HomeRoast Digest


Topic: In search of my Holy Grail in coffee (15 msgs / 713 lines)
1) From: Michael J Hanagan
This is a multi-part message in MIME format.
Greetings to all of you hardcore home roasters!
 
I have just recently gotten into this new hobby of searching for my Holy
Grail of freshly roasted coffee and I need some suggestions to zoom in =
on my
target.  The very best coffee I have ever tasted has been in Italy.  It
seems as though good coffee is very common there, unlike here in America
where 90% of our coffee is simply awful.  I have had the luxury of =
finding a
store in Western New York which roasts their own coffee on the premises =
and
their “French Roast” version is truly fabulous when you get it =
within a few
days of it being roasted.  I have since move to Central Massachusetts =
and
have not been able to find a local coffee roaster that could match my =
former
source.  So, here I am desperately trying to roast my very own coffee!
 
I decided to go the route of the West Bend Poppery II roaster and =
modified
it so the fan is controlled by a dimmer switch and the heating coils are
both subjected to full line voltage.  I purchased some beans and have
roasted several times.  I also read Kenneth Davids’ book on home =
roasting.
Thus far I have not come close to achieving the flavor I so desperately
seek.  While I don’t speak the cofee roaster’s vernacular I hope =
someone out
there can steer me in the right direction.  I’m looking for a bean and
roasting temperature combination to mimic the type of coffee typically
brewed in Italy and/or that mimics the very full and flavorful “French
roast” type of coffee.  If it helps, I found that Tully’s of Seattle =
made a
fairly decent cup of “French roast” coffee – not great, certainly =
lacking in
ultimate freshness and fullness, but certainly better than most of the
commercial cups of coffee I’ve had to endure.
 
I have roasted several batches of SW’s Liquid Amber Espresso Blend and =
found
that if I didn’t roast higher than about 460°F it tasted awful (too
acidic??).  From 460°F to about 475°F the flavor improved but it =
never
reached the “fullness” I am looking for.
 
I also roasted the Puro Scuro Blend and found its flavor seemed to peak =
(for
my taste) around 450°F, but again the flavor was not big enough.  The =
same
went for the French Roast Blend.
 
Last weekend I also roasted the Java Government Estate (450° and =
460°), Moka
Kadir Blend (460°), Yemen Mokha (440°) and Sumatra Classic =
Mandheling
(450°).  The aroma of the freshly roasted beans is just fabulous, but =
the
resulting coffee flavor falls short of my desired big full coffee goal.  =
I
let the beans rest a minimum of 24 hours before brewing and found that =
48
hours is better for the darker roasts.
 
Most roasting sessions take about 8 minutes and I cool the bean very =
quickly
using a wire mesh basket and a fan.  I monitor the roast progress using =
a
temperature probe (thermocouple) in the middle of the swirling beans and =
I
halt the roast when the temperature reaches the goal temperature.
 
So, does anybody have any suggestions as to what type of bean I need to
roast and how to do it in a little West Bend Poppery II to achieve a big
full smooth cup of coffee??
 
Michael 
 

2) From: raymanowen
"...the heating coils are both subjected to full line voltage."
That could be dangerous.
With the West Bend Poppery II popper and most cheap hair dryers, both coils
are not heaters. The heavy gauge coil actually is the heater.
The light gauge coil is actually a ballast resistor to drop the line voltage
to the low voltage permanent magnet field motor and its diode bridge. Since
it has to dissipate several watts, the easy solution is to place the ballast
resistor alongside the heater, but separate from it.
(All the light bulbs in your car are separate, even though most are always
connected to the battery negative terminal. Same with the starter,
headlights, horn...)
That means the motor could only be connected with its dimmer, across the
full line potential itself. The danger is that the dimmer could easily be
turned high enough to incinerate the motor.
Be careful-
Cheers -RayO, aka Opa!
Got Grinder?

3) From: Brett Mason
Hi Michael,
I am going to recommend that you get a notebook, pen and stop watch.
Also get a thermometer that you can place so that you are measuring
temperature in the bean mass.
Start taking notes:
  Which bean
  Quantity (weight)
  Note Temperature every minute
  Note when First Crack begins
  Note when First Crack ends
  Note when Second Crack begins
  Note when you stop the roast
      wrote:
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-- 
Cheers,
Bretthttp://homeroast.freeservers.com

4) From: miKe mcKoffee
This is a multi-part message in MIME format.
Welcome to the List! Enjoy the Journey.
 
I suspect the Roastery in question used a drum roaster and much longer =
roast
time than 8 minutes. To have any chance of comparable roast you'll need =
to
get your Popper roasts out to 12 to 13 minute total roast time. Not =
roasting
darking, longer. The longer roast will bring out more body versus =
acidity.
You'll probably need to add variable heater control. Try a "profile"
starting fast to hitting ~200f in about 1min then hitting 300f around =
4min
mark, 400f around 8min end of roast 12 to 13 minute. Play with it from
there, you may want even a bit overall slower profile. But not too slow =
or
the beans will end up flat & baked. About the max Popper roast time I'll =
use
any bean any degree of roast ~16 minute.
 
