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Topic: 1st vs 2nd crack (18 msgs / 419 lines)
1) From: STP
Can anyone tell me which crack is louder, 1st or 2nd, when using an
iRoast?  I think  I'm missing 1st crack and hearing 2nd crack when my
3rd stage kicks in.  The beans start to develop oil on the surface and
become very dark (like dark chocolate color).  The crack I'm hearing
sounds more like muted popcorn popping and once it starts the roast
begins to generate a lot of smoke.  The brew also smells burnt...
Is it possible to hear 1st crack with an iRoast?
Thanks again

2) From: Eddie Dove
In general, 1st crack sounds like popcorn and 2nd crack sounds like rice
crispies when milk is poured on them.  However, what you have described does
indeed sound like you are going well into 2nd crack, especially given the
fact that the beans are already oily once the roast is complete.  I do not
have an iRoast, so maybe someone else can help you with "adjusting the
throttle" on that thing.
Hope this helps ...
On 10/6/06, STP  wrote:

3) From: Vicki Smith
I use an IR2, and sometimes (well, most of the time) I only hear 3 or so 
loud pops. The first time I did a heat gun/bread machine roast, I was 
startled to fin that first crack is actually a fairly long process, not 
a brief event.
In the IR2 the pops of first crack are loud enough to hear easily, but 
only if I am paying attention. After they are over, there just ain't no 
more, and second crack would come next.
With just a bit of inattention, you can miss 1st crack entirely.
STP wrote:

4) From: Leo Zick
Really interesting Vicki..
I've noticed things too with my popper.  Sometimes, it seems that first
crack starts at lets say 6:30 in. ill get loud popping, but no or little
smoke, then quiet.  A few mins later, more smoke, and more first crack
pops..  So, I think youre right, it's a long process that sort of spreads
out for some reason.  I guess with the popper its b/c its hard to get even
heat distribution across such a narrow surface area.  
2nd crack tends to start with a plume of smoke, and rice crispies popping.
Ive never really extended far beyond the start of it, so cant say or tell
how long it would last. But, the beans seem to get oily before 2nd crack
completely finishes.

5) From: Aaron
It was said:
With just a bit of inattention, you can miss 1st crack entirely.
Which is why one should also learn the sights and smells of coffee 
roasting as well.
Don't rely on just a timer, or being able to hear something to determine 
when it is done or how far along it is.
Knowing by smell and color about 'when' first crack should be happening 
will help you to concentrate on listening for it.
Some beans have a very loud first crack, other beans are very quiet.  
(noise from the I roast not withstanding)  I have had a few where I did 
not hear a first crack at all, cept as for what was said earlier, maybe 
a snap or two.
My hearing is pretty shot,  but what I have to do is put my ear next to 
the I roast and listen, (not too close, you will burn yourself if you 
touch it or get in the hot air path) and you can hear it very well 
then.  Sometimes he helps to look away or close your eyes, so you are 
paying more attention to what you are hearing and less to other 
distractions from your other senses.
Give it a try and see if that helps.

6) From: Vicki Smith
I've been roasting the Moka Kadir blend from SM lately, and, because it 
is a blend, there are different beans in it, that reach the cracks at 
different times.
Yesterday, I roasted in my bread machine. I got to first crack, with 
what must be a significant % of the blend, at about 8 minutes in, but 
four minutes later, I had some first crack sounding pops, as well. 
Second crack was announced with a change in smell, then smoke, and only 
then came the sounds of second crack. Second crack began 15 minutes in.
Now, normally, I don't hear much of second crack at all--as I am not 
generally a fan of darker roasts. But with Moka Kadir, I was going for 
FC+/Vienna, so I let it go for ~30 seconds.
When I pulled the roast, I still didn't have any oil on the beans, but I 
knew from experience, that there would be a hint of oil, on some of the 
beans (the ones that hit 2nd crack first) of oil after a days rest. Yup, 
not much oil, but some, when I looked this AM. I could probably go 1 
minute into second crack on these beans, but, by the time I empty out 
the bread machine and get the beans over the fan for cooling, they 
really do roast some more.
This blend, btw, is what I use when I unexpectedly need more roasted 
coffee. It tastes darn good after one days rest.
Leo Zick wrote:

7) From: Ken Mary
I have never used an iRoast.
Peaberries naturally seem to have a quiet sounding and sparse first crack.
Also, any bean will act this way if too much time is spent between 265 and
I have done a huge number of roasts intentionally slowing the ramp in this
range. This was done specifically to reduce or eliminate first crack sounds
and determine the effect on flavor. These profiles made a lot of very good
coffee. Supposedly, slowing the ramp in this range will produce a "baked"

8) From: scott miller
I just roasted the last bit of the India Matadakad PB yesterday. A really
muted couple of pops and that's all you get for noise. The aromas are hard
to miss, though. I sure did enjoy that bean and will be on the lookout for
others like it.
On 10/6/06, Ken Mary  wrote:

9) From: dsobcz716
First crack "quality" varies greatly by bean and roast profile.  Since it's caused by steam pressure build up it makes sense that if you slowly heat the bean, moisture will slowly escape and there won't be enough left to produce a crack.  Older beans are notorious for this too because they naturally loose moisture over time.  
2nd crack is softer but every bean will do it eventually.  
On my I-roast2, I've noticed this too, the biggest factor to me is that at 2nd crack, the fan is slower.  slower fan means less noise which means easier to hear.
If you really are getting 2nd you will have other signs as well, like lots of pungent smoke, oily beans, etc. 
what are your temps and times for your stages?

10) From: cja
Would you say that at 2nd crack is when the smell changes from a sweet 
wonderful smell to more of a burning smell?
On Fri, 6 Oct 2006 5:52am, Aaron wrote:

11) From: Ed Needham
With a small amount of beans, such as in most retail air roasters, there are 
just not that many beans to crack, either first or second.  Pair that with 
very noisy motors and the cracks are very difficult to hear.  My hearing is 
good, but at times, I've found the cracks to me most audible from across the 
Some beans are very loud for first crack.  Others are very quiet and 
First cracks are snaps.  Second cracks are crackles.  (OK, and third cracks 
Ed Needham®
"to absurdity and beyond!"http://www.homeroaster.com(include [FRIEND] in subject line to get through my SPAM filters)

12) From: Dan Bollinger
POPS!    :)

13) From: Brett Mason
On 10/6/06, Ed Needham  wrote:

14) From: scott miller
I don't use an IR2; it's either HG/DB or SC/TO setup.
Since the last bit of the Matadakad was only about 8 ounces green, I did it
in the DB. Just like when I first got this bean, there were just a couple
barely audible 1st cracks and that's all she wrote for aural cues. Certainly
if there were going to "noise" from the cracks,  8 ounces was enough beans
to hear it.
As I got nearer to 2nd crack, more chaff started to fly, a bit more smoke
appeared, but the easiest change for me to observe was the aroma. Most of
the sugars had caramelized so the sweet aroma became less and (I'm guessing)
the cellulose was starting to break down more so the woody aromas began to
predominate. There's no visible oil on the beans today and I never heard any
2nd cracks.
I roasted a lot of this bean over the last couple months, usually in the DB,
so about all I went by for profiles were the aroma and 2nd round of chaff...
Not particulary exact like folks who use temp probes, but the results have
been consistent enough to satisfy me. One day I'd like to try an IR2.
On 10/6/06, dsobcz716  wrote:

15) From: Ed Needham
too funny...

16) From: Leo Zick
its one of my fav espressos, so unique!  From what I remember, its quite a
chaffy roast too.. lol

17) From: Vicki Smith
Yes, I am covered with chaff when I roast 12 ounces of this at once in 
my bread machine.
Leo Zick wrote:

18) From: cja
Another TEST has surfaced!
On Fri, 6 Oct 2006 8:59am, Dan Bollinger wrote:

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