HomeRoast Digest


Topic: How Time Roasts, If Can't Hear Cracks? (9 msgs / 494 lines)
1) From: David Morgenlender
I've only been roasting my own beans for about a month or so.  Sometimes,=
 I'm
getting terrific tasting beans.  But often I'm over-roasting.  The =
problems tend
to be when I can't hear the cracks well, or at all.  For example, I was =
roasting
Harrar Decaf for the first time, a few days ago.  I heard some first =
crack pops;
next thing I know I think I was hearing 2nd crack going strong.  I tasted=
 the
beans today (3 days of rest) & they tasted over-roasted;  hopefully, more=
 rest
will improve the flavor.  I couldn't use bean color to make a decision, =
since
the beans started out very dark.  I know decafs usually require less =
time;  but
I still didn't have enough info, even given that knowledge.  BTW, I'm =
using a
FreshRoast+8.  How do you overcome this problem?
I did buy a digital thermometer with thermocouple from SM, but I haven't =
had a
chance to try it yet (or even how to install it on a FR+8).  How would =
you use a
thermometer to help determine timings?
Dave
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Dave Morgenlender
e-mail: dmorgen
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2) From: Maryann & Dave Schellenberg
I'll start by saying I know nothing about an FR+8, or how to get a 
thermometer into the bean mass on that device.
But I do believe you will benefit by recording, at one minute intervals, 
the temperature of the bean mass.
Soon you will know approximately when to expect the beginning of first 
and second crack, so that if it is not a strong sound, you will at least 
know when you are past.
I used a thermometer with my Poppery I, and knew to expect first crack 
to begin around 400 F, and second around 440F. If first crack didn't 
start until 410, then there is a good chance that second crack will 
begin a little later as well.
Now that I have a HotTop, I have learned to expect first crack around 
385F. That's a good indicator that second crack will begin around 425F.
So if Tom recommends taking a particular bean to City Roast, I expect to 
eject about 10 degrees after first crack ends.
It removes the "where am I?" or the surprise element. It will help your 
confidence level.
Now that I have some idea what to expect, I don't have to record every 
minute, only around the critical points, like first crack.
Dave S.
David Morgenlender wrote:
<Snip>

3) From: Brett Mason
OK so this is a quote - turns out he was on topic a long time ago...
----- s t a r t  o f   q u o t e
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
On 6/12/06, Pecan Jim Gundlach  wrote:
With a whirly blade you can make an even Turkish grind but that is
the only even grind you get with the whirly blade once you leave the
whole bean stage.  And an uneven grind will result in some over
extraction of the finer portion of the grind and under extraction of
the coarser portion of the grind no matter what extraction process
you are using.  If you pay more for the coffee to get a quality taste
and then subject the beans to an uneven grind, you are simply
throwing some of that quality seeking money away.
  Based on what I have learned from about eight years of intensive
coffee exploration and experimentation, here is how I would put
limited money into the most direct route to getting the most from
coffee.  The first step to good coffee is home roasting good green
beans and as far as I can tell there is no place better than Sweet
Maria's for this and I would roast in a wok or other similar pan that
I already had.  The second step should be a good grinder, the most
economical way to that I know is a Zas hand cranked one and out of
the four I have had, the knee grinder seems to be the best of those.
I gave the other three away to dear friends and relatives but I think
that when I die I'll be cremated and have my ashes stored in the knee
Zas.  I would go along with cowboy coffee until I could afford  a
French Press and after that I would start saving for a decent
espresso machine.  Once I had the espresso machine I would save for a
decent electric powered grinder, I love my Mazzer Major but the Zas
gets my ashes.  Then I would save for a Ron Kyle BBQ drum roaster set
up.  Once I got it I would wok roast a choice blend,let it rest and
grind it in the Zas, and make a pot of cowboy coffee just to
appreciate where I came from.  Then I'd start saving for a very good
espresso machine.
Would any of you other coffee pro's recommend a different path?
       Jim Gundlach
----- e n d  o f   q u o t e
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
On 9/19/06, David Morgenlender  wrote:
<Snip>
-- 
Cheers,
Bretthttp://homeroast.freeservers.com

