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Topic: "soft" vs. "hard" beans (21 msgs / 516 lines)
1) From: Gary Foster
I've seen some discussion on "soft" and "hard" beans (also the behmor 
manual talks about them in the profiles).  How do you know whether a 
bean is considered soft or hard?  Is there a list somewhere?  I'm sure 
if there is it's probably on Tom's site somewhere, that guy has more 
info than the library of congress albeit not the best arranged heh.  If 
someone could help me with a quick pointer to the "FM" to "R" I'll be 
happy to go RTFM.
Thanks!
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2) From: Rich
Hard or soft is primarily determined by the altitude the coffee is grown 
at.  There is some general guide but I can not point at right this 
instant.  The varietal also has an impact on the profile.
Gary Foster wrote:
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3) From: John Despres
As a general rule, altitude is your first clue. If you know where the =
bean is grown, you can find the altitude. This is the first part of =
study when I prepare to roast a new bean.
Hard beans - Grown above 5000 feet - Examples: Kenyas, Guatamala SHB
Medium hard beans grown between 3500 and 5000 feet - Examples: Brazil, =
Java, Sumatra, most Latin American coffees
Soft beans - grown below 3500 feet - Examples: Hawaiian, Caribbean
Harder beans have a very shallow seam while soft beans have a deep seam, =
allowing heat to the center of the bean faster. Each type of bean =
requires a different profile to reach optimum flavors.
Hope this helps.
John
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-- =
John A C Despres
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616.437.9182
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4) From: Gary Foster
Ok, what would costa rican beans be considered?  I roasted up some Tono 
Miel this weekend and I wasn't sure whether to use P2 or P3 on the 
behmor.  P2 at 14 mins for a half pound took it just barely out of 1st 
crack.
-- Gary F.
Rich wrote:
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5) From:
Most Costa's are labeled SHB (Super Hard Bean)

6) From: Rich
You have asked for an opinion.  I think a lot of the hard bean / soft 
bean issue is of minimal consequence when using SM beans.  Seems like 
the P-3 profile on the Behmor works very well for most, if not all SM beans.
I think the hard / soft bean determination has more impact when using a 
commercial type of roaster.
Gary Foster wrote:
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7) From: Rich
You have asked for an opinion.  I think a lot of the hard bean / soft 
bean issue is of minimal consequence when using SM beans.  Seems like 
the P-3 profile on the Behmor works very well for most, if not all SM beans.
I think the hard / soft bean determination has more impact when using a 
commercial type of roaster.
Gary Foster wrote:
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8) From: John Despres
Rich, I'm curious about this statement "I think the hard / soft bean =
determination has more impact when using a commercial type of roaster."
Why is that? Heat is heat and needs to get to the center of the bean to =
roast it all the way through. A denser bean will resist heat longer than =
a softer bean, so what's the difference? Roasters provide the heat but =
how do they make a difference?
Also, I'm curious to know what the density difference is in SM beans and =
some other vendor's beans.
John
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-- =
John A C Despres
Hug your kids
616.437.9182
Scene It All Productions 
JDs Coffee Provoked Ramblings =
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9) From: Gary Foster
Yeah I'm a new guy and all, but I already realize asking for an opinion 
around here is dangerous but what the heck, I live life on the edge :)
I have only used P3 once so far on the Behmor with some brazilian 
Daterra that turned out very nice.  Most of my other roasts have been on 
P2.  I think I might start exploring P3 a bit more instead, actually.  I 
really liked the results it gave me on the Brazilian.  Not necessarily 
myh favorite coffee in the french press (currently that'd have to be 
Harrar) but it's VERY good in the Silvia.
I roasted some Tono Miel with my stepdaughter yesterday for her to take 
back to college with her.  She loves the really light roasts (and I'm 
trying to learn to appreciate them) so we did a short P2 roast and it 
finished up right about the time 1st crack finished up.
I honestly think it's probably not going to be all that great, I don't 
have a lot of experience yet but my gut instinct was that the power chop 
on P2 came way too early and it didn't get far enough past first crack 
but then, I could be completely off base.  It took about 11 and a half 
minutes to start first crack, and 1st crack never really got that 
vigorous.  The autocool kicked in at 14 mins.  I think when I roast the 
other half pound I have left I'll do it on P3 for just a tiny bit longer 
to let it develop a bit more.  She's going to report back to me this 
weekend on how it turned out.
I feel like a kid with a new toy.  Oh wait, I do have a new toy :)
Thanks for the tips everyone, they are much appreciated!  I'm like a 
sponge, soaking up coffee knowledge!
-- Gary F.
Rich wrote:
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10) From: Rich
A commercial roaster heats by both conduction and convection, both 
adjustable.  The fluidized bed roasters are convection heat only.  The 
Behmor is IR (infrared) radiant to start and radiant and convection 
towards the end of the roast.  Heat energy enters from the surface and 
then heats to the center determined by the temperature gradient, surface 
to center line.  If you play with a bunch of different SM beans you will 
find there is very little density difference between them.  High grown 
plants are generally more dense than low grown plants.
