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Topic: roast profile descriptions (21 msgs / 835 lines)
1) From: Dennis & Marjorie True
This is a multi-part message in MIME format.
As a newbie I have had a lot of questions and I really appreciate all 
the help support and advice you all have given me. My turn for the other 
newbies out there lurking.
I found what I think is a great description of roast profiles that helps 
with understanding what people are referring to when they talk about 
their roasts.
I am sure that some have different descriptions but this is a good 
starting place.
I hope this can help someone out there.
Dennis
Cinnamon--Light brown/tannish. Tastes like toasted grain. Sour. Acidy.
Soon you begin to hear a definite "cracking" sound, or popping.  This is 
called "The First Crack".  The water in the bean is turning to steam, 
expanding and causing the internal structure of the bean to literally 
"crack".
American--Medium light brown. Used in commercial canned coffee and for 
robusta beans.
 From this point on, you actually have "coffee".  You can stop the 
roasting process anywhere that suits you.
City--Medium brown, still dry--no surface oil. Just after the first 
crack.  Good roast to taste varietal character.
Now the smell of the coffee has changed to more of a roasted coffee 
smell.  The beans have swollen (almost 1/3 larger) and some smoke from 
the carmelization of the bean sugars begins to occur.
City + --Slightly darker brown--captured in the short period of time 
between the first and second cracks.  Varietal  taste characteristics 
still very much evident. 
Now the beans begin to make a rapid crackle type popping.  This caused 
by more of the bean's structure being ruptured by expanding steam.  The 
chemical changes inside the bean begin to internally generate heat, and 
the roasting process accelerates.
Full City--Medium dark brown, a little surface oil. Just at, or barely 
into,  the second crack. Beginnings of bittersweet roast character.
There is isn't much difference between City + and Full City, but there 
is some.  The time between the two stages is very short, so watch the 
beans carefully.  About 20 seconds into the Second Crack makes a great 
place to terminate the roasting process for most coffees unless you are 
after a distinct profile.
Full City + --Very slightly darker brown. Second crack in progress.  
Beans beginning to be glossy, but not yet oily.  Bittersweet roast 
character more fully developed.  At this point the beans may be 
considered "dark roasted".  This is a great stage for espresso.
The second crack is now complete.  The coffee is darker, and more smoke 
is being emitted.
Vienna or Light French--Moderate dark brown. More surface oil. More 
bittersweet, caramelly. Beginnings of "smokey" roast flavor.  Muted 
acidity.  This is about as dark as I go when roasting for espresso.  
Makes a good profile for dark roasted  drip brewed coffee.
French--Dark brown. Oily. Beginnings of burned undertones. I rarely 
roast darker than a French roast.  I often use this profile when using a 
plunge pot (French press).
Italian--Very dark brown. Very oily. More burned undertones. Low acidity.
Spanish--Very dark brown, nearly black. Very shiny. Charcoal undertones. 
Flat.

2) From: Eddie Dove
Dennis,
That is a cool thing for you to do.  Also being a newbie, I feel obligated
to give back as soon as possible too in an attempt to repay everyone for so
generously sharing their experiences / ideas.  I am sure that in doing so, I
have probably made some of the veterans roll their eyes.  I really like the
fact that the newbies and the veterans can share and share alike here.
Way cool thing to do ...
Respectfully,
Eddie Dove

3) From: Don Cummings
Appreciate the effort.  However, I feel there are some distinct
discrepancies between stage of crack and degree of roast as listed on your
profiles.  Most notably the line "The second crack is now complete.  The
coffee is darker, and more smoke is being emitted."  between FC+ and
Vienna.  In my experience and opinion  the end of 2nd signals the onset of
"spanish."
Personally, I find that Tom is right on the money (as usual) with his Visual
guide:http://sweetmarias.com/roasting-VisualGuideV2.htmlI have used this from the start with much success.
On 8/25/06, Dennis & Marjorie True  wrote:
<Snip>
-- 
Don

