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Topic: need roasting tips -guidance for decaff beans (6 msgs / 208 lines)
1) From: Acorn54
just ordered from tom 5lbs of columbian decaff beans. anybody have experience 
roasting decaff beans. can i use the first crack as my guide as to when the 
beans are done. what should i look for in these beans? i'm curious as to how 
they will taste as i am trying to cut down on my caffiene intake but stll get 
good coffee.-guy from long island
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2) From: Bart Frazee
On Thu, 27 Jun 2002 01:47:59 EDT, you wrote:
stll get 
I've been roasting CR decaf in a popprey. I dump at the start of 2nd
crack even if 1st crack isn't finished. Makes nice low-caf in the
morning and decaf in the afternoon or evening.
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3) From: Tom & Maria
My advice is to try to go by sound since the initial dark color of 
"green" decaf coffee will throw your perceptions off. If you have 
never done decaf, you might want to sacrifice one roast to going all 
the way to French -well into 2nd crack. This allows you to observe 
the who process of first crack (popping really) a momentary silence 
of reduction in the audible cracks, then the start of second ( a 
shallower "snapping" sound) and the associated pungent roast smells 
that emerge as 2nd crack progresses. You wont see any chaff from 
decaf coffee too. It definitely does behave differently from 
non-decaf in an air roaster. Part of that is simply due to the way it 
moves more freely with reduced surface tension from lack of chaff 
(silverskin) on the outside of the seed! -Tom
                   "Great coffee comes from tiny roasters"
            Sweet Maria's Home Coffee Roasting  -  Tom & Maria
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4) From: John - In Deep Southern Texas
    I have been pretty successful listening to my FR's  with decaf beans.
The whole color thing is so out of it that you can't really use color at
all - unless you roast a lot and develop a sight picture of a good decaf
roast.  I use the clock as a backup to what I'm hearing and smelling.
Decafs seem to smell more distinctly through each step than most of my
beans.  The sound of a rolling second crack are pretty distinct and I cut
them off about 5 seconds into RSC.

5) From: JB Christy
guy from long island:
I've found decaf challenging to roast, even knowing in advance that it was going
to be challenging to roast.  Tom says to listen to the sounds, and he's the
master, so definitely listen to him.  But personally, I find the sounds
misleading.  I've tried roasting Kenya, Ethiopian Ghimbi and Komodo blend
decafs, and in all cases the roast ended up dark and oily before I thought first
crack had even ended, let alone waited for second crack to begin.
Everything I've read says decaf roasts faster, and my end results are all
consistent with that.  All my decafs end up dark and oily after 5 minutes of
roasting, whereas 5 minutes for a non-decaf is usually City, sometimes not even
that.  However, in my experience the *sounds* of decaf do *not* happen any
faster:  both decaf and non-decaf usually start first crack between 3:50 and
4:30, and end first crack between 5:00 and 5:30.  So, IME, the sounds mislead
me. [FYI, I'm using an HWP with a Variac at 120V.]
I've surrendered and now roast decafs by time alone.  I stop the roast between
4:30 and 5:15 depending on how dark I want it, and I just wince at the fact that
first crack sounds like it's still happening.  The coffee's great, tho'.  Home
roasted decaf (once you figure out the timing) will beat any commercially
available regular coffee hands down.
I'd say follow Tom's advice first: roast a throw-away batch all the way through
second crack.  Compare your timings of start and stop of first and second crack
for decafs with those for regular.  If they're different, the decaf should be
faster, in which case you're golden: go by sound.  If they're the same, like
they are for me, then be prepared to stop your decaf roasts well before the
sounds would indicate.
BTW, I like to say that decaf "lives fast and dies young".  Everything about it
is faster:  it roasts faster, it doesn't need nearly as long to rest (I've had
some just 2 hours out of the roaster), and it goes stale *much* faster than
regular.  [IMO this is why commercially available decafs are so wretched.]  So
you can roast some up in the afternoon to have after dinner that night.  But
plan on throwing it out after more than a few days.
Good luck, and Happy Roasting!
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6) From: R.N.Kyle
I have only roasted Colombian Decaf (C02) processed one time. I roasted in a
Fresh Roast + Just into 2nd crack. and it was a decent cup with a light
body. I prefer Sumatra decaf(natural processed) I roast this 2 ways the one
I like is 20 to 30 seconds into 2nd crack.  My wife likes the brighter
taste, so I roast it just to completion of first crack  This produces  a
City roast and the latter is full city leaning towards Vienna. You will get
plenty of suggestions from the people on the list, but you will have to
decide which suites your taste. Good luck.
Ron Kyle
Roasting in South Carolina

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