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. Cheers, Chris in Hilo
Chris - At 04:19 PM 10/8/2007, Chris Hardenbrook wrote: <Snip> 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. <Snip> 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
"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?
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: <Snip>
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: <Snip>
Chris, 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*********************
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? :-} Happily, Chris in Hilo At 06:22 PM 10/9/2007, you wrote: <Snip>
..."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: <Snip>
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 www.mcKonaKoffee.com 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/ <Snip>
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.
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.
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*********************
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: <Snip> <Snip> <Snip> <Snip>http://sweetmarias.com/maillistinfo.html#personalsettings
<Snip> 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 www.mcKonaKoffee.com 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/
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*********************
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*********************
Yeah well, though humorous and sadly true, that's not exactly what I meant or intend to do with my sig' espresso blend! miKe <Snip>
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. cheers, Scott On 10/15/07, Homeroaster wrote: <Snip>
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. Brian On 10/15/07, scott miller wrote: <Snip>
Frankly I think calibrated and standardized taste buds are totally over rated, and make you get inconsistent results. My totally uncalibrated = and sub-standard taste buds give me perfectly consistent results day in and = day out ... "Hmmm, tastes like coffee ..." DJ Ignorance is great tasting coffee all the time ...
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: <Snip> -- "When the theme hits the bass, I dance the Jig!" - -Virgil Fox at the Mighty Wichita (ex- NYC Paramount) WurliTzer- 1976
"...until it starts to become very confusing and you're not sure about anything. Then you'll know you've arrived." Hooray! I've arrived! Michael Wade
On 10/20/07, Michael Wade wrote: <Snip> Arrived? This is HOME, this is where I LIVE!!!!! Brian