4) From: Peter Schmidt
This is a multi-part message in MIME format.
Thanks for pointing this out Don.  I'd agree with you, there are some =
definate discrepancies between the descriptions in the OP and Tom's.  It =
makes tons of sense for everyone discussing their roasts on the List to =
be using the same definitions; below it says that at City+ beans begin =
to crackle (onset of 2nd), but Tom says the beans have yet to go through =
Full City, and not until FC+ will the outliers of 2nd be heard.  Tom =
gets so detailed at times as to designate FC++, just a tad further into =
2nd, but still not a Vienna level.
Imagine, someone on the List asks, "What's the level y'all have been =
enjoying the Panama Gesha."  Somebody, following Tom's definitions says =
City+.  Some poor sap then following the OP's definitions goes several =
snaps into 2nd and says, "This coffee has none of the brightness or =
fruit Tom mentions."

5) From: Vicki Smith
I have this fantasy that some day, Tom will take pity on us all, and 
roast up a mess of beans at all different levels, put a small sample of 
each roast level in bags, and sell us a "set". It would have to be 
waaaay cheaper than the tiles, and we would have a common language.
Vicki
Peter Schmidt wrote:
<Snip>

6) From: Peter Schmidt
In the opening discussion Tom gives on the roast pictorial page, he tells
why color is not a dependable indicator, at least not until one becomes
familiar with a given bean and how it looks at various levels.  For my
purposes, because a lot of my roasting is done to C+ and FC, the texture of
the bean is my benchmark.  Next in line would be smell, then sound, with
temperature being used to confirm what my other senses are telling me.
That is a great idea Vicki.  But, if the importance of the color of the
beans can be minimized the roast pictorial is a tremendous resource.
You may consider putting together your own set of roast level bean samples.
That actually sounds like fun.
peter
<Snip>
to
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unsvbscribes) go tohttp://sweetmarias.com/maillistinfo.html#personalsettings

7) From: Vicki Smith
I have put one together, and I understand that colour is not the full 
story, but at least if someone said he roasted a particular bean until 
it was the colour #5 in Tom's samples, we would know what he was talking 
about.
I have five monitors (I do techie work) and the bean pictures do not 
look the same on all of them--though the CRT monitors I have are colour 
corrected, so they are all pretty similar, and, I suspect, much more 
accurate than the LCD displays, as those do odd things with browns.
I use the CRTs in design work, but always check on uncorrected monitors 
(both LCD and CRT) just to make sure that what I have designed doesn't 
look gawd awful on those.
Vicki
Peter Schmidt wrote:
<Snip>

8) From: Don Cummings
You say you understand that color is not the full picture but I'm not sure
you understand how "not the full picture" it is.
If Ron Kyle were to say that he roasted to #5 on some color chart in his
Drum that wouldn't be very helpful to me since I don't use a drum.  The same
color roast between my Whirly-Pop and my SC/TO could be two very different
roast levels.
When I was first switching to SC/TO I tried to duplicate my own roast of a
Matadakad and went by color.  When I pulled the load from my SC/TO at the
same color as the Whirly-Pop roast of the same bean it was easily a Vienna
where the Whirly roast was a FC.
On the other hand if Ron says he did a nice city + or a light FC pulled just
before second I would understand fairly well how to get close to that roast
level.
As Peter was saying there are other better indicators of roast level than
color. Bean texture is a good visual indicator.  When someone is describing
roast level I like to hear it described based on proximity to the cracks.
"About 1 min after 1st" "A few snaps into 2nd" etc.
On 8/26/06, Vicki Smith  wrote:
<Snip>
-- 
Don

9) From: Vicki Smith
You're right, I didn't know that colour changes depending on roasting 
method. I knew that different beans look different at various points in 
relation to the cracks, but not that the colour varies by roasting method.
v
Don Cummings wrote:
<Snip>

