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Topic: First Crack (31 msgs / 757 lines)
1) From: Hoss
This is a multi-part message in MIME format.
Here is a dumb question I am sure, but I am going to ask it anyway.  =
Does "first crack" mean the very first crack you hear, or the "first =
cracking phase," which may last a minute or two?
Dan Nugent

2) From: =?iso-8859-1?q?Bob=20Cassinelli?=
I've always interpreted it 
as the phase... 
You wouldn't (at least I wouldn't) stop the roasting
after the first bean cracked; but none of the others. 
Generally, when you wanna refer to stopping the second
crack... I've heard it said "...stop the roast when
you're into the second crack (meaning the phase)". 
--- Hoss  skrev: > Here is a dumb
question I am sure, but I am going to
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3) From: coffenut
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Dan,
 
Depending upon how you like to observe/react to the roast, there can be
varying ways to look at first crack.  I like to count time from 1st
crack, so I follow what is known as the "10 second rule" that others
have discovered and use.  It works well to keep from being fooled by a
"stealth bean", or in the case of the Alpenrost, a bean that's stuck in
the drum and is cracking early.  When I hear the very first snap, I
count 10 seconds.  If the other beans do not follow within those 10
seconds, then it was likely an individual early snap.  If the other
beans begin to follow within those 10 seconds, then I consider first
crack to have started in earnest.
 
Coffenut  :^)

4) From: Ted Kostek
This is a multi-part message in MIME format.
To follow up on this question about first crack,  I'm not really ever able
to hear much of any cracking at all.  I've just started home roasting with
an air popper we had stuck in the back of a closet.  I haven't compared with
other poppers, but I'd say it's fairly loud.  Once in a while I hear an
individual loud crack, but not often.  I have observed that the beans starts
to jump around a whole lot about 5 min to the process, and I typically roast
something like 8 min or so (total time).  My beans come out looking like a
full city roast based on the images at sweetmarias, and they smell like
coffee.
The friend who turned me onto home roasting tasted a blend of mexican
chiapas and sumatra mandeling that I roasted, and he thought that it tasted
"underroasted".
Here's my question: how loud is the cracking?  As loud as popcorn?
I guess the only real test is whether or not I'm happy, but I want to base
my preferences on all the information about the best possible roast rather
than just settling for what I happen to get.
tmk
--
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5) From: Steve
"...I'm not really ever able to hear much of any cracking at all.  ..."
My experience is that you should be able to hear some cracks even over the
roar of the fan.
I have used a Poppery II popcorn popper. My first attempts were similar to
yours, I could roast forever and not hear much in the way of cracks. It
turned out there wasn't enough heat building up in the chamber.  For a test
I covered the chamber with a metal electrical box (high tech) and sure
enough I had second crack around 6 or 7 minutes. (The electrical box was
something I had on hand that fit and already had holes in it and I knew
wouldn't melt.)
My suggestion would be to get a thermometer. Depending on the
accuracy/quality of the thermometer it should reach around 450 to 500
degrees but not over 500. Once it is around 450 you should be hearing
cracks. Or better yet, avoid the frustration and start enjoying your home
roasts with one of the inexpensive roasters like the FR.
Another way to tell if you are reaching the end of the roast is when you
start getting a good deal of smoke. Second crack is always accompanied by
smoke when I roast. In fact, that plus the color of the beans is when I
determine the roast is done. The smoke will get very heavy, which may be too
far into the roast for some, and eventually will stop or diminish, which
means you've gone to far.
As far as what is first and second crack, first crack to me is the initial
process or phase. You will hear periodic cracks even up to second crack.
Second crack is definite, which I've always explained as the end of popping
popcorn when the kernels become violent.
steve
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6) From: Ed Needham
Different coffees have different crack characteristics, and different methods
of roasting cause different sounds at first crack and second.  Some coffees
crack loudly (St. Helena was about the loudest I've experienced lately).  I
hypothesize that it might have something to do with moisture content and bean
hardness.  I'm trying to remember, but I think I've noticed dry processed
coffees having a more pronounced crack.  I guess that'll have to be another
column in my roast notes from now on...crack intensity.
As to the loudness, it's not as loud as popcorn, but more like the sound you
would get if you dropped BB's onto glass.  The first rogue cracks seem to be
the loudest, with numerous smaller ones that follow.  Second crack is more
like Rice Krispies if you hold your ear to the bowl.  Usually faint,
sometimes imperceptible, but more rapid than first crack.
Ed Needham
ed
**********************************************

