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Topic: Gene Cafe light roast trouble (18 msgs / 585 lines)
1) From: Sean Rooney
I've had a Gene Cafe for about a year and I'm in general happy with  
it, but I am having trouble getting a good lighter roast (City, City+).
I can't seem to find a happy spot between all grass taste and Full City 
+.  Every lighter roast I've attempted has been disappointing (bland  
and grassy) and I feel like I'm missing the true character of many of  
the beans (I love Yirga Cheffe, Kenya, and some of the brighter  
Central American coffees).
I usually set it to max temp.  It usually takes about 19 minutes at  
that setting for a Full City+ (just into second crack when I press the  
stop button) with 250 grams of beans.
I've tried backing off on the temp after a while.  I've tried setting  
a lower temp for the first 8-10 minutes.  No difference noted in the  
cup.
I usually brew with a Chemex brewer.
I visited a new coffee shop here in my small town (Marquette, MI) that  
serves the best espresso I've ever had and the first coffee I've ever  
purchased that is better than what I make at home.  The chief barista  
told me he uses a proprietary blend and it's a City roast.  A friend  
of his in a different part of the state roasts for him.  He showed me  
the beans and somehow his beans are light in color but have expressed  
oil.  I wish I could do that.  Man that is good coffee.
Any tips out there for light roasts in the Gene Cafe?  My next planned  
step is going to be trying a smaller batch.
Sean
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2) From: Scott Bukofsky
Sean,
I do 90% City+ roasts in my Gene.  If you leave the temperature cranked up,
the beans will have too much energy going into first crack.  You won't get
enough flavor development that way for a lighter roast and you will be stuck
with grassy, sour tastes.
Here is my favorite recipe:
Pre-heat the Gene for 360 degrees/5 minutes.  Do an emergency stop and add
the beans
360 degrees for 5 minutes, then 460 degrees for the remainder of the roast.
On my machine, you hit first crack between 12 and 13 minutes, and City+ at
16:30 or so for most beans.  Give it a try and see how it goes.
-Scotto
On Feb 18, 2008 10:40 AM, Sean Rooney  wrote:
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3) From: Frank Parth
Sean,
The best advice on how to roast using the GC was given me by Eddie Dove. I've made some small mods on my own after just 
playing around with it. If you look through the list archives you'll see a lot of discussion on how to get the best out 
of the GC.
What works for me is to roast for the first 5.5 minutes at 325 degrees, another 5.5 minutes at 425, crank it up to 
482,then when the beans hit about 460 back down the temp to about 455 or so. This sequence dries the beans out at a 
lower temperature and I've gotten some good City/City+ roasts out of it.
I also dump the beans into a colander once they've cooled down to about 300 or so.
Try that and see if it works.
Frank Parth
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4) From: Sean Rooney
Sounds like I was on the right track but didn't go far enough.  I will  
try lower early roast temps and preheating and early quick cooling.
off to peruse the archives as well... I didn't know there were  
archives until you mentioned it Frank...I just discovered this list  
yesterday even though I've been buying from sweetmaria's for 7 years.  
D'OH!
Thanks guys!
Sean
On Feb 18, 2008, at 10:43 AM, Scott Bukofsky wrote:
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On Feb 18, 2008, at 11:01 AM, Frank Parth wrote:
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5) From: raymanowen
"...I press the stop button"
The activation of the Stop button merely stops applying power to the heater-
the beans continue roasting until the toy fan cools the heater and lastly
cools the beans. -ro
Got Grinder?
On Feb 18, 2008 8:40 AM, Sean Rooney  wrote:
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6) From: Sean Rooney
Yes I understand that.  What I think has been happening is that since  
I'm roasting too quickly there have been no clear signs of progression  
to witness before second crack starts.  Scott's and Frank's  
suggestions should help.
Sean
On Feb 18, 2008, at 12:00 PM, raymanowen wrote:
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7) From: Bill
Sean,
Welcome to the list!  Hope you like it here!!
bill
On Feb 18, 2008 10:12 AM, Sean Rooney  wrote:
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8) From: Larry English
On Feb 18, 2008 9:00 AM,  wrote:
  "The activation of the Stop button merely stops applying power to the
heater-
the beans continue roasting until the toy fan cools the heater and lastly
cools the beans. -ro"
-------------------------------
... but if you hold the Stop Button until the display says "E" - i.e.,
"emergency stop" - and dump the roast into your cooling device (esp. a
fan-driven setup) - you can avoid the slow cooling cycle of Gene.  It's
probably a good idea to replace the empty drum and run the machine in
cooling mode down to 140F (60C) to cool Gene himself.
