HomeRoast Digest

Topic: First Roasts (25 msgs / 789 lines)
1) From: Fulton Martin
Hi, Lee,
It's interesting that this was the coffee (out of the 8 samples), 
roasted at about the same point, that I liked the best; so much so that 
I ordered 5# of it. Now, I don't know if I'm becoming jaded or if there 
was a lot of serendipidy at work that one time, but I've never achieved 
the same "This coffee is *GREAT*!" response again.
I've roasted a variety of beans to various degrees since then (mostly 
fairly dark), and seem to get the best flavor when I combine a couple 
of them (the Brazil with the Peru Chanchamayo was one). Guess my palate 
isn't educated enough. (I'm going to try some lighter roasts, but I'm 
afraid what's called "acidity" or "brightness" just tastes sour to me.)
I used to use the numbers on the HWP to try and be consistent with my 
roasts, but now I've got one of the Pelouze thermometers stuck in the 
lid, and I start a timer when I hit the "start" button (with the dial 
up around 8, just in case I wander away and get distracted). I make 
note of the temperature and time when I hear the cracks, so if I hit 
nirvana again, I'll have a better shot at duplicating the conditions.
--On Wednesday, March 28, 2001 8:53 PM -0800 "Lee B."  
Fulton Martin
San Diego, CA
N32 43.956, W117 05.874
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2) From: John Blumel
On Thu, 29 Mar 2001 09:25:52 -0800, Fulton Martin wrote:
You may remember my recent posts re: to coffee that I had bought locally and
which seemed suspect. I described the taste of all of these coffees (Guat., CR,
Yirg., Sumatran) as tasting extremely sour. Since then I had ordered some
coffee from SM's, roasted it and was pleased with the results. 
I also arranged to have the original coffee cupped by a professional at a local
coffee company. (A sort of blind test as he was simply told that the coffee was
from some samples received from a broker and didn't know what my experience had
been.) I got the results, and the leftover coffee, back yesterday (3/28) and,
although the cupping notes were not as specific as Tom's, he basically said
that all of the coffees were fine. (The Guat. & Yirg were noted as having thin
body and the Sumatran as "not completely clean.") 
Along with the unroasted green that was returned, I also received the unused
portion of the roasted coffee which was roasted (on 3/26) to a fairly light
degree of roast -- certainly lighter than I had roasted it. Well, I brewed some
of the Costa Rican this morning and was very pleasantly surprised by it. I
don't think this coffee is quite the same quality as SM's sells but it's good
to have a local source of good quality. I also plan to start roasting lighter
to see just how light can still be good.
Of course, now I'm left wondering exactly what happened the first time around
with this coffee and there seem to be 3 possible explanations...
1. My roasting technique was simply bad or wrong. This seems the least likely
as I don't think I've modified my technique with the SM's coffee and I've been
very happy with my results with it.
2. My brewing or grinding equipment was dirty or otherwise contaminated. The
grinder I haven't really done anything with so I don't think it is that. I have
become obsessed with the cleaning and rinsing of my press pot after reading
some comments on the evils of hidden soap residue so it could be that my
brewing equipment that was at fault and now that I've gotten it clean
everything is fine.
3. Something was simply wrong with my sense of taste or smell. I'm not sure how
to really evaluate this possibility. We had been painting the kitchen around
this time (Sherwin Williams EverClean) so maybe the paint fume exposure was
just ruining my sense of taste and smell. This was also about the time that the
live oak trees were blooming and dumping pollen and, although I wouldn't say
that I have allergies, I may have been affected by that as well.
So I'm wondering if any of you have had a similar experience where coffee that
once tasted great later tasted horrible or horrible and then great and, if so,
what circumstances you think may have contributed to the experience?
John Blumel
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3) From: Henry C. Davis
Your beans could have absorbed some of the volatile organic compounds from
the paint if you roasted in the same area, after all, you are pumping air
through the beans.

