HomeRoast Digest


Topic: IR2 - what am I doing wrong? (22 msgs / 550 lines)
1) From: Eric Basham
This is a multi-part message in MIME format.
Greetings everybody, new posting to the list but have been reading them
for awhile.  I got an IR2 for xmas and the 8 pack sampler from SM.  So
far I have roasted Congo Peaberry, Panama Boutique, and Nicaragua
Limoncillo.  I have been wholly unhappy with the results.  I know that I
underroasted my first batch and that was my fault, but I have been
following Tom's profile from his cheat sheet and most of the batches
have been in the FC to FC+ range and have been pleased with the
appearance of the roasted beans.  However, when you roast the beans with
an IR2, is it supposed to smell like burnt popcorn?  I was kind of
hoping to get some of that good coffee roast smell but so far the
microwave popcorn smell has not been appetizing.  I have then let them
rest for 8 hours exposed to air before sealing.  I find that they carry
over that "burnt" smell even for a couple of days after and don't
exactly smell like roasted beans.   This carries over to the actual
coffee which tastes flat and sometimes bitter.   I know there are a lot
of factors that go into it, but if there are any suggestions or hints
you can give me, that would be appreciated.  
 
thanks,
Eric Basham
 

2) From: Vicki Smith
I've never experienced the burnt popcorn smell, sorry. I have decided 
though that as much as I like the smell of the coffee as it is 
roasting--even the vaguely bready/peanuty smell as the beans first begin 
to change colour, I really don't like the smell left in the kitchen 
awhile after the roast is done.
Do other people in your household also notice the same smell? I am 
asking that because shortly after I got my roaster, I got some sort of 
cold/virus and my sense of taste and smell was off for weeks. I was all 
but convinced that I couldn't roast coffee to save my life when that was 
happening.
vicki
Eric Basham wrote:
<Snip>

3) From: Ronnie Kramer
Eric, I'm brand new to roasting and have been using the IR2 for about 2 weeks.  I loved the Nicaragua Limoncillo and the Panama Boutique gave me excellent results once, and once I underroasted.  Anytime I've gotten a 'burnt' flavor from the cup it's been because I roasted at least to Vienna or light French.  To get the FC/FC+, since I couldn't hear cracks at all, I hit the cool button within a second or so of seeing the first oily spot on the bean surface.  I watch the beans like a hawk while they're roasting.  If i bite the roasted bean at this roast level, it tastes carbony, burnt.  But it does not taste burnt in the cup.  The next day there will be a little more oily spots on the beans.
Eric Basham  wrote:      Greetings everybody, new posting to the list but have been reading them for awhile.  I got an IR2 for xmas and the 8 pack sampler from SM.  So far I have roasted Congo Peaberry, Panama Boutique, and Nicaragua Limoncillo.  I have been wholly unhappy with the results.  I know that I underroasted my first batch and that was my fault, but I have been following Tom's profile from his cheat sheet and most of the batches have been in the FC to FC+ range and have been pleased with the appearance of the roasted beans.  However, when you roast the beans with an IR2, is it supposed to smell like burnt popcorn?  I was kind of hoping to get some of that good coffee roast smell but so far the microwave popcorn smell has not been appetizing.  I have then let them rest for 8 hours exposed to air before sealing.  I find that they carry over that "burnt" smell even for a couple of days after and don't exactly smell like roasted beans.   This
 carries over to the actual coffee which tastes flat and sometimes bitter.   I know there are a lot of factors that go into it, but if there are any suggestions or hints you can give me, that would be appreciated.  
   
  thanks,
    Eric Basham
Ronnie Kramer
Austin, TX

4) From: hermit
Hi Eric -
I have never owned  the IR2, but I can tell you that you cannot go by
any recommendations given by the roaster manual - might as well throw
it away.  I have used the original Fresh Roast for about 5 years and
just recently I purchased the FreshRoast Plus 8.  Tom has a very
informative tip sheet, and I quote from the tip sheet: "Roast times
are dependent on your line voltage and ambient temp, so you will need
to experiment to establish the exact roast settings that work for
you."  Eric, this is excellent advice.  My FreshRoast Plus 8 roasts
FC+ at setting 6 - the tip sheet recommends 7.  Tip sheet recommends
6.5 for City+ but my FreshRoast does it at setting 5.  The point I am
trying to make is that you have to use both sight and smell to
determine the proper roast levels and never EVER leave the roaster on
it's own - even to go to the bathroom!  Sure you'll turn some greens
into charcoal, but that is part of the learning experience.  My
kitchen smells "heavenly", quoting my wife here, after roasting.  Keep
at it, ask questions, try different times and resting periods.  Misty
Valley for me sucks unless it has rested for about 5 days.  Each
person's taste is different.  And for heavens sake don't go looking
for all the taste nuances that you read about here.  Just be happy
with a great cup of coffee!
Regards,
Rich
<Snip>

