I learned another lesson in coffee roasting Saturday night. That made it a
My typical roast is with 1/3 C of greens in a hot air popper. I use an
extension cord to lengthen some roasts, and other times I don't (bean
dependent). The air blows through the beans with this mass, causing the
beans to rotate and "spout" through the middle.
My experience Saturday night was quite different. It was my first cold
weather roast. About 35 degrees in my garage. I tried the usual setup with
1/3 C of SM's African Highland Decaf. After 20 minutes and still no first
crack, I realized I had baked the beans. Fortunately, it was only 1/3 C,
which I may try in a brew just to see how it tastes.
Remembering all the wonderful advice I've read from my friends here, I tried
increasing the mass to retain more heat. It worked...sort of (more on that
later). Ultimately, I found that I could roast 2/3 C (no, I don't have a
scale yet, so can't weigh my beans for a more repeatable roast). The beans
didn't swirl and spout like "normal". Instead, they appeared to percolate.
The entire mass bubbled up, the air escaped, and they fell again...over and
over again. Kinda fun to watch! The percolation was sufficient to move the
beans once it got going. Starting the roast with that mass required that I
tip the popper about 15 degrees to get the heavier beans to percolate to the
top along the side. I eventually, by the 4th roast of the evening, had
settled in on just leaving it tilted to that angle throughout the entire
roast and the percolation effect was eased and I got more of a front to
bottom to back to top rotation.
Now back to the "it worked...sort of" comment. My normal roasting method
allows me to reach the first few snaps of second crack reliably without
extracting any oil from the bean. They look nice, brown, but not shiny.
Roasting with the increased mass resulted in very shiny (and sticky)
caramelized beans between C+ and FC. A bean crunch proved the roast was
still as delicious as my last normal roast. Haven't tried a brew yet.
Here are my questions:
1. Is there a better way to get to second crack in cold temps without
extracting the oils from the bean and caramelizing them?
2. Does a brew using a caramelized bean taken to the first few snaps of
second crack taste any different than one that is taken to the same degree
of roast, but has not been caramelized?
3. Any other bits of wisdom you wish to share (related to my post -- I KNOW
Cedar Rapids, Iowa