Larry
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9) From: Sean Rooney
OK, I just did three batches of Guatemala San Jose Finca Ocana,  =
230grams each.
Preheated Gene and let cool to 140.
#1 Full City +
5 minutes at 300
5.5 minutes at 435
462 until barely the first hint of 2nd crack
18.5 minutes total when stop button pressed
cooled to 250 in Gene then removed beans and cooled in a colander  =
over my JennAir stovetop downvent on high
#2 City+
started at about 200 per Gene
5 minutes at 300
5.5 minutes at 435
462 until 1 minute past 1st crack
17 minutes total when stop button pressed
cooled to 250 then removed and cooled on the JennAir
#3 City?
started at about 250 per Gene
5 minutes at 300
6 minutes at 435
462 until 30 seconds into 1st crack
16 minutes total when stop button pressed
cooled to 250 then removed and cooled on the JennAir
#2 and #3 had nice loud first cracks, much easier to hear than ever
After an hour in a sealed Mason jar:
#1 smells like roast coffee
#2 smells like fresh berries!
#3 smells like grass and has a lot of chaff stuck to it still
Will brew #2 for breakfast, probably blend #1 and #3 and take it to  =
the office for my staff.  They'll love it.
Today I also discovered homeroasters.org.  I've been home roasting  =
for about 7 years, but was mostly on my own.  This is a whole new  =
world...
THANKS!
Sean
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10) From: Paul Helbert
Careful with that one which smells like grass.
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11) From: Paul Helbert
Careful with that one which smells like grass.
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12) From: John Despres
Hey, Scott, Sean and other GC owners.
I just had the heating element replaced in mine. Tom Skaling who did the =
repairs and is a great guy strongly suggested stopping preheating - not =
even to the cool down temp of 140 degrees. He says it's way to hard on =
the heating element to be blazing that long. It took less than two =
months for mine to go out. It was under warranty, so all's good there.
Also, if the drum temp is too hot at the onset, you'll roast the outside =
of the bean too fast and the inside could be under roasted at the end.
Most Latin American coffees are a medium hard bean and should be roasted =
with a moderate heat all along. Kenya and Yirgs are harder beans and =
should get a high initial heat with a moderate heat at the end. With the =
Gene Cafe, you can control these stages.
I've been giving a great deal of thought and reading as to how to =
profile without preheating and risking going back to Tim with the same =
problem... A lighter roast is most definitely more difficult.
Here are a couple givens about the GC - The temp inside the drum is not =
bean temp. It's known first crack occurs at about 400 degrees. On my GC =
it occurs about 465. I don't go into second crack so I don't know where =
it occurs in the drum temp. After a stage of warming the beans at 300 or =
350 degrees, try not to let the heating element shut off, you'll just be =
blowing cooler air across the beans. If it does shut off, bump up a few =
degrees, say 5-7 degrees at a time. The beans need to continue rising in =
temperature at a consistent rate commensurate with your chosen profile. =
Given that it's just cooler air coming in when the heater shuts off, =
you're cooling the beans in the middle of the roast. You can hear the =
electronic click of the heater shutting down - the drum temp may drop a =
much as 15 degrees before it kicks back in. Up and down and back up =
temps isn't good for the beans. I may explore slowing down the fan =
someday as well.
The beauty of the GC, is the absolute hands-on roasting it affords us. I =
love becoming a part of the roast process this way and I love this =
machine. I'll probably buy others some day, but this is an awesome =
learning tool!
With your chosen profile, keep the temps climbing. If the heater clicks =
off just a little bit before your next temperature bump, go ahead and =
bump early - don't let the beans start to cool. If the heater clicks of =
quite a bit before your next bump, just dial up a few degrees to keep =
the bean temp riding. And note such in your batch log. Make adjustments =
later.
First of, try dropping your bean volume from 250g to 230g. This will =
help slow down the roast a bit. I always do that amount and hit first at =
about 13 - 14 minutes.
A warming period at the beginning will help void the beans of moisture =
and help give a "snappier" first crack. When you get to first and the =
pops seem to far spaced out, add a little more heat. If they seem to be =
coming too fast in succession, drop the temp a bit. Careful notes and =
experience will help tell the difference.