4) From: True, Dennis W. FC1 (CVN69)
I just got my Z&D roaster and First Crack and Second Crack are very
difficult to hear as well, Fortunately for me my primary method prior to
the Z&D was HG/DB that taught me A LOT about the roasting
process/profiles so I now judge by sight and smell when I roast. I
highly recommend everyone starting out to give HG/DB a try if for no
other reason than to learn what happens when. Take a roast past Vienna
one time just to see the full process you will learn so much, sights and
smells don't lie! 
V/R,
FC1(SW) Dennis W. True
CS-5 DSPO
CS Dept CC
CS Dept TRANO
Duty Sec 1 CS E6 S/L
CS Dept Mentorship Coordinator
 
"Life Liberty and the pursuit of all who threaten it..."

5) From: Dan Hanson
Like has already been said the temp reading you get will start to help you
figure when certain things are going to happen in the roast. I have an old
FR+ with the 5 minute timer that I use (going to get a new FR+8 model next
week.) I bought a candy thermometer that I stuck down in thru the chaff
collecter. The tip rests just above the bean mass at the start of my roast
and ends up in the middle of the roast near the end. I know I am not getting
exact temps but it is a quide. I know that first crack depending on what
bean I am using starts around 400-425 on my thermometer. Is that the real
temp? Who knows and I don't care. I just use it as a guide not an absolute.
You could probably dremel a hole on top of the chaff collecter like I did
and run the thermocouple thru that maybe.
On 9/19/06, David Morgenlender  wrote:
<Snip>

6) From: Sheila Quinn
Yes, the HG/DB method is a great way to get a really good roast - and 
you do learn a lot more than just watching a machine. Considering I 
still don't have a "real" roaster, I get my best coffee this way. It's 
easily controllable and as long as you stir constantly, the roasts are 
very even. Some people may think all the stirring would get tedious, but 
I think the hands-on approach is fun!
I actually roasted with this method in the dark a few nights ago and it 
came out great! I had a small lantern out on my patio, but I couldn't 
see the color of the beans whatsoever. Thought I'd just try it by sound 
and smell and see what happened - and it came out perfectly! I'm 
drinking the results right now and it's fabulous. I guess I'm learning 
something after all. :)
Sheila
True, Dennis W. FC1 (CVN69) wrote:
<Snip>

7) From: David Morgenlender
The HG/DB method sounds intriguing.  I may give it a shot at some point =
when I
want to experiment in that direction, and after I've purchased a heat =
gun.  I
bet the dog would even lend me one of his bowls in exchange for a treat! =
:)
Dave
On Wed, 20 Sep 2006 09:33:50 -0700, you wrote:
<Snip>
 
