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Topic: Help!! Bitter Coffee (9 msgs / 207 lines)
1) From: Aaron Gee
I had a friend give me about 50 pounds of green beans........ he used to roast but stopped roasting about 2 years ago. Are the beans just too old?
I roasted the coffee and tried some.... the coffee tasted bitter...... I roast coffee to a city roast.
Is there anything that I can do with the roast to reduce the bitter taste in the coffee?? 
  I thought I had read something that said if you partially roast coffee then cool it down let it sit for a day or two then finish roasting the coffee the bitter taste would be reduced. Has anybody done this??  
True? False? Urban Myth? Any other ideas?
Thanks for the Help!!  Aaron 
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2) From: Bill
Aaron, just as a first step I'd try to roast them a bit darker, say a C+ or
a FC...might just be that those beans don't do well with a City roast.
 Also, how much rest?  Sometimes a barely-drinkable coffee will become
wonderful after a few days...
I'm sure that others will have better suggestions soon... Nobody checks on
Sundays, anyway.  Of course, everyone coming into the office checking email
on Monday morning will have some responses...  but those are some initial
On Feb 17, 2008 7:42 PM, Aaron Gee  wrote:
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3) From: Larry Johnson
Roast them until they're black and shiny, rest for a couple of weeks,
then grind and brew. Mix in lots of sugar, frothy milk, cinnamon,
flavor syrup, and serve in a cup with a green mermaid on the side.
Sorry, I'm tired. What I should have said is that I've only
under-roasted then re-roasted once. If memory serves, the bitterness
was one of the bad flavors that was reduced, but it never became good
coffee, and that was coffee that started out as a great bean. Not only
was the bitterness/sourness reduced, so were all the other flavors. It
was pretty bland stuff - a waste of what had been a really good bean.
No slam on your friend or his gift, but I think the odds are fairly
low that it's starting out as a very good bean. Ergo, your chances of
getting something very good from it is low as well. Roasting darker
will help some, and trying different brew methods might lead to some
way to enjoy the results.
Good luck.
On Feb 17, 2008 9:42 PM, Aaron Gee  wrote:
Larry J
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4) From: Larry Johnson
Sorry; I forgot to add to keep us posted on what you try, what works,
what doesn't, etc. We're all here to learn.
On Feb 17, 2008 10:00 PM, Larry Johnson  wrote:
Larry J
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5) From: Brett Mason
Aaron,  I think you may need to try to roast darker; perhaps roast quicker;
you should rest them a little longer...  You might even roast them a little
slower - you actually didn;t mention method, techniques, what you normally
do, etc....
If you know any other roasters nearby, share some beans and see if other
roasters get any better success with the same ones...
More info, maybe we can help...
On Sun, Feb 17, 2008 at 8:42 PM, Aaron Gee 
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6) From: Dean
Just a point for clarity--is this 50 lb mixed origins, or half a bag of  
How are you roasting it?--Popper, Probat, pan-on-the-stove? 
Do you know how & where they were stored?
My horde of coffee sometimes gets some older greens, but I rarely buy as 
much as a five-pounder--usually 2#, and lots of variety, so I usually 
use them up within several months.  I keep them in the basement 
(finished, heated, etc--I live down here in my cave) in the zip top bags 
from SMs and out of the light.
On occasion when I did have some, I didn't notice that anything 
especially bad happened--just started to lose the "special" thing--flat 
or stale or dull, etc. 
I suspect many on this list would advise that 2 years is about the limit 
(or well beyond) for green storage without vacuum-packing and/or 
freezing or other heroic storage means.
I've under-roasted a few times and the result was unpleasant, but more 
sour or just "ick" rather than bitter.
And to your actual question, I never heard of par-roasting and resting 
before finishing.  Maybe it works, dunno. 
(You have a 50# stash--try it--what's to lose?)
Have fun!
Aaron Gee wrote:
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7) From: Lynne
Aaron, if nothing else - you have a great chance to at least practice your
roasting more, without having to worry about wasting SM's beans (my constant
concern)! You might ask your friend where he purchased the greens, too.
Might give you a way to figure out the quality...
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8) From: Lynne
I've re-roasted a few times. When I've done it all stove-top, I managed to
a pretty good bean out of it. But this time, (I re-roasted stove-top after
my batches in the IR2), I ended up with just that - the bitterness was
so it's drinkable (in my latte-type drink), but far from the usual great SM
In fact, instead of having that wonderful flavor that stays with one all
morning -
I have an unpleasant aftertaste, something I haven't experienced in a long,
Ah, well.. back to the drawing board...or roasting set-up..
Larry Johnson  wrote:
If memory serves, the bitterness
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9) From: Ken Mary
I suspect that after 2 years, the coffee may be too dry. Dry beans will 
naturally roast faster but you will have to experiment with both faster and
slower profiles.
Rewetting the beans quickly may ruin them, or not, try it anyway. Immerse
the beans in water for a quick rinse, then blot to remove excess water. Put
the still-wet beans in a sealed jar in the refrigerator overnight or longer,
then roast as usual.
You could try a humidor, but that may take a week or more. I have not tried
this yet, but have plans to build one in the next month or so.
Of course this assumes the beans still have the potential to make good
coffee. The beans could be bad from the start or were ruined in storage.
Double roasting definitely works if you like low brightness coffees. The
first roast should barely complete first crack, then cool. You can reroast
immediately, but be careful that the temperature does not run away.
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