HomeRoast Digest

Topic: Roasting profile philosophy (23 msgs / 599 lines)
1) From: Chris Hardenbrook
I would be interested in hearing from the group about the application 
of a Roasting Profile Philosophy (let's call it RPP) for different 
desired results with different types of beans.  I think we'll all 
agree that roasting is more Art than Science, but the art has its 
basis in science and so, there are variables to be considered and 
methodology employed to achieve a specific result.
The "desired" result is established beforehand, and a series of 
actions on the part of the roaster attempt to bring the beans to that 
end.  I have looked at various suggested profiles on the SM site and 
see that Tom's RPP generally prefers to warm up the beans slowly, 
using milder temps initially and increasing temp with time. 
High-density beans, however, may need higher initial temps to get 
them started. Bean density is generally related to growth elevation, 
with higher elevations producing denser beans. So, bean density is a 
variable that must be considered in composing a profile. There must 
be many more variables that are important (ambient temp and humidity, 
age of beans and moisture content, etc.).
How do members of this list decide how much time at what temp to 
produce desirable results? Granted, the BM/HG crowd don't have the 
luxury of programming a profile as do i-R and most drum machines but 
still, presumably, regulate the heat and time factors physically by 
holding the gun closer or further away, agitating the beans more or 
less vigorously, etc.
Hopefully, newer roasters such as myself will benefit from the 
experience of those who have been at this for a number of years. I 
fully realize there is no substitute for "learning by doing" with 
this sort of thing, and if the results produce a "good" coffee by 
your standards you have been successful regardless, but I hope a 
discussion of RPP will provide a foundation from which the "learning" 
will have some coherent rationality for "doing," and provide a basis 
for repeatability.
Chris in Hilo

2) From: Jeff Bensen
Chris -
At 04:19 PM 10/8/2007, Chris Hardenbrook wrote:
I'm no expert, having been at this a mere three years, but I'll give 
you my perspective.
I normally roast in an iRoast-1, indoors (for ambient temperature 
stability) with the duct adaptor plumbed to a board which fits my 
window. I supplement the iRoast with a variac (to adjust for 
consistent voltage) and a temperature probe. See the first picture in http://jbensen.home.mpinet.net/leisure/coffee/iroast-1/probe/iRoast-1_Temperature_Probe_Mod.html
for a look at my setup.
For me, the "desired" result is not always known beforehand. Roasting 
a given bean to different levels and tweaking the profile is usually 
required for me to find some sweet spot. For a new bean, I usually 
start with one of Tom's recommended roast levels as a guide. I will 
then roast several additional batches to a lighter or darker degree 
just to see what effect that has. For profiles, I have a 'standard' 
one that gets most bean types into first crack around 6:30 to 7:30 
minutes, and seems to be a good starting point.
Oftentimes I will find that I prefer a slightly different roast level 
than the one Tom describes as being a sweet spot for certain 
characteristics. From there, if the bean seems like it may benefit 
from a little more brightness I will use a slightly higher 
temperature in one or two of the last stages. Conversely if a bean 
needs to be toned down, as in some Kenyas, etc., I will use a lower 
final stage temperature to stretch out the time after first crack. 
Most of my roasts run around 9 or 10 minutes, but I have stretched 
some out as long as 13:30 with good results. I rarely roast into 2nd crack.
The iRoast suffers from a lack of adjustability on the fly. I can 
compensate a little using the variac, but the fan and the heater are 
both affected by line voltage and tend to fight each other to a 
degree. Nevertheless, if I misjudge a profile slightly and a bean 
looks like it is going to stall near the end of a roast, bumping up 
the line voltage by 3 to 5 volts can often keep it moving along. I 
can't do much about a too-hot profile since dropping the voltage can 
cause the beans to not loft well, leading to tipping and divots. 
Bottom line with the iRoast is that you have to decide ahead of time 
what the profile should be, which comes with experience. Other roast 
methods may offer better real-time profile control.
If I am really trying to tweak a profile and roast level for a given 
bean, I wind up going through about two pounds (6 iRoast batches). My 
usual order is 5 pounds, leaving me with more than half of the 
remaining beans to roast at the sweet spot I've found.
Occasionally I only order a pound of a given bean, such as when they 
are rare, expensive, or have a rather funky description. For these, I 
will just roast to Tom's recommended level with my standard profile 
and enjoy what comes out.
I have not listed my program temperatures on purpose. I have one of 
the early 'hot' iRoast units, and I rarely set it above 390 F. 
Nevertheless, I can get all the way to FC+ (446 F in the bean mass as 
measured with my added temperature probe) using that setting.
Don't be afraid to experiment. Although I have had a few sub-optimal 
roasts over the years, I have learned from every one. I know you were 
looking for more of a scientific approach, but hopefully my 
generalization will be of some help.
- Jeff Bensen
   Palm Bay, FL

