>> >> Your best bet is to use your nose (in addition to your ears and eyes). The odor (aroma?) gets sharp and begins to irritate the inside of your nose as the beans approach 2nd crack. Try smelling the beans at each different stage. After 1st, and before 2nd, the smell is sweet, and you will be able to take in big sniffs with gusto. As the beans approach second, the small gets sharper. The color and the cracks are important, but the smell will give you a direct link to the chemical changes which are happening. >> I'm still on the primitive thumbs >> up/thumbs down method of taste evaluation but mostly I'm >> making terrific >> coffee. So far, so good. I bet that you're a good cook generally. Thank you, Thank you David! You supplied the piece of the puzzle that I needed. The Z & D roaster has a catalytic converter on it, which eliminates most of the smoke. I wasn't really paying attention to that clue, other than when it was overt, like at a Viennese roast. I was giving closer credence to the visual and auditory. There IS just enough smoke "leakage" for me to track the changes but it is subtle, not overt, like it must be for the rest of you roasters. I've managed to get a couple of city+ roasts, including a delicious mug of Mexico Chiapas I'm drinking now, so I'm starting to catch the refinements. The smoke information was there and available but I wasn't really connecting the dots together... I've been having an on-going conversation with my physicist husband about this list, the methodology and approaches present and where I fall on the continuum of learning/thinking styles. DH and I (I'm a retired professional firefighter) have a yin/yang relationship-- he,the theorist, and me, the realist, and we alternate between driving each other buggy with our methodology(s) and prying our brains open to other possibilities. I definately approach coffee roasting as an intuitive cook--and, yes, I am a good cook--and I drive DH insane because recipes for me are merely a launching point and he can't figure out how I know what I'm doing because what I'm doing is not WRITTEN DOWN anywhere. But experimenting and watching other people cook, asking questions, paying attention to flavor combinations mixes up a lot of information that somehow sorts itself out in my head. I am just thrilled to be able to add GREAT coffee to that arsenal of good tasting things in life. So, reporting in from the gestalt/holistic/intuitive coffee roasting side of the fence with nary a thermocouple in sight--YIPPEE, I'm getting it! Thanks for the tips and insight--and in a shape and form I can understand! Bravo, Coffee List! Vicki
On 5/17/05, Vicki Wingo Grant wrote: <Snip> <Snip> Vicki, I agree with you. I timed my very first roast on a Poppery and then causually glanced at the clock when doing my first heatgun roast, but no clock in sight since then. I have a thermometer I've never used. There are so many variables to roasting it would drive me crazy to factor them in no matter how much I love details. I need to combine left brain stimulation with right brain stimulation. It's healthy for me to have that balance. Do achieve perfection, you've got the type and size of the bean to consider, size of roast, the ambient temperature and humidity and windspeed, whether it's decaf or not, etc. I think perfection may be unacheivable and to attempt it would destoy the joy of roasting. I have found a method that works for me and roasts are fairly consistent. I factor in color, sound, smoke, smell and cracks. I mean even the quantity and amplitude of cracks are different with different beans. Guatamalan beans don't crack much, so I go by color and smell. If I roast over 3/4 pound, I stop the roast before the desired endpoint knowing it may take an extra minute to cool. My favorite part of the whole roast is spraying a mist of water on the coffee beans and stirring them in the colander right after turning off the heat. I love that smell? After the coffee is cooled and put in valved bags, I open the bags up several times a day just to smell the beans, admire the milk chocolate color and wonder how they'll taste. I can smell the coffee smell in my hair until the next time I take a shower. Today, for the first time ever, I brought my one cup SwissGold filter and grounds with me to work and when I hit the 4pm slump, I'm going to make some coffee. I can't wait! I am down to 21 lbs of stash and haven't made a coffee purchase in over 2 weeks. Soon.... Take care, Nancy
<Snip> To give credit where it is due, Steve from Two Loons Coffee taught me. He was roasting on a big Dietrich and had me sample the smell of the beans when they were ready to be cooled. He said he knew when they were on the verge of second crack when the smell became sharp. I am just thrilled to be able to add <Snip> It is such an easy thing, and yields such pleasure. As delicious as chocolate, but with no calories! <Snip> Hey - there's nothing wrong with a thermocouple. They can be used to teach you what you are seeing and smelling, and to double-check yourself. If you had a built-in temp sensor, you wouldn't need one. But at the temps we're talking about, all that a human can really feel is "Ouch!".
You're not supposed to climb INTO the roaster David... Personally I wondered how to couple the thermocouple to a nose ... Brett On 5/19/05, David B. Westebbe wrote: <Snip> ribes) go tohttp://sweetmarias.com/maillistinfo.html#personalsettings<Snip> -- Regards, Brett Mason HomeRoast __]_ _(( )_ Please don't spill the coffee!