HomeRoast Digest


Topic: Newbie's first roast (long post) (12 msgs / 344 lines)
1) From: Michael Rochman
First roasting...actually three roastings.  Used SweetMaria's Sulawesi Fat
Bean for all three.
Without measuring I'd guess our electricity must be under 115 because Fresh
Roast's instructions came closer to what I'd like to accomplish than did
Tom's Fresh Roast recommendations.
First roast with FR on Light...3.5 mins. What I thought was 2nd crack must
have been first crack because those roasted beans were lighter than an East
Coast City by my eyes... plus, after grinding with new Solis electric on
coarsest setting, we filled Braun drip for 10 cups. Needless to say, a
quick sip by Jan (wife) and me was all it took to get rid of that pot.
Second roasting with FR on Dark and 3 mins. Never heard 2nd crack. Measured
ground coffee...just under 8 tbls...so we used 24oz of water. Did someone
here say the FR made a 10-12 cup pot?  The dirs say so, but, unless a finer
grind makes a far larger volume of grounds this was good for maybe 6
cups???  We use a 9oz mug, didn't fill it most all the way, and had maybe
enough coffee left for another mug. Finished coffee was less thin, but
still missed the mark. From looking at color charts, I'd have guessed it to
be between City and Full City...closer to City.
Third roast with FR would have pleased the ghost of Ole Man Peet. 4.5 mins
on Darker. Oily, and typical of what Peet's ships in color...dark brown,
maybe a 30-40 color? Ground coarsest setting as on two previous
grinds..used
24 oz water. Nice stuff if you're used to Peet's.
Some questions:
Would a finer grind produce more volume of grounds? If not, would it still
allow for the use of more water? Any formulas, other than trial and error
to guesstimate how much more?
I want to experience the world of lighter roastings, too. However, I've
been
drinking Peets' so long that I'm hooked on the dark oily roast. How do I
get the body (if that's the right term) without the dark oily color in
order to experience the acidic highs?
Mike

2) From: Leigh
Mike,
Observations from another new roaster:
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If you're using a Braun drip coffee maker and you use a finer grind, you
might have problems with the water "backing up".  I know I've had to go to
the coursest grind on my Solis for my drip coffee maker because the water
backs up and the machine cuts off while it waits for the water to filter
through.
<Snip>
I've been roasting for about 1 month now, and it's taken me this long to
really get my roasts down to a good City roast.  Mine were all dark at first
because that's what I was used to.  I really like the lighter roasts in the
morning now.  I set my FR on medium and about 3.0 to get my current roast.
I still listen though, and most of the time I have to turn the knob to cool
shortly after first crack, before the FR is completely finished.  It varies
with different beans.  I still roast my nighttime decaf to a darker roast
because I use it more like a "dessert" coffee.  For the time being that
suits me fine.  I'm sure I'll eventually get to roasting my decaf lighter,
and trying different roasts for different beans.  I like the FR because I
can work with just a little bit of coffee right now while I'm still
experimenting.  BTW, my FR roasts exactly enough for the 8 cup mark on the
coffee pot, which seems to work out to about 6 regular coffee cups or 4
coffee mugs.
Leigh

3) From: Jacobs family
Dear Mike
A couple of points on light roasting.
1. Choice of beans is important.  My favorite for a light roast is Kenyan.
The difference in flavor of a light roast Kenyan and dark roast Sulawasi
could be compared to the difference between light (colored) and dark beer.
2. I brew with more coffee grounds per cup with the light roasts.  Maybe
its just visual thing as the light roast brew is not as opaque as the dark
roast and I need that visual clue to get my taste buds to respond.
Probably that is the secret to getting the "body".
3. Light roasted coffee is not as brittle - in other words your grinder
needs to work harder to grind it.  You will know your cup wlll taste
different as soon as your grinding is complete - it will even smell
different.  I grind to the same fineness no matter what the roast - but it
takes longer to grind the light roast beans.
4. How are you going to get it? - It will just happen.  Different bean
varieties take different times to reach roast 1st and 2nd cracks. Someday
you will pop in a batch - roast and it will come out light.  In fact I
think this is what happened to you with your first roast.  If you think
about it - a fat bean will take longer to heat thoroughly than a little
bean - thus it will take longer to roast.  I bet your electric company is
not skimming volts from you.
5. Try a light roast espresso someday - errr maybe only if you like shots
of straight whiskey.
Yours truly
Jacobs

