HomeRoast Digest


Topic: Me and my GeneCafe ain't gettin along so far.... (14 msgs / 697 lines)
1) From: Ken Knott
Ok, it's likely user error and the 'learning curve', but I was doing better with the heat gun...  :)
I think I'm under roasting perhaps...  The 4 batches I've done so far have been a bit grassy???  bitter??  
First oneI did one 482 to 'first crack' and then dropped to 460..  First crack was difficult to identify. 15 minutes
Second was 482 beginning to end, first crack hard to identify.  13-14 minutes total
Third I started at 300 for 5 minutes, 440 for 5:30, 482 until first crack and then 460...  about 17 minutes total and I could actually hear first crack!  I think...  But it was still not very good.
Lastly, I started at 300 for 5 minutes, 460 for 5:30, 482 until first crack and then back to 460...  about 18:30 total, heard first crack, I don't think I every heard 2nd crack.. beans look pre 2nd crack... maybe.. I'm a rookie... this is hard... It was supposed to be easy, magical, wonderful... well, at least the process still smells great..  :)
Thanks,
Javaslinger
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2) From: Coffee
I find it easier to hear the cracks from the chaff collector end. They  
can be subtle.
As for your roasting times... I typically pause at 300 til 5 minutes  
and then crank to 482. At the start of first crack, I back off to 464.  
This is a simplified version of the profiles that I got off of Eddie  
Dove's blog.
I typically hear first crack start at about 14-15 minutes and it lasts  
for a minute or two. It's then at about 17-19 minutes for second  
crack. I don't have my notes in front of me, so I'm going from memory.
-Peter
On Mar 3, 2008, at 8:12 AM, Ken Knott wrote:
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3) From: miKe mcKoffee
Who said roasting coffee well is "supposed to be easy"!? Turning beans brown
is easy yes... Doing it well takes years of dedication and learning, a
lifetime even. Ain't no shortcuts to mastering any craft.
Just do it using a method as repeatable as possible, observe and take notes
of results, discuss and make adjustments, do it again. Repeat ad infinitum.
For each bean. 
Kona Kurmudgeon 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.
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4) From: Stephen Nesbitt
On Monday 03 March 2008 08:12:10 am Ken Knott wrote:
<Snip>
I've been using the Gene for the past 3 months, and I am just now feeling I 
have a grip on what's going on. Here are some of my experiences - I hope they 
will help bring you down the learning curve a bit faster ;-)
on 2/26 I roasted 224g of Indonesia Flores Bajawa Highlands. Profile was from 
Eddy Dove - I believe - and consisted of 5 min @ 350, 4 min @ 446, 1.5m @ 
482, and the remainder at 456. First crack came at minute 13, with second 
crack at minute 16.5 whereupon I shut it off. Final weight was 184 grams for 
a 17.9% weight reduction.
A couple of notes from my experience:
First crack will occur somewhere between minute 12 - 14. First crack is 
accompanied by a noticeable increase in the amount of smoke and the presence 
of a lot of chaff. As someone described it the sound is like that of 
popcorn - fairly explosive. You'll probably get some outlying pops, but when 
it gets going there will be a series of cracks.
I find second crack harder to determine, but it's generally around minute 16 - 
18. Again there is an accompanying wave of smoke that - to my nose - smells 
slightly charred. Cracking sound is significantly subtler than at first 
crack. Someone described it like the sound of rice crispies in milk. To me 
that's a good analogy.
Have fun!
-steve
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5) From: John Despres
Ken, you didn't mention what type of bean you were roasting. That may 
make a difference
I find a gentler approach toward first crack in the GC generates a very 
loud first crack. After some good advice from Eddie, who also provided 
me with some very good reading material, I take it just a tiny a bit 
easier on the beans, particularly at the beginning and the middle 
stages. After that, I continue on a gentle, slower ramp up or I may go 
at those suckers with all guns blazing.
