HomeRoast Digest

Topic: Learning to roast...questions.. (10 msgs / 246 lines)
1) From: Ron Feroni
Having trouble posting for some reason.  Sorry is this posted once or twice already..
Hello everyone,        I'm the guy that one the poppery1 from Rich.  Thanks Rich!  I've been roasting for a few years now but not seriously at all.  I've just recently started taking notes and such.  I recently posted on this so I'll leave it at that.        What I'm really interested in is finding information as in books, articles, magazines etc. on how to roast coffee.  The internet is great, but I find that I retain much more information by reading books and having the information on-hand.          I know the basics of course but would like to find out more detail on things like bean density and how to roast accordingly.  What the body, acidity, brightness and other aspects of coffee actually are and how to detect them in coffee.  What a country's beans tend to be as in either bright, low body, low acidity, etc.         Is there a book(s) out there that goes into great detail about home roasting?  I know everything is learned thru trial and error, I'm just looking for a st
 arting point I guess.  It would be nice if there was a book out there that said,"..hey, if your roasting beans from this country at this altitude, try this basic profile and go from there..." which would be followed by something like,"..and if your roast has too much/little(insert body, acidity, brightnes,flavor, etc) then try adjusting your roast profile the following way...".  You of course would know what body, acidity,brightness are as the book would also cover this in a way to teach you how to detect them yourself. I've been all over the internet and though I did find information on learning how to 'cup' a cup so to speak I would still rather have it in greater detail and in book form. If no book exists, may I suggest someone on this list write one.  I know many here are capable! Ron    
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2) From: Chad Sheridan
While I don't agree with everything he writes, Ken David's book is a 
good reference.http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0312312199--Chad
Ron Feroni wrote:
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3) From: Paul Helbert
Agreed. There is some good stuff hidden in the chaff of the Davids books.
There is much better and more up-to-date information on the web. What I
often do is print out good articles and keep them with my notes.
The SM website is much larger and more complex than it first appears.
Paul Helbert
"The time has come, to talk of many things..."
-- The Walrus to the Carpenter
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4) From: Robert Joslin
     I don't want to dampen your enthusiasm for roasting, but I, too, have
looked for a good book discussing the ins and outs of roasting.  I've never
found it!  I have a shelf full of books "about" coffee including the
disappointing Ken Davids' book on roasting, a small one by Gerhard Jansen
titled "Coffee Roasting:  Magic, Art, Science" and "Coffee: Recent
Developments" by Claarke & Vitzthum.  Illy's "Espresso Coffee:  The Science
of Quality" has a discussion of chemical changes during roasting, etc. These
latter are technically oriented and interesting reading, but if you are
looking for something akin to "how to" books (as in making bread, wine,
etc.) the book probably hasn't been written.  Or at least, I have not found
it.  I agree that the knowledge and expertise can certainly be found here on
the list, but it needs to be collected, collated, edited, and printed in one
( enormous) volume.
Any takers?
On Sat, Mar 8, 2008 at 9:09 AM, Chad Sheridan 
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5) From: Joseph Robertson
I like you are on the same journey/path to coffee enlightenment. Someday in
the near future there may be a book on general coffee topics like you
mention. But it will take a very special person to write it. I am venturing
into the commercial world of coffee. The first this you learn on the
commercial path is that not long ago and even still the information you
would like has been guarded like the queens jewels. Coffee roasting is in a
large part an art form and such those that have spent years perfecting it
are not very friendly to giving it away or even selling it. Lately some
schools to teach coffee roasting have been showing up. I have only found two
so far in the US that are not trying to sell you a roaster or some industry
equipment. If you or anyone else on this list comes across any coffee
roasting schools besides the one on the west coast and the one on the east
coast please post a note here.
I like you Ron believe that the time has come for a book like you describe.
Any authors and creative writers out there. Show yourselves.
On Sat, Mar 8, 2008 at 6:56 AM, Ron Feroni  wrote:
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6) From: John Despres
I got snagged into home roasting by my wife who, after years of =
listening to me go on about it, bought me Ken Davids' book for Father's =
Day last summer.
While there are many nuggets of help in there, I read the book several =
times and not one whit of it made sense to me. Learning from his book, =
is like trying to learn how to drive a car over the phone having never =
seen a car. It was all Greek to me. Roast curve? First what? Full City?? =
Increased chance of fire? Huh? There are reviews of roasters and based =
on his writing, I decided I needed the Fresh Roast 8 so I went on line =
and found one on Sweet Maria's.
Ken Davids delivered me to Sweet Maria's. I loved the site and decided =
this would be my home coffee roasting home. Once I had the roaster in =
hand, Ken's book made more sense to me, however, the most information =
I've collected has come from this list, Tom's notes and the Sweet =
Maria's web site. I haven't gone back to his book since. I have loaned =
it to a friend who's trying to decide what roaster to buy.
All in all, I give Ken's book a "Good Primer" rating. I agree there =
should be more comprehensive books on the subject. A collection of =
knowledgeable folk such as are gathered here would be an excellent place =
to start.
Personally, I like the "book" called sweetmarias.com. I'm just beginning =
to plumb the depths of that site.
Google Willem Boot. He's a fantastic writer on the subject of roasting.
Paul Helbert wrote:
-- =
John A C Despres
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JDs Coffee Provoked Ramblings =
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7) From: Joseph Robertson
Thanks John,
Nice post.
On Sat, Mar 8, 2008 at 9:14 AM, John Despres 
Ambassador for Specialty Coffee and pallet reform.
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8) From: Chad Sheridan
As far as Willem Boot goes, this is a great place to starthttp://www.bootcoffee.com/articles.htmlChad
John Despres wrote:
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9) From: Bill
I had laryngitis a year ago, was sitting around surfing the net, not
talking.  I stumbled on a link on a coffee page called "green beans."  I
remember that it was a cause coffee website, so i thought it was
environmentally happy beans.  Started reading.  2 main claims: better
flavor, cheaper price.  I thought, no way!  I read Davids' book.  I was
sold.  I ordered a Freshie (hadn't seen SM's yet) and some beans... and then
found sweetmarias.
I still think that Davids' book is a good place to start as a home roaster.
 It is self-contained, and i think that the sweetmaria's site can be a bit
intimidating...  so i recommend the book to people who are interested, and
tell them not to waste any time on any lesser websites.
On Sat, Mar 8, 2008 at 12:07 PM, Chad Sheridan 
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10) From: Larry Johnson
Count me also as one of those who were introduced to the very idea of
homeroasting coffee and then led to Sweet Maria's by Mr. Davids' book.
There are many, many parallels in my homeroasting (coffee) and my
homebrewing (beer) experiences. One of them is the points of entry for
the two hobbies; I was led into homebrewing, and on to further
enlightenment, by an author (Charlie Papazian - "The Complete Joy of
Homebrewing") who is regularly criticized for the same types of
omissions, inaccuracies, and oversimplifications as Ken Davids. But
like Davids, he introduced a lot of people to the hobby and some of
them went on to write books of their own.
On Sat, Mar 8, 2008 at 4:50 PM, Bill  wrote:
Larry J
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