Pacific Northwest Gathering Vhttp://home.comcast.net/~mckona/PNWGV.htmKona Konnaisseur miKe mcKoffee
URL to Rosto mods, FrankenFormer, some recipes etc:http://mdmint.home.comcast.net/coffee/Rosto_mod.htmUltimately the quest for Koffee Nirvana is a solitary path. To know I =
must
first not know. And in knowing know I know not. Each Personal =
enlightenment
found exploring the many divergent foot steps of Those who have gone =
before.
Sweet Maria's List - Searchable Archiveshttp://themeyers.org/HomeRoast/ 
From: homeroast-admin
[mailto:homeroast-admin] On Behalf Of Michael J
Hanagan
Sent: Saturday, May 05, 2007 5:56 AM
To: homeroast
Subject: +In search of my Holy Grail in coffee
Greetings to all of you hardcore home roasters!
 
I have just recently gotten into this new hobby of searching for my Holy
Grail of freshly roasted coffee and I need some suggestions to zoom in =
on my
target.  The very best coffee I have ever tasted has been in Italy.  It
seems as though good coffee is very common there, unlike here in America
where 90% of our coffee is simply awful.  I have had the luxury of =
finding a
store in Western New York which roasts their own coffee on the premises =
and
their “French Roast” version is truly fabulous when you get it =
within a few
days of it being roasted.  I have since move to Central Massachusetts =
and
have not been able to find a local coffee roaster that could match my =
former
source.  So, here I am desperately trying to roast my very own coffee!
 
I decided to go the route of the West Bend Poppery II roaster and =
modified
it so the fan is controlled by a dimmer switch and the heating coils are
both subjected to full line voltage.  I purchased some beans and have
roasted several times.  I also read Kenneth Davids’ book on home =
roasting.
Thus far I have not come close to achieving the flavor I so desperately
seek.  While I don’t speak the cofee roaster’s vernacular I hope =
someone out
there can steer me in the right direction.  I’m looking for a bean and
roasting temperature combination to mimic the type of coffee typically
brewed in Italy and/or that mimics the very full and flavorful “French
roast” type of coffee.  If it helps, I found that Tully’s of Seattle =
made a
fairly decent cup of “French roast” coffee – not great, certainly =
lacking in
ultimate freshness and fullness, but certainly better than most of the
commercial cups of coffee I’ve had to endure.
 
I have roasted several batches of SW’s Liquid Amber Espresso Blend and =
found
that if I didn’t roast higher than about 460°F it tasted awful (too
acidic??).  From 460°F to about 475°F the flavor improved but it =
never
reached the “fullness” I am looking for.
 
I also roasted the Puro Scuro Blend and found its flavor seemed to peak =
(for
my taste) around 450°F, but again the flavor was not big enough.  The =
same
went for the French Roast Blend.
 
Last weekend I also roasted the Java Government Estate (450° and =
460°), Moka
Kadir Blend (460°), Yemen Mokha (440°) and Sumatra Classic =
Mandheling
(450°).  The aroma of the freshly roasted beans is just fabulous, but =
the
resulting coffee flavor falls short of my desired big full coffee goal.  =
I
let the beans rest a minimum of 24 hours before brewing and found that =
48
hours is better for the darker roasts.
 
Most roasting sessions take about 8 minutes and I cool the bean very =
quickly
using a wire mesh basket and a fan.  I monitor the roast progress using =
a
temperature probe (thermocouple) in the middle of the swirling beans and =
I
halt the roast when the temperature reaches the goal temperature.
 
So, does anybody have any suggestions as to what type of bean I need to
roast and how to do it in a little West Bend Poppery II to achieve a big
full smooth cup of coffee??
 
Michael 
 

5) From: Les
Michael,
I am going to do a Simon Cowell on you.  I don't think you will find
what you are looking for using a Poppery.  The only hot air roasted
coffee that I have had that works well for the darker roasts is a
Sivetz (thousands of dollars) or an Ubber Popper modified Poppery 1.
You can find plans for Plain Mike's machine on homeroasters.org  I
would recommend that you spend the money for a Gene Cafe or a Hottop
if you want a plug and play.  If you don't mind tinkering, a RK drum
is a good way to go.  A non-pid air popper just can't be controled
enough to do a good dark roast in my opinion.  I roasted exclusively
with a Poppery 1 and  Wearever Pumper for 18 years, so I have some
experience with hot air roasting.  I am currently drinking a dark bold
chocolate, intensive coffee flavor Uganda Bugisu.  There is no way I
could have done this roast in an unmodified (PIDed) air roaster.  You
need the 12-15 minute roast time to get the character development you
are after.
Les
On 5/5/07, Brett Mason  wrote:
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6) From: Les
Ditto what Mike just posted too.  Again getting the results Mike is
talking about comes from good control.  Mike has excellent external
controls on his Rosto.
Les
On 5/5/07, Les  wrote:
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7) From: miKe mcKoffee
Boy Les, need PID/computer for good air roast control indeed. I'm shocked,
mortified, crest fallen, self loathing for my inept manual roast control
skills and deep depression setting in. I was about to say none of my roasts
for you come PNWG! Good thing you made that correction. Then again, don't
think you've ever seen a dark French roast served up by me anyway:-)
Pacific Northwest Gathering Vhttp://home.comcast.net/~mckona/PNWGV.htmKona Kurmudgeon miKe mcKoffee
URL to Rosto mods, FrankenFormer, some recipes etc:http://mdmint.home.comcast.net/coffee/Rosto_mod.htmUltimately the quest for Koffee Nirvana is a solitary path. To know I must
first not know. And in knowing know I know not. Each Personal enlightenment
found exploring the many divergent foot steps of Those who have gone before.
Sweet Maria's List - Searchable Archiveshttp://themeyers.org/HomeRoast/
<Snip>