7) From: Aaron Gee
Well, this is the first time that I have ever roasted and I could not hear first crack.
   
  I roast on my deck and it started hailing just before first crack..... the hail was hitting the top of the BBQ and making a loud racket and instantly melting. I just kind of guessed when first crack finished turned down the grill and added a couple of more minutes to the roast because I figured the grill will getting cooler faster than normal due to all the hail landing on the BBQ.
   
  Just had to share...... aaron
   
---------------------------------
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8) From:
aaron,
how did the roast turn out?
ginny
---- Aaron Gee  wrote: 
<Snip>

9) From: Brian Kamnetz
Great story, Aaron. Of all the reasons that I had trouble when I started
roasting, none is nearly as interesting as hail clanging off the roof of the
grill! Sounds like you were probably getting pelted too....
Brian
On 5/2/07, Aaron Gee  wrote:
<Snip>

10) From: Aaron Gee
I was getting pelted but I was more concerned about the roast..... did not want to waste 3.5 pounds of beans.
   
  The roast did turn out well. Aaron
Brian Kamnetz  wrote:
  Great story, Aaron. Of all the reasons that I had trouble when I started roasting, none is nearly as interesting as hail clanging off the roof of the grill! Sounds like you were probably getting pelted too....
Brian 
  On 5/2/07, Aaron Gee  wrote:    Well, this is the first time that I have ever roasted and I could not hear first crack.
   
  I roast on my deck and it started hailing just before first crack..... the hail was hitting the top of the BBQ and making a loud racket and instantly melting. I just kind of guessed when first crack finished turned down the grill and added a couple of more minutes to the roast because I figured the grill will getting cooler faster than normal due to all the hail landing on the BBQ. 
   
  Just had to share...... aaron
   
---------------------------------
  Ahhh...imagining that irresistible "new car" smell?
Check out new cars at Yahoo! Autos.   
---------------------------------
Ahhh...imagining that irresistible "new car" smell?
 Check outnew cars at Yahoo! Autos.

11) From: Brian Kamnetz
Wow, that is BOLD, to roast 3.5 pounds the first time out of the chute!
Glad to hear it turned out. When I read that you took it through first and
then gave it a few more minutes, and considering it was in an RK drum, I was
assuming that it would be ok at worst.
Brian
On 5/2/07, Aaron Gee  wrote:
<Snip>

12) From: Bob
This is a multi-part message in MIME format.
Aaron,
I have many RK roasts under my belt and would strongly advise you to =
learn the ways of the drum with a much smaller load. One pound of beans =
in the RK drum, try different profiles, see how you can affect the roast =
with different ramps, time between cracks, finishing temps.
The smaller load will help you learn the temps necessary to do what you =
want to do. Then try two pounds, with your knowledge base already in =
place will have much more luck.
My experience larger loads in the RK drum=loss of control. That big =
mass of beans does not react to heat controls as a smaller amount will. =
I never roast more than 1100 grams(to yield 2#).
vegasbob

13) From: Floyd Lozano
Chalk it up to inexperience, Aaron, since it's your first roast and you
don't already know - it always hails at 1st crack.  You get better at
dodging it with practice.  And don't let the roast get away from you cause
you do NOT want to see what happens at the end of 2nd crack!!
-F
On 5/2/07, Aaron Gee  wrote:
<Snip>

14) From: Justin Marquez
It must have been a "hail" of a roast!
Safe Journeys and Sweet Music
Justin Marquez (CYPRESS, TX)
On 5/2/07, Aaron Gee  wrote:
<Snip>
--

