HomeRoast Digest

Topic: Three simple questions (5 msgs / 151 lines)
1) From: Irene and Lubos Palounek
I have three simple beginner questions concerning roasting in our CR-120
Caffe Rosto. They are all probably related to the roasting curve or profile.
I realize that the answers may not be so simple, but will appreciate any
help. I like a lot of body, my wife wants smoothness in our coffee cup. So,
here are the three questions:
Is it better to roast 100g or 120g of green beans per one batch?
Is it better to start with a cool roaster, or a hot/warm (or pre-warmed)
Is it better to use the "built-in" cooling or is it better to dump the beans
out at the end of the roasting cycle and use two sieves to "rapidly cool"
the beans?
I have roasted the same beans ending the roasting cycle at the same stage by
audible clues while change the three conditions shown above. The bean color
looked identical, but I could taste slight differences in the coffee (made
the same way.) I do not have enough experience to describe the different
Changing the three aspects (volume, starting and ending conditions) results
in eight possible combinations.  I have not tried all eight of the
combinations; I kept two of them constant and changed only one condition at
Which combination of the conditions should result in the "best" taste, and
why? Is the answer the same for all types of coffee beans, or it differs?
(I have noticed that for lighter roasts, the 100g of green coffee beans
results in more uniform beans. For darker roasts, the uniformity is about
the same both for 100g and 120g batches.)
I understand that the outside temperature, humidity, and line voltage also
affect the roasting.  They were constant for my limited experiment while
changing one of the conditions (shown above) at time.
Although I do not object some experimenting, we roast coffee because we want
to drink good coffee. I am not into coffee roasting for the "joy of
experimenting." Therefore, I will appreciate any insight and help.
Cheers, Lubos
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2) From: Irene and Lubos Palounek
As Mike or Debi said on this list few days ago: "I'm replying to myself!"
I have realized what bothers me.  When taking a photograph, I know what
happens when I open the aperture and use shorter shutter speed. When I use
bounced flash instead of direct flash.  When I use rear curtain flash
synchronization instead the front curtain one. In the darkroom or when using
Photoshop, I know what to expect when I change the gamma curve, and know how
to change it. There are many sources, books, Internet sites that explain the
technical basics of photography or image manipulation and how each change
affects the resulting image.
When can I find similar information for coffee roasting in the Caffe Rosto?
What happens to the taste of the coffee when I change the batch size?  Start
in a cool or hot machine?  Use the automatic cooling or manual cooling? What
other things can I change?
Regards, Lubos
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3) From: Mike & Debi McGinness
From: "Irene and Lubos Palounek" 
Lighter roasts are definitely more evenly roasted with less beans, I go around 4oz (just over 100g.)
For Vienna/Full City and darker I go 1/3 pound - 150gr.
I always pre-warm my Rosto. I find it makes it easier to get a consistent roast I want from a given
bean. Since I often roast more than one batch at a time it's easier to pre-warm for the first batch
than try to cool it down!
Don't know, so far I've always just let the Rosto air cool the beans... Been happy with the result.
Seems that rapidly dumping them back and forth "might" cool them faster and hence have a slightly
different roast finish for a given bean/time. I may, or may not, do a comparison.
IMO the "best" taste is the one YOU like best!  Some will say the best is to roast faster for a
brighter flavor (pure hot-air fluid beds), some roast slower for more body (Alps-drum, oven), I've
been happy with the inbetween of the Rosto. From my studies I'm certain both are "Professional"
roasting methods, just depends on the Master Roaster's style. My understanding is that most
"Commericalized" roasters now use fluid beds, not necessarily because it's a "better" roast but
because the beans roast faster and they therefore can roast more in a given period of time. More
beans roasted, more $$$.
Yup. Goes for 150g for darker roasts too, no problem.
If it tastes good, drink it and enjoy! You don't "have to" worry too much about getting it perfect.
The worst I've roasted gets raves from friends! But I do get picky...
Home Roasting with a Caffe' Rosto in Vancouver USA
(The Stars were out tonight as we hot tubbed)
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4) From: Mike & Debi McGinness
From: "Irene and Lubos Palounek" 
I haven't found any sources other than this type of forum... other home roasters sharing their
experiences with the same roaster.
Home Roasting in the Beautifully Green Great Pacific Northwest
(It doesn't rain ALL the time!)
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5) From: Ken Mary
I do not own a Caffe Rosto, but that will not stop me from jumping in with
both feet. Here are a few suggestions:
There may be an optimum weight of beans per batch which should have been
specified by the manufacturer. You should be able to determine the upper
limit by observing the mixing action or losing too many beans out the top.
The lower limit should occur when you cannot get a high enough temperature
to reach first crack. The upper limit may not be far from the 120 grams you
described as showing evidence of non-uniformity. You can change the profile
to a limited extent by varying the starting weight.
Starting hot or cold should not matter unless there is a large heat demand
by the heater structure, for example, a ceramic support.
Check the archives of the list and google, there have been many discussions
of cooling rate. IMO cool as fast as reasonably possible. But remember that
cooling is part of the roast curve so make it repeatable. IMO cooling in the
roaster should be sufficient unless it takes longer than 3 to 5 minutes
until just warm to the touch.
Both smoothness and body can be achieved by roasting "longer" at a "cooler"
temperature. If you cannot control temperature otherwise, then reduce the
weight of beans. Try to reach the beginning of second crack in 7 to 9
minutes, or at a time that you experimentally determine.
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