For the usual reasons, I decided to try my hand at roasting my own. I bought a copy of Ken Davids home roasting book, read it cover to cover, dug the old WB Poppery II out of the back of the cupboard and located a local (New Orleans) roaster who was willing to sell me some green beans. I bought an assortment of coffees -- 1 pound each of Tarrazu, Yirgacheffe & Mandheling and 2 pounds of a Guatamalan SHB for some 'practice' roasts -- and started roasting late last week. Unfortunately, all of my roasting attempts to date have resulted in a sour barely drinkable brew that I can only compare to extremely stale coffee. Here are the technical details: Roaster: West Bend Poppery II Atmospheric conditions: Roasted outdoors in ~65 degree weather. Humidity varied from relatively dry to somewhat humid. (Don't have actual readings on this but, given that this is New Orleans, my idea of dry and somewhat humid is probably wetter than most people's.) Quenching Method: Forced Air (I taped a large funnel to the end of a Dirt Devil hose. At the end of the roast I unplug the popper, dump the beans in a wire mesh colander, turn on the Dirt Devil and place the colander in the funnel and shake/stir the beans until 'room' temperature.) Roast Level: I roasted all of the coffees to somewhere between 1st (~3 - 3.5 minutes to start) & 2nd crack -- i.e., about 45 secs to 1 minute past the end of 1st, about 6 - 6.5 minutes total. The Gutamalan SHB was roasted to several levels from just past 1st crack up to the end of 2nd crack. I also roasted the Mandheling to the end of 2nd crack. Popper was allowed to completely cool between roasts. Chaff: All of the coffees produced what seemed like an extraordinary amount of chaff, although, since I'm new to this I can't really say whether the quantity was normal or not. Resting: Coffee was rested in glass jars for ~24 hours before grinding (coarse) and brewing (french press). The lids were loose for hours 12 hours, then tightened for the remaining 12. At no time was there anything remotely like what I would consider to be a fresh roasted smell. I suspect that perhaps the coffee I bought was bad but I could also be doing something wrong. Has anyone had a similar problem or does anyone have knowledge of what would cause the coffee to be so 'sour'. Basically, the beans smell sour, the ground coffee smells sour and the brewed coffee is, as I mentioned at the top, sour and barely drinkable. John Blumel homeroast mailing listhttp://lists.sweetmarias.com/mailman/listinfo/homeroast
Love your town but high humidity can cause big problems with green coffee beans-if they have spent a summer in that humidity, you can gets tons of mold and mildew growing on all the free protein. Your methods look good to-have roasted with my PII's. Underroasts taste like grass-over like burnt or charbucks coffee. Buy some beans from Tom-Yirg and the various Yemeni are my favs-good luck-ben gays and MS mud in Le Mond yahoo
try ordering some fresh green beans from Tom and trying again, sounds like your supply may be suspect. Oh, and just as a cross check you could try some the local roaster roasted of the same beans, but it may be too late for that.
