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Topic: Geez, I've got a lot to learn.... (10 msgs / 451 lines)
1) From: Mark McBrearty
Hi Folks,
I'm a newbie on the list - just recently introduced myself and started the
Aromaroast thread. I seem to have a 'hot' Aromaroast (roasts faster than
what others are reporting). Well, after reading the comments on that thread,
I swiped my kids popcorn popper and tried it out. Wow! No comparison. It was
quite a bit faster than the Aromaroast (even thought mine is a bit quicker
than the reports from others) but what I noticed was that the beans were
much more evenly roasted and looked better in every regards. The proof was
in the cup, though, as the same beans roasted in both machines tasted quite
different. The popcorn popper beans were much better.
That said, the most obvious thing I've realized is how much I have to learn.
Although I know which roast I preferred between the two, I have no way to
know whether I'm coming anywhere close to what the roast should be.
Any recommended starting points? Good books or articles to read? Recommended
roasting times for the Popcorn popper? Or just trial and error?
I'm wide open to suggestion!
Thanks,
Mark McB
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2) From: Scott Miller
Mark,
Popcorn poppers work quite well as you have now found out. There are
numerous mods that can be done. Some are quite simple, others involve some
rewiring or can be more involved. The nice thing is that you can make some
changes regardless of your level of ability. Numerous folks on the list have
websites or can point you to the site with information for you type of
popper ... what type are you using?
I had a Poppery II and have used this site for help; the machine still runs
as my sister roasts with it every week:http://members.shaw.ca/espressomio/poptwo.htmlcheers,
Scott
On Tue, Jul 15, 2008 at 12:21 AM, Mark McBrearty 
wrote:
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3) From: Mark McBrearty
Scott,
Many thanks for the link. Very interesting!
My popper says 'White-Westinghouse' on the front, but it is the exact  
same machine as the Poppery II. I stopped by my local Goodwill  
yesterday and found another one under the Salton name, but again, the  
exact same machine. Looks like they all come from the same factory in  
China with different names on the front.  My kids were afraid their  
popcorn was going to end up tasting like coffee beans so I needed to  
get my own machine, but I'm also glad I got it because I can try  
modifying it without my kids getting mad at me!
I'll look for more info on the web. I found quite a bit this morning  
on SM's site as well.
Thanks again,
Mark McB
On Jul 15, 2008, at 10:12 AM, Scott Miller wrote:
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4) From: Brian Kamnetz
Hi Mark,
Sounds like you have made the biggest jump, which is to homeroasting
greens from Sweet Maria's. The improvements from here on out will be
smaller. The largest improvement is likely to be when you upgrade your
grinder, if you are using a whirly-blade or inexpensive burr grinder.
That's the report of nearly everyone who has made that jump.
Brian
On Mon, Jul 14, 2008 at 11:21 PM, Mark McBrearty
 wrote:
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5) From: Stephen Carey
Hello, Mark.  I hope this finds you well.  Everyone has given you 
sound advice.  My couple of cents may or may not be beneficial, but I 
hope they are.  I use Tom's notes a lot.  While he can't describe 
what I will taste - for everyone's mind handles taste differently, he 
can give me a sense of the difference in flavor of different beans, 
or the same bean roasted to a particular point, whether it be City or FC++.
And, my assumption is that the way a bean is roasted makes a 
difference.  Actually, that has been my experience.  I use an IR2 and 
a Behmor.  I have a number of beans dialed in to what I call perfect 
for me on my IR2.  However, reproducing that taste on the Behmor is 
tough.  I get very very good flavor, but it is different 
somehow.  Maybe certain flavors are more distinct or the opposite.  I 
am not saying one method is better than another, only different.  I 
use the IR2 for certain beans because I just like the flavor I get 
from them a bit more than the Behmor and the opposite happens.  I am 
sure there are roasters out there who can reproduce certain roasted 
bean flavors no matter how they roast, from DB/HG to whatever is top 
of the line for a home roaster.  I just am not one of those.
My truly humble suggestion, and it is only a suggestion, is to play 
around and take good notes.  I know some people don't bother with 
them and that works for their roasting.  For me, well, my notes truly 
help me reproduce things, bring back memories of little tricks, even 
- at times - feel like a diary, for I always put my mood of the day 
in my notes.  It affects how well I pay attention.  And with major 
health and pain issues going on, I put a quick line about that in 
there also.  Way, WAY too much for most people, but it works for me.
Mostly have fun with it.  Tom, Maria and all of the SM gang, work 
hard to have a business that is more than that, it is an extended 
family of people who share a common interest.  Tom has done so much 
of the work for us, the rest is up to what we want, the effort we 
want to put into it, and what part of roasting we like the 
best.  There is no wrong way if you are having fun and not burning 
down your house or garage.  So, enjoy, try different profiles and 
different beans.  See what you like.  Bring your friends into if you 
wish or keep it very private if that works for you.  But, HAVE 
FUN.  I have a blast and at times feel guilty at how much I get out of this.
Looking to hear more from you and what you have discovered, like, 
don't like, thoughts and the tips you discover on your own.  We all 
contribute here, join in.
All the best,
Stephen
At 02:46 PM 7/15/2008, you wrote:
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6) From: Demian Ebert
FWIW, I now pop popcorn in the popper I started roasting with. No
coffee flavor was ever exchanged to the corn. I was sort of looking
forward to coffee popcorn.
Demian
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7) From: raymanowen
Hello, Mark!
As a recent poster, you probably were unaware that you have no use for
others' *Do it This or That Way* instructions, with the oblique "If you
don't like the results, you didn't follow the instructions." [For their
palate. So, why do we home roast?]
Your own observations are your best guide: "I know which roast I preferred
between the two, I have no way to know whether I'm coming anywhere close to
what the roast should be."
*Well, listen to this guy:*
"Wow! No comparison." [He was zeroing in on exactly what caused the
difference between a.) and b.), the Aromaroast and the Popper.]
"It was quite a bit faster than the Aromaroast- I noticed was that the beans
were much more evenly roasted and looked better in every regards.- [*That *was
a freebie- Beats the devil out of my popper roasts, let me tell you! ]
"The proof was in the cup, though, as the same beans roasted in both
machines tasted quite
different. The popcorn popper beans were much better."
There you have it! Keep going, with the goal of repeating the cup quality
and you'll become a standard authority.
I certainly would never tell you what to do; I know precious little myself.
I'm not even sure of that, to tell the truth. My Celtic Critic has her own
palate. I don't get no Wow! unless it's one of Harry Cary's "It might be- It
could be- IT IS a Home Run!" cups.
What Grinder? If it says "Commercial Burr Grinder," and you can easily move
it around on your counter, I would suggest you keep looking.
Soon to be available will be some Starbucks equipment- their push button
stuff for shop use. Hopefully their store stock will be distributed among
the remaining outlets for their clients.
Cheers, Mabuhay -RayO, aka Opa!
On Mon, Jul 14, 2008 at 10:21 PM, Mark McBrearty 
wrote:
<Snip>
-- 
"When the theme hits the bass, I dance the Jig!" - -Virgil Fox at the Mighty
Wichita (ex- NYC Paramount) WurliTzer- 1976
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8) From: Mark McBrearty
Thanks Demian! That's nice to know. At least my kids can't blame me if they
get lousy tasting popcorn. Although my wife said, 'hmmm... coffee flavored
popcorn... that sounds good'. And I think she's right!
-Mark McB

