HomeRoast Digest

Topic: Help, I'm about to give up (12 msgs / 361 lines)
1) From: DeCambre.Peter
I will be out of the office starting  11/26/2002 and will not return
until 12/02/2002.
I will respond to your message when I return.
homeroast mailing listhttp://lists.sweetmarias.com/mailman/listinfo/homeroast

2) From: neal prentiss
OK, so I'm not really going to give up, I'm just really frustrated.  After
taking in all the advice that everyone gave me about my sour tasting Sumatra
(Thank you by the way) I decided my problem was either a dirty grinder, I
didn't give the beans enough time to rest, or I was roasting them too fast.
So I decided to let my Sumatra rest a few more days and roast a new batch in
the mean time.  I have the SM sampler pack, so for my fourth roast I used
the Mexico Organic Nayarit Terruno.  I slowed my roast down a bit, I hit 1st
crack at 8 minutes, and stopped right at second crack at about 12-13
minutes.  Then I let them rest 24 hours.
Today I ground the Mexico Organic Nayarit Terruno beans up in a burr
grinder, brewed them in a french press, and the result: The same sour taste
I had with the Sumatra.
Then I tried another brew with the same beans, but this time I used my old
blade grinder.  I got the same sour taste, which told me that the problem is
not my grinder.
Next I pulled my old Mr. Coffee automatic drip out of the cupboard and tried
with that.  I used the burr grinder with a finer setting.  I got the same
sour taste.
Then as a last result I went out and bought some Starbucks Whole bean
Breakfast Blend, ground those up in the burr grinder, and brewed them in my
french press, and it tasted fine.
So now I figure my problem is one of three things:
1. I'm doing something wrong while roasting
2. I'm doing something wrong while letting them rest. (I put the freshly
roasted beans in the valve bags from SM, seal them, and store them in a dark
3. I've been drinking bad coffee for so long that I just don't like the
taste of good coffee.
Please help me.
By the way I'm roasting using a stove top popper, and grinding with a
Barista Burr grinder (the kind they sell at Starbucks).  And I haven't gone
back to try the Sumatra, that will be tomorrow.
Thanks for your time,

3) From: Eddie Dove
I will offer you this:
If you wish, I will roast some of the Mexico Organit Nayarit Terruno in my
Gene Cafe and send it to you at no charge and I will include my roast
notes.  Perhaps it will give you a point of reference to help narrow things
down a bit.  I really like that coffee and have never found it to be sour; I
also have a lot of it on hand so it is neither a bother or a burden.  I
would be more than glad to do this so please don't hesitate to take me up on
this offer.  Just reply to me off list.
For my personal taste, I almost always let coffees rest at least 3 days
before I brew them.  With the Indonesians, I try to wait for at least 4
days, but sometimes I just have no will ... when I open the coffee cupboard
and the beans are just crying out to me.  If it is a new coffee to me, I
will try it everyday to learn it's "flavor curve" and any sourness is just a
note for future reference.
Docendo Discimus
My Home Coffee Roasting Blog and Profiles for the Gene Cafehttp://themeyers.org/HomeRoast/On 3/15/07, neal prentiss  wrote:">http://southcoastcoffeeroaster.blogspot.com/Sweet Maria's List - Searchable Archiveshttp://themeyers.org/HomeRoast/On 3/15/07, neal prentiss  wrote:

4) From:
# 1 don't give up.
I am sure your roasts  good, maybe try a bit lighter roast.
Bet your taste buds are just off. Go to a Starbucks or other local place and have a cup of coffee; hit a gas station that brews coffee like Circle K, AM PM whatever.
Go to the store and buy a 1/4 pound of something, anything and go home and brew it as you normally would.
Them we compare:
do they all taste like shit?
some and not others?
are you taking any particular type of medication that is new? What is the PH of your water if you use tap? If you use tap go get some  bottled, maybe distilled and see if there is any difference.
You go guy!!
ginnyhttp://homeroasters.org/php/news.php---- neal prentiss  wrote: 

5) From: john nanavati
Neal, where are you located? I'm certainly not one of the gurus of this
group, but would be willing to team up if you're near by.
John Nanavati
Plainfield, New Jersey

6) From: Tom & Maria - Sweet Maria's Coffee
My guess would be it is the stovetop popper roasting. You can easily 
scorch coffee in a stovetop roaster. You are essentially roasting by 
conduction - conducting heat from the surface to interior of the 
bean. It can be done well, but requires some real technique, and 
preferably, some experience with another roast technique so you have 
something to compare your results to. Don't toss the stovetop popper, 
put it aside and find an air popcorn popper to roast in. Make sure 
you don't overload it too, make sure the coffee agitates well in the 
air popper. Later, go back to stovetop to get bigger batches, and 
with the experience of air popper roasting. That is my .02 cents. 
Reading all your other issues (grinder etc) I really thing it is in 
the roasting, and most likely scorching / tipping the coffee. When 
this happens, you can end up with a nice looking brown coffee that 
masks the fact it was scorched early in the roast.
                   "Great coffee comes from tiny roasters"
            Sweet Maria's Home Coffee Roasting  -  Tom & Maria
                      http://www.sweetmarias.com                Thompson Owen george_at_sweetmarias.com
     Sweet Maria's Coffee - 1115 21st Street, Oakland, CA 94607 - USA
             phone/fax: 888 876 5917 - tom_at_sweetmarias.com