5) From: Vicki Smith
Ronnie, try stepping back from the roaster about 4-5 feet. You may be 
able to hear 1st at least more easily. The sound of the beans moving 
about in the roasting chamber is not as pronounced that way, and the 
pops seem to stand out. It also helps to have a roasting environment 
without much in the way of soft surfaces around, so, for example, I hear 
the cracks more easily in the garage, than in the kitchen.
I'm actually talking 1st here, as I almost never go into second.
vicki
Ronnie Kramer wrote:
<Snip>

6) From: Tim Smith
This sounded familiar so I went to my log.  Turns out it was a batch of
Mexico Organic Chiapas WP Decaf roasted to what I take to be a City+ that
smelled exactly like popcorn when the beans were done.  But that made for an
excellent cup of coffee, quite bright with the slightly acidic "kick" that I
have found myself to enjoy.  Right now I'm sipping on a brew from the
same bean but roasted to a FC+ with three day's rest and it's a completely
different animal.  Incredibly mellow, just the slightest citrus note on the
finish, and some earthy/cocoa tones that I don't think were there with the
lighter roast.  And, to tell you the truth, I can definitely find a hint of
burned popcorn.
Keep in mind that I'm reeeeaaalllyyyy new at this, so my advice probably
isn't the best around.  But you should definitely keep playing with profile
and intensity of roast.  In my limited experience, there can be a big
enough difference between a C+ and a FC that stepping over the line into
second crack could make or break the next day's brew.  (Though the worst are
still better than store bought as far as I'm concerned!)  The Central
American and African coffees that you are roasting might fare better on the
lighter side (City to City+).  If you have trouble hearing the cracks, look
for lighter milk chocolate color and stop the roast if you see things start
to darken up quickly.  After playing with all of the variations you will be
able to zero in on something that you like.  Good luck!
Tim

7) From: Kris McN
Hey Eric,
There's a world of difference between the smell of roasting coffee and
roasted coffee.  When someone finds out I'm a home roaster they'll often
say, "Oh!  I love the smell of coffee roasting!"  To which I reply, "No, you
don't.  You love the smell of roasted coffee, because coffee while it's
roasting smells like something's burning."  I think many people think of the
smell when they walk into a shop selling freshly roasted coffee as the smell
of coffee roasting, but that's the smell of roasted beans off-gassing.  I
LOVE that smell!  But what you're smelling once the coffee starts into 1st
crack is smoke, which includes volatile compounds and soot, essentially.
The smell of the smoke gives you all kinds of clues about what's going on in
the roast, but I don't really care for it as smells go.  I know some on this
list have said they like the smokey smell.  I don't find it hugely offensive
or anything, but one of the reasons I roast outside is because I don't want
my house to smell like smoke all week.  But I would fill my house with
pounds of freshly roasted coffee for the smell alone.  So, the fact that
you're smelling "burnt" smells while you're roasting doesn't necessarily
mean things are going wrong, depending on how burnt.
Now, having said all of that, the fact that your roasts still smell burnt to
you after resting for awhile suggests to me that maybe you're taking your
roasts too far.  Maybe they're a bit darker than you think.  If I take some
bean into Vienna or French, it's going to have a lingering char smell to it,
but City-Full City roasts don't smell at all burnt to me while resting.
Also the fact that you describe the taste as flat and bitter suggests
over-roasting.  Maybe back off the roasts a bit and see if the beans taste
better to you.
Kris McN
On 1/30/07, Eric Basham  wrote:
<Snip>

8) From: Ronnie Kramer
Actually I've been able to hear it the last few days.  First I bought a popcorn popper.  I used it and the IR2 outside without the vent.  I was able to hear the cracks.  But on the roast with the IR2, the first crack began at 6:00 into the roast and lasted to 8:45.  Then second crack started with only a 0:15 pause.  I'll have to keep working to figure it out.  But it's hard to tell if the first is complete till the second starts because there can be 4 or 5 second pauses in the first crack.
   
