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Topic: my .02 on a basic popper roast profile (was Re: +Best of the Year (8 msgs / 170 lines)
1) From: Edward Spiegel
Hi Jeff,
Every type of roaster has certain characteristics that require certain techniques to make use of or workaround. With a popper (or any other type of roaster), it isn't necessary to treat another hardware type's profile as the standard to be emulated. Tom has pointed out that each type of roaster has its own heating characteristics so that a profile that would work great in a fluid bed roaster might not be optimal for a fluid bed roaster.
Imitating a drum's profile in a popper won't optimize the popper's capabilities. What follows below may not apply (you probably know most of this) but I'm including it in case there is something helpful and for the lurking newbies that I might be able to save some time and hand-wringing.
That being said, it is certainly worthwhile to experiment with different profiles, but before doing that I would recommend finding a basic roast recipe and then adjusting from there to get the accents or refinements that you want. There are so many variables that influence the result that I think it is easy to get caught up with exploring a huge parameter space too early in the game.
It might be worth mentioning that each type of roasting hardware has a certain character to its roasts that one cannot perfectly emulate on other hardware. Its just like ovens. I can make tasty na'an in my oven but there is no way to make it come out precisely the way that it would if cooked in a tandoor.
At least to me, it seems that the 'basic' standard roast to aim for as a starting point with a popper is a roast with these characteristics. This is not the ending point but a good solid roast profile that can be manipulated further once you have zeroed in on the characteristics that you want:
) first crack not occurring for at least 2.5 minutes (preferably around 4 minutes)
) a distinct pause between first and second crack that is not the result of simply turning off the popper as the end of first approaches (turning off the popper delays the crack BUT it doesn't address the primary issue of the beans being heated on the outside faster than they can radiate the heat inwards -- better to either tilt or stir OR to stall for a few seconds at a time throughout the time leading up to first -- that lets the heat penetrate throughout the first stage)
To me, the first stage is identifying that amount of beans in the popper with or without a tilt that deliver this profile.
Next, I would ask what characteristics of the coffee I am not getting and work  incrementally from there. (It is critical that the bean in question be capable of delivering -- I wasted a lot of time with Yemen Mokha Ismaili trying to make it more like another Yemeni coffee).
It can be amazing what just a minute or two can do to to a roast. I spent a lot of time experimenting with extending my roasts to 15 minutes. The results were great and it was only the result of expediency (I didn't have 15 minutes one day to do my roast) that I discovered that much shorter roasts were just as great -- but different.
(Note that these times probably apply only to hot air poppers. They probably don't apply at all to other types of roasters)
With poppers it is easy to accidentally bake your coffee between first and second in the attempt to stretch the roast time. So, I would first try techniques that extend a little bit. To me roasts under 5 minutes tend to lack complexity that I like but some folks love 'em. Roasts in the 6 to 9 minute range can have a nice balance of brightness and body (I tend to roast in the Full City to light Vienna range). Roasts over 10 minutes have a bit less of that brightness. I haven't found (in A/B testings) to be any categorical difference between a Full City+ done in six minutes from one done in 9).
In my experience, extending the time to 1st crack from 2 1/2 minutes to 4 1/2 minutes had a much much bigger effect than stretching the time from first to second (without a stretch of the time to first). (Stretching the time to first seems generally to also result in a stretch from first to second).
I hope that didn't sound too much like a sermon (or worse). The bottom line is to go with what works for you and with what delivers the results that you love.
At 7:50 PM -0600 12/16/04, Jeff Oien wrote:

2) From: Xerxes Lee
interesting view, taken to experimentation.
On Thu, 16 Dec 2004 18:38:13 -0800, Edward Spiegel
visit my blogger page @http://roasteria.blogspot.com/

3) From: Justin Marquez
Edward - 
At home, I roast with the HG/DB but lately at the office I have been
playing with the Presto PopLite (a screen-in-the-bottom, aka - the
"wrong" type of popper).  The popper goes all the way thru 1st crack
in just over 3 minutes.  If I let it go past 4 minutes, I almost have
charcoal. Lately I have been pulling the plug at 3:20 and actually
getting decent FC to FC+ roast levels.
I drop in two ceramic beads (about 3/8" dia) in the bottom and add 1/2
c greens.  The ceramic balls divert the airflow just enough to help
keep the beans stirred. They roll around during the roast as the air
flows past them.
I am amazed that such a fast roast has decent results.  Different
results from the HG/DB work, but still very useable roasts.
Safe Journeys and Sweet Music
Justin Marquez (Snyder, TX)http://www.justinandlinda.comOn Fri, 17 Dec 2004 10:38:09 +0700, Xerxes Lee  wrote:

4) From: Bob Baker
I roasted about 8 lbs with 2 of those machines on Monday.
I have both hooked up with 75ft extention cords and was
roasting outside in about 50 degree weather.  I was at about 8-9mins
at fc fc+....less for peaberries.
GL Bob/Dallas
On Fri, 17 Dec 2004 09:15:33 -0600, Justin Marquez   

5) From: Nathan Baker
Bob (AKA DAD),
                         What do you think about blending La minita and La 
magnolia at FC+? Iam going to buy a couple pounds of both. I have a new love 
for La minita and am all out, have you blended with this before?
Donít just search. Find. Check out the new MSN Search! http://search.msn.click-url.com/go/onm00200636ave/direct/01/

6) From: Bob Baker
Hey Nate,
I would say that the LaMinta would be drunk as a single origin, but if  
else has blended it I'm sure that they will chime in...

7) From: Justin Marquez
John - 
Sounds interesting!  I'm not sure its really OT, after all it IS homeroasting.
Where do you get the cocoa beans and how do you turn them into "nibs"?
 Is it safe to assume that properly roasted fresh cocoa is as much
better as fresh roasted coffee is when compared to the store-bought
Safe Journeys and Sweet Music
Justin Marquez (Snyder, TX)http://www.justinandlinda.comOn Sat, 18 Dec 2004 07:23:34 -0800, AlChemist John  wrote:

8) From: David B. Westebbe
I think that it is better to let the beans do the talking, and tell you
when they are ready, rather than using a timer.  My popper has a
thermocouple in the airstream, so I can tell the temp of the air before
the beans cool it down.  I run it at low(er) temp until the beans are
fully dry and look "right" before I throw them into first crack.  I
don't know how long that takes, but 4+ minutes sounds right.
Yep.  I wait until the beans are stable at each stage befor progressing
to the next.
I adjust the temp of the air to the point where first crack will occur,
but second won't.  Then I leave the beans at that temp until it seems
like the right time to stop.

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