4) From: Ryuji Suzuki -- JF7WEX
From: "John Blumel" 
Subject: Re: +First Roasts
Date: Thu, 29 Mar 2001 12:47:35 -0600 (CST)
Then there are a few taste + body with no acidity beans... Aged
Mandheling etc...
That's probably why Guatemala + Mandheling is a classic blend. (or
perhaps just my classic?)
About 10 years ago, when I was in Japan, I liked Mandheling a lot. I
stopped by many cafe and tasted a few cups and bought a 200g (1/2 lb.)
package.  Some day, I realized that many Mandheling had weired smell
and taste. Initially I thought that was why it is said so distinct. I
returned to a cafe who consistently gave me excellent cups, but often
run out of it for a few months. (I later found that this guy had a
large stock in his cellar but he keeps them for aging... he changes
the offerings when he feels like it...) Asked the guy. He told me, a
lot of Mandheling is not stored or transported right and many people
think the fungus smell to be the distinct character of the bean! He
also told me how stupid and careless giant coffee companies are, those
who sell preroasted and packaged beans.
I was shocked, stopped drinking Mandheling for a long while UNTIL this
guy told me that he hides some good lots and offered me some.  I used
to ask this guy to let me roast my own batch (but his sample roaster
was still too big for my personal consumption so I split with my
friend), but now I am doing it home...
P.S. In Japan you sit down in a good cafe, and they bring you a list
of coffees and teas they offer, organized just like a restaurant menu
or wine list. You can specifically ask for a cup of which, just like
you click on Sweet Maria's home page. (You won't get a discount even
if you drink 20 cups though - but I remember getting free cups when
that guy wanted me to try something new.) They make a single cup using
typically flannel, paper or vacuum. I paid about the same as what I pay
for a glass of wine at a restaurant in US.
Ryuji Suzuki
Q. What is your real message?
A. Keep a good head and always carry a light bulb. (Bob Dylan 1965)
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5) From: Ken Mary
This is what puzzles me also. I believe there are several reasons for this
failure to repeat the "Nirvana" experience.
Accomodation of the senses to previous exposure. But this seems not very likely
unless one continually drinks the same coffee for an extended period.
The reverse of the above occurs when some food item, eaten prior to or with the
coffee, sensitizes the taste buds.
The most important reason is missing the "sweetspot". IMO the sweetspot of a
roast is usually a very short time period measured in seconds near the end of
first crack. At this point there is still some slight bitterness, the complexity
is maximum, and the sweet/chocolatey flavors are just beginning. When I luck
into one of these special occurrences, it is instantly evident even before the
first sip reaches the back of the tongue. This happens mostly with the first
brew within a few hours of roasting. Later brews, say after 8 to 12 hours, are
much less likely.
There is also a brewing sweetspot, although it is much more easily achieved. The
proper time/temperature/grind must approach but not enter the overextraction
Ken Mary - Aromaroast, Popper - whirlyblade, Antigua - cowboy coffee
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6) From: John Blumel
I received my HHI (Hearthware Home Innovations) from SM's yesterday and
did my first roast in it this morning. I haven't sampled the results
yet but the roasting experience is definitely superior to the WBPII.
Maybe I'm just a geek (ok I'm a computer programmer so I'm definitely a
geek) but being able to clearly see the roast progress is way cooler
than PII roasting -- peering through the hood trying to judge what's
happening from the top layer of beans that is barely visible.
I was also prepared for the variable fan speed so I wasn't surprised or
alarmed when it starting it's seemingly random changes. I was not,
however, prepared to be as totally impressed by this as I was. Just
when I started to think that the beans were starting to roast unevenly
the fan kicked into high gear and everything was good again. This
happened over and over again, "How do it know?" I definitely think the
programmer(s) & engineers who coded & designed the HHI's chipset
deserve some sort of award from the SCAA. (Of course, I'm sure that the
Hearthware executives would probably accept it on their behalf.) They
certainly have my admiration and respect.
I had set the dial to 12:00 (6) position before hitting the roast
button and never took my eyes off the beans while the roast progressed.
(It was so cool I even forgot to start my timer.) Sometime before the
roasted finished I decided it had had enough -- I was going for a plain
city -- and hit the cool button. The fan shifted into high gear and
several minutes later, when the cooling cycle had finished, I dumped it
into a colander where it touch tested to just slightly above 'room'
temperature. This definitely beats the funnel taped to the end of the
Dirt Devil hose method.
As far as smoke goes, there wasn't very much nor would you really
expect much from the roast level I stopped at -- of course I was
outside and my evaluation of the smoke volume might have been different
if were under the hood in the kitchen. And, as and added benefit, I no
longer have chaff all over the patio or in the beans -- just a quick
dump and brush of the chaff collector and it's gone.
This thing is too cool. Maybe I should go home for lunch and a quick
John Blumel
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7) From: Dave Huddle
Do it now!   Tell you boss it't ok with me.
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8) From: Henry C. Davis
Tuesday I was standing around waiting to give oral argument before the
Delaware Supreme Court and found myself thinking, not about the argument I
was going to present, but about which beans I was going to roast, and in
what order, when I got home so I would have enough rested to the right times
for each kind of bean for drinking coffee in the next few days.... I do
believe there is something a bit obsessional about this new hobby.