I just finished 7 roasts in the GC, pretty much back to back. I started 
each one with a 5 minute warming and drying stage. Then, depending on 
the bean, I chose my next set of stages. For some, I bumped to 455 until 
11 minutes, others I bumped to 445 until 10. Then, again depending on 
the bean, I bumped to 465 or 471. This gentler approach in the GC seems 
to help produce a much more audible first. I believe this approach gets 
the heat to the center of the bean in a more even manner rather than 
drying the hell out of the outside and leaving the innards with 
moisture. I tend to wind up with a 15% - 17% moisture content loss for 
the most part.
It is possible you're under roasting, in that the center of your beans 
isn't getting the heat needed.
I typically hit first between 13 & 14 minutes at roughly 465 - 470 
degrees drum temp.
Use the 300 for 5, then choose an intermediary temp for the next 5 or 6 
minutes and then bump to first crack temp. I'll bet you'll get a few gun 
shots that way.
But most importantly, don't give up and have FUN!
Oh, and let us know how it goes.
John
Ken Knott wrote:
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616.437.9182
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6) From: Coffee
Could you give us some insight into your decisions regarding the  
intermediate temps. Is it how the bean was processed, altitude, etc?  
Is it denser beans need slower ramps? Is there some characteristic in  
the finished roast that would say, this needs to be roasted slower or  
faster?
-Peter
On Mar 3, 2008, at 12:25 PM, John Despres wrote:
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7) From: Kevin
Ken,
Check out Eddie Dove's Blog http://southcoastcoffeeroaster.blogspot.com/)or the blog in my signature for GC Roast profiles.  They should be a good
starting point on that roaster.  Though, I agree with miKe that one should
take detailed notes, tweak, and take more notes.  This works best if you
just work on one bean for a while.  The profiles between Eddie and myself
should get you on the right path with the GC.
-- 
My home coffee roasting blog:http://homecoffeeroastblog.blogspot.com/Kevin
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8) From: John Despres
Peter asked me:
Could you give us some insight into your decisions regarding the =
intermediate temps. Is it how the bean was processed, altitude, etc? Is =
it denser beans need slower ramps? Is there some characteristic in the =
finished roast that would say, this needs to be roasted slower or faster?
-Peter
So... Warning, long post!!!
I'll share as best I can. Remember, I'm still learning, too. First off, =
however, a big thank you to Mr. Eddie Dove who moved me along in a =
rather huge way by sharing information with me. I'd still be stumbling =
along if it weren't for his help. In fact, I'm sending him a couple =
roasts tomorrow morning as a small token of my gratitude and for his =
evaluation. Being all alone here, it'll be a great help to me to see if =
I'm getting anywhere.
Of course, the brews are outstanding in *my* cup and they are truly good =
to the last drop. Even cold. But outside help is appreciated. I can't do =
anything alone.
In my cup at the moment is Brazil Pedra Grande - Bourbon Cultivar. City =
+, French Pressed, and yummy! Very full, creamy mouthfeel, chocolate, =
slight tobacco, with a light fruity aftertaste. Mmmmmm.
OK, then, here's my methodology.
My first point of interest is what Tom has to say. I actually read his =
notes on a very regular basis, over and over at the web site. When I =
make a purchase, I print out his notes regarding that bean and his notes =
on the region and file them in a notebook for future reference at =
roasting time. I keep this notebook in my "roasting room" in the basement.
Once I buy a particular bean, I do as much research on it as possible =
before I roast. I google for the altitude as specifically as possible =
which is a good indication of bean density and I try to find out if =
there are any other particulars that may move me toward a specific =
profile. Bean processing does make a difference as well. I really enjoy =
dry processed coffee and have many, many pounds in my stash. I'm just =
beginning to try more Central and South American coffees. At the moment, =
altitude and bean density are my foremost considerations. I may learn =
more about bean specifics as I continue on my quest...
Softer beans like a slower ramp up. Dense beans like a faster ramp up. =
My ramp up begins after the 5 minute drying/warming stage at 300 =
degrees. In the interest of full disclosure, I've not roasted a soft =
bean - I'm sitting on a pound of Kona from SM that I'm waiting to roast =
in order that I not botch it.