9) From: Mark McBrearty
Stephen,
Thanks for a very thoughtful response to my post. Also some great advice.
While I'm not typically a big fan of copious notes, it's already become
evident that I need to do something in order to make sure I can duplicate my
successes and minimize my repeat failures, and good notes about how I did
both is something I need to start doing. When I did homeroasting  a couple
of decades ago, I could only get three types of green beans from my local
supplier, so it was easy to keep things straight in my mind. With the
variety available from SM, I'm already having trouble keeping it straight
with the eight varieties in the first sampler I got.
I also really appreciate your statement that there is no wrong way as long
as I'm not burning down the house. I love experimenting, and will keep a
fire extinguisher handy while trying to experiment with the rules. :-)
You mentioned you had health issues and pain, and I wish you the best of
luck with that. Some years ago I experienced chronic pain for a long period
of time, and I wouldn't wish that on my worst enemy. Hope you are doing
well, and look forward to reading your Homeroast posts and learning more
about how you do things.
Best,
-Mark McB

10) From: Mark McBrearty
Hi Ray!
Thanks for the advice and encouragement. Both are very welcomed! I have to
say how much I'm enjoying the attitude from the folks on this list. Quite a
nice community you all have here!
Cracked me up about your Celtic Critic. My wife (the Italian Inquisitor)
happens to be a professionally trained chef, so I don't get too many 'wow's
from her for anything culinary related, and she's not a big coffee drinker,
but even she is really enjoying the roasting I've done so far. So maybe
there is hope for me!
Tahnks,
-Mark McB


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