Look at the different heat transfer methods and you can see that you can 
maintain the surface to center temperature at a greater value with 
convection.  Popcorn popper roasts in short period of time, ever wonde 
why?  Behmor only heats the side of the bean facing the lamp. 
Conduction only heats the part of the bean in contact with the heated 
surface.
High quality SM coffee seems to be of a higher density when compared to 
beans from other unknown sources.
John Despres wrote:
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11) From: Rich
I find P-2 to be very difficult to function properly.  I can change the 
ramp rate on P-3 and take a full pound to Vienna or barley to City with 
no problems.  Being lazy I will stick with P-3 and P-1 as the backup if 
I run out of heat on a P-3 roast.
Gary Foster wrote:
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12) From: John Despres
Thanks, Rich. Very nice explanation.
This also helps resolve a couple other issues rumbling around my =
brain... And helps with a roaster I've built and am still "ringing out".
Thanks, again!
Interestingly, in a quest for more knowledge, I weighed all my beans for =
"relative density" information. I used a quart jar on the scale set to =
grams for a more accurate measure, and filled the jar to the top with =
every bean in my inventory and noted the weight of each. This is a =
little something I picked up from Millem Boot. He, however, uses a 5 =
gallon bucket, but since I don't have that much of any bean, the quart =
jar has to suffice. I ran a range of 645 grams per jar load to 730 =
grams. Has the information made a difference? I don't know yet. I have =
hundreds of roasts to go to find out. I keep good logs so maybe it will =
make a difference one day. When it does, I'll post my findings.
John
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-- =
John A C Despres
Hug your kids
616.437.9182
Scene It All Productions 
JDs Coffee Provoked Ramblings =
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13) From: Les
Gary,
That is going to be one fine city roast!  You should have saved a sample for
yourself!
Les
On 3/24/08, Gary Foster  wrote:
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14) From: Tom & Maria - Sweet Maria's Coffee
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Thats a good summary ... although you can certainly buy low-grown 
Guats, etc. Lotsa people do! Some origins have definite altitude 
limitations, such as Hawaii where you simply can't grow coffee very 
high or it never matures. I am not sure I follow you on the depth of 
the seam in the coffee. Soft coffees tend to open more in the seam, 
whereas dense coffees stay tight. You will sometimes see fissures at 
the end of the seam in softer coffees. This, like all things in 
coffee, is not a hard and fast rule, as I have seen dense coffees 
that crack at the end etc. It depends a lot on how the coffee was 
dried too.
Tom
--
                   "Great coffee comes from tiny roasters"
            Sweet Maria's Home Coffee Roasting  -  Tom & Maria
                      http://www.sweetmarias.com                Thompson Owen george_at_sweetmarias.com
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15) From: John Brown
altitude grown at has something to do with  the hardness of the  bean.
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16) From: Rich
Feature of T-Bird.  I usually don't check the To:  line..  Its fixed now.
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17) From: Bill
Back from a vacation and then a crazy hectic week.  I'll weigh in on this CR
Tono Miel.  I've done a couple of roasts, and I would say that this is a
very dense bean.  I have to put more heat to it to get the bean mass temp to
rise.  If I understand that correctly, that says that the bean is dense and
resists heat more than others.  So I have noticed that I need to use more
heat after the first five minutes (drying stage) in order to ramp the heat
at around 20 F/min.
I'm new to this monitoring of roast temps, so I don't have a ton of
experience.  But I do notice a difference with this bean.
John, how do you find the altitude of every farm you have coffee from?
Oh, and I think that SHB is "strictly hard bean," not super...but I could
definitely be wrong.
And that CR is a great cup.  Love the acidity.
bill
On Mon, Mar 24, 2008 at 8:45 PM, Rich  wrote:
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18) From: Paul Helbert
I've been nagged by a curious thought. Wouldn't heat have an easier time
penetrating a dense (hard) bean than a less dense (soft) one? I'd think the
soft bean would insulate. The statement that the hard bean resists heat
conduction strikes me wrong. Do we use light materials for insulation only
because of their light weight or because of their superior resistance to the
transmission of heat? I'm trying to think of examples of the same material
in dense and expanded form: Biotite and Vermiculite come to mind as do cork
& walnut hulls and feathers vs hair. Better examples anyone?
-- 
Paul Helbert
So it is written. I read it on the internet. It has to be true.
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19) From: Rich
I bet a lot of people did not pay attention in thermodynamics class.....
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20) From: miKe mcKoffee
Paul, I dost believe your nagging curious thought is right on the money. You
can ramp hard beans faster because they absorb the heat faster. Softer beans
benefit from a slower ramp else risk scorching.
Kona Konnaisseur miKe mcKoffeehttp://www.mckoffee.com/Ultimately the quest for Koffee Nirvana is a solitary path. To know I must">http://www.mcKonaKoffee.comURL 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
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21) From: Jim Gundlach
Never had a thermodynamics class, but then I never used a clock to  
tell me when a roast was right, only to tell someone else how long it  
took to get it there.
        pecan jim
On Mar 30, 2008, at 11:41 PM, Rich wrote:
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