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to
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and
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unsvbscribes) go to =http://sweetmarias.com/maillistinfo.html#personalsettings==========================
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Dave Morgenlender
e-mail: dmorgen
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8) From: David Morgenlender
I'm going to be doing some roasting this weekend.  I'll give my =
thermometer it's
first use.  I'm looking forward to seeing what I produce!
BTW, I was extremely disappointed with some Harar Horse Green Stripe, and=
 Harar
Decaf, which I had roasted in my most recent roasting session, which I =
brewed
drip (Presto Scandi).  Then I mokapot'd them (and my first Gesha) ... =
wow!  I
guess my roast was acceptable after all!  But my drip brewing sure needs =
work!
I thought I had that figured out.  I've also been disappointed with my =
Aeropress
brewing as I've late.  I have no idea what's changed with those 2 brew =
methods.
But my roasting is better than expected ... now I suspect there's even a =
lot of
room for improvement ... even better flavor!  (I can certainly use more =
work
getting the roast I'm aiming for, let alone playing with my variac =
settings!)
Thanks everybody for the suggestions!
Dave
On Wed, 20 Sep 2006 10:28:54 -0500, you wrote:
<Snip>
you
<Snip>
old
<Snip>
next
<Snip>
roast
<Snip>
getting
<Snip>
real
<Snip>
absolute.
<Snip>
did
<Snip>
Sometimes,
<Snip>
was
<Snip>
crack
<Snip>
tasted
<Snip>
more
<Snip>
decision,
<Snip>
haven't
<Snip>
 you
<Snip>
==========================
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<Snip>
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<Snip>
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Dave Morgenlender
e-mail: dmorgen
==========================
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9) From: David Morgenlender
I did some roasting last night, and used the thermometer for the first =
time.  
Hooking it up turned out to be as simple as could be.  The screening =
against the
upper vents in the chaff catcher doesn't fully cover all the vents.  =
There are
some openings just the right size for the thermocouple wire.  So I could =
thread
it through the hole, down into the roasting chamber.  A piece of blue =
tubing did
come off the end of the thermocouple ... I could see it bouncing around =
with the
beans!  And the wire got nice & brown.  But it seemed to work =
consistently.
I did notice some interesting things ... the temperature would stabilize =
within
a couple of degrees for very noticable periods of time.  Since I was =
having the
problem of determining where in the roast cycle things were, I couldn't =
pin this
down.  Is that normal?
I also noticed the temperature would max out lower than expected, but not=
 always
the same temperature between batches.  For example for one batch the =
temperature
would never go above 348 degrees, staying between about 346 & 348.  For =
another
batch the temperature would never exceed 448 degrees.  I was running the =
FR+8
off a variac, which should have held the voltage at a nice steady 115 =
volts
(except for a few times when I played around, e.g. increasing voltage =
when
cooling).  But the beans still look as if they roasted to where I wanted,=
 more
or less.  They're still resting, so I don't know how they'll taste.  Any =
idea
why the temperature would max out this way?
The 3 beans I roasted last night were Brazil Yellow Bourbon, Guatemala =
Huehue
(1st time) & Monkey Blend (1st time).  In all 3 cases I could clearly =
hear the
loud pops of first crack.  But they were very sporadic, so I couldn't =
really be
sure when first crack ended without waiting a long time without hearing =
any
(except in one case where I knew when I heard 2nd crack (at least I think=
 I
did)).  I never heard a rapid popping.  I think I did hear a rapid 2nd =
crack
when roasting Monkey Blend.  
Hopefully, I'll learn to figure things out by temperature.  Meanwhile, =
with the
temperature issues I mention above, and the inability to conclusively =
figure
things out by sound, I'm still not sure where I am in the roast cycle, at=
 least
until I've clearly gone beyond the point I'm trying to detect!  So it's
difficult to associate a temperature with points in the cycle.  Do you =
use any
other techniques for figuring this out?  I've heard there's smoke at a =
point
between 1st & 2nd crack, but I couldn't see any.  I smelled smoke for =
some
beans, not others.  IAE, the smoke is getting sucked up the stove's vent =
hood,
which limits this, although I did pull the roaster out for a test, but =
still
couldn't notice any odors standing out.  I also look for rapid change in =
bean
color, which supposedly occurs between 1st & 2nd crack;  but I'm not sure
whether I see it or not!  IAE, there's a different pattern between =
different
beans.
BTW, I have noticed one thing which is extremely consistent between beans=
 ... I
start hearing the first pops of 1st crack at slightly under 6 minutes.
Somehow through all this, the beans at least look a reasonable color for =
what I
was aiming for, as much as that's worth given the variability between =
colors of
different beans.  But I did try to use beans that seem to work well at a =
wide
variety of roasts to allow for error! :)
Dave
On Wed, 20 Sep 2006 10:28:54 -0500, you wrote:
<Snip>
you
<Snip>
old
<Snip>
next
<Snip>
roast
<Snip>
getting
<Snip>
real
<Snip>
absolute.
<Snip>
did
<Snip>
Sometimes,
<Snip>
was
<Snip>
crack
<Snip>
tasted
<Snip>
more
<Snip>
decision,
<Snip>
haven't
<Snip>
 you
<Snip>
==========================
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=====
<Snip>
==========================
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=====
<Snip>
==========================
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Dave Morgenlender
e-mail: dmorgen
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