  Still working!
Vicki Smith  wrote:
  Ronnie, try stepping back from the roaster about 4-5 feet. You may be 
able to hear 1st at least more easily. The sound of the beans moving 
about in the roasting chamber is not as pronounced that way, and the 
pops seem to stand out. It also helps to have a roasting environment 
without much in the way of soft surfaces around, so, for example, I hear 
the cracks more easily in the garage, than in the kitchen.
I'm actually talking 1st here, as I almost never go into second.
vicki
Ronnie Kramer wrote:
<Snip>Ronnie Kramer
Austin, TX

9) From: Vicki Smith
Please don't take this as a criticism. I don't know enough to judge 
other people's roasting, and dawg knows these little roasters are so 
different from each other, that just about anything can happen with 
them, but sheesh, that sounds like a very long first crack if we are 
talking about a maximum of 150 grams of coffee--especially when the 
beans are from our hosts, so we know the moisture level isn't all over 
the place. 15 seconds from end of 1st to the beginning of 2nd sounds 
short, too.
Are you getting good bean movement?
vicki
Ronnie Kramer wrote:
<Snip>

10) From: Ronnie Kramer
Yes I believe the beans are moving well.  I've gone back to something very similar to Tom's profile;
   
  2:00 @ 350F
  3:00 @ 400F
  9:00 @ 450F
   
  The first crack started a minute into stage 3.  I could hear the pops every 4-8 seconds at first.  After a minute or so it was 2 or 3 pops a second to 1 pop every other second or so, then eventually slowed down again to one pop every 4-8 seconds.  I even wrote down every second I heard a pop to try to help me figure out what was going on (practically counted the pops).  Then when the pause lasted more than 10 seconds I guess that was my last chance for a City+.  When the pause reached 15 seconds second crack went off with a very rapid popppoppop.  I stopped about 2 seconds into it and the coffee is great.  Hardly any oil showing and I saw only one divot.  But it seems I can't (yet) stop at a city or city+.
   
  Oh, the ambient air was 50F and it was the first time I could clearly hear the cracks in the ir2.
   
  -Ronnie
Vicki Smith  wrote:
  Please don't take this as a criticism. I don't know enough to judge 
other people's roasting, and dawg knows these little roasters are so 
different from each other, that just about anything can happen with 
them, but sheesh, that sounds like a very long first crack if we are 
talking about a maximum of 150 grams of coffee--especially when the 
beans are from our hosts, so we know the moisture level isn't all over 
the place. 15 seconds from end of 1st to the beginning of 2nd sounds 
short, too.
Are you getting good bean movement?
vicki
Ronnie Kramer wrote:
<Snip>Ronnie Kramer
Austin, TX

11) From: David Schooley
Your temperature for stage 3 is too high. Set it to 415F or so. You can even
leave it at 400F if you wish. Given where first crack started for these
temperatures, you should be able to get to 9 minutes before hitting second.
On 1/30/07, Ronnie Kramer  wrote:
<Snip>

12) From: Vicki Smith
David, I know you track your roasts carefully. I also don't hear all 
than many distinct pops in my IR2 to know exactly how long 1st lasts, 
but does 2'45" seem long to you? I know when I do a pound roast in my 
bread machine, 1st with a single origin bean takes a whole lot less time 
roasting a full pound.
My concern, I guess, would be with some beans hitting 1st so much sooner 
than others, the end product would be a bit uneven or melange like. Not 
that a melange is a bad thing, but Ronnie is reporting that  some beans 
are 17 seconds after 1st crack when he pulls the roast (hummm, City+) 
and others are showing oil--definitely not City+ ;).
I asked about bean movement, because some beans definitely are big/heavy 
enough so that using the max of 150 grams would be a problem. I'd be 
interested in knowing what is happening with the same beans, but a 30% 
or so smaller batch.
I'd lower 3rd temps too, given his results.
Vicki
David Schooley wrote:
<Snip>

13) From: Ronnie Kramer
Well, 2nd started at 9:00.  But first went from 6:00 to 8:45.  It's just confusing.
David Schooley  wrote:  Your temperature for stage 3 is too high. Set it to 415F or so. You can even leave it at 400F if you wish. Given where first crack started for these temperatures, you should be able to get to 9 minutes before hitting second. 
  On 1/30/07, Ronnie Kramer  wrote:     Yes I believe the beans are moving well.  I've gone back to something very similar to Tom's profile;
   
  2:00 @ 350F
  3:00 @ 400F
  9:00 @ 450F
   
  The first crack started a minute into stage 3.  I could hear the pops every 4-8 seconds at first.  After a minute or so it was 2 or 3 pops a second to 1 pop every other second or so, then eventually slowed down again to one pop every 4-8 seconds.  I even wrote down every second I heard a pop to try to help me figure out what was going on (practically counted the pops).  Then when the pause lasted more than 10 seconds I guess that was my last chance for a City+.  When the pause reached 15 seconds second crack went off with a very rapid popppoppop.  I stopped about 2 seconds into it and the coffee is great.  Hardly any oil showing and I saw only one divot.  But it seems I can't (yet) stop at a city or city+. 
   