10) From: Peter Schmidt
This is getting interesting!
While I was roasting today (SC/TO) the thought occured to me that with
color, it would be more accurate than temps.  Even the same roasters, with
different thermometers can be way off.
But after reading your findings Don, regarding different types of roasters,
it made me think again.  I'd agree with you that describing roast levels
using the cracks as landmarks is the best way.
**I would also throw out the idea that w/o using similar profiles, even the
benchmarks of the cracks will make my results fairly different than yours.**
It makes me think I'll take Tom's advice on target roast levels, but then
add my own intuition on how to get there.
Repeatability/lack thereof can either drive me nuts or keep my interest,
depending on my mood.  You too?
peter
<Snip>
unsvbscribes) go tohttp://sweetmarias.com/maillistinfo.html#personalsettings

11) From: Don Cummings
I agree that profile is the determining factor in comparability.  15 mins to
the brink of 2nd in a drum will result in a different coffee than 6 mins to
the same point in a popper.
This is why it is also important to know the roasting method when someone is
describing a roast that you wish to emulate.  This is why I love the SC/TO.
With this setup I am able to go fairly fast to maintain the bright side if I
wish or I can go nice and slow to develop body and highlight the deep and
middle notes. In essence I can mimic profiles from most other roasters.
That said, I think it is difficult to come up with standards of comparison
that work across the board.  Of much more use is to learn the in and outs of
whatever roaster you use so that you know how to hit target roast levels
with different varieties of beans.  That way if someone says that they love
the Djampit done to FC I will know that since this is a deep resonant coffee
that a slow build up to the brink of 2nd will get me close. OTOH if I am
trying to hit C+ on a Kenya I will take it fast to first and then pull it as
soon as first is over and the beans look fully expanded.
With all that said I will say that when I started out I used Tom's pictorial
guide religiously (paying particular attention to the texture of the bean)
and I still use Tom's recommended roast levels for the first batch of any
new green.
On 8/26/06, Peter Schmidt  wrote:
<Snip>
-- 
Don

12) From: Justin Marquez
On 8/26/06, Peter Schmidt  wrote:
<Snip>
Different beans look quite different in color.  In general,  the Kenya
coffees look really dark from first crack on, compared to more typical
coffees.  And the Guat Tibia (SP?) that Tom has up now seems to look
draker than I expected for a Guat.
Safe Journeys and Sweet Music
Justin Marquez (Snyder, TX)

13) From: Scott Marquardt
Hmm. Where second crack happens can depend on how long it takes to get to
where it ends up being once you've gotten to where it ends up deciding to
begin. So it's a bit of a moving target as a roast indicator.
On 8/26/06, Peter Schmidt  wrote:
<Snip>
-- 
Scott

14) From: Scott Marquardt
A salutary effort, and just what anyone getting into this seriously should
do. However, at least one of the sources from which you derived your
synthesis has led you to a factual impossibility -- a City+ would never see
the beginnings of second crack. No popping! Even if one could argue where
that falls in relation to second crack, it'd be a mistake to speak of it
happening anywhere near City+.
On 8/25/06, Dennis & Marjorie True  wrote:
<Snip>

15) From: Peter Schmidt
This is a multi-part message in MIME format.
I think you believe that you understand what you think I said, but I'm =
not sure that you understand that what I meant is not what you heard me =
say.

16) From: Don Cummings
So, just to summarize the conclusions to which we have come in this thread.
The original post is generally accurate except for where it is in grievous
error.
Color is a good indicator of roast level except for when it isn't.
The cracks are good indicators of roast level except for when they aren't.
Roast method changes everything concluded above.
Roast profile changes everything concluded above.
I know what I am talking about except for when I am full of #$%^.
Obfuscation rules.
(Have I left anything out?)
On 8/28/06, Scott Marquardt  wrote:
<Snip>
-- 
Don

17) From: Leo Zick
i would add the following:
if they are brown, not burnt, and taste good, the roast was a success.
if my rustic nail color doesnt match your desert mohave sand #1001LH,  
i dont really care.
:p
Quoting Don Cummings :
<Snip>
.
<Snip>

18) From: Tom Ulmer
Herein lays the crux of romanticism. In becoming intimate with all these
lovelies, color by numbers will only take you so far. To become the seducer
of taste by roast is to distinguish the subtle nuances of the chase...