4) From: Michael Rochman
Leigh,
= If you're using a Braun drip coffee maker and you use a finer grind, you
= might have problems with the water "backing up".
Hadn't thought of that, but am sure it would be a problem. Have a Chemex 13
cup on the way and, hopefully, that will solve that problem.
= I've been roasting for about 1 month now, and it's taken me this long to
really get my roasts down = to a good City roast.  Mine were all dark at
first because that's what I was used to
Then, there's hope for me.  However, I do like the darker roasts, or at
least, I'm conditioned to liking them.
=  BTW, my FR roasts exactly enough for the 8 cup mark on the coffee pot,
which seems to work out to about 6 regular coffee cups or 4  coffee mugs.
You're using the Braun 12 cup drip?
Mike

5) From: Michael Rochman
Jacobs,
= A couple of points on light roasting.
Thank you for all the tips. I've saved your post to file for future
reference.
= 2. I brew with more coffee grounds per cup with the light roasts
Makes sense. Was under the impression that 2 rounded tbl of ground coffee +
6 oz of water = one cup of coffee. The problem with this as I've done so
far is that the coffee can become overpowering or thin and watery...at
least from my limited experience.
The variables are quantity of grounds, volume of water, fineness of grind.
If I'm constantly adjusting all three, I'm going to have an exceedingly
difficult time learning what I'm doing and learning how one adjustment
interacts with the other two.
What would you suggest I, as a beginner, adjust...water, grounds, or
grind... while keeping the other two constant?
Mike

6) From: Michael Vanecek
I've been using 7 grams of coffee per 5oz of water and adjusting my
grind to control the extraction. It's good to get at least one constant
in there to form a foundation upon which you base your experimentation.
Tom's Illy Measuring Scoop is very close to 7 grams - actually, when
rounded it's about as close to 7 grams as you're gonna come without
meticulously measuring each scoop. It's 4 grams when scraped level - so
when you scoop the coffee with it put a little rounding on it.
Naturally, YMMV. Take at least a little time to verify the accuracy of
your scoops and water with a verified source, be it a digital scale for
the coffee and a decent measuring cup for the water. Also measure the
temperature that the water is hitting the coffee at. For a drip, I just
plug up the hole, put in my thermometer and put in just enough water to
fill the coffee filter tray. I've found that mine's a little on the cool
side - idealy you'll want around 195. I've found that it helps
enormously in achieving consistancy and helps in your exploring the
coffee's characteristics. Most importantly is to have fun. I appreciate
the desire to explore the lighter roasts, but if you like the taste of
darker roasts, that's not conditioning, that's preference - so don't
feel guilty about it. Realize that some coffees are just plain better
when darker (Zimbabwe is real nice at a dark full city). I am a light
roast lover, but didn't like the Zimbabwe at a lighter roast.
Alternatively, try the Brazil Oberon at a light City roast and you'll
get a really smooth cup with just the right amount of zing. Of course,
it's all in the mouth of the drinker (eye of the beholder). When
roasting, don't depend entirely on the dial settings. Those will get you
in the general ballpark, but to really take control you need to babysit
the roast, time it, watch it, smell it and listen to it and get that
mental image burned into your mind as to when to hit the cool button
(does the FR have a cool button?). I've learned that after getting my
Alpenrosts - it's easier when you can see the beans, but when you have
to depend on everything _but_ sight, it becomes a little more
interesting (like crossing the street blindfolded). I still run coffee
through my HWP just to see it go through it's degrees of roast.
Don't forget to take notes. It'll help. Every coffee and every crop is a
little different and without good notes it can be hit and miss...
Cheers,
Mike
Michael Rochman wrote:
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7) From: Michael Rochman
Mike, have saved your post to file, too. Much good info, thanks.
= I've been using 7 grams of coffee per 5oz of water and adjusting my
= grind to control the extraction.
I don't have  a clue what 7 grams looks like. Think I'd better get a scoop
as you advise.
= mental image burned into your mind as to when to hit the cool button
= (does the FR have a cool button?).
Yes, it has a Cool setting on the manual timing dial.
= Don't forget to take notes. It'll help. Every coffee and every crop is a
= little different and without good notes it can be hit and miss...
My wife suggested the same last night. Too many variables and trying too
many different things to begin to remember them all.
Thanks, Mike

8) From: Leigh
<Snip>
No, I'm currently using a Cuisinart Auto Grind & Brew until my Cory vacuum
brewer arrives.  I can't wait!
Leigh

