HomeRoast Digest

Topic: new to list but not to coffee (7 msgs / 335 lines)
1) From: Kelly G. Wilson
Ed, Angelo and others have commented on the level of detail in roast specs.
Probably, like most things, depends. All the detail is good fun. Is it
"right?" Is anything prepared otherwise "crap?" No way.
For those new to roasting--I have been drinking coffee ground from whole
beans since Star$ was a one shop specialty roaster in Seattle. Back then I
had to drive all the way up there from Olympia to find whole beans. Lots of
twists and turns along the way, but the absolute _biggest_ and I mean
biggest -- like enormous, quantum, like really biggest increase in the depth
of my appreciation of coffee was my shift to home roasting.
Up until a couple years ago, my local specialty roasters had me bufalloed
into thinking that roasting was unapproachable by mere mortals. I am with
Ed. The tiniest learning curve--and I mean inside a week -- and you are
roasting some truly amazing and interesting beans. Will you roast them a
little to light or too dark sometimes? A little too quickly or slowly?
Sure--and then you will learn what your beloved Mocha Java tastes like on
the light (or dark) side. Yum. Both great....but for different reasons.
Akin to what Angelo said, roasting is like exploring uncharted territory in
a land where almost every trail you follow leads to a facinating place. I
have goofed a batch or two over the past couple years--where they had to be
tossed, but incredibly few really. (Mostly inattention and roasting up some
fine charcoal.) Many, many more have been absolute heaven.  I have given
people cups of coffee that lit up their faces. They never tasted anything
like it. All this with a little unmodified FR+, and within a few months of
beginning home roasting.
So, don't let the list details intimidate. Go ahead and try stuff you see on
the list if you want, but heaven is much nearer than that. In the end, your
own nose an mouth will guide you to what is for you--juuuuust right.
As a 30 year veteran of whole bean coffees, I can say with complete
confidence that home roasting will change your coffee world. I wrote Tom and
Maria a while back while making an espresso machine & grinder choice and
told them how greatful I was for the easy entree to roasting provided by
Sweet Maria's.
Bottom line - roast, cup, have fun.
Kelly G. Wilson, Ph.D.
Department of Psychology
205 Peabody
University of Mississippi
University, MS 38677
Phone: (662) 915-5256
Cell:     (662) 816-5189
Fax:     (662) 915-5398
email:   kwilsonhttp://www.olemiss.edu/working/kwilson/kwilson/UniversityWebPage/Kelly%20Wilson.htm
"One draught of Lethe for a world of pain?
An easy bargain; yet I keep the thorn,
To keep the rose."
John Erskine (1906)

2) From: Pecan Jim Gundlach
I could not agree with Kelly more.  While some posts may have an  
authoritative sound to them,
home roasting really does provide a lot of leeway while producing  
generally good results.  Treat them as ideas you might try out some  
time.  Then, have fun and give yourself, your family, and your friends  
a wonderful coffee experience.
Jim Gundlach
roasting over pecan wood fires
in La Place, Alabama
Professor of Sociology
Auburn University, Alabama
On Jan 19, 2004, at 9:15 AM, Kelly G. Wilson wrote:

3) From: Ed Needham
"entree to roasting"  Now that would be an interesting title for a book...

4) From: peter zulkowski
Hi Kelly,
I can remember not wanting to spend as much as $bucks wanted to charge 
for a cup of joe, and then I started going out of my way to find them..
Then the stores were everywhere! And every morning I would pull of the 
highway, tank up, and soar into traffic ready to conquer all :)
My first roast with an unmodified Pumper went 17 minutes at least, it 
was black and burnt and my wife loved it. We left all the Colombian dark 
roast beans we had bought from Sams club on the shelf and never looked 
back. We had been beamed up into the new world of good coffee! Yup, a 
quantum leap :)
It is fun to experiment, and try the ideas suggested on the list (some 
of them anyway), but I really never loose sight of the fact that no 
matter how bad I mess up, the coffee is still heaven.  I lost control 
for a while I think, trying to roast a pound at a time, but light 
finally dawned. I put the SS mixer cup back on the shelf, cut 2 slits in 
the bottom of a standard swirl chamber, and 166 gr. is just fine.
Gosh, I use less than a pound a week (used to anyway), and I enjoy the 
process of roasting, and small batches (166 gr.) come out great and are 
very controllable and consistent.
So, it is time to give up for a while on the cheapo beans I have been 
working with, and start roasting some more of the good stuff I bought 
from SM.
You are correct in saying that even though you do not hit the profile 
you want every time, you still get a wonderful experience with the 
different flavors each different roast brings. I seriously thought that 
I would never run out of different tastes with the 25# of cheap mex I 
bought to experiment with.
I make better coffee than $bucks on my worst day of roasting ;)
Movin slowly down the coffee trail. Here in LHC.
Kelly G. Wilson wrote:

5) From: Felix Dial

6) From: peter zulkowski
Hi Felix,
This list sure has some interesting threads running through it :)
Every email, to me, is far from boring and really very interesting.
I love reading all the different perspectives on everything from 
redesigning espresso machines to firing pumpkins across rivers.
Because you subscribe to this list probably puts you in the category of 
'weird' to some people.
Few are they who love to hack into everything to make it better.
Believe it or not I have friends who hesitate to hook up a VCR, and they 
are secretly laughing at my endeavors to roast a better cup of coffee. 
(But they sure come running when I announce that I have just brewed some 
of my decaf) :)
Still I can't help myself. After anyone and everyone, and each and every 
time someone drinks my coffee, I just have to ask: "how is the coffee". 
Yup, I know I should hang back and LET them tell me how wonderful it is 
(well, I think it is) but the newness and thrill has not worn off yet. 
Honest, I hope it never does :)
The fact remains, some folks may love our coffee, some will drink it to 
please us and say it is good, and perhaps a few will want more of it and 
request it. (Can't wait for that to happen)
If YOU like your coffee, and/or your significant other does, then life 
is just peachy :)
Gosh, there are people who are perfectly happy making a 10 cup pot of 
coffee with one small scoop of Folgers ("Maxwell House is yuckie") ;)
Sorry that you have had a long time learning to make the coffee that you 
like, but I am glad that you did not give up. The unmodified popper 
leaves a lot to be desired if you want to roast light coffee. Now I am 
so happy with the set up I have I wonder how I even considered spending  
400 to 600 dollars on a machine that would have made me a slave to the 
Hmmmm.. welll.. I guess I would have hacked that as well, but I have a 
whole lot less guilt hacking hot air poppers, and they do very well 
roasting for me. ( Still trying to get a pound or more through one in a 
batch though.)
My wife Charlotte and I prefer dark roasted, strongly brewed coffee.
Sometimes now I am wondering if I will ever appreciate the different 
nuances available in the different coffees of the world, since typically 
I tend to cook out all those different flavors. However, I am here to 
learn not to do that, and I for one truly appreciate your input to the 
list. I have tried the profiles that you suggested, as close to them as 
I am able, and I like the outcome :)
Talk about trying to hit the sweet spot. Day before yesterday I roasted 
3 batches in succession of the same (experimental) bean. My Pumper has 
total control with the Variac on the heat, and the light dimmer on the 
air. Those 1250 watts can make charcoal out of beans in short order. So, 
The first batch (166 gr.) went fine, the blower barely moved them at 
first, and I slowly increased power to the heat, in measured intervals, 
and monitored the temp with my k probe with digital read out. Results 
were satisfactory :)
Should be able to do it again, right?
Second batch, even though I TRIED to follow the first, the temps were 
all over the place.
The third was even worse!
The third batch (same size) would barely move with the blower, I had to 
stir it and rock it, and tip it about 45 degrees. So I went and tried a 
fourth and fifth batch, since I was on a roll ;)
None of the 5 batches were anywhere near the same as far as profile. You 
may think that things heated up and made for inconsistency, but the 
later batches were easier to control than the third one, but still not 
easy as the first.
This did not worry me in the least, I just mixed all the batches 
together, and came up with some really great coffee. :) C says it the 
best I have made so far :)
Who can ask for more?
Still learning how to roast coffee, here in LHC.

7) From: Ed Needham
Been there...done that .
Sometimes a mixture of coffees that don't taste perfect on their own, can
blend together to make a really good cup.
I think being able to get consistent results is one mark of an experienced
roaster.  It is totally necessary in a commercial setting, but not so
important for homeroasters.  small batches disappear quickly.  Ugly batches
that taste good are still OK for home use.
Each time you mess up a batch, you learn one way 'not' to do it.
Ed Needham
To Absurdity and Beyond!
"Nunc Aut Nunquam"
homeroaster ... d.o.t ... com

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