9) From: Ryuji Suzuki -- JF7WEX
Also being a member of the Association for Coffee-roasting Machineries
myself, I'd like to add a few thing...
From: "John Blumel" 
Subject: Re: +First Roasts
Date: Fri, 30 Mar 2001 11:02:39 -0600 (CST)
Does it have a sensor and control mechanisms? For example, does it
make a reasonably consistent result even when you vary the ambient
temperature and/or the weight of the bean?
But what counts is the taste (and aroma). If it's such a good thing,
maybe I should try it for lighter roasts.
Ryuji Suzuki
"I'll play it first & tell you what it is later." (Miles Davis)
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10) From: John Blumel
On Fri, 30 Mar 2001 13:34:19 -0500, Ryuji Suzuki -- JF7WEX wrote:
Do you belong to SIGCHI (Special Interest Group on Coffee-Human
Interaction) too?
Seems to be your basic black box (or at least it was until they made it
white). The only thing visible with the roasting chamber removed is
what appears to be a small resister under the hot air vent. I assume
that it has a thermostat that switches the fan speed to high when the
heat starts to build up beyond the limit programmed into the roast
As far as consistency with different ambient conditions and bean sizes,
it's too soon to tell (see subject line).
Clearly you are missing the point here. The HHI is a must have even if
you don't drink coffee.
I also recommend it for anyone with children as it requires a lot less
care than a puppy. (If you are considering African Clawed frogs,
Xenopus laevis, it's a toss-up.) Parental supervision is, of course,
John Blumel
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11) From: Ryuji Suzuki -- JF7WEX
From: "John Blumel" 
Subject: Re: +First Roasts
Date: Fri, 30 Mar 2001 13:01:49 -0600 (CST)
Yes I got the point. It's here -------------------> .
Ryuji Suzuki
"I can't believe I'm here.
People always say that I'm a long way from normal."
(Bob Dylan, Normal, Illinois, 13 February 1999)
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12) From: Monty Harris
west bend poppery II
At 03:26 PM 3/30/01 -0800, you wrote:
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13) From: Lee B.
How about some definitions...
You're using three acronyms for the Hearthware Home Innovations Precision II
HHI = HWP2 = PII, right?
What is a "WBPII"?
Lee B.

14) From: John Blumel
On 3/30/01 5:26 PM, Lee B. wrote:
HHI == Hearthware Home Innovations (probably should be HHIP as the full 
name is, I believe, the Hearthware Home Innovations Precision Coffee 
HHI (or HHIP or maybe HWHIP) == HWP2
WBPII == West Bend Poppery II
PII == short form of WBPII
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15) From: Lee B.
Ok, I should have guessed WBPII was the Poppery.
PII is confusing, as one could think "Precision 2", but "Poppery II" it is!
Lee B.

