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Topic: Roasting Temperature (9 msgs / 325 lines)
1) From: john nanavati
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
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 Nanavati
Plainfield, New Jersey

2) From: Tom Ulmer
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.

3) From: Eddie Dove
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.
On 10/13/06, john nanavati  wrote:

4) From: Michael Dhabolt
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)

5) From: Brian Kamnetz
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!
On 10/13/06, Michael Dhabolt  wrote:

6) From: Justin Marquez
On 10/14/06, True, Dennis W. FC1 (CVN69)  wrote:
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)

7) From: john nanavati
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
In the mean time I'm clearing a "burn circle" under my car port just in case
; > )
On 10/14/06, Brian Kamnetz  wrote:

8) From: Chad
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)
On Sat, 14 Oct 2006 5:05pm, john nanavati wrote:

9) From: True, Dennis W. FC1 (CVN69)
Yea that used to get me too until I learned about the endothermic and
exothermic reactions in coffee..
FC1(SW) Dennis W. True
CS Dept CC
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..."

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