I decided that I'm going to have a go at roasting and try it with an Poppery II - Snail mail (or Harvey) should bring it tomorrow or Monday. I've been following some of the posts about cooking temperature, times, etc. and have a basic question (I've researched this but haven't found an answer): I can understand altering the temperature in order to slow down or speed up the roasting process, but my memory is that people start out with lower temperatures and increase as first crack comes on. This seems counter intuitive to me because I would anticipate wanting to start with a high temperature and then slow down the roast once first crack begins. Does altering the temperature affect the roast in another way or is it just a method to control the final roast level? Is it like grilling a steak - you may start with a higher flame to char the outside and keep the middle pink and moist vs "slow cooking" will make the center well done but drier. Also, I haven't ordered my beans. I thought that I'd order a pound of a "starter bean" (in addition to a variety pack) in case I burn my first couple batches while I get the swing of things. I have to spend some time with Tom's cupping reviews but any suggestions would be welcomed. Happy day, John. John Nanavati Plainfield, New Jersey
I hope you enjoy your endeavors. Here's a good air popper link-http://www.sweetmarias.com/airpopmethod.htmlUnless you're going to modify your popper, you will have to work at manipulating the application of heat to the beans. In essence what you have is a heat source at one temperature and a mass of beans at another temperature. As the heated air flows over the beans an exchange of heat occurs. The location that you measure temperature will vary and indeed the mass starts out cooler and rises in temperature over time. The idea of trying to slow down the rise in temperature after the first crack and increasing the time to second crack is valid. You're not trying to seal the juices into the bean (scorching the beans and under roasting the middle), nor are you trying to bake all the moisture out (applying a low heat over a longer period) as either will have a negative effect on resulting cup.
John, Don't over complicate this at the outset; these are all things that you can refine over time. This is not like cooking a steak where one may wish to sear the outside and then slow cook it. What you are accomplishing here, is causing chemical reactions within the bean via the application of heat (carmelization of sugars, etc.) At the outset, don't sweat so many details. Roast some coffee and you will gain confidence quickly. For your first few batches, just pay attention to what is going on so that your can learn. As an aside to that, you are going to produce very good coffee assuming you don't transform it into carbon, but even if you do, assuming you are paying attention, you will have learned and should have better success with the next batch. I started with a Poppery II just a few months ago and I offer the following from my perspective. Personally, I have a hearing deficit, so I have to rely on my other senses more than hearing, but I am assuming that you can see, hear and smell. This is general information and you will learn to apply it to future roasts much more quickly than you think. 1) Have paper and a writing implement on hand for taking notes of all the events below; what happens at what time into the roast. 2) Using the butter dish, fill it and level it off with the beans and dump it into the popper. 3) Put the top on with the butter dish in place. 4) Simultaneously plug in the popper and start a timer / stop watch. Now, pay attention to what is going on; smoke, smells and noises. Watch the color of the beans change and pay attention to how the smell changes from "grass" to "baking bread" or whatever you mind associates with the smells. The beans will brown more and more. What you are listening is for 1st crack; similar to the sound of popcorn popping. Once first crack is completed (City Roast), you can stop the roast at any time. There is a period between first and second crack that as it progresses the smells are incredible. Also as it progresses, the roast progresses to City+, Full City, etc. If you want to keep going, you next benchmark is 2nd crack; it is preceded by lots of smoke and sounds more like Rice Crispies with milk poured on them. You really need to be paying attention when you are approaching 2nd crack. In a popper, once second crack begins, it can gain momentum quickly and you will end up with French or even Spanish Roast. When you have achieved the roast you desire, immediately and quickly unplug the popper and dump the beans into whatever you are using to cool them. Be careful because things are HOT!!!. Remember, as long as the beans are that hot, they are gonna keep roasting. For cooling, I have used a WearEver Cushionaire Pizza pan on top of the back of a fan. This will cool the beans from a popper in just seconds. I recommend you order 12 pounds of beans and use the Harvey option for shipping. There is an eight pound sampler pack which I order periodically. It forces me to try coffees I normally may not think to order. I have found some favorites this way. This will leave you 4 more pounds that you can order. Review Tom's descriptions of the coffees and order some that sound appealing to you. Make sure you have a decent grinder and brewer, methods of your choice, and make sure they are clean. Email us with your progress and more questions. Never hesitate to ask the list what kind of rice you should use to clean your grinder. ;-) I hope this is helpful. Respectfully, Eddie On 10/13/06, john nanavati wrote: <Snip>
John, Eddie's suggestions are a great way forward. As you gain a little confidence you can get geeky about the whole thing - - but to start with his comments will get you some great coffee which is the thing that will keep pushing your new found hobby. Mike (just plain)
John, I scanned the responses and didn't see this; pardon me if it's a repeat. The relationship of amount of beans being roasted to speed of the roast is counter-intuitive. With most things, if you have more to roast, it takes longer. With coffee beans in a popper, the more beans you have, the faster the roast goes. If first crack runs into second crack, slow down the roast by roasting fewer beans at a time. Good luck! Brian On 10/13/06, Michael Dhabolt wrote: <Snip>
On 10/14/06, True, Dennis W. FC1 (CVN69) wrote: <Snip> Dennis - I think the reason the more beans make a popper roast goes faster with more beans is that the hot air transfers more heat into the beans. This is because less of the hot air "bypasses" the beans. In other words, with more beans in the "pack" avove the air inlet to the roast chamber, more of the hot air actually hits beans and the heat transfer is more effective. The limit to this situation would be where so many beans were stacked up in the chamber that the hot air would quickly burn the bottom layers and not even get to the top layers. The limit in the other direction is where you have just one bean in the roaster and almost all of the heat goes out the stack without heating anything. Safe Journeys and Sweet Music Justin Marquez (CYPRESS, TX)
Thanks for that tip. I haven't seen that through any of my research - I will definitely keep an eye on it. This will be good for me since I plan to keep to small batches until I get into the swing - about 1/2 cup (I know that I'm supposed to go by weight, but I'll work with the scale as I become more obsessed ;-). Anyhoo, I've placed my first order for beans. I ordered the 8 1/2 pound samplers and a pound of the Columbia Excelso that Les was excited about. I thought that I'd work the Columbia for my first couple batches so that I can build confidence with a single bean and then play with the others in the sampler. In the mean time I'm clearing a "burn circle" under my car port just in case ; > ) On 10/14/06, Brian Kamnetz wrote: <Snip>
Also, here is a great trick for an un-modded air popper. If you want a hotter roast, point the popper directly at a wall (I use a cardboard box) and that will cause the hot air to get re-sucked up by the popper. I have to do this. Today it was 42 degrees out when I was roasting with my Poppery II. Initial testing with my Poppery II showed me 1oz was a 13min roast and never got hot enough (yucky baked beans). 4 oz was oily in about 4.5 mins. Do that test, pick your desired roast time and take a good guess how many oz's of beans to use to get those results. I like to put my cat under the warm air for the first couple minutes so she smells good when I hug her! (jk, no really.. Oh, jk) Chad On Sat, 14 Oct 2006 5:05pm, john nanavati wrote: <Snip> <Snip> <Snip> <Snip> <Snip>
Yea that used to get me too until I learned about the endothermic and exothermic reactions in coffee.. Dennis 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 DCTT Repair locker 1F "Life Liberty and the pursuit of all who threaten it..."