3) From: raymanowen
"The "desired" result is established beforehand..."
So there is no necessity of Tom's arduous acquisition and cupping of
different coffes to find the best one, since the result was
established beforehand.
I suggest a different cup- That one won't hold water
Cheers, Mabuhay -RayO, aka Opa!
Got Grinder?

4) From: Chris Hardenbrook
I have no idea what your reply means.
Tom is a professional and his efforts are entirely necessary if he 
intends to find the best coffees for us all.  By "desired" result I 
am saying we start a roast with some idea of where we intend it to 
end; be that City or Full City or whatever.  The alternative would be 
to randomly start heating any ol batch o beans and stop it 
blindfolded and see what you've got.  Ridiculous!
Chris in Hilo
At 08:29 AM 10/9/2007, you wrote:

5) From: Chris Hardenbrook
Jeff -- Many mahalos for your time in discussing your roasting 
technique.  I think in the future I may be ordering larger quantities 
of individual types so that I have enough to experiment with more 
fully.  I just hope I have the fortitude to drink it all before I 
have, what was the record so far? 1300 lbs of green? Eeeyow!
Chris in Hilo
At 01:01 AM 10/9/2007, you wrote:

6) From: Homeroaster
What you're asking could pretty much take up a whole book on roasting.
Get a good roasting book, learn about temperatures where conversion of 
sugars to caramels to carbons happens, the Maillard reaction (non-enzymatic 
browning) , degradation of the fruity acids as the roast progresses, and the 
balance of the caramelization and fruity acids to hit a sweet spot for you. 
I'm not trying to blow smoke or make things seem more complicated than they 
are, but these are truly the basics of understanding how roast time and 
temperature, as well as method of roasting affects the flavor and aroma of a 
given bean.
Following a recipe is one thing, as is winging it, but figuring out the 
profile for a given roast is a lot of trial and error, based on knowing what 
and how to change things to get different outcomes.  Following tips here on 
this list can be helpful, but sometimes the tips are taken as gospel when 
they are just one observation presented as truth.  Take the tips with a 
grain of coffee.
Ed Needham
"to absurdity and beyond!"http://www.homeroaster.com*********************

7) From: Chris Hardenbrook
Yes, Ed, this is exactly what I am finding; it is trial and error 
with so many beans from so many places and each season's crop not 
necessarily the same as the previous season, etc.  I assumed, 
actually, that this was the case and was interested if anyone had a 
rule-of-thumb kinda philosophy to guide them when they "know" this or 
that bean tends to have this or that quality when roasted most 
correctly.  I mentioned Tom's guideline regarding beans he knew were 
denser and harder would benefit from an initially higher heat than 
those beans with less density. I do have a book or two and the theory 
of the roast I have read and am trying to practice.  Actually thought 
it would be an interesting topic for the group to run with, that's 
how new I am at this.
I guess it makes it just that much more of a challenge... I have to 
admire folks like miKe who seem capable of understanding a bean's 
nature (and his equipment) so intimately that he believes he can (and 
likely will) produce a killer and repeatable blend for his 
espresso.  This means he knows how to roast each type of bean to 
extract just the qualities he needs.  I guess my "discussion topic" 
is answered by saying, "Roast a LOT of beans, take meticulous notes, 
be passionate!"  For an amateur as myself, I am happy with my 
results, but I do wish I knew what I was doing!  I'll probably look 
back at this first year of roasting in ten more years and laugh my 
head off at myself (and others who ask questions like mine)!
Then, again, what is taught at the roasting classes put on by the big 
machine manufacturers? How not to void the warranty? :-}
Chris in Hilo
At 06:22 PM 10/9/2007, you wrote:

