HomeRoast Digest


Topic: Some lessons learned from my commercial roaster (6 msgs / 238 lines)
1) From: Les
I would like to share some things I have learned that I think will help
everyone no matter what roaster you have.  Having a good bean temperature
probe, heat and air control, and a chamber temperature probe has given me
new insights into the roasting process.  I am still learning!  So here are
some interesting things that may help you with your roasts.
1. 1st crack with Decaf coffees begins about 12-15 degrees sooner than
regular coffees.
2. I have been playing with roasts that I want to end just before 2nd
crack.  In my roaster 2nd crack begins when the temperature probe in the
beans reads 425 degrees plus or minus 2 degrees depending on the bean.  One
reason 2nd crack seems to get away  is there is an interesting increase in
temperature about 5 degrees before 2nd crack.  When I set up to coast after
1st crack I go from 390-420 in about 5 minutes.  I am gaining about 1 degree
every 10 seconds.  When it hits 420, I gain one degree in 4-5 seconds.  Once
second begins in earnest, it will rise to 430 really fast.  So, one of the
reasons 2nd crack is so tricky and stopping a roast just before second is
temperature rise is moving fast in those beans at that level of roast.
3.  I get the best flavor when my roasts are around 15 minutes long.  I have
roasted 3 different coffees to the same level of roast using 5 different
profiles.  The quickest profile ended in 6.5 minutes and the slowest profile
ended in 22 minutes.  It seems that the best development of the flavors
happens with a 13-16 minutes roast.
4.  Stretching the roast for 2-4 minutes after 1st crack really brings out
the flavor in the bean.  I think this is when the optimal carmalization
occurs.  I have even been stretching my city roasts by reducing the heat to
hold the bean temperature at 405 and increasing the air flow in the roasting
chamber.  I am not sure how I can translate that into other roasters, but I
did do a similar thing with my RK drum when I would turn the heat almost off
and stretch the roast.
5.  Have fun with your roaster!  One of the nice things about this roaster
is it is forgiving.  Much more forgiving than other roasters.  Watch, learn,
and listen that is how we all improve our roasting skills.  It is nice
having all the bells and whistles, but they only confirm what I have learned
in the past 22 years of homeroasting.
6.  The quality of the beans make a big difference in the quality of the
roast.  My kids brought me some Kona when they got back from Hawaii.  I at
least trained them to bring Dad green coffee.  It was blah!  So thanks Tom
for the great beans.  A roaster can't make up for poor beans unless you go
to almost 3 crack and enjoy the taste of the roast and not the bean.
6. It was worth the huge investment to buy a commercial roaster.  It is nice
to have everything in one self-contained unit.  No more chasing after
the insulated  gloves or colander.  No more staring down into the tennis
ball tube chimney on my Air Popper.  Chaff clean-up is simply opening the
door to the chaff collector and turning the shop vac on for about half a
minute.
So, I hope these observations will help improve your roasting no matter your
method or experience.  This isn't rocket science, but it sure is fun!
Les
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2) From: Bill Goodman
Les wrote:
<Snip>
I'll likely do the same pretty soon, but in the meantime, my young boys 
(and I) have a great time together watching the whole air popper 
roasting process--don't want to give that up that experience.  (I could 
divide my roasting time between a commercial for lighter roasts, and the 
popper for darker roasts, and have the best of both worlds!)
Bill G.
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3) From: Chad Sheridan
Les,
Thanks for sharing this.  As one of those who is still putting out 
roasts with a modified Poppery, it's nice to live vicariously a bit with 
you (and miKe, too).
I've been noticing points #1 & #4, and can definitely vouch for #6.  
I've been roasting a lot of samples lately, and it's hard work to cull 
out quality from the herd of samples.  I think I've found 4-6 quality 
coffees from over 24 samples roasted and cupped over the last month.
Chad
Les wrote:
<Snip>
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4) From: Dean De Crisce
Thanks for the really great info. I wonder how I can use a thermocouple in my Behmor to have more control.
Dean De Crisce
Sent from a Treo.

5) From: Robert Yoder
Dean, I wish for the same control with my Behmor.  Stipulating that I am not an experienced or competent roaster, I wish I had greater control.  I would love to be able to adjust/follow temperatures in this roaster, but I haven't figured out how to even measure the environment temperature (but keep trying), much less closely ride/adjust the heat application. What would you do with info from the thermocouple?  It's only half the equation if you have no control over heat application.  Even without such control, the Behmor produces coffee I hadn't been able to accomplish before.  As frustrating as it is, I believe that what we are talking about is the difference between a commercial roaster and one designed for home use. This is what Les, miKe, et al, have been talking about all along, IIUC.  It may also be what Uber-Popper folk have been talking about, but I have not yet formed an understanding of the apparent differences between even a highly-controlled Popper (Fluid-Bed) Roas
 t and a Behmor Roast.
 
Tune in next week, Bean-fans!
 
Happy Roasting,
 
robert yoder> To: homeroast> From: decrisce.md> Date: Sat, 22 Mar 2008 21:32:00 -0400> Subject: Re: [Homeroast] Some lessons learned from my commercial roaster> > Thanks for the really great info. I wonder how I can use a thermocouple in my Behmor to have more control.> > Dean De Crisce> > Sent from a Treo.> >

6) From: John Despres
Les,
Thank you for an excellent post. Very informative and fun!
John
Les wrote:
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John A C Despres
Hug your kids
616.437.9182
Scene It All Productions 
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