7) From: Les
Tom is spot on.  Think of a nice T-Bone steak.  Sear both sides to keep the
juices in and  cook it medium rare for me.  The point?  Your beans look
roasted city-Vienna, but they are medium rare on the inside, thus leading to
the sourness.
On 3/15/07, Tom & Maria - Sweet Maria's Coffee 

8) From: Angelo
If you're using your roaster DIRECTLY on the heat, get yourself a 
cast iron pan and put that between the stove and roaster..It will 
distribute the heat more evenly...

9) From: Larry Williams
Neal - If you want to try a Poppery II I have one.  I will send it to 
you FREE.  I need the space on my counter for the IR2.  Let me know.
Larry Williams
neal prentiss wrote:
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10) From: stereoplegic
i agree, you may be getting a grassy taste. i got that quite a bit until 
i started basing my roasts on Eddie's (in turn based on the advice of 
miKe and others) profiles. one reason i think i liked the bolivia 
peaberry de montana was that it was so smooth that it was more forgiving 
of/masked the grassy taste. you want to shoot for 300 degrees F within 
about four or five minutes (if you get there a little early, try to stay 
there until then. also i've found that preheating (the roasting vessel, 
not the beans) so that your bean temp is right around 200 degrees F 
right around the time you drop them in helps. for me, that means preheat 
to 300 or slightly more for 1/2 lb. and just over 400 for 1lb, keeping 
in mind that my setup is much different. that way, you can get to 265 
quickly, slowly coast up to 300, and still have enough momentum for the 
rest of the roast). your first crack time seems about right, thought my 
first usually hits between 9:30 and 10:30. from there, no matter what 
level you take your roast to, try to end it around 4min after first 
crack, and try to coast for the last 20-30 seconds at the same temp.
DEchelbarger wrote:

11) From: Sharon Allsup
Heya Neal -
I'm going to second What Tom Said.  I got a friend hooked on homeroast
and he was getting sour roasts with a stovetop.  He did the whole
"switch out grinders, change brewing methods, etc" just like you did
(you did a great job of eliminating variables, by the way), and even
brought his beans over to roast in my roaster (tasted fine), and his
homeroast to grind & brew in my gear (tasted sour).  When we started
looking at his roasting process, it turns out he was spot-scorching
the beans exactly as Tom described.
Your bagging technique sounds fine, by the way.  I use a cheap generic
sandwich-baggie as an inner liner for the SM plastic bags to make it
easier to clean, but otherwise your resting storage is identical to
mine and that of dozens of others here who are happy with their

12) From: raymanowen
You're on the right trail, Neal-
As I remember, somebody a lot smarter than I mentioned the roast right off
the bat.
My suggestion always is: you can't learn the fine points of success and
failure with an assortment of different green coffees. With these highly
characteristic Specialty Coffees, you really won't learn much with small
quantities of coffees that all behave differently.
Read the Offering notes and get at least a Fiver, or 10 pounds of a bean
that sounds good to you- one that is well reported at City roast but also
does well at the darker roast stages.
Here's a suggestion: Does your stove top popper have a window in the cover
lid? Replace the window with screen mesh, being careful not to damage the
stirring mechanism.
Cut a hole in the lid for the business end of your new heat gun. Advance
token to Park Place. You just inherited it for the price of a heat gun. I
got a Glorious Orange HG for $10. Don't do it.
It worked well for about six roasts, then turned exciting. I hate it when
smoke and Blue Fire are coming from the thing I'm holding in my bare hand. A
Roman Candle firework.
The flavor and aromas are all surprising and pleasant, compared to the
unwavering dreckig schwill of Big Coffee. They have to maintain Mediocrity,
otherwise people might detect the changes and revolt.
A certain franchise banks on the fact that marketing posters and an
impressive visual presence in strip malls and big shopping malls will
forestall the ominous question of "How in Blue Blazes do they get this
flavor? It's so - Burnt!"
Hence, the moniker "Charbucks" by recent escapees of the yuppie cult.
Cheers -RayO, aka Opa!
*Paddy was driving down the street in a sweat because he had an important
meeting and couldn't find a parking place.   *
* Looking up to heaven he said, "Lord take pity on me.   If you find me a
parking place I will go to Mass every Sunday for the rest of me life and
give up me Irish Whiskey!"
Miraculously, a parking place appeared.
Paddy looked up again and said, "Never mind, I found one."*

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