8) From: Robert Joslin
..."Get a good roasting book.."   Ed, do you have any recommendations?
 Seems to be a dearth of books on this subject.  Davids' book seems a little
light to me.   Jansen's COFFEE ROASTING touches on all the important
chemistry of the process, physical changes, etc.but is awfully brief at 69
pages plus index.  SCAAs ROASTING CONCEPTS  sounds interesting but I sure
would like to look at a copy before buying.  Have you seen this one?
Thanks .                         Josh
On 10/9/07, Homeroaster  wrote:

9) From: miKe mcKoffee
Truly the more I know about Koffee the more I know I don't know! During my
first year roasting I developed an actual phobia to 2nd crack and went
around two years never roasting any bean to 2nd unless by mistake. Sure I
started roasting Kona from the git go but was also roasting everything else
Tom offered at one point having 63 different greens! Some beans just don't
sing quite right until at least touching 2nd! Yeah, I've gotten over the 2nd
crack phobia. Which isn't to say I routinely roast dark roasts, quite the
contrary. But to me for instance a good Sumatra tends to sing better with
just a few seconds of 2nd than no 2nd. Uncontrolled relatively fast (7 to 8
min to 2nd) Rosto roasts made quality roasts difficult to impossible
achieve. Discovered grassy or hay tones often a roast defect from too fast
early drying stage, especially pronounced in roasts lighter than Full city.
Wasn't until taking control of the Rosto via split wiring the heater and fan
for dual variable boosted voltage control and began exploring roasts from 20
minute Cinnamon roasts to 5 minute French and everything inbetween that
roasting education really began. Slowing the first stage leading up to 300f
to 3 minute and seldom had grassy defect. Taking the first stage to minimum
3:30 totally eliminated any grassy roast notes. This was for Rosto air
roasting with slow circular air movement rather than full fluid bed and I
believe P1 users have also found the same to hold true. But I've also
learned those times especially early drying stages would still be too fast
for a drum (or some drums)!  Then doing comparisons of the same bean same
finish degree same total time and varying ramp rates at different stages was
a real eye opener to just how virtually unlimited the cup can change just
one bean! 
Chris, don't stop asking questions. There used to be quite a bit of in depth
ridiculously detailed profile work discussions on the List. I doubt I've had
a single original roasting idea but rather gleaned ideas from those whose
footsteps I followed. Turning coffee beans brown is easy, bringing each bean
to it's full potential is a life long Journey. I firmly believe it's
impossible to achieve a beans potential without good control of the roast
process be it full manual in a Wok or computer controlled profiles of your
design. One method being less labor intensive of course:-)
Enjoy the Journey!
BTW, suggest subscribing to Roast Magazine. There have been numerous very
good articles.
Pacific Northwest Gathering VIhttp://home.comcast.net/~mckona/PNWGVI.htmKona Konnaisseur miKe mcKoffee
URL to Rosto mods, FrankenFormer, some recipes etc:http://www.mckoffee.com/Ultimately 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/

10) From: Barry Luterman
I think this will be my new mantra:
Turning coffee beans brown is easy, bringing each bean
to it's full potential is a life long Journey.

11) From: Homeroaster
My guess is that even if Mike finds a 'nirvana' blend, it'll be extremely
difficult to maintain the same blend/taste over the months/years in a
commercial venture.  Not many are successful doing that.  That's not being
critical of Mike, but rather being realistic about the difficulty.