For a medium hard bean like this Pedra Grande I'm drinking which was =
grown at 3500 feet, I chose to start the ramp at 5 minutes 445F until =
11:30, at which time I bumped to 455F until 13:30 and then bumped to =
471F until the end of 1st, at which time I dropped to 455F for 2 =
minutes, hitting the cool button until the drum temp was 250F and then =
ended it with a dump to the vacuum colander.
The profile looks like this: 300F for 5, 445F to 11:30, 455F to 13:00, =
471F to end of first, 455F to end of roast, cool in drum to 250F, =
vac/colander cool. My first crack on this afternoon's batch was pretty =
good but a slow start.
For a more dense bean like (we'll stay with Bourbons, here) El Salvador =
Yellow Bourbon which was grown at about 5000 feet, I'll still start with =
300F for 5 minutes but go to 455F until 11 minutes, 471F to end of =
first, then cool to 250F and dump to the vacuum colander to cool the =
rest of the way.
A general bean density guide with thanks to Willem Boot:
Hard bean types - roast with high initial heat and moderate heat in the =
final stage. Examples, Kenya AA, Guatemala SHB and almost any coffee =
grown over 5000 feet
Medium hard beans - roast with moderate initial heat and moderate heat =
in the final stage. Examples, Brazil, Sumatra, Java and most Latin =
American coffees grown under 5000 feet.
Soft bean types - Roast with low to moderate heat during the entire =
roast. Examples, Hawaiian, Caribbean types and beans grown below 3500 feet.
The cut in a bean will help you decide as well. The more shallow the =
cut, the more dense the bean is. The deeper the cut, the softer.
I always roast 229 grams whatever the processing. This is an excellent =
volume for very chaffy beans like the Pedra Grande.
I have recently begun the first part of cooling in the drum. The roast =
tends to even out in the drum and it gives more opportunity for chaff =
removal. I used to pull the roast at the end and go straight to the =
vacuum colander, but I'm using the roaster for the first part of cooling =
now.
When do I drop to my lower last stage temp? Trial and error. I make =
copious notes, both roasting and tasting. If I decide I want a bit more =
of the deeper notes, I'll roast the next batch longer after first. If I =
want more floral, brighter notes in the cup, I'll shorten the time after =
first.
How do I know which to choose the first time I roast a particular bean? =
I don't, but I'll make an educated guess, take notes, taste and take =
more notes. Then I study my notes and make more notes as to what I may =
change next time.
And I keep them all in two notebooks. The second notebook holds my =
roasting and tasting logs. It's actually interesting reading to go back =
and look a a batch I did a month or two ago.
Then I try again. So far I have two profiles that have stars next to =
them, meaning I have hit a profile I love and will try to duplicate =
again. So far it's worked pretty well.
My roasting log converts my time/temp entries into a graph, which is =
incredibly helpful. I've shared my log with quite a few on the list, and =
if anyone else wants a copy, I'll keep sharing.
Things I'm still working out -
Moisture content. I don't know what the content is in any particular =
bean. Without spending a gazillion dollars, I'm not sure how to find =
out. I may build a humidor as has been discussed here to (maybe??) =
ensure a specific moisture content in all my beans. I don't know if a =
humidor will even it out in my beans or not. A bean typically has 10-12% =
moisture content, depending on relative humidity. Higher moisture beans =
will take longer to roast while a bean with less than 10% will roast =
faster. I have this information, but don't know how to use it yet. I'll =
keep looking and reading, though.
Exactly what are the smells coming from my roaster and what do they =
mean? Don't know - but I have been able to determine to some degree when =
first is coming very soon by the sharpening of the aroma. Sometimes =
smoke means second is immanent. But not always - beans with heavy chaff =
start smoking before first sometimes. I'm still sorting this one out as =
well.
I'm learning (we're all learning) the hard way - by using sight, sound & =
smell.
The best part is having the members of this list to help even more. From =
roasting to repairing an espresso machine, the members of this list are =
awesome!
Thanks, Everyone!
I think this post may be longer than anything RayO has posted...
John
John A C Despres
Hug your kids
616.437.9182
Scene It All Productions 
JDs Coffee Provoked Ramblings =
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9) From: Eddie Dove
Ken,
You have gotten some excellent information thus far and one thing you
can do, is help us help you; we need a few more details.