9) From: Ken Mary
Mike,
You seem to be brewing without allowing the coffee to "rest". Most (?) drip
brewers have a problem with freshly roasted coffee making a foam layer on
top of the bed of grounds resulting in lower extraction. Try storing the
roast in a loosely capped jar for at least 12 hours. This will allow most of
the gases to escape.
However, your real problem may be the grind. You must grind as fine as
possible without overflowing the filter basket during brewing. This will
increase the foam problem so be careful. You should change grinder setting
by one or two numbers at a time until you get the desired results without
over-extraction.
As far as roasting is concerned, you should read Kenneth Davids' "Home
Coffee Roasting". There is a range of roast conditions that provides peak
body. Those same conditions do not provide peak acidity, you must roast
lighter.
I have not tried the Fat Bean yet, but you may want to roast slower at a
lower initial temperature (but same final temp) to allow the interior of the
beans time to heat up. Roast large beans slower, small beans faster.
You may not achieve the same dark oily appearance as Peets coffee because
your roasting method is different. The oil on the surface of most drum
roasted beans is most likely due to carryover of old oil from the drum
inside surface. If you hot air roast to the same oily appearance, you may be
ruining the coffee.
--
Ken Mary - Aromaroast - whirlyblade - French Press
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10) From: Michael Rochman
Ken,
Lots of meat to chew on...thanks.
= You seem to be brewing without allowing the coffee to "rest".
True. Was following instructions with FR that offered the alternative of
putting the fresh roasted coffee in the freezer for 3-4 mins to cool down
before grinding. Bad advice???
= However, your real problem may be the grind. You must grind as fine as
= possible without overflowing the filter basket during brewing.
Yup. Had been grinding (Solis electric) on coarsest setting. Read Tom's
review last night and switched to setting 9 this morning. Far more
extraction.  When all else fails, read the advice.
= As far as roasting is concerned, you should read Kenneth Davids' "Home
= Coffee Roasting". There is a range of roast conditions that provides peak
= body. Those same conditions do not provide peak acidity, you must roast
= lighter.
Am in the process of reading it now. Wish it were brought up to date to
cover the new home roasters and would like to have seen all 8 color discs
in the back of the book, instead of 4. But, the book is fabulous and chock
full of info on every page.
= I have not tried the Fat Bean yet, but you may want to roast slower at a
= lower initial temperature (but same final temp) to allow the interior of
the
= beans time to heat up. Roast large beans slower, small beans faster.
The only adjustments I can make with the FR are LIGHT/DARK and amount of
time.  How do I make those changes?
 = You may not achieve the same dark oily appearance as Peets coffee
because
= your roasting method is different.
Got it with some Brazilian Corrado. Except for the fact that the beans were
a bit smaller, they looked like Major Dickerson's....dark, oily, fragrant.
Ken, if I allow the buildup of coffee oils on the inside of the glass
roaster of the FR, will I accomplish what you were describing?
Mike

11) From: Michael Vanecek
"Resting" means allowing the coffee to sit for a period of time at room
temperature to facilitate degassing and allow some chemical processes to
progress before brewing. Depending on the coffee, this can be anywhere
from 12 to 36 hours. You'll definitely notice the aroma kicking in after
a few hours. There are several methods of cooling the coffee depending
on the amount of coffee. The objective is to avoid getting the coffee
moist. If you put it in the freezer for too long it will collect
moisture when you remove it which will generally stale out the coffee
pretty quickly. For the minute amount of coffee you're dealing with,
putting it in a colander and in front of a fan is usually enough. When
you get a larger roaster you may have to get more creative - you've no
doubt read about the people on the list that use a fine mist - the idea
there is to allow the heat of the coffee to convert the mist to vapor
before it gets the coffee wet. A real balancing act there. I just stick
my half pound in a colander and let a good fan and stirring do the job. 
Michael Rochman wrote:
<Snip>
I would avoid a thick buildup of oil on your roaster if possible.
There's a difference between the stain called "seasoning" and the gunky,
stale residue that could impart undesirable tastes to your coffee. I've
found that roasting to an aggressive full city, (still pretty dry) and
resting will usually do the job - after a day of resting I'll usually
see little droplets of oil on some of the beans. YMMV - that's the fun
of experimenting. Grab a five pounder from Tom and take lotsa notes -
that should last you a while with the FR.
<Snip>

12) From: Ken Mary
Mike,
I would not put the freshly roasted beans in the freezer for a few minutes,
since you may get condensation which, in humid weather, would wet the beans
and make a mess in the grinder.
I am not familiar with the Freshroast, and I do not roast until oil shows. I
would imagine that oils left on the glass would soon become rancid and
create off flavors in future roasts. However, if it works for you, then keep
doing it. Always remember that the bottom line is the flavor that you
prefer.
--
Ken Mary - Aromaroast - whirlyblade - French Press
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