HomeRoast Digest

Topic: New to roasting, some basic questions (6 msgs / 252 lines)
1) From: Nkuvu
A day or two ago, I received my Nesco roaster. After UPS sent it from  
California to Texas, then back here to Arizona...
I've gone through two of the sample packs of green coffee beans so  
far, and with only six left, I'm looking at getting more beans. I'm  
not sure what kind to get, but I'll toss a coin for that.
The first question is rather simple -- I've read that green beans  
store well. So... how well. If I get 5 pounds of beans, are they  
going to form a civilization and revolt before I can get to them? (I  
tend to go through about a pound of coffee a week... more or less)  
And tacked onto that first question is How can I tell if the green  
coffee is no longer good?
Second question. My first roast was... not so great. I started with  
the Sumatra Mandheling, and after reading a bit figured that a  
lighter roast would be a 20 minute cycle (25 minute roast setting  
with the cool down of 5 minutes). I think I misinterpreted the tip  
sheet -- it mentions that a City roast is 20 minutes, so I added 5  
for the cool down cycle. I carefully measured out 4 ounces of coffee,  
roasted... and wow that's dark. Hmm, and the house is smoky. But hey,  
maybe that's what it's supposed to look like. And smell like. Let the  
beans rest overnight, and...
Mmm, charcoal. The beans were not in a happy state. My second attempt  
was better, but still not what I'd consider better than the grocery  
store coffee.
Um, to stop rambling, second question is Does anyone have some quick  
recommendations for time for a new roaster? For simplicity, next in  
line in the sampler pack (chosen at random) is Indonesia Flores  
Sasandu Dry-Process. Any number recommendations for this?
Keep in mind that I've been drinking grocery store coffee for quite  
some time, so answering questions like "what sort of roast do you  
like?" are going to be met with "uh..." and similar responses.
For reference, I drink espresso made with the Solis Master. Because  
I'm not conscious enough in the morning to want to make espresso with  
a less automated machine.
Thanks for any tips you can give me.

2) From: Eddie Dove
First and foremost, welcome aboard.
Green coffee beans do store well and you will probably soon find that 5
pounds is just not enough to have on hand.  Stored properly, green coffee
beans can last for a year.  On the Sweet Maria's web site, scroll to the
bottom and in the search box enter "green bean storage".  If I remember
correctly, the first three articles that come up contain some very good
information and they are very short reads.
The roaster you have used to be Zach & Dani's (I have one) and I think it
must have had some improvements since that tip sheet was written.  My
experience was that it roasted quite a bit faster; had I roasted anything
for that amount of time, it would have turned to carbon.  If you wish, I can
find and send to you some of my roasting notes and times from when I used
this roaster.  Just let me know offlist and I will forward them to you; I
really don't mind.
For timing, listen for 1st crack (sounds like popcorn) and 2nd crack (sounds
like rice krispies with milk poured on them);  if you can,  initiate the
cooling cycle on the Indonesian coffees just about when 2nd crack starts and
let the roaster cool the roast.  After a couple or few days of rest (letting
the coffee sit so that the CO2 can escape and the flavors can develop) try
some of the coffee each day for the next several days.  This will give you a
point of reference for your tastes and you can adjust from there.
Once upon a time I roasted the Indonesian Flores - Bajawa Highlands (no
longer available, but can be found in the coffee archives) in that roaster.
I had filled the roaster to the "Dark Roast" line and set the roaster for 16
minutes which would have included the 5 minute cooling cycle.  The coffee
started first crack in just under 9 minutes.  I stopped the roast at 11
minutes, but you will need to listen to the coffee.  If you initiate the
cooling cycle just as this coffee starts 2nd crack, you should end up with a
good Full City+ roast that should serve your espresso needs well.  Based on
your palate, you can adjust from there.
If you have any other questions, please don't hesitate to ask and again,
welcome to the list.
Errare humanun est - sed perseverare diabolicum
My Home Coffee Roasting Blog and Profiles for the Gene Cafehttp://themeyers.org/HomeRoast/On 2/27/07, Nkuvu  wrote:">http://southcoastcoffeeroaster.blogspot.com/Sweet Maria's List - Searchable Archiveshttp://themeyers.org/HomeRoast/On 2/27/07, Nkuvu  wrote:

3) From: Lissa
on 02/27/2007 10:21 PM Nkuvu said the following:
There are worse methods. I'd just recommend that you get coffees from a 
variety of regions (i.e., some Central Americans, some Africans, some 
from the Pacific regions). That way, you can get a sense of which 
regions you prefer. Unlike many on this list, I find Centrals completely 
boring, and prefer the Africans and Asians.
 From Tom, you are good for a year with greens, 6 months with the decaff 
greens. Especially if you store them in burlap (the plastic bags are 
good for 6 months, IIRC).
I go through about a pound of coffee a week, too, and if I don't go the 
Harvey route, I generally order around 30-40 lbs. at a time.
Time will betray you, as will looking at colour. Go by smell and by 
listening to the cracks, and you'll have better luck. (I'm not familiar 
with your specific roaster, so I can't comment on that.)
Bad Things will not happen if you grind and brew a bit right after 
cooling. Rest times are an average. Tom had a Sumatran a few years back 
that I loved up to 12 hours and found undrinkable after 24 hours. I've 
had a few beans over the years that were excellent at 5 days.
Be well,
My goal is not to subdue Nature.  My goal is to eat Nature.
Jeffrey Steingarten, _It Must've Been Something I Ate; the
return of the man who ate everything_

4) From: Christina Bohnhoff
My Z & D (previous incarnation of your roaster) roasted fast.  Usually I
would set it to 20, and stop with around 7-8-8:30 minutes left.  Depended on
the beans.  I found it very easy to hear first crack, unless it was a
I have an I-roast now, but still have the Z & D for backup.
On 2/27/07, Nkuvu  wrote:

5) From: Ross
This is a multi-part message in MIME format.
I'm only slightly more experienced than you but I can offer this =
suggestion.  Watch and listen while you are roasting, time is not as =
important as what is happening with the beans, e.g. they are in 1st =
crack, they are swelling up, they are turning reddish brown ect.  Be =
ready to stop/cool the roast when the beans look like what you want.  =
There are lots of color charts and other good info on the SM web site.

6) From: Christina Bohnhoff
Oh, yes.  I absolutely do go by the cracks, smell, etc.  But I wanted
to point out that a 20 minute roast on a Z & D is quite likely be too
long.  The time reference was just that, for reference.  Sorry if that
wasn't clear to the o.p.
On 2/28/07, Ross  wrote:

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