  Oh, the ambient air was 50F and it was the first time I could clearly hear the cracks in the ir2.
   
  -Ronnie
Vicki Smith  wrote:
    Please don't take this as a criticism. I don't know enough to judge 
other people's roasting, and dawg knows these little roasters are so 
different from each other, that just about anything can happen with 
them, but sheesh, that sounds like a very long first crack if we are 
talking about a maximum of 150 grams of coffee--especially when the 
beans are from our hosts, so we know the moisture level isn't all over 
the place. 15 seconds from end of 1st to the beginning of 2nd sounds 
short, too.
Are you getting good bean movement?
vicki
Ronnie Kramer wrote:
<Snip>Ronnie Kramer
Austin, TX 
Ronnie Kramer
Austin, TX

14) From: Ronnie Kramer
I'll try a smaller batch.  Like say 110g or so.
Vicki Smith  wrote:  David, I know you track your roasts carefully. I also don't hear all 
than many distinct pops in my IR2 to know exactly how long 1st lasts, 
but does 2'45" seem long to you? I know when I do a pound roast in my 
bread machine, 1st with a single origin bean takes a whole lot less time 
roasting a full pound.
My concern, I guess, would be with some beans hitting 1st so much sooner 
than others, the end product would be a bit uneven or melange like. Not 
that a melange is a bad thing, but Ronnie is reporting that some beans 
are 17 seconds after 1st crack when he pulls the roast (hummm, City+) 
and others are showing oil--definitely not City+ ;).
I asked about bean movement, because some beans definitely are big/heavy 
enough so that using the max of 150 grams would be a problem. I'd be 
interested in knowing what is happening with the same beans, but a 30% 
or so smaller batch.
I'd lower 3rd temps too, given his results.
Vicki
David Schooley wrote:
<Snip>Ronnie Kramer
Austin, TX

15) From: Brian Kamnetz
Sure sounds like it is racing at the end. Reducing heat input should fix
that.
Brian
On 1/30/07, Ronnie Kramer  wrote:
<Snip>

16) From: David Schooley
Only change one variable at a time. You should be able to get this to work
with 150g.
On 1/30/07, Ronnie Kramer  wrote:
<Snip>

17) From: Vicki Smith
Absolutely on the variables.
David Schooley wrote:
<Snip>

18) From: TERRY TITSWORTH
I have been rethinking my roasts after checking my temps vs programed temps.
most of my 1st stage temps are running to 345/355 by the first 3.5/4 minutes
into the roast, regardless of where I place the temp settings. Thinking to
get all the boys up to temp, even the stragglers, I have begun setting my
first stage at 375 for 5:30 minutes. In the last 25 to 45 seconds on board
read outs hit 378 to 380. I then have my second stage set for 395 for 2:30
minutes. Usually in the first 30 seconds of this stage they are hitting
400/405 from on board reading. Swelling and color indications of 1st crack
are showing around 6:00 into the roast. Most beans I cannot hear the
beginning of 1st, but I can usually hear pops after the 6:20 6:30 mark. For
the few beans origins that do pop loudly enough, I usually hear them start
about 5:45/5:50 into the roast. And lastly I have 435 for 3:00 programed
into the 3rd stage in case of low ambient temps or unexpected errors (don't
get the lid on correctly etc.)
Typically I have been hitting the cool down button anywhere from 3:00 to
2:30 left on the timer for this 11:00 program. I have been trying to avoid
2nd with most of my roasts to find out the essence that I may be missing
with the 'shut it down when the smokes rolling" program.
Also I am roasting for 2 other guys in the office (they buy the beans I
roast and brew) and we have been ordering 15lbs of assorted every quarter.
So some of the roasting is experimenting also.
I have also been roasting on an enclosed porch due to foul weather and have
been forced to use the exhaust tube out the window due to the wife's
sensitivity to the aromas. but if anything, it seems to have helped
stabilize the roast profile for me. Then again, that may change with the
wind direction.
Oh, I should mention that my batch size is usually 130 to 140 grams,
depending on the bean.
TerryT
On 1/30/07, Vicki Smith  wrote:
<Snip>
-- 
Start HOT and work your way Down...
Peppers AND Coffee.
[|:{O....[|:{U...
(I'm the tall guy in the middle)