8) From: Bob
This is a multi-part message in MIME format.
And this is from a non-anal kind of guy?
vegasbob

9) From: Dan Mouer
I'm going to agree with Les here. I use my Poppery for a lot of things, but 
not anything beyond Full City or FC+. WHen I want darker roasts (which is 
often) I use my convection oven and a perforated pizza pan. Works very well!
PS: When folks here go on and on about "Charbucks" and otherwise disparage 
really dark roasts, just tune them out! :-}
On the other hand, I've learned that it takes some finesse to do the darker 
roasts well without losing all the body and "varietal" character of the 
coffee.
Dan M

10) From: Brian Kamnetz
<Snip>
Les,
How much of the 12-15 minute roast would you estimate should occur after the
beginning of first crack?
Thanks,
Brian

11) From: Brett Mason
Semi-Anal, but worried I put the hyphen in when I shouldn't have....
Simplified instructions:
  Take notes
  Minimize Variables
  Learn
Brett
On 5/5/07, Bob  wrote:
<Snip>
y
<Snip>
on my
<Snip>
t
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awhere 90% of our coffee is simply awful.  I have had the luxury of finding=
 a
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t
<Snip>
t my
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and
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 hope
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 a
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ost
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 the
<Snip>
  I
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48
<Snip>
ss
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beans
<Snip>
g
<Snip>
-- 
Cheers,
Bretthttp://homeroast.freeservers.com

12) From: raymanowen
"How much of the 12-15 minute roast would you estimate should occur after
the beginning of first crack?"
The balance- just use subtraction. -ro

13) From: stereoplegic
i do think it's possible, but as Les says in the next post, it's all 
about controls. i did quite a few nice roasts w/ a Salton (Poppery II 
clone) using fan dimmer (almost always on full) and switches for both 
main and secondary heating element (only used the secondary when i 
needed an extra boost-initial ramp, hard push to 1st crack, and 
sometimes to keep temp rising after end of 1st). usually i just left 
secondary heater off and would switch main heater on an off to keep temp 
at proper levels within time constraints of miKe's profile. i used the 
soup can chimney approach, with the Cooper 8" thermometer that SM's 
sells (keeping in mind that it was slightly behind the actual temp). i 
liked the French roasts that took at least 13 to as long as 17 minutes 
(wasn't too worried about baking, the bittersweet did a good job of 
making up for acidity). also, some beans like a little more rest when 
roasted darker. i had one particular roast that was WAY baked, though 
dark roasted took several days to show oil, but tried it at 2 weeks and 
it was the best dark-roasted coffee i'd ever had. but now i'm just 
confusing you. long story short, this is doable.
les.albjerg wrote:
<Snip>

14) From: Michael J Hanagan
This is a multi-part message in MIME format.
Thanks for all of your replies on this topic.  I think I am going to
retrofit my little Poppery II with a temperature controller and see if =
the
longer roasting cycle is the key to getting the bold flavor I'm looking =
for.
I will report back with lots of roasting profile data and some tasting
comments.
 
In the meantime, can any of you recommend some types of bean that do
particularly well for these longer darker roast profiles?
 

15) From: Jared Andersson
If Les is Simon Cowell I guess my feed back is more Paula Abdul.  Simple,
supportive and with a slight slur to my speech.  I didn't see you mention
anything about first and second crack.  I assume you were into second crack
when you stopped roasting but don't want to assume anything.  I trust cracks
and smoke more than temp readings to start with on a new roaster.  Then I
think your individual temp readings can be very valuable, but mostly in
relation to what you have done in the past not in relation to what others
have posted about temps.  They seem to be different from roaster to
roaster.  I just received a bag of Tom's French roast blend in my last
Harvey drop off.  This would seem a good place to start also.  Good luck. I
just know your going to make it to the next round.  Paula.... I mean Jared
On 5/8/07, Michael J Hanagan  wrote:
<Snip>


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