Green beans should not smell sour. I agree with everyone else. Get better beans and try again. Also roasting tips. Sumatran will taste great the day after roasting. Costa Rican probably needs a few more days and will taste best on the third day. Sumatran is my current favorite coffee. Isabel homeroast mailing listhttp://lists.sweetmarias.com/mailman/listinfo/homeroast
John Blumel: It sounds like you're doing it right. The fault may be: (1) The coffee (as a previous poster mentioned). May be that your local roaster unloaded some stale beans at your expense; (2) The roaster. Are you sure your Poppery II is functioning properly? Maybe try to roast into 2nd crack as an experiment to see if your popper can do it. BTW the fact that you're getting lots of chaff is probably a good sign. If you had chaff that did not blow off, that would indicate a problem. Free e-mail! you A service of www.WallaWallaGuide.com homeroast mailing listhttp://lists.sweetmarias.com/mailman/listinfo/homeroast
On Tue, 13 Mar 2001 13:16:06 EST, Isabel1130 wrote: <Snip> Just to clarify, the green beans do not smell sour, the freshly roasted ones do. The green do have a definite smell, which I wouldn't want to try to describe at the moment since they are at home and I'm at work. Can anyone describe what green beans should smell like? Can one tell by the smell, before roasting, whether they have gone bad? Will what ruined them produce a distinct smell? Also, should the roasted beans immediately smell 'fresh roasted' or do they have to rest for a certain amount of time before they smell 'good'? John Blumel homeroast mailing listhttp://lists.sweetmarias.com/mailman/listinfo/homeroast
as to the last issue, some of my coffee that is to die for in the cup smells, well, not fresh roasted at all even just before I grind it and get it wet. I think the end smell of the bean does not really tell you much about the resulting coffee. (Check earlier posts about wonderful smelling Kona beans being something of a disappointment in the cup.) most of my green beans smell in the range of clean but earthy to a bit sharp except the aged stuff, which I can't even describe. I have no idea what spoiled green coffee would smell or look like since I have gotten all of mine from Sweet Marias! Some fungi would produce little or no smell but still be quite invasive to the product, mildew would smell as you would expect. It is also possible that they are simply poor grade beans in the first place, as there are lots of those in the world.
<Snip> The only taste I can imagine coming out of Mandheling roasted to the end of 2nd crack would be burnt. Sour is usually associated with underroasted coffee, of which end of 2nd crack would be at the opposite end of the spectrum. Outside of it being the beans themselves, what brewing method were you using, and what were the coffee-to-water proportions? Bluedog Do You Yahoo!? Yahoo! Auctions - Buy the things you want at great prices.http://lists.sweetmarias.com/mailman/listinfo/homeroast">http://auctions.yahoo.com/homeroast mailing listhttp://lists.sweetmarias.com/mailman/listinfo/homeroast
I'll second that. I had roasted some Guatemalan beans up about 30sec. into second crack on my PII. Brewed a batch in my Yama and it was delicious - 4 Illy scoops of beans to 20 oz. water. The next day, for giggles, I used the exact same proportions in my Mr. Coffee 4 cup coffee maker. The resultant product (I won't call it coffee) was sour, nasty, disgusting, putrid, etc. ad nauseum. I had to pour it out half way to work that morning. The only variable was the coffee maker, and I'm convinced, as we all know, that most electric drips can't brew hot enough, lending to a sour brew when using enough coffee for proper extraction. I never had a problem using that coffee maker with preground Yuban, 2 to 3 scoops to 20 oz. water, but then the coffee was over extracted due to the small amount of coffee, giving a bitter taste to offset the sourness. Ahh, so little did I know then... Chris homeroast wrote: <Snip> Get your own FREE, personal Netscape Webmail account today athttp://lists.sweetmarias.com/mailman/listinfo/homeroast">http://webmail.netscape.com/homeroast mailing listhttp://lists.sweetmarias.com/mailman/listinfo/homeroast
On Tue, 13 Mar 2001 12:38:43 -0800 (PST), Bluedog wrote: <Snip> That was my thought as well. So just to rule out the under-roasted possibility I thought I'd go to the other extreme. <Snip> Mostly I was brewing in a "4 cup" press pot (visually clean parts, no nylon filter) with 4 Tbsp of ground coffee. per pot. This morning, to eliminate the dirty press theory, I brewed 3 samples directly in the cup -- just under 2 Tbsp ground coffee to just under 6oz of water. What effect would it have if the water were too hot (say around 210 degrees)? John Blumel homeroast mailing listhttp://lists.sweetmarias.com/mailman/listinfo/homeroast