Some questions and comments:
1) What bean are you roasting?
2) What batch size are you roasting?  It would be a good idea to rule
out as many variables as possible and batch size is one.  John stated
that he always uses 229 grams.  I always used between 227 - 232 grams
because it almost always split the bags evenly and enabled me to have
the most amount of control while roasting in the Gene Cafe.
3) How fast does your Gene Cafe reach the maximum temperature of 482
F?  From a cold start, with an empty drum, set the temp to 482 F, set
the time to at least 15 minutes (automatic as soon as you rotate the
dial), press start and see how long it takes for the roaster to
achieve maximum temperature.  Previously, mine would reach max temp in
5 minutes or just under, while others would get there in 6 or 7
minutes.  The importance of this is in knowing how your roaster
responds and adapting profiles to your situation.  Also, what is the
ambient temperature?  You will notice a difference in the Gene Cafe
with changes in the ambient temperature and will learn to adapt your
profiles for such.
4) Already recommended, but take some good notes and share as much as
possible with us.  I can send you my log if you like, but John
improved up it.
5) The last two roasts you described sound like you got very close to
some good profiles.  I would be more than glad to email you some
profiles.  One of them was of four different profiles for the Ethiopia
Organic Idido Misty Valley DP to see how it would affect the end
result.
6) You mentioned that your coffee was both sour and bitter.  Sour can
be a result of roasting the coffee too fast; the outside of the bean
can cauterize and insulate the bean.  The outside is well done and the
inside is still green.  Just like searing a steak.  It can also be a
result of low brew temperature.  Bitter is usually associated with
over extracted coffee which can be due to an excessively high brew
temperature and fines (powder) or both.  You may have covered this
before, but how are you grinding and brewing your coffee?
7) Maintenance tip:  Be sure to keep the chaff collector clean.
Periodically you may wish to remove the screws, open it up, clean off
the oil build up and make sure there is no chaff between the screens.
When you do this, be sure not to bump the pegs (you'll know what they
are when you open it up), they will snap off.  Also, periodically flip
the roaster upside down and vacuum the intake screen to keep it clear,
and the air flowing.
If I can learn how to roast coffee, by myself, down here on the
Mississippi Gulf Coast, with the help of this list, I can assure you
that you can too!
I hope this is helpful.
Respectfully,
Eddie
-- =
Stop telling God how big your storm is.
Instead, tell the storm how big your God is.
Home Coffee Roasting Blog and Referencehttp://southcoastcoffeeroaster.blogspot.com/On Mon, Mar 3, 2008 at 10:12 AM, Ken Knott  wrote:
<Snip>
ter with the heat gun...  :)
<Snip>
ve been a bit grassy???  bitter??
<Snip>
 crack was difficult to identify. 15 minutes
<Snip>
nutes total
<Snip>
k and then 460...  about 17 minutes total and I could actually hear first c=
rack!  I think...  But it was still not very good.
<Snip>
ack and then back to 460...  about 18:30 total, heard first crack, I don't =
think I every heard 2nd crack.. beans look pre 2nd crack... maybe.. I'm a r=
ookie... this is hard... It was supposed to be easy, magical, wonderful... =
well, at least the process still smells great..  :)
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10) From: Larry English
My experience has been similar to Peter's - about a minute or two quicker,
with ambient temps in the 50's.  I set at 300 for 3 minutes only, then 482
until 1st crack, then 465.  I rarely miss 1st crack but don't hear 2nd - and
I don't usually take it to 2nd anyway.  Typical times to 440F are around
10-11 minutes, 1st crack around 455-465 about 2-4 minutes later, end of
roast at City+ to Full City around 16-17 minutes.
I did raise my Gene Cafe off the table with styrofoam pads, which reduces
extraneous vibration noise and improves airflow through the intake
(underneath, front, right) and that helped me hear 1st crack on the quieter
beans.  I do have a significant hearing loss but don't wear hearing aids
while roasting.