16) From: ooi
John Blumel wrote:
The Hearthware rep that I was talking to called the Home Innovations HI, or
HI PCR (Home Innovations Precision Coffee Roaster), and she called the old
one (black base) PCR (Precision Coffee Roaster).
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17) From: sean
After 5+ months in Iraq and what seemed like the longest 6 days of my life
in Kuwait - I made it to Camp Lejeune on Sat...3 days of out processing (II
MEF had to get their last licks in before releasing me to my home
Command...) and I finally arrived home for the fist time since Sept -
Wednesday eve.  Trip up to my home command yesterday to get rid of my trusty
side arm (I feel naked without it, still find myself checking for my
pistol)...and I have a few days to chill...
After getting my beloved F-150 up and running - I broke into my 12lb stash
of green beans from Sweet Maria's...
So it turns out we had a Presto Pop Lite - (found out after using it, that
it is potentially dangerous?!)  
So I roasted some Kenya AA from the 8lb Sampler...  First roast - 1/2 Cup,
no timer, nothing to cool with, just excited as hell...  Came out about Full
City per the roast guide...  Beans flying out of the popper - oh well.
Poured the beans into the plastic top and grabbed two dishes to cool the
beans down.  Real hi tech.
2nd batch...added an extension cord, brought out a Wok top made of AL to
cool the beans (wife was napping with my son, and I couldn't find the damn
colander)...still did not time it, used the crack and chaff and smell as a
guide...  Roasted 2/3 of a cup...came out better - I think....  Full City
3rd batch...  Found the colander, used 3/4 of a cup of beans.  The roaster
had a hard time at first, but seem to get better as the roast went
along...came out about FC again.  Cooled between the wok top and the
colander...understand why folks build a bean cooler.
4th (and final for now) Put my trusty G-Shock on, timed it...  used 2/3 cup
(which was what was left of the 2lbs...  First cracks started around 2:20
and ended about 3:50...  Took the roast to the 5 min mark, was smoking
somewhat and started some lighter sounding what I assume is the 2nd crack -
cracks...  Roast came out Full City Plus...
Going to rest these for a few days - will report back.  I will take up a
very generous offer of a Poppery 1 from a list benefactor...might keep me
from burning the house down?! (I didn't know we even had this popper...and
now that I know it may be hazardous, I will hold off!)  
Just wanted to roast some coffee after reading about it the entire
deployment.  I even broke out my wife's meat thermometer and measured the
Mr. Coffee this morning - stayed around 185 until the end of the
cycle...then up to 200 at the end.   Too much to think about for now.
Take care!
Sean M. Cary
Tempus Fugit - Memento Mori

18) From: Sandy Andina
welcome home!
On Feb 17, 2006, at 5:05 PM, sean wrote:

19) From: Demian Ebert
Welcome back to the world Sean. Enjoy your coffee you deserve it.
On 2/17/06, sean  wrote:

20) From: Steven Van Dyke
Depending on where you live you might still be able to carry a trusty
sidearm.  Might help if you find yourself having any issues with the changed
In the meantime, you can at least have some good coffee!
Steve :->

21) From: Steve Hay
On 2/17/06, sean  wrote:
Welcome back.  Hope it wasn't --too-- bad over there.
LTJG Steven Hay
hay.steve -AT- gmail.com

22) From: mIke mcKoffee
Welcome Home and thanks again.
Enjoy your new coffee journey!
Kona Konnaisseur miKe mcKoffee
URL to Rosto mods, FrankenFormer, some recipes etc:http://mdmint.home.comcast.net/coffee/Rosto_mod.htmUltimately the quest for Koffee Nirvana is a solitary path. To know I must
first not know. And in knowing know I know not. Each Personal enlightenment
found exploring the many divergent foot steps of Those who have gone before.http://www.mdm.livingfreeandclear.com 

