HomeRoast Digest


Topic: Greetings and a few questions about roast profile and (100 lines)
1) From: Greg Hollrigel
Hi everyone:
 
I only joined this list about a week ago or so and it has been tremendously
informative, helpful, and entertaining.  Thank you.
 
I've been a coffee drinker for about 15 years.  I was introduced to coffee
by drinking some strong Java from Peets back in the mail order only days
when you didn't live in the Bay area when I was in grad school.  During that
stint, someone brought in a Gran Gaggia espresso maker for the lab and it
was an espresso fountain all day long.  :-)  I've always been interested in
pursuing better and better cups of coffee.
 
Alas for my poor wife, I discovered homeroasting about 6 months ago.
Started digging around on the internet for more sources of mail order beans
and came across Sweet Marias and a few other sites on home roasting.
Decided to take the plunge and see if was as good as I was hoping.  My
initial setup is with a Whirley Pop stove top popper (I use a heat diffuser
to even out the heat on the bottom of the popper).  My first batch was just
shy of charcoal (a very dark French roast) because I was not used to the
different stages and was captivated by the smoke and smells generated.  It
was still drinkable.  So after that batched cooled, I made another roast and
stopped it just into second crack and it was exactly the roast I was looking
for.  The cups of coffee were amazing and I was hooked!  I decided I should
roast a bunch of coffee for my friends and family to see if they thought the
same or if I was just being a bit too in tune.  They all agreed that the
fresh roast is noticeably better.  In any case, I'm hooked and I'm roasting
small batches every three or four days or so and loving every moment of it.
I love Tom's selection of beans and the information he provides to
experience new types and flavors in coffee.  Now, I can easily see myself
investing in an official home roasting machine in the near future and my
hobby quickly becoming an obsession.
 
So I had a couple of questions about roasts.  Probably from brain washing
from starting with Peets, I developed a taste for beans that appeared dark
and oily regardless of origin.  Until I joined this list and paid closer
attention to Tom's roasting pictures, I thought I was roasting to a Full
City + style with medium brown but oily beans.  The flavor was very good.
But now I realize that I may have been roasting longer than suggested by Tom
to bring out the other flavors of the beans, such as the floral qualities
and such as I've seen people describe.  I also seem to have used a roasting
time that was substantially shorter than what I see discussed on here and on
Sweet Marias.  Most of my roasting information came from a book that was
recommended on a web site somewhere.  I think my average time to first crack
was about 4-5 minutes and the end of the roast in the early stages of second
crack at about 7-8 minutes.
 
I recently roasted a Kenyan that I stopped earlier in the second crack and
the beans look more like a FC or FC+ as shown in Tom's pictures.  The flavor
is definitely lighter and more complex with different combinations than my
usual.  I also roasted the Auriferous espresso to a good FC/FC+ and drew out
the roasting time to about 10:30 minutes based on the roasting times
discussed on this list.
 
It seems to me that a lot of you appear to be talking about roasting to a
less dark bean than what I was originally doing.  Am I reading your comments
correctly?  When talking about the floral flavors and the other notes in the
coffee, is this based more on the "lighter" roast than the dark oily beans
that you see at Peets and Starbucks?  I am just trying to evaluate changes
in my roasting to compare.
 
I also notice that when I'm slowing the roasting times to achieve a target
of about 11 minutes, my first crack appears to start about 375 degrees and
second crack is about 400.  Before, my thermometer indicated 1st crack
around 400 and 2nd crack around 430 or so.  I usually use the sound of the
beans as my indicator of the roast, but was wondering if this makes sense
that the roast finishes at such low temperatures.  I use a candy thermometer
in which the tip of the probe is about 1 inch off the bottom of the popper.
The beans are still good, just an odd observation.  Any thoughts?
 
Also, has anyone tried the Auriferous in an espresso?  I did this morning
after a 48 hour rest.  The shot went well but I was really surprised by the
bitter flavors and the lightness of the espresso.  I have a batch of the
Ophiolite espresso too, which I roasted to more of a Vienna roast and love.
Looking at Tom's comments on the Auriferous, it is supposed to be light and
have bittersweet flavors so I may have made it along the lines he was
suggesting, but I thought I would check the collective wisdom of the group
to see if others who are more experienced also notice the
lightness/bitterness of the Auriferous.  I'm hoping that my roast was right
(FCish) as compared to my older style of roasting for the medium oily beans.
I'm guessing that the Auriferous may not be my type of espresso that I like
as much as others eventhough it pulled well.
 
And one last thing, I haven't seen much mention of water cooling the roasted
beans.  I read this in my home roasting book.  Typically, after I roast and
dump the beans into a mesh colander, I shake the beans and spritz twice with
fresh water.  It quickly evaporates, and I think that is the purpose to help
drop the temperature more quickly than just air cooling.  Any thoughts on
spraying a bit of water to cool roasted beans?
 
Thanks for any information you care to share.
 
Greg
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