15) From: Ed Needham
I think it's really all about getting used to the batch size you prefer to 
roast.  I typically roast 5 pound batches in my drum, and when I roast 
anything other than a 3 pound or 1 pound batch, I have to wing it, since I'm 
never quite sure where to go with it.  I can do 5 pound roasts in my sleep, 
especially if it's a bean I've roasted a lot of.
As to batch size affecting the ability to change temps quickly, I'd guess 
that has a lot to do with the heat capacity of the grill.  Mine is a 
CharBroil, and I'm pretty sure it's a 42,000BTU model.  If I need to raise 
the roaster temp 10 degrees, the high setting will change the temp fast 
enough to see the thermometer hand move.  Of course, if lowering the temp is 
desired, a quick opening of the lid will drop temps quickly.
For me, I think quick changes of temperature during a roast negatively 
affects roast quality, so I prefer to make small adjustments as the roast 
progresses.
I generally add the beans with the burners on high, and keep it there until 
I see the temps begin to rise again.  Then I set the heat back so that the 
roaster temps are climbing about 20F ahead of the bean temps.  As the roast 
progresses, I find myself having to reduce the heat to keep the same pace. 
My goal is to hit my full roaster temperature as the beans hit first crack. 
It gets a bit squirrelly at that point with the bean mass being almost at 
full temperature and all the moisture in the roaster from the first crack 
steam release.  I try to stay the course through the end of the roast, which 
is about 15 seconds into second, most of the time.  I shoot for an 18-20 
minute roast with a five pound batch.
I purposely left out exact temperatures, because they are likely irrelevant 
from roaster to roaster due to measuring differences.  For the record, with 
my setup, the end roaster temp is usually 470F.  Measured bean temp at 
second crack is around 445F.
*********************
Ed Needham®
"to absurdity and beyond!"http://www.homeroaster.com(include [FRIEND] in subject line to get through my SPAM filters)
*********************

16) From: Aaron Gee
How do you measure bean tem?  With the drum turning how can you get a probe into the bean mass??
Ed Needham  wrote:  I think it's really all about getting used to the batch size you prefer to 
roast. I typically roast 5 pound batches in my drum, and when I roast 
anything other than a 3 pound or 1 pound batch, I have to wing it, since I'm 
never quite sure where to go with it. I can do 5 pound roasts in my sleep, 
especially if it's a bean I've roasted a lot of.
As to batch size affecting the ability to change temps quickly, I'd guess 
that has a lot to do with the heat capacity of the grill. Mine is a 
CharBroil, and I'm pretty sure it's a 42,000BTU model. If I need to raise 
the roaster temp 10 degrees, the high setting will change the temp fast 
enough to see the thermometer hand move. Of course, if lowering the temp is 
desired, a quick opening of the lid will drop temps quickly.
For me, I think quick changes of temperature during a roast negatively 
affects roast quality, so I prefer to make small adjustments as the roast 
progresses.
I generally add the beans with the burners on high, and keep it there until 
I see the temps begin to rise again. Then I set the heat back so that the 
roaster temps are climbing about 20F ahead of the bean temps. As the roast 
progresses, I find myself having to reduce the heat to keep the same pace. 
My goal is to hit my full roaster temperature as the beans hit first crack. 
It gets a bit squirrelly at that point with the bean mass being almost at 
full temperature and all the moisture in the roaster from the first crack 
steam release. I try to stay the course through the end of the roast, which 
is about 15 seconds into second, most of the time. I shoot for an 18-20 
minute roast with a five pound batch.
I purposely left out exact temperatures, because they are likely irrelevant 
from roaster to roaster due to measuring differences. For the record, with 
my setup, the end roaster temp is usually 470F. Measured bean temp at 
second crack is around 445F.
*********************
Ed Needham®
"to absurdity and beyond!"http://www.homeroaster.com(include [FRIEND] in subject line to get through my SPAM filters)
*********************