23) From: James Dilson Jones
- - - - - -  - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
In the last 2 weeks, I finished my first 6 roasts, in my heretofore 
relatively unflavorful life.
This is more fun than a barrel of monkeys  - -  and, the coffee brews are 
out of this world  !!  - -
Here is the profile of a "successful" roast with a "Back to Basics" stovetop 
popcorn popper - -
The "set up" of the popper is described at the end of this roast data - -
I have had three "successful" roasts.  On the path to finding the right 
temperatures for my "set-up",
the first roast breaklessly rocketed to a machine-gun second crack in 5-7 
minutes, and,
completely filled my well ventilated condo with smoke anyway - smells good - 
slowly diminishing
hints of fresh roasted coffee for 2 weeks now  -  I like it  -  might "smoke 
the condo" every month or so  - -
- - - - - -  - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Sulawesi Grade One Toraja - from Sweet Maria’s - 1/2 pound - 9+3/4 oz volume 
- -
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Minutes	Temp	Heat	Cracks/
Seconds	Reading	Setting	Second	Comments
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
0	320	2.5	- - -	temperature is steady - pour the beans into the popper
0-30	275	3
1	255	4
1-30	245	5
2	240	5
2-30	240	5
3	240	5
3-30	245	5	- - -	light smoke
4	250	5
5	260	5	0-1	first crack begins - light-moderate smoke easily vented out
5-30	265	3	0-2
6	270	2	0-3
6-30	280	2	0-3
7	290	2	0-3
7-30	290	2	0-3	open lid look at beans - medium to regular brown
8	285	2	0-2
8-30	290	2	0-1	first crack finishing or finished - pour beans into colander 
- - -	- - -	- - -	- - -	begin pouring beans colander-to-colander to cool 
them  -
13-30	- - -	- - -	- - -	beans warm-hot - can hold in hand -
- - -	- - -	- - -	- - -	put beans in loose-lidded mason jars for de-gassing
- - - - - -  - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
beans are "City+"  - -  brown to medium-dark brown in color  - -  Cowabunga 
!  - -  very little chaff  - -
- - - -  - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
"Back to Basics" Stovetop Popper "Set Up"
- - - -  - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
A Carter 550F thermometer is installed through an I-nut, secured with 
"thermal" Loc-Tite,
positioned snugly on two raised letters, ending up 1+9/16 inches out on an 
8+5/8 inch
inside diameter, from the center of the lid, on the “window” side of the 
lid.  For roasting,
the tip of the thermometer is adjusted to about 1+1/8 inch above the inside 
bottom, and
about 5 inches below the inside top of the popper.  That puts the 
thermometer tip about
1/2 inch above the top of the stirring paddle.
One-half pound of beans, when shaken level in the popper, come about 
half-way up the
stirring paddle.  So, they would be about 3/4 inch below the tip of the 
One pound of beans, by extrapolation, would be about level with the top of 
stirring paddle, and about 1/2 inch below the tip of the thermometer.
The popper’s plastic window has been replaced with an aluminum “pie-tin” 
mounted just like the plastic window.  Melted that plastic weenie on the 
first roast.
An approximately 25 year old Frigidare stove is used - roasting on it’s 
large top burner.
The kitchen has strong flow-through ventilation, and the stove has a good 
hood with a strong vent fan.
- - - - - -  - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Jim D Jones
Booking a flight? Know when to buy with airfare predictions on MSN Travel. http://travel.msn.com/Articles/aboutfarecast.aspx&ocid01MSN25A07001

24) From: Lynne Biziewski
Hi Jim -
I haven't noticed any messages fr you before (which doesn't mean you haven't
written - lack of sleep & too much caffeine here). At any rate, welcome to
the crew here, and to the Homeroasting Addiction. Isn't it great!
This is more fun than a barrel of monkeys  - -  and, the coffee brews are
I couldn't have said it better myself! (speaking of which, SM Espresso
Monkey Blend is great, too).
I roasted up a batch of Sulwasi mixed with a mystery bean (label fell off)
that was absolutely
fantastic. I have a little more that I am going to roast by itself, so I can
get a taste of the SO.
Been meaning to write an update on some of the fantastic brews I've been
sampling lately,
BUT I'm finishing up with an insane 6wk full time (12 credits) schedule at
college, and I haven't
had time to even breathe.
Also, thanks for your roasting details. Very helpful!

25) From: Bonnie Polkinghorn
Hello James,
Glad that you're having such a great time roasting.  I have a similar setup
as you.  I've been roasting for 2.5 months.  You must have 8 arms to be able
to record all that data!  I am lucky that I noticed that I can write down
the time / temp of first crack and if I'm lucky the time I take the popper
off the stove.
What I find most informative is the time and temp of first crack.
Since the temp is relative to the placement of the probe, I find it
comforting to know that at least the temp of first crack is pretty
consistent for me.
I'm working on my timing, lately it has taken about 8 min. to first crack.
At first, when the popper was shiny and new, it was taking 6.  I think I
liked the flavor of my roasts better when it took 6, so the next time I
roast (tonight) I will try to increase the heat slightly.
On your heat setting, which way is higher?
If I had mine set at 2.5 (med. low), it would take 30 minutes to get hot
enough to roast.  If it was set on 2.5 (med. high) it would get hot, well,
much quicker, I would be nervous.  I start mine on 5 (medium), then lower
the flame to 4, then 3 (going lower temp) during my roast.
Thank you,
-Bonnie P.
Santa Rosa, CA

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