans still warm, about 40-45C). This seems to provide the best chance of stretching the "freshness" value of the beans and their flavour in the cup. But even using this procedure, the beans are all but consumed within a week of opening the bag so are never allowed to deteriorate to any significant degree.

    The name of the game is experimentation Aaron as what might work for me or other CSers may not work for you. Its also the best way to learn as theres nothing like personal experience to cement in the methodologies that provide results.

    Cheers mate, :)
    Mal.

    Useful Links:-
    http://espresso101.com/newsletter/410
    http://www.coffeeresearch.org/coffee/roasting.htm

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    Re: A few pointers for a first time roaster

    Thanks for the advice and words of encouragement. I wasnt actually thinking of blending any of the varieties I have, I am just a bit overwhelmed and was hoping someone would suggest a bean type that was a bit easier than the rest to get passable results with. I think I will do my first roast tomorrow and see how it goes.

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    Re: A few pointers for a first time roaster

    Yes it is a bit daunting when youre getting ready to burn beans
    for the first time :) :)

    As Mal says there is plenty of reading to do, but the best
    way to learn is to experiment.

    Of those you mention, Id have a marginal preference for the
    Brazilians, as they may be slightly easier to manage but mostly
    because the others are very nice beans and best left until you
    have a better chance of getting the best out of them.

    All poppers are different, so you have to experiment to determine
    your best parameters. With the two that we used most, 120 to
    130g turned out to be best. Stir them up at the beginning (gently)
    until the bean mass is moving on its own. Then watch the colour
    changes from green to yellow to tan through to darkish brown.
    Then you should hear first crack. After that they get darker, the
    smell changes, more acrid, possibly some smoke, then second
    crack. Usually you want to stop around start of SC, but dont
    worry for the first batch or two, let it keep going until you are
    absolutely sure its SC. It will go from just a few snaps to a
    vigorous rolling crackling, beans get quite dark. By doing this
    you will see all the stages and start to build an intuition of
    where to stop in future. These *will probably be too dark to
    drink seriously, but keep them anyway and try them. After
    that, do another batch trying to stop in early SC. Let the
    popper cool down first.

    Degassing is important. Most are best after a few days.
    But at first try them at daily intervals to see the
    progression. Its fascinating. When we first started with a
    popper the first shots would be out not long after the
    beans cooled.

    Im sure youll enjoy it ...

  5. #5
    Mal Dimal's Avatar
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    Re: A few pointers for a first time roaster

    Wise words "hb".... 8-)

    Mal.

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    Re: A few pointers for a first time roaster

    Thanks Hazbean, thats exactly the advice i was looking for.
    I am doing the first batch after breakfast this morning.

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    Re: A few pointers for a first time roaster

    OK did my first two roasts today using the Brazilian Santos.
    First attempt reached FC by about the 5 minute mark but never really got beyond a few isolated snaps not what imagined rolling first crack to sound like, maybe 10 cracks with 10 - 15 seconds between them. I stopped the roast at around the 12 minute mark cooled them off and bagged them up. About six hours was as long as I could wait before i ground some and made a cup. nothing special, maybe a bit bitter, but loads of crema and on the whole a fair bit better than your average cafe.
    I immediately went out and did a second batch of the Brazilian, used a litle more coffee the second time and got a slightly more resounding FC, though still not a huge chorus of cracking that I had kind of expected. after FC these beans coloured up a bit quicker than the first batch, I cooled them at about 11 mins but they were definitely a darker roast than the first. I will do comparative taste first thing in the morning.
    One funny thing i noticed was when the coffee is first cooled it has very little aroma, but after an hour or so it smells great.
    I think I am really getting into this.

  8. #8
    Senior Member Stan's Avatar
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    Re: A few pointers for a first time roaster

    With the Brazilians give them at least 5 days to taste their best. ;)

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    Re: A few pointers for a first time roaster

    I have now roasted the Zimbabwe Pezuru estate which I think have come out the best, though a number of people say to give them around a week for the flavour to develop, I also gave the Ugandan Bugiusu AA a go, took them just to the start of Second crack (around 12 minutes) but they are bitter and a bit over done in my opinion, also they lack aroma. I think i will have to experiment a little more with them. All in all I am very happy with the way things are going, thanks to everyone for all the advice.

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    Re: A few pointers for a first time roaster

    Behmor Coffee Roaster
    When i was roasting with a popper, i found the best results by starting with about 90g of beans in there, and adding more beans by hand till instead of spinning around really quickly, the beans just stopped spinning and started sort of just mixing on the spot. (somewhere between 100 and 130grams)

    what i will recommend is stay away from monsoon malabar and bin35 till your a better hand at it :D those two are the bane of my existence and i still cant get them right. Havent had any other problem beans though.



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