19) From: David Schooley
We do not know Ronnie's voltage or ambient temperature, but first crack is
starting about when it should given the beginning of his profile, or perhaps
a bit late. I am not where I can look at my logs, but his 400F stage may
also be giving him a readout temperature somewhere below 400F due to voltage
or where the programmed temperature falls within the temperature bands we
have all love to hate. (I know that 405F would push him up to 407F or so,
but I do not remember what 400F does.) In any case, I do not think that is
the problem.
The 450F stage puts him into that 425F range (or higher) for the readout
temperature. First crack should go like crazy at that temperature. With the
oil-on-the-beans observation, I think the roast is going well into a rolling
second, which means final cracks of "first" are really the first few cracks
of second and the roast is way past FC+ when it ends.
2'45" from the beginning to the end of first might be doable, but not with
450F programmed into the machine. The iRoast is hard because you are never
sure if you hear every crack, and a loud snap during second can sound like
something from first, especially when you are trying to hear over the fan
noise.
On 1/30/07, Vicki Smith  wrote:
<Snip>

20) From: Vicki Smith
Yes, that was how I read it also, which would mean that what he is 
seeing as first crack was *not* lasting 2'45" at all--something  I had 
trouble imagining with his profile, or actually, at anything I've seen 
in the IR2.
I know Ronnie said he had just begun hearing the cracks in the last few 
days. It can take a bit to know what you are hearing. I know I found it 
useful to pay attention to the smoke and smell, as well as the sound, as 
those changes are also significant as the roast progresses and an 
indication of where you are in the roast.
Vicki
David Schooley wrote:
<Snip>

21) From: David Schooley
--Apple-Mail-1-792521918
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What does your profile look like, and how far along are you ending  
the roast?
You might want to consider holding off on the peaberries until you  
get a handle on roasting the other beans. Peaberries roast a bit  
differently and switching back and forth between the peaberries and  
normal beans could be a bit confusing. I use a slightly different  
profile for peaberries.
On Jan 30, 2007, at 9:58 AM, Eric Basham wrote:
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--Apple-Mail-1-792521918
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What does your profile look =
like, and how far along are you ending the roast? 
You might want to consider = holding off on the peaberries until you get a handle on roasting the = other beans. Peaberries roast a bit differently and switching back and = forth between the peaberries and normal beans could be a bit confusing. = I use a slightly different profile for peaberries. On = Jan 30, 2007, at 9:58 AM, Eric Basham wrote:
= Greetings everybody, new posting to the list but have been = reading them for awhile.  I got an IR2 for xmas and the 8 pack sampler = from SM.  So far I have roasted Congo Peaberry, Panama Boutique, and = Nicaragua Limoncillo.  I have been wholly unhappy with the results.  = I know that I underroasted my first batch and that was my fault, but I = have been following Tom's profile from his cheat sheet and most of the = batches have been in the FC to FC+ range and have been pleased with the = appearance of the roasted beans.  However, when you roast the beans = with an IR2, is it supposed to smell like burnt popcorn?  I was kind = of hoping to get some of that good coffee roast smell but so far the = microwave popcorn smell has not been appetizing.  I have then let them = rest for 8 hours exposed to air before sealing.  I find that they = carry over that "burnt" smell even for a couple of days after and don't = exactly smell like roasted beans.   This carries over to the actual = coffee which tastes flat and sometimes bitter.   I know there are a = lot of factors that go into it, but if there are any suggestions or = hints you can give me, that would be appreciated.  =  = thanks, Eric = Basham   = --Apple-Mail-1-792521918--

22) From: Larry Johnson
You're getting a lot of good advice about temperature profiling for your
roast, but I'm too much of a newbie myself to be much help with that. I do
suggest, however, a longer rest period before sealing the beans up tight. I
have found that 24-36 hrs sitting in the open container, no top, works
great.
I also got an IR2 for Christmas, and I've roasted some really good tasting
coffee with it (Blue Quetzal, Misty Valley, Kona). Stay with it; it'll come
around.
Larry J (Lilboybrew)
-- 
"I hear, and I forget.  I see, and I remember.  I do, and I
understand."    -- Confucius
On 1/30/07, Eric Basham  wrote:
<Snip>


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