I'm wondering if your popper's thermostat is causing you to roast at too low a temperature. If you're handy with electrical devices you can find details for changing things on Tom's website or our archives, but if you're not, better sour coffee than pushing up daisies. Bob C. rcantor
Bob, its a close call... 8^) Ted <Snip> homeroast mailing listhttp://lists.sweetmarias.com/mailman/listinfo/homeroast
I have to go out on a limb here. ALL of the green beans that I have purchased (mostly from Sweet Marias) smell exactly the same. They smell like burlap bags. Which, probably not coincidentally, is the type of container they are shipped in. Derek <Snip> homeroast mailing listhttp://lists.sweetmarias.com/mailman/listinfo/homeroast
funny, I always thought burlap smelled kind of like old green coffee.... :-)
On Tue, 13 Mar 2001 12:38:43 -0800 (PST), Bluedog wrote: <Snip> Inspired by another post that indicated that the smell of the bean was not a reliable indicator of the taste of the coffee, I decided to brew this 2nd crack Mandheling, which I hadn't even bothered to grind based on the uninviting aroma of the roasted beans -- my brief experience told me to not even bother with this last attempt. Turns out you are quite right. The brewed coffee had a pronounced charcoal flavor with just a hint of the bad sour taste remaining. I spoke with someone off the list and they suggested that the sour taste could have been caused by "over washing" of the beans that may have caused them to "ferment" or from unclean brewing equipment. (Unless brewing equipment can be contaminated by something invisible, I don't think that is the problem.) Anyway, I've ordered some beans from SM's and, hopefully, I'll have better luck with them. John Blumel homeroast mailing listhttp://lists.sweetmarias.com/mailman/listinfo/homeroast
John, One thing I did not see in your original post, was the aspect (color) of the roasted beans. You did state that you roasted to first or second crack or beyond - did you check that the color you got was what one normally gets from those levels of roasting? For example, when you roasted to 2nd crack, did you get fairly dark beans? Were they oily? Did you see the roundish "chips" come off the beans if you roasted them past the 2nd crack? Regards, Rafael homeroast mailing listhttp://lists.sweetmarias.com/mailman/listinfo/homeroast
<Snip> I've always thought even minute, invisible amounts of dish soap residue could have this effect. I always rinse my brewing equipment VERY well if I use soap when I wash it. -- garyZ Whirly-drip(paper)-black & vacuum homeroast mailing listhttp://lists.sweetmarias.com/mailman/listinfo/homeroast
<Snip> I have had similar results with various roasts from the same bag of Yemen Raimi. One will be fine and the next will have a sour or "off" note to it (both the smell of the beans and the taste of the brew) for several days after the roast. It does eventually go away, but it takes several days. In all cases, the roast was at least past first crack, and usually into second. I have no idea why the roasts were so variable. Paul Goelz Rochester Hills, MI pgoelz at eaglequest dot com Videoastronomy, model helicopter and music (UnFest) web site:http://lists.sweetmarias.com/mailman/listinfo/homeroast">http://www.eaglequest.com/~pgoelzhomeroast mailing listhttp://lists.sweetmarias.com/mailman/listinfo/homeroast
On Wed, 14 Mar 2001 11:02:30 -0500, cationic wrote: <Snip> All of the beans roasted between 1st & 2nd crack were what I would call a medium to slightly dark brown. To me at least, the color looked like medium roasts that I have bought in the past. <Snip> The 2nd crack beans were very dark with an oily sheen and they did have the small craters on them that I've seen refered to in the list archives. Roast times for these were a bit over 9 minutes for the Sumatran (large beans) and, if memory serves, around 8 minutes for the Guatemalan. John Blumel homeroast mailing listhttp://lists.sweetmarias.com/mailman/listinfo/homeroast
<Snip> Hi Paul, I think the Raimi beans themselves are so variable in the bag, that just randomly you probably get some "bad" ones in some batches and not in others. Be sure to pick out the very black and shrivelled beans and any small rocks you might find before you roast. -- garyZ homeroast mailing listhttp://lists.sweetmarias.com/mailman/listinfo/homeroast
Had a similiar issue with Raimi-love it when it is on but had one brew within a roast batch that I could not drink. Maybe there are some kind of cats running around Yemen also.
Yes, but the original poster is having the problem with several different kinds of beans from various parts of the world. What they have in common is the vendor and his storage of them. It is odd that beans from the same bag would vary that much. Cats in the warehouse, if not in the selection of the beans? :-)
OK, then I can't think of anything else besides what has been already discussed here. Sorry! Regards, Rafael