HomeRoast Digest

Topic: Update: New to roasting (10 msgs / 239 lines)
1) From: Maureen Azcoitia
Well, I finally received my first shipment of greens. 
It feels like Christmas morning.  I ordered the small
sampler pack and was suprised by the wonderful
selection.  There was the Colombia Narino, India
Matadakad Estate Peaberry, Papua New Guinea Arokara
AA, and one more I can't remember.  I also ordered a
kona which is my husbands favorite coffee (which might
change now that we are home roasting).  
So I roasted my first batch of kona.  Thanks to
everyone for their advice and tips for roasting in a
popper.  I already had a scale, so I weighed out 80
grams of beans.  Dumped them into the popper, prayed
for the best and turned the popper on.  At first the
beans barely moved, so I tilted the popper a few times
until the beans got some good movement going.  I then
listened for first crack.  It seems that first crack
was still happening when I started to smell a burning
smoke.  I immediately took the beans out and started
cooling.  The beans look and smell good (I think), but
tomorrow morning when I brew will be the real test.
Any thoughts on how I can improve, what I did wrong,
etc.  Also, is fist crack literally one crack or are
all the beans suppose to have first crack?  Probably a
stupid question but I don't understand why I started
to smell burning smoke while the beans where still
cracking.  Up until that point all I heard was the fan
from the popper.

2) From: Bill Morgan
One down, a lifetime's worth to go.  Well done!
First crack is a stage, not an event.  All the beans go through it,
typically over the span of a minute or so.  There should then be a gap
of one to several minutes, then the second softer cracking begins.
How long did the whole process take?  I'd guess 4-6 minutes, based on
what you say.
I'd suggest trying 70 grams for the next batch.  That should slow
things down a bit.
You're doing fine.  Keep us posted.
On 4/10/06, Maureen Azcoitia  wrote:

3) From: Woody DeCasere
Maureen, sorry if you already posted this info, but what popper are you
If you want to stretch the roast out consider the poor mans Variac, the lon=
extension cord, which should reduce the power a bit slowing your raost down
a little. As to the smoke, it may not be indicitive of burning, my beans
always have a bit of smoke coming off once you get into and past the first
crack, then if you are roasting past Full City Plus to maybe a vienna or
even a french there will be a considerable amount of smoke. as Lissa Said
the smells change as you roast the coffee.
Also for better moivement try wedging something under the spout side of the
popper to lift the spout up a bit, this should allow for better movement an=
larger batches down the road when you get comfotable with the roasting
Most of all have fun learning and drinking your newly roasted coffees
On 4/10/06, Bill Morgan  wrote:
"Good night, and Good Coffee"

4) From: Lissa
On Mon, 10 Apr 2006 12:02:27 -0700 (PDT), Maureen Azcoitia wrote
It is a bunch of cracks, like popcorn. Second crack sounds more like Rice
Krispies. If your popper is too hot, or if your batch is too big, first and
second might run together. With some beans, the cracks run together no matter
what you do.
Well, it does kind of smell like burning. It goes from grain to grass to sweet
burn (the delicious bit where I pull the roast) to all burn. 
You might have to experiment a bit with how many beans you put in. If you
don't care for one of the beans Tom sent, you also might consider
intensionally taking a roast past second crack stopping, so you can smell the
whole range of smells.
Be well,

5) From: Don Cummings
"Well, I finally received my first shipment of greens.
It feels like Christmas morning."
This is exactly the phrase I used used when I received my first beans!
"Any thoughts on how I can improve, what I did wrong,
etc.  Also, is fist crack literally one crack or are
all the beans suppose to have first crack?  Probably a
stupid question but I don't understand why I started
to smell burning smoke while the beans where still
cracking.  Up until that point all I heard was the fan
from the popper."
Yea, save the kona until you work out the kinks and determine how to get to
the roast you like reliably. D'oh!  Just kidding.  My first batch I went
through the same thing you did.  I got antsy when the smoke started coming
and ended up pulling my first batch too early.  The good news.  That was my
worst batch and it was still better than most store-bought beans.
Smoke is perfectly normal (and now for me part of the fun).  I roast indoor=
and my house smells like a combo of wonderful roasted coffee and burnt
popcorn for a couple of hours afterwards.  Even with a good vent hood I
still get lots of smoke in the house.  Its worth it though.
As far as the crack is concerned I compare it to popcorn popping.  It
starts, builds, and ends the same way as when you pop popcorn.   After the
first crack there is generally a brief lull before second crack, depending
on how much heat you are throwing on the beans.  The perfect description I
have heard of second crack is that it sounds like rice krispies in milk.
I am new to this too so I can really relate to the excitement you felt
roasting that first batch.  It gets even more fun when you work out the
kinks and start playing with the roasts to bring out different qualities in
each bean.
Enjoy the ride since there's no going back now! :)

6) From: Maureen Azcoitia
On 4/10/06, "Woody DeCasere" wrote:
what popper are you using?
I bought a toastmaster from target.  I still haven't
had an opportunity to search my local thrift shops.
Thanks to everyone for explaining the difference in
sounds between first and second crack.  I definitely
under roasted my kona.  But using my newly gain
information, I tried roasting my India Matadakad. 
This time I heard all of first crack, then there was a
pause and finally I heard the rice krispies.  I
immediately started cooling.  Beautiful shiny beans
and great aroma.  My husband loved the taste this
I also roasted some of my Ethiopia Decaf.  This time
is used a long extension cord.  It seems that it took
a much longer time to complete first crack.  Then the
pause between first and second was also much longer. 
I pulled the beans as soon as second crack started. 
This morning the beans had an aroma that I am not
familiar with.  Not bad, but they didn't have the
usual roasted bean smell.  My husband thinks its
chocolate, but I have no clue.  I brewed myself a cup
and the flavors are great but I can't identify them
My next step is to get a stop watch and note the time
it takes to get to first crack, how long is the pause,
etc.  Also, how does one learn the difference in
flavors and aromas in each cup?

7) From: Brian Kamnetz
I agree with Bill. Cut the amount, so that the roast slows down, and
let it go until you hear the first snaps of second crack. As has been
mentioned, first crack is relatively loud, like snapping twigs; second
crack is much softer, like Rice Crispies in milk. After first crack,
you probably will hear the beans bouncing off the walls of the
roasting chamber and will wonder whether it is second crack. But when
you hear the faint but distinct snaps of second crack, you will know
On 4/10/06, Bill Morgan  wrote:
ribes) go tohttp://sweetmarias.com/maillistinfo.html#personalsettings<Snip>

8) From: John C
The other indicator you can use to tell if you have reached second crack (i=
you are not sure of what you are hearing) is that when the roast reaches
second crack little divots or flakes will pop off of the surface of the
beans.  If you see craters in your beans as they jump around in the chamber=
or with a popper you see little flakes of coffee flying out with the chaffe
then you are in second crack (probably too far into it, really, but at leas=
now you know what it sounds like).

9) From: Brian Kamnetz
Congratulations, Maureen!!!! You have made the largest leap in
learning to roast coffee, and that is to make the first and second
cracks happen, with a pause between then! You are well on your way....
On 4/11/06, Maureen Azcoitia  wrote:

10) From: Woody DeCasere
taste is somewhat subjective, there is a color flavor wheel you can buy tha=
should help you with learning.
"Good night, and Good Coffee"

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