When I get my GC back, I may be starting over a bit with it. No two are =
the same, and mine may very well be a different machine. On a dedicated =
110 volt circuit with the first heating element, I ran a test empty to =
482 degrees and a stop watch. It reached 482 in about 7 minutes. With =
the new element, it may be different.
Also, once I get it back, I'm going to the local roaster and buying some =
regular average beans that don't matter so much to me and running some =
bean temp tests. I plan on filling the drum and at every 50 degrees on =
the readout, pulling the drum, and as quickly as possible getting a bean =
mass temp with an IR thermometer. I'll run the test several times and =
record the bean temp at each interval. Hopefully, it will get me closer =
to knowing what the bean temp is versus the drum temp. I will ruin the =
beans doing this, but they will not be the wonderful Sweet Maria's beans =
we all love.
Once I've done this, I may be better able to target a lighter roast. My =
goal is something along this line: (actual bean mass temps below)
1 minute - 75 degrees (drying stage)
2 minutes - 100 degrees (drying stage)
3 minutes - 125 degrees (drying stage)
4 minutes - 150 degrees (increase heat)
5 minutes - 200 degrees
6 minutes - 250 degrees
7 minutes - 300 degrees
8 minutes - 350 degrees (slow down heat)
9 minutes - 365 degrees
10 minutes - 385 degrees (drop heat a bit more)
11 minutes - 390 degrees
12 minutes - 395 degrees
13 minutes - 400 degrees (first crack)
Hold here until I determine the end. I have no idea what that will be =
until I smell the roast and listen to first crack. Given the rather =
gentle approach, I imagine it should be a nice rolling first crack and =
I'll probably pull it right after about 1 minute after first begins and =
cool in the vac/collander.
Once I've gone through all this, I'll share some more.
John
Scott Bukofsky wrote:
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-- =
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13) From: Frank Parth
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Good things to know. Thanks, John. I'll back off on the pre-heating.
Frank Parth
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14) From: Sean Rooney
This morning, 12 hours later
#1 smells like berries in roast coffee
#2 smell like fresh berries!
#3 smells like berries in the grass
Just brewed #2 in my Chemex.  Heavenly.  Incredibly complex flavor,  =
full of fruit. Best batch of these beans I've roasted.
thanks to the list!
Sean
On Feb 18, 2008, at 8:35 PM, Sean Rooney wrote:
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15) From: John Despres
Awesome, Sean! It only gets better from here! Keep good logs and keep =
sharing your results.
Thanks for the update.
John
Sean Rooney wrote:
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e.com
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616.437.9182
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16) From: Sean Rooney
WHOAH.  Good info John, thanks.  No more preheating for me.
I think I'll start cold and just roast my "office blend" (for my  
office staff, who like my coffee but don't know why) as the first  
batch and then the roaster will be preheated for my special home  
batches...
Sean
On Feb 18, 2008, at 9:03 PM, John Despres wrote:
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17) From: Scott Bukofsky
Hi John,  thanks for the thoughtful post.  I would slightly disagree with a
few points, though.
I appreciate the Tim is the expert, but I find it hard to believe that a few
minutes of pre-heating makes any difference.  My total roast times, pre-heat
+ roast are equal or less than most people's FC+ roasts.
I am not sure how to reconcile the concerns about not having the heating
element on so much and then coming up with a profile that never turns it
off.  Also, given thermal masses and the thermodynamics of the roast, I am
not sure whether it is really such a big deal if it cycles off somewhat.
In my experience, drying out the beans, produces a less "snappy" 1st crack,
not more, due to less moisture liberated.
As always, the proof is in the taste of the coffee.  There seems to be no
end to the experiments possible.  Keep the great posts coming.
-Scott
On Feb 18, 2008 9:03 PM, John Despres 
wrote:
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18) From: John Despres
Hi, Scott.
It's amazing we can all get our pleasures from different approaches.
To support my thesis of pre-drying, take a look at this article. Eddie =
Dove sent it to me a couple months ago. IMHO Eddie is a Gene Cafe master =
and he has shared a lot with me that has been very helpful. I'm still =
learning myself and this article is just one of the tools I'm using. I =
have no idea where it will take me, but I'm trying it out. I'll post =
results.
Yeah, the drum temp and the bean temp differential is a toughie, but I'm =
having fun playing. If my approach works and then helps, I'll let you know.
Here's that article.http://www.bootcoffee.com/ROAST3.pdfJohn
Scott Bukofsky wrote:
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-- =
John A C Despres
Hug your kids
616.437.9182
Scene It All Productions 
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