HomeRoast Digest


Topic: French Roast Blend dissapointment (6 msgs / 226 lines)
1) From: Adam Jahiel
This is a multi-part message in MIME format.
OK, I begin with a disclaimer. I'm new to the home roasting business. 
I bought an Alp from Sweet Maria's and got a sample of different =
coffees. The best so far for my taste was the Colombian Organic =
Bucaramanga Bourbon, followed by the Mexican Chiapas. As I knew that Tom =
was relocating, I ordered up a 5 lb bag of French Roast Blend. I  =
imagined I would end up with a bunch of black, shiny beans that would =
get me by for a while, untill I could continue my experiments and =
education.  I roasted the  first batch at 15 (max on the Alp) . It was =
brown looking, not the oily black I hoped for. Then I cut down on the =
amount of green beans, hoping that it would get even darker. Still, no =
Dice. In the past, buying a French Roast was always the ticket to that =
rich, black, oily stuff. After reading that it was Tom's equivalent of =
Peet's I'm really confused. It is good, but not great! I wish I had some =
Colombian Organic Bucaramanga Bourbon left to return to for some =
perspective.
Any ideas?  Suggestions?  When does Tom start shipping again?  What =
could I add to make this a darker blend??
Talk about being in the Dark! That's me!  
Thanks,
A.
ADAM JAHIEL - PHOTOGRAPHER
90 North Piney Road
Story, Wyoming, 82842
t- 307.683.2862
www.adamjahiel.com
f-307.683.2730

2) From: jim gundlach
On Friday, August 30, 2002, at 09:48 PM, Adam Jahiel wrote:
<Snip>
I've been on this list for a couple of years now.  It seems that 
inconsistent performance by the various small electric home roasting 
machines is one of the most common themes.  Many people have to send 
machines back to get a replacement.  It seems clear that your Alp is not 
getting hot enough.  You should be able to get a good dark roast with 
the Alp.  Call the company.  I'm able to roast in a wok over a gas fire 
in the kitchen or outside over wood fires but not everyone has those 
options.  If you do, it is a good learning experience to be able to see, 
hear, and smell beans roast in a wok.
Jim Gundlach
roasting over pecan wood fires
in La Place, Alabama
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3) From: Michael Vanecek
Exactly how much are you putting in? I personally use 230 grams in both 
of my Alps - others use more or less. Depending on the coffee (always 
varietal for me - I haven't played with blends) it usually takes 
anywhere from 13:30 to 14:30 minutes to achieve first crack - then, 
according to the bean and my notes I'll lap my stopwatch and push the 
cooling button at a pre-calculated time after first crack. Each bean and 
each roaster is a bit different and takes some experimentation - so my 
times are useless to you. However, that should give you an idea of what 
to do, I hope. Do you use a digital scale to measure your coffee? Best 
$40 I spent - thanks Tom.
I don't use the presets. You're roasting the coffee, not the machine, 
and you know what the coffee is like and when it goes into first crack, 
not the machine. The computer is right there between yer ears. So, set 
it to 14 or 15 (you should never get there on anything but the darkest 
roast, unless the Alp is having problems), set your stopwatch - $25 from 
Ratshack - and wait for that first crack. Then start the countdown - 
observe your roast and time it - when it achieves your desired level of 
roast then that's pretty much how much time you'll use. Of course - 
there's smell and sound and the occasional peek...
Also, be aware that French Roast is a level of roast. A blend of beans 
can be assembled that do well at French Roast, but they can be roasted 
lighter, like Full City. Beans that do well at a darker roast are 
Zimbabwe, both Ugandan (budadiri and bugisu) and a host of others. I 
tend to roast lighter personally, but that's my preference. So, though 
the blend is called French Roast - that's just because they were 
intended to be roasted darker - French because the collection of beans 
do well at that range. Any bean can be taken to French - not all perform 
well at that level of roast tho.
Precision - and consistent precesion is key to successfully roasting. Of 
all the variables - quantity of beans being roasted is entirely in your 
control - so make sure every roast you do has as close to exactly the 
same quantity as you can manage. That will make the rest much easier. 
Virtually everything else is variable. Roast time depends on density of 
bean, elevation, characteristic of a particular roaster, power supply 
and ambient conditions like tempurature and humidity. It's a real art to 
get two roasts back to back to be exactly the same level - and a real 
sense of satisfaction when you become in tune with the bean and 
surroundings to do just that. Heh - be one with the bean dude. :)
Be well,
Mike
Adam Jahiel wrote:
<Snip>
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4) From: Les & Becky
Adam,
I don't have an Alps, but I have seen one in action.  I would guess that one
of you are not getting full heat.  The friend that showed me his Alps had
very dark shiny oily beans.  I don't know what his setting was.  It isn't
the beans, it is the machine!
By the way, I didn't roast for the camping trip this weekend.  I am taking
my antique popcorn roaster, and a nice load of dry madrone, and I am going
to roast over the fire!  The group has me inspired!  I am going to use my
hand grinder, and the antique stainless vacuum brewer to get it from bean to
brew!  I'll give you a report when I get back.  I'll be taking the Uganda
Bugesu, as it is my favorite coffee, (St. Helena is in a class by itself.)
and the one I have the most experience with.  I have also found that it
doesn't need a resting time to be good!
Les
Going to cool off at the Oregon Coast this weekend!
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5) From: Charlie Herlihy
Hi Adam, a dark french roast is by far the most simple, least
complicated roast to achieve. Roast untill second crack starts
to slow. That's it.You can work at getting there with grace and
pacience , but even without experiance and a profile in mind
they'll get dark and oily sooner or later. Some beans taste
great at that roast, some awfull.  Tom is an old pro at it and I
would expect that his blend has the right stuff in it. 
Personally I like high grown Mexican, Sulawesi, Java estate and
Harar for very dark roasts. If your Alp won't roast the beans
into second crack then it's defective or needs some kind of
maintanance. Every single coffee bean grown can be roasted to
that stage, even if it shouldn't be. There's nothing special
about any Columbian that makes it roast any darker than anything
else. Must be the Alp.   Trust me on this one :o)
Charlie
--- Adam Jahiel  wrote:
<Snip>
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6) From: coffenut
This is a multi-part message in MIME format.
Adam,
 
Some Alps have a problem achieving darker roasts because of the factory
heater calibration.  Yours could be one of the cooler calibrated ones
and may need to be readjusted by SwissMar.  Also on your Alp, make sure
the two flapper doors are closing all the way up against the edge of the
flange when you first start the roast.  If they are not closing
completely it will allow too much heat to be exhausted by the fan.
Ambient temperature can also play a part when you roast.  The older Alps
(before they added the temp compensation circuitry) can be stalled from
reaching proper roast when the ambient temp is below 60F.  I love to
roast on my deck, but have to move inside and hook up my Alpenblower
when outdoor temps are too cool.
 
My Alp is one of the hotter units and believe me it will go well beyond
French roast all the way to charcoal if I let it.  The Alp can do French
roast levels quite well.  By the way, I'm enjoying a cup of Sumatra Lake
Tawar roasted to that level as I write.
 
Coffenut  :^)


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