17) From: Ed Needham
The drums I build have an opening on one end which allows me to stick a 12" 
dial thermometer into the bean mass as the drum turns.
See 6th and 7th pictures down for thermometer and drum configuration.  The 
drum pic has a canning funnel inserted into the hole for filling...http://www.homeroaster.com/5pound2.html*********************
Ed Needham®
"to absurdity and beyond!"http://www.homeroaster.com(include [FRIEND] in subject line to get through my SPAM filters)
*********************

18) From: Aaron Gee
Ed, thanks for the pictures. Just have one question. You have chaff collectors attached to the back of your BBQ so does this mean you have an internal blower to move the chaff and smoke through your chaff collectors and up the exhaust tube?
   
Ed Needham  wrote:
  The drums I build have an opening on one end which allows me to stick a 12" 
dial thermometer into the bean mass as the drum turns.
See 6th and 7th pictures down for thermometer and drum configuration. The 
drum pic has a canning funnel inserted into the hole for filling...http://www.homeroaster.com/5pound2.html*********************
Ed Needham®
"to absurdity and beyond!"http://www.homeroaster.com(include [FRIEND] in subject line to get through my SPAM filters)
*********************

19) From: Ed Needham
No internal motor, but the flue draft and the natural flow of the chaff 
directs quite a bit of it to the collectors.  Before I added them, I noticed 
a lot of chaff coming out of the back.  There's about a 2" space there for 
air flow when the cover is closed, so I put two and two together and built 
the flue and chaff box.  90% of the smoke goes up the flue until I lift the 
lid to dump the coffee, and probably 50% of the chaff goes into the 
collectors.
If you notice on the thermometer pic, there's a place on the bottom of the 
side of the grill body where I began drilling a 3" hole to add a Poppery and 
duct as a blower into the grill.  I did that 'before' even trying the flue 
box out. I stopped just before it broke through the metal, and now I'm glad 
I stopped.  For one, blowing in would have made smoke pour out all over, and 
#2, it's really not necessary.  If I do add one, maybe to suck more smoke 
out at the very end of the roast, and when the lid is open, I'll add it on 
the heat side and suck it out rather than blow in.  That would take a heat 
tolerant blower, and I have not found one reasonably priced to do the job.
*********************
Ed Needham®
"to absurdity and beyond!"http://www.homeroaster.com(include [FRIEND] in subject line to get through my SPAM filters)
*********************