Oh, and despite some recent advice on the list, I preheat at 300 for 3
minutes, then hold the red button for the "E" stop, load the chamber with
1/2 lb of beans, turn the unit off then on, and start the roast.  This seems
to give me consistent times for each batch.
Larry
On Mon, Mar 3, 2008 at 8:23 AM, Coffee  wrote:
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11) From: John Despres
Waha!
I appreciate your section about cauterizing the outside and keeping the =
inside green. Therefore a drying and warming period at the beginning of =
the roast.
Still learning! Thanks, Eddie. You da man.
John
Eddie Dove wrote:
<Snip>
<Snip>
-- =
John A C Despres
Hug your kids
616.437.9182
Scene It All Productions 
JDs Coffee Provoked Ramblings =
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12) From: Scott Bukofsky
Thanks to John et al. for the continued good discussion on the Gene Cafe.
My methods have varied a bit from what John does, so I decided to do a bit
of experimentation this week.
I roasted some Costa Rica La Minita last week and due to two year old
interference my attention was off.  The coffee, while ok, was a tad
under-roasted (City roast instead of City+), and had accompanying sourish
flavors.  Not horrible, but far below my usual standards.  This was with my
usual roast treatment of 360 degrees/5 minutes followed by 460 degrees to
roast end.
Based on a recent post by John, I roasted another half pound last night with
a slightly altered profile.  300 degrees/5 minutes, 440 degrees/5 minutes,
and 460 degrees to roast end.
According to my wife, the final roast color between the two batches were
identical.  The second roast reached first crack 90 seconds later than the
first, and the total roast time was 90 seconds longer.
And the cup?  Better than the first batch.  The sourness was gone and the
body was improved.  This was only after about 9 hours of rest, so I need to
alternate drinking them throughout the week to get a better idea.
Interestingly, I thought the second, longer roast had reduced aroma compared
to the first, so there may be a tradeoff there.
Always learning,
Scott
On Tue, Mar 4, 2008 at 7:53 AM, John Despres 
wrote:
<Snip>
ee.com
<Snip>
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13) From: Ken Mary
<Snip>
"6) You mentioned that your coffee was both sour and bitter.  Sour can
be a result of roasting the coffee too fast; the outside of the bean
can cauterize and insulate the bean.  The outside is well done and the
inside is still green."
I have done plenty of flash roasts in modified poppers, from 3 minutes down
to 90 seconds from cold to first divots of second crack. A study of broken
beans shows that only about 10% of beans from the fastest roasts show any
color difference from inside to outside. All of these roasts showed no
defects except some were too dark for my taste.
I have never had any sour or bitter flavors from any coffee except the worst
of grocery store canned preground.
--
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14) From: raymanowen
"...one should take detailed notes, tweak, and take more notes.
This works best if you just work on one bean for a while."
That is exactly why I encourage folks to quickly cup the varieties in their
samplers.
You might do it rongly, but you will find one of the origins that appeals to
you. Even with undeveloped roasting, aging, grinding and brewing techniques,
you will find the standouts.
With the 8 origin variety pack, you can easily sample each one in a couple
of days. As soon as you find the "diamond," Smart Money will be online or on
the horn, reordering at least a Fiver of that particular one. Others will
get to weep and wail- Next time may be a long way off.
With five pounds of greens, you might develop good techniques for that
particular origin if it's your steady. Once this technique is learned it can
be extrapolated and adjusted to suit others.
If you get the sample pack and just diddle around with the different
varieties, one will strike you as a Favorite- about two weeks after it's
exhausted from SM's stock.
Happily, I got a Fiver of the Ethiopian Harar Green Stripe for my sample,
and I've just started on it with a couple of roasts in the Fresh Roast.
I desperately need to find the Capresso Lucks tombstone. I have a heat gun,
mixer bowl, the Grand Slam cooler and some Moki's Farm Kona and the Green
Stripe waiting for an invitation to my Party!! I hope it all comes together
soon.
Cheers, Mabuhay -RayO, aka Opa!
BTW- I hate moving. Retired or retarded, it's NTG.
On Mon, Mar 3, 2008 at 3:27 PM, Kevin  wrote:
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