HomeRoast Digest

Topic: WSJ Article (11 msgs / 291 lines)
1) From: David Westebbe
Generally a good article, but did Ken David really say this?
In coffee, "there are two kinds of off tastes," says Kenneth David, a coffee
taster and industry consultant. One is a "compost" taste, and the other is
"old shoes in the back of the closet," he says.
He goes on to say:
"Vietnamese robusta combines both."
I think that he must have been misquoted somehow.
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2) From: Wendy Sarrett
I agree...it was a good article although depressing that good beans are
going to get harder to find and more expensive not to mention the
circumstances that are causing the situation.
Oh, let me introduce myself since this is my second post and I didn't do
it last time.  
I just started roasting last week for the first time.  I didn't even
know it was a practical thing to do until a few weeks ago after perusing
coffee sites and running into coffeegeek and sweet marias.  Right now
it's definitely the learning stage.  I'm using a WB poppery II for my
roaster, unmodified (although I'm considering adding a thermometer...has
this been a useful mod for others on the list?)
In addition to my new interest in coffee, my major free time activity is
taking care of and playing with my pets, a 2+ year old greyhound I
adopted in May (she doesn't like the smell of coffee as when she got
close enough to smell my new roast she backed away :-) ) and my two
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3) From: David Westebbe
I don't think that the Robusta situation will impact specialty coffees.  We
are a small niche market.
 Right now
I'm using a 2 1/2 inch dial thermometer from my BBQ pit currently, and I
like it.  I drilled a hole straight through he side of the popper and
mounted it semi-permanently.
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4) From: AlChemist John
Sometime around 11:25 11/19/02, David Westebbe typed:
Why is that?  Too harsh or not harsh enough?
John Nanci 
AlChemist at large
Roasting and Blending by Gestalt
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5) From: R.N.Kyle
Hey Wendy, welcome to the wonderful world of home roasting.  
WBII, I really like to roast with mine, I use the small 550 degree =
thermometer that SM sells. I drilled a whole, just big enough for the =
probe to slide through, at about a 45 degree angle, The hole is through =
the side and comes out just above the metal roasting chamber. It works =
nicely and gives you a reference point to repeat roast.
I have modified mine with a 3 way switch to extend the roast by cutting =
the main heater off and on. good luck
Ron Kyle
Anderson SC

6) From: floyd burton
David-I used to think the two markets-arabica and robusta should not be
connected at all till I saw a long term pricing trend on both and they
unfortunately are connected.  Probably has much less if any effect on the
likes of Kona and other established "brands", but it is still there.  We
have the IMF to thank for the current mess in Vietnam.

7) From: Barkan, Jason
Haven't read the article yet but I plan to.  After reading Uncommon Grounds
I became aware of how labor intensive it is to grow coffee, and it kind of
gives you moral qualms about being such a huge consumer.  I think that if I
knew of plantations based on more equitable labor practices I would buy from
there.  It is a fascinating history, apparently Coffee was one of the worlds
first global commodities.  That aside ....
This is my first post.  I have been roasting coffee for about a year,
consuming mass quantities for about 20 years.  If I die unrecognized at
least that's one thing I have in common with greatness (Balzac -- apparently
coffee was the cause of his death, via stomach complications, but he was
counting in pots per day, not cups.)
Wendy, I have also been using a West Bend Poppery II with pretty great
results.  Prior to that I was using variously a pan or oven, so perhaps the
comparison is unfair.  I think I got the first inspiration to roast from the
aforementioned book, then found a roaster that won a roasting award from the
Specialty Coffee Association of America (SCAA) and figured they must have
decent green beans to start with, asked if they would sell me the beans
which they agreed to do half price.  Eventually found Sweet Marias and get
my beans and supplies from there now.  The WB Poppery has been really great
in terms of the quality I can get from small batches in a short time.  If I
could find a method that improved certain areas I would switch to that:   1)
some small bits of the chaff are not completely removed, wonder how much
this degrades taste .? 2) too noisy and messy using a strainer to catch the
chaff (there must be a better way).  Maybe it's time to graduate to a
machine built for the purpose -- any recommendations?
I have also started brewing with a Yuma vacuum and I must say it produces a
perfect cup of coffee.  Otherwise I use a cone and administer water slowly.
I recently found the most fantastic cup of coffee produced by Zimbabwe
Salimba beans purchased from Sweet Marias.  It was a completely 'full' cup,
great, peanut-butter body like some Columbians I've had -- that part alone
was a statisfying cup, but with an exquisite berry-like aftertaste that I
usually associate with Mandheling or Papua New Guinea.  Sort of the best of
both worlds.  Definitely the best I've had yet.  I don't know if it was the
particular roast or batch of beans but needless to say I'm going to try to
reproduce it.  Unfortunately Marias wasn't selling them anymore last time I
To support my coffee habit I work as a programmer for a finance company.
Otherwise I can be found variously pretending to be a rock star (piano),
playing chess, reading (mostly history) and getting blasted on fine wine
and/or scotch as often as possible.  Ok, beer will also do.  But after
trying German Heffeweisen (in Germany, not the stuff you get over here) it's
almost not worth it.  Well, I guess that's for a different mailing list...
sorry for the long post.

8) From: David Westebbe
how did the IMF cause the current mess in Vietnam?
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9) From: David Westebbe
Then buy from La Minita in Costa Rica.
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10) From: floyd burton

11) From: Wendy Sarrett
Thanks Ron!
Yes, from what I read repeatability is the main benefit of adding the
thermometer...it really doesn't give you "bean temperature" (although I
suspect it gives one an idea.)

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