HomeRoast Digest

Topic: the Cathy and Deward show (6 msgs / 237 lines)
1) From: Kai-La-Sha
Subject: +The Cathy and Deward show, continued (it's all in fun,
 at least on this end )
Reply-To: homeroast
But I have no way of knowing *your* results . . .
You don't have to.  The only important thing about coffee is that I like
it and so do the people I serve it to.  We are not building a moonrocket
And no way of duplicating your "process".
I can duplicate it.  And if you had a wok and a stove, a stainless
steel, long handled spoon, and a pound of greens, You could certainly
duplicate any process and endpoint you decided you liked best.
But you can't even tell me the endpoint . . . except perhaps for some
imprecise "color" description, where I can at least tell you at what 
temperature a particular roast was stopped.
And I would be no closer to what I like about coffee knowing where you
stopped your roast , now would I?  I know I stop my Mokha when the
little beans are shiny and quite dark - almost oily, in the midst of a
sprightly second crack, and they smell perfumy.  The Ugandan I stop when
the beans look like satin, dark burnt sienna/umber, and smell chocolaty,
after just a few seconds of second crack.  I could take their
temperature, but that would be a bit too clinical.
all my 
reports.  They have no idea "what happened".  They just taste the
And I could just as easily fry up some beans until they smoke, and then
the "result" with a carefully controlled roast in a Rosto, and get just
opposite "evaluators' reports".  What would that prove?  More to the
point, I 
can give my "numbers" to anyone with a similarly instrumented Rosto and
can reasonably closely reproduce my process and my results wherever they
are . 
The question is, why would anyone want to duplicate your results?  This
is cooking not a scientific experiment.
.. . how is anyone to know if they have duplicated *your* "process" in
kitchen ? ? ?  How can you even compare one roast (of yours) to the
next, when 
you have no way to demonstrate, let alone to insure, that there is any 
consistency in the "process" from one roast to the next (it all sounds
Why would anyone want to duplicate my process?  I would hope they would
discover their own process using the materials they have at hand. 
Consistency of my roasts is a different matter. There is a thing called
judgment involved.  Sight, smell, hearing, - once these were considered
quite reliable instruments - for the last 20 millennia or so.
or inclination, is to have someone else do it for them.  Or, for those
who enjoy spending money on multiple generations of gadgets, a steady
stream of expensive toys.
That's a rather callous dismissal of a whole lot of people who just want
roast coffee for their "gadgets" (like grinders, and espresso machines,
other "expensive toys") without smoking up the kitchen.  Is it safe to
that you don't wear cloths made from machine woven cloth, and have a
disdain for those of us who do ? ? ? 
No disdain.  No callous dismissal.  I was not the one moaning about
burnt out circuit boards, choked chaff collectors, and melted plastic
components.  I will never have to buy another roaster following the
untimely demise of my wok!  I am only acknowledging reality and
recommending simplicity.  This is a hobby.  Those "Tool Time" types
should enjoy their opportunity to indulge their love of tinkering.  The
scientists should make their measurements, keep their data sheets, plot
their graphs, and publish their results... whatever gives them the
maximum enjoyment to accompany their coffee.  And the simple cooks
should just simply roast their coffee and enjoy drinking it.  I found
the best way for me (and the cheapest) was a wok.  And there is no smoke
in the kitchen.  I installed a very good exhaust hood over my range
years ago.
Ahh.....  This Mokha Ismaili x Ugandan Budadari blend I'm drinking now
is delicious!
Cheers, Cathy
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2) From: Andrew J. Lynn
Nazis roasted coffee.
There.  Now, according to Godwin's law, the flame war is over, and I 
lose.  (It's true, you can look it up.)  Now, no more flaming, it's 
Andy Lynn
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3) From: dewardh
Indeed, why?
my range
years ago.
Just another girl with her expensive toys, eh?
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4) From: David Westebbe
Personally, I think that everybody who has chimed in on this has made some
excellent points.
I think it is obvious that both perspectives have merit, but for different
reasons.  Different people value different things.
My perspective is that hand-crafting will yield the best possible results,
so long as the right hands are doing the crafting.  Without certain skills,
and/or without certain inclinations, machine-made stuff can be almost as
good, and in some senses, better than hand crafted.
Look at textiles as an example - both machine-made broadloom carpets and
hand made wool rugs are Good Things.  Is one better than the other?  It
depends on what you value.
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5) From: dewardh
so long as the right hands are doing the crafting.
What about the right tools ? ? ?
I can't plane a board with my fingernails . . . is it less "hand-crafting" if I 
use a jointer to true up an edge instead of a hand plane?  Is it not "really" 
cooking if you use an oven thermometer, or worse still an oven with a 
thermostat?  Do you want your house built without a square or a level ? ? ? A 
skilled carpenter or cabinet maker can come pretty close just "by eye", you 
know.  Are we to forgo using available tools because they're "not natural" ? ? 
How does it *improve* a roast to not know the temperature of the beans, or at 
what temperatures and at what rates the various bean chemistries occur ? ? ? 
 You noted elsewhere that one can't always depend on bean color to determine 
state of roast, we know that second crack is faint or absent in some beans, and 
not desired in some roasts at all, and that some smells may not be entirely 
obvious under a "very good" range hood, or mixed with the smell of wood smoke . 
.. . but . . . a good thermometer spoils the brew ? ? ?  A small fan and a 
heating element in a countertop air roaster "depersonalizes" the roast 
experience but a Wolf range and Viking hood do not ? ? ?
It's all so . . . peculiar . . .
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6) From: David Westebbe
This is begging the question, because what we are discussing is the
definition of "right".  IMO, the right tool is the one which yields the best
Jeez, I dunno.  I have no real authoritative definition of that term.
I'd say that "really" would apply if one uses a thermostat.  However, if one
were to rely on the thermostat to the exclusion of their skill and their
senses, the chances of getting an optimal result is often reduced.  My
Mother-in-Law, a lousy cook, still talks about the year that the turkey
ended up burned t a crisp because her oven thermostat didn't work right, and
the oven went up to 500 degrees and stayed there.  My guess is that she used
only the thermostat and a clock, because she didn't trust her skill.
Personally, I can't imagine that such a thing would happen to me, because
I'd notice that the temp wasn't right and the turkey wasn't cooking right.
I also think that I'd be able to make a great turkey in that oven, because
I'd turn it on and off manually to keep the temp in range.
It is a poor carpenter who blames his tools.
Do you want your house built without a square or
That makes no sense to me.  But keep in mind that the ancient Egyptians
built huge structures, to very tight tolerances, using only simple tools,
while certain modern carpenters build shoddy pieces of crap using laser
levels and nailguns.
It is rarely the tools which determine the quality of the output.
I have no answer to that.
I never said a good thermometer spoils the brew.  Maybe you misunderstood
C'mon.  Don't put words in my mouth. I never said anything like that.  This
could be an interesting discussion on differences in style and perspective,
or it could be a nasty pissing contest.  I'd prefer the former.
I said it in another post:  I like to use whatever technology which yields
the best results.
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