20) From: Eugene Johnson
Please excuse a question from a newbie.
I just did my first batch and I did it on a Poppery II popcorn popper, 
so I will phrase my question in popcorn terms.
When you make popcorn, there is a first kernel to pop, then a few more, 
then all heck breaks loose, and then the process reverses itself, 
returning to, finally, a single last popping kernel. With popcorn it is 
all over at this stage, as the corn has left the popper, so leaving the 
popper on accomplishes nothing.
In doing coffee, is the FIRST CRACK the "first bean to pop"?
Or is it the whole  "all heck breaks loose stage" ?
Really a beginners question, I know, but thanks for your help.
Eugene
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21) From: Eugene Johnson
Thanks  Bill and Brian for the help for the wanderer....:-)
Eugene
Bill wrote:
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22) From: Bill
Seems like the consensus around here is that the first few are "outliers"...
wait until you get several cracks at one time, then call it "first crack."
 All heck will break loose, then first crack will subside.  Depending on the
heat application, first crack can take a short period of time, like 15
seconds to 2 minutes.   lots of variation.
welcome to the list.  and happy roasting!  Tell us, what have you been
roasting, and what have you been enjoying?
bill in wyo
On Fri, May 16, 2008 at 7:44 PM, Eugene Johnson 
wrote:
<Snip>
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23) From: Brian Kamnetz
On Mon, May 19, 2008 at 12:50 PM, Bill  wrote:
<Snip>
That is the usual progression, but in rare instances first crack will
consist of just a few cracks, or even none at all; in very rare
instances, the first cracks you hear are the "Rice Krispies in milk"
snaps of second cracks.
Brian
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24) From: Bill
Yep, definitely been there, Brian!!  Never fails to worry and confuse me as
the temp climbs with no first crack!!  Thanks for the clarification!bill in
wyo
On Mon, May 19, 2008 at 11:40 AM, Brian Kamnetz  wrote:
<Snip>
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25) From: Allon Stern
On May 18, 2008, at 1:41 PM, Eugene Johnson wrote:
<Snip>
<Snip>
Just to clarify what seems like a little confusion in the original  
post, which was missed in the follow-ups...
As coffee roasts, it goes through a number of stages; two of these  
stages are called "first crack" and the second is called "second  
crack". In each of these stages, the coffee beans make crackling  
noises, hence the names.
Depending on various factors, such as the type of coffee, or method  
of roasting, you may not hear the cracks, or you may hear 1st crack,  
and have it run right into 2nd crack, with no distinctive lull  
between them, so don't be fooled! Use your sense of smell and sight  
(watch for smoke, and if you can, look at the surface texture of the  
beans). If 1st runs into 2nd, you may already be through 2nd crack,  
not having heard it, and continue along into 3rd crack.
(3rd crack is a rapid crackling sound made by the roaster as the  
flames lick up the side)
-
allon
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26) From: Dave Huddle
I recently re-discovered FIRST CRACK in my Behmor roaster.    I began home
roasting (popcorn popper) shortly after Tom opened his shop in Columbus -
way back in the 20th century.
In the last several years I sort of noticed that some beans really didn't
have much sound of first crack, and sometimes I didn't hear the beginning
of 2nd crack at all.
Then I was fitted with hearing aids because of my high frequency hearing
lost and - WOW! - I hear 1st crack again and 2nd crack too.   What a
difference!
So my home roasts are turning out better since I can hear the crack sounds
over the hum of my exhaust hood and the drone of the Behmor and I'm able to
stop the roast before I have a charbucks mess.
Dave
Westerville, OH
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27) From: Nancy Crabtree
Wow!  I know that must be amazing for you Dave!  Enjoy your coffee!!!!  One of my tubes in Behmor broke and dear wonderful Bob is sending me new ones.......can't wait.   Hope I have enough coffee roasted to last!!!!   Thanks for sharing your story I just love it!
Nancy
 
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28) From: Jason Brooks
Great to hear, Dave!  Enjoy the sensory depth again of the entire process -
bean to brew!  I'll raise my afternoon cup in your honor!
Jason Brooks
brookswvhttp://javajeb.wordpress.comOn Mon, Jul 29, 2013 at 11:18 AM, Nancy Crabtree <
quiltingchicken> wrote:
<Snip>
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29) From: Brian Kamnetz
Dave,
I too got hearing aids, about a year ago (from Costco). I can usually hear
first crack without the aids, and I don't go much beyond first crack, so I
have been roasting without the aids to keep them out of the smoke. Probably
doesn't matter, but that's what I do. I don't think I could hear second
crack because there are too many similar and competing sounds and second
crack probably blends in.
The most amazing thing for me after getting hearing aids was how much
softer I can play the radio, and how much I can understand of what the
people on the radio are saying. Same with music (though I also got a
31-band equalizer and headphones, and the sound of music through headphones
is much more musical). But at first it was really strange to hear all the
high tones, tympani, etc in the music.
Brian
On Mon, Jul 29, 2013 at 9:51 AM, Dave Huddle <
137trimethyl26dioxopurine> wrote:
<Snip>
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30) From: Barry Luterman
As both a home roaster and Audiologist I am so pleased to read this thread.
On Mon, Jul 29, 2013 at 10:03 AM, Brian Kamnetz  wrote:
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31) From: bobglass
Dear group,
Nothing would please my wife more than for me to get something to 
improve my hearing, so if roasting better coffee is what it takes, then 
I'm in. Thanks for the post!!
Bob Glasscock
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