12) From: Homeroaster
Actually, I would say read anything you can get your hands on about 
roasting.  There's a lot of good information available just by googling the 
internet. Definitely subscribe to Roast magazine.  Immerse yourself in it 
until it starts to become very confusing and you're not sure about anything. 
Then you'll know you've arrived.
Ed Needham
"to absurdity and beyond!"http://www.homeroaster.com*********************

13) From: Rich
Not to mention the difficulty of maintaining a standardized, calibrated set of tase buds.
On Sun, 14 Oct 2007 23:22:45 -0400, Homeroaster wrote:

14) From: miKe mcKoffee
You speak the truth! I've gone back to the cupping/roasting/blending drawing
board for the main sig' blend specifically because of going for and
achieving a target taste using beans that are not always available in qty.
fallacy of applying home roasting methodology of going for the absolute best
taste no matter what! Fine for a specialty blend of occasional offering, but
not for a blend intended as a mainstay. Lesson learned. A long term blend
must start with first researching the beans most likely readily available
long term in quantity, then craft the blend from those. Very unique and or
very limited supply beans cannot be used. Also the blend taste profile must
be achievable using different substituted beans when necessary. And the cup
from the blend still has to be great or why bother! The Journey's path tread
steepens further and further yet I trudge on...
Pacific Northwest Gathering VIhttp://home.comcast.net/~mckona/PNWGVI.htmKona Konnaisseur miKe mcKoffee
URL to Rosto mods, FrankenFormer, some recipes etc:http://www.mckoffee.com/Ultimately 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/

15) From: Homeroaster
If there's one thing the big commercial supermarket roasters do well, it's 
blending.  They don't use a recipe of particular coffees for their blend, 
but rather cup individual coffees for specific flavors and add them in to 
the mix as needed to achieve consistency.  I've heard that their blends 
might include fifty or sixty coffees to get that same nasty flavor, cup 
after miserable cup.
Ed Needham
"to absurdity and beyond!"http://www.homeroaster.com*********************

16) From: Homeroaster
They are getting closer and closer to machines picking out specific flavor 
qualities, or chemical analysis to achieve greater consistency, but for now, 
it's mostly the experienced cuppers and blenders who make it happen.
Ed Needham
"to absurdity and beyond!"http://www.homeroaster.com*********************

17) From: miKe mcKoffee
Yeah well, though humorous and sadly true, that's not exactly what I meant
or intend to do with my sig' espresso blend! 

18) From: scott miller
I think Dunkin' Donuts is a great example of this. They serve more cups of
coffee than any other commercial concern in the USA, and have AMAZINGLY
consistent, uninteresting qualities to their coffee.
In a pinch, it's where I get a cup, if I can't find a decent coffee shop.
On 10/15/07, Homeroaster  wrote:

19) From: Brian Kamnetz
My two cents: I still think it would be a good idea to "sell variety"
in coffees. So, instead of selling consistency, you would be selling
variety. It is what many of us enjoy the most about roasting. Offer
your customers what Tom offers to us: access to the best coffees in
the world, as soon as they hit the market. And to help us to
understand a bit more, detailed and interesting descriptions of what
makes each coffee interesting and desirable.
On 10/15/07, scott miller  wrote:

20) From: DJ Garcia
Frankly I think calibrated and standardized taste buds are totally over
rated, and make you get inconsistent results. My totally uncalibrated =
sub-standard taste buds give me perfectly consistent results day in and =
out ... "Hmmm, tastes like coffee ..."
Ignorance is great tasting coffee all the time ...

21) From: raymanowen
I try only for the best brew from each roast. If the roast gets
derailed, I'll age it and grind the Old Folks' Blend for those
denizens of the Hell Holes within the original Harris Park area.
For the Grand Opening, the door prize will be the original front door
with hinges and lockwork.
My "Things You Can Do With Milk" contest might include bread making,
butter and ice cream churning. Guess what won't be there...
Cheers, Mabuhay -RayO, aka Opa!
On 10/15/07, Chris Hardenbrook  wrote:
"When the theme hits the bass, I dance the Jig!" - -Virgil Fox at the
Mighty Wichita (ex- NYC Paramount) WurliTzer- 1976

22) From: Michael Wade
"...until it starts to become very confusing and you're not sure about 
Then you'll know you've arrived."
Hooray!  I've arrived!
Michael Wade

23) From: Brian Kamnetz
On 10/20/07, Michael Wade  wrote:
Arrived? This is HOME, this is where I LIVE!!!!!

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