19) From: Tom & Maria - Sweet Maria's Coffee
You are right on all points and it is as easy to make exceptions to 
truisms about roasting as it is actually say anything concrete about 
the process ...but we are dealing with a variable, organic product 
here, and a variable cooking process.
The list of simple things that CAN be done to understand roasting and 
the resulting cup are simple:
keep a roast log of times and temps.
grind your coffee and then compare color (under a good light source)
taste your coffee and relate that back to your roast and color notes
roast it again
by doing these simple things, you could learn a heck of a lot about 
how your roaster is cooking your coffee, and what adjustments might 
help. I mean, simply changing the batch load in a Hearthware makes 
changes to the roast curve and roast times/crack times. If a Sumatra 
lacks body, if there is no lurking  rustic sweetness, an overall 
slower roast with (if possible) an extension of the time between 1st 
and 2nd crack would be a great adjustment to try.
Tom
So, just to summarize the conclusions to which we have come in this thread.
The original post is generally accurate except for where it is in 
grievous error.
Color is a good indicator of roast level except for when it isn't.
The cracks are good indicators of roast level except for when they aren't.
Roast method changes everything concluded above.
Roast profile changes everything concluded above.
I know what I am talking about except for when I am full of #$%^.
Obfuscation rules.
(Have I left anything out?)
On 8/28/06, Scott Marquardt 
<scott.marquardt> wrote:
Hmm. Where second crack happens can depend on how long it takes to 
get to where it ends up being once you've gotten to where it ends up 
deciding to begin. So it's a bit of a moving target as a roast 
indicator.
On 8/26/06, Peter Schmidt 
<peter4jc > wrote:
This is getting interesting!
While I was roasting today (SC/TO) the thought occured to me that with
color, it would be more accurate than temps.  Even the same roasters, with
different thermometers can be way off.
But after reading your findings Don, regarding different types of roasters,
it made me think again.  I'd agree with you that describing roast levels
using the cracks as landmarks is the best way.
**I would also throw out the idea that w/o using similar profiles, even the
benchmarks of the cracks will make my results fairly different than yours.**
It makes me think I'll take Tom's advice on target roast levels, but then
add my own intuition on how to get there.
Repeatability/lack thereof can either drive me nuts or keep my interest,
depending on my mood.  You too?
peter
<Snip>
unsvbscribes) go tohttp://sweetmarias.com/maillistinfo.html#personalsettings

20) From: Aaron
I can simplify this for everyone.
Does it smell like Starbucks?
If so. then you roasted it too long....Try to keep the temp below 600 
Deg and the roast time below 45 minutes.
Aaron

21) From: an iconoclast
On 8/28/06, Tom & Maria - Sweet Maria's Coffee
 wrote:
<Snip>
I have 18 varieties of caffeinated beans and 9 varieties of decaf
beans on hand right now, so keeping a roast log is almost impossible.
I rush to roast, taste and reorder beans before they are gone or more
new beans come in!  My logs would become obsolete before they were
useful.  Maybe if I had more time to devote to it.
Beans are so different from each other!  Just look at the difference
between the Guatemala Coban Maragogype, Ethiopian Harar Lot 30 and any
Peaberry.
Even the cracks SOUND different with these beans. Some beans have loud
and even first crack pops, others are softer and irregular. I had a
heck of a time roasting the Guat Coban.  It roasts light and pops so
much, I had a difficult time knowing if I was in first or second
crack.
The Tanzania decaf, India Matadakad and Costa Rica Select PBs seem to
brown more evenly than non-PB.  Maybe it's because I am able to stir
them better as they don't have straight edges.  They also are denser
than non-PB and therefore lower in volume per pound than non-PB.
Again, no edges to take up space.
I try to keep my variables constant.  I try to roast 2 lbs at a time
of whatever I'm roasting, I keep bottom heat on high and HG at around
920 degrees, but have to adjust for weather and the variety of bean
I'm roasting.  I always try to roast to Tom's recommendations and have
the labels in full view.
I just hope I can read the beans cues accurately!  It sure is a challenge.
Ann


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