HomeRoast Digest


Topic: Wok roasting (28 msgs / 699 lines)
1) From: tadpreston
With the recent "lively" discussion about the preferred methods 
for roasting and other "art" forms, I found that I am interested 
in trying the wok method for roasting. I have the equipment but I 
am not sure how to do it. I saw the instructions for pan roasting 
on the SM site, but how different is a wok?
Could some of you wok roasters tell me how you do it?
Thanks a bunch!
Tad
Sent via the EV1 webmail system at mail.ev1.net
homeroast mailing listhttp://lists.sweetmarias.com/mailman/listinfo/homeroast

2) From: jim gundlach
You can find the fun version of how I did it on a wood burning stove at:
  http://www.ineedcoffee.com/00/03/wok/Some of the basic are there,  the stirring directions need to be 
updated.  When I want to add heat quickly, I lift the beans and gently 
place them to the receiving side so the hot beans are kind of in the 
middle of the stack. When I want the roast to go at a slower rate, I 
stir faster and toss the beans through the air so they spread over the 
top of the receiving side of the wok.  In general I find that stirring 
patterns can adjust the heating rate in addition to adjusting the size 
of the flame of the burner.  Try to concentrate on the slight changes 
in smells as it goes through the end of the first crack and on through 
the second crack.  Remember that you can remove some of the beans at 
any cooking stage so you can risk over roasting to the point of ruining 
it if you only have a little left in the wok at the end.
Good luck.
Jim Gundlach
On Thursday, December 26, 2002, at 08:34 PM, tadpreston wrote:
<Snip>
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3) From: Cathy Marley
<Snip>
My experience is that you have to use the highest heat you can muster
under the wok. You should be able to bring the beans to second crack
within 20 minutes or else the beans will taste "baked". On low heat a
gas burner engineered for household use just does not put out sufficient
BTU's. Turn up the heat and have another go!
Cathy

4) From: Pecan Jim Gundlach
On Jan 1, 2004, at 12:16 AM, Ed Needham wrote:
<Snip>
Two important things to remember with wok roasting:
      1) The wok must be fairly heavy.  The thin cheap woks that are so 
widely available produce very hot spots where the flames contact the 
metal.  This will scorch the beans.
      2) Stirring must be constant.  You cannot leave the roasting beans 
to answer the phone or door.
Jim Gundlach

5) From: Angelo
  The idea of cooking with a wok, as I understand it, is to cut the food 
into bite sized pieces, which are stir-fried in very hot oil....The wok 
stoves in Chinese restaurants concentrate the flame directly in the center 
of a round-bottomed wok. The sides are usually used to pull up the foods to 
cool down , or cook more slowly, as the heat dissipates more quickly from 
the sides.
In other words, the wok does not seemed to be designed to have the heat 
evenly distributed. Perhaps, a cast iron wok which would tend to hold the 
heat and distribute it more evenly, would be better for roasting coffee. On 
the other hand, there might be a lag in the heat control... These cast iron 
woks can be found in Japanese groceries...
Angelo
<Snip>

6) From: Gene Smith
Angelo writes (in part):
<Snip>
Angelo is quite right, and at least one cooking authority (editor of Cook's
Illustrated magazine) insists that, unless you have the heating capacity of
a Chinese restaurant stove, you are much better off with a cast iron frying
pan for stir frying.
So, why the wok, wok woasters?  Does the shape make it easier to keep the
beans moving that a flat frying pan?
Gene Smith
riding the wild learning curve in Houston

7) From: Pecan Jim Gundlach
On Jan 2, 2004, at 2:57 PM, Gene Smith wrote:
<Snip>
The completely round bottom allows for better stirring.  I find that 
any pan with corners or nooks will catcch some of the beans and lead to 
uneven roasting.
Jim Gundlach

8) From: Oaxaca Charlie
--- Pecan Jim Gundlach  wrote:
<Snip>
 I roasted in a cast iron pan for years. Thing is, you have to
tilt it while stirring the beans to get the same mixing effect
as a wok. You need very good oven mitts, and can't roast very
much at one time without splilling beans. 
  Charlie
=====
Brick Oven Roasting in British Columbia
Do you Yahoo!?
Find out what made the Top Yahoo! Searches of 2003http://search.yahoo.com/top2003

9) From: Angelo
Ut,oh! I think they'd better get this magazine into the hands of millions 
of Chinese grandmothers before they ruin their next dinner.......Ignorance 
is bliss, eh?
Angelo
<Snip>

10) From: Gene Smith
<Snip>
Ut,oh! I think they'd better get this magazine into the hands of millions
of Chinese grandmothers before they ruin their next dinner.......Ignorance
is bliss, eh?
Angelo
Yeah, that was my initial reaction, too, Angelo.  But, humor aside, they
have a point.  To actually 'stir fry' you need to be able to cook the
ingredients very quickly at a high heat.  In most home wok situations what
you have is a funny shaped pan, not cooking significantly differently than
any other pan - except for the convenient shape, which is apparently the
thing that endears the pan to coffee roasters, too.
I think the game changes with a cast iron wok, because the suggested cooking
method from Cook's Illustrated is to get that cast iron frypan smokin'
before you throw in the ingredients...the mass of the iron gives you a sort
of 'thermal flywheel' effect - unlike the spun-steel woks whose temperature
plummets when more than a tiny amount of food is tossed in.  I suspect you
can get the same effect - and the convenient shape - from an iron wok.
Gene Smith
riding the wild learning curve in Houston

11) From: John Blumel
On Jan 3, 2004, at 5:20pm, Gene Smith wrote:
<Snip>
Of course, anytime you get your oil 'smokin', the smoke is highly 
carcenogenic and the oil itself becomes toxic. Get it hot but use an 
oil with a high smoke point, like avacado oil (the highest that I know 
of) or grapeseed oil, and don't let the oil smoke. It's best to add the 
oil just before the food goes into the wok so that the oil never has a 
chance to reach it's smoke point. With a seasoned cast iron wok/pan, it 
may not be possible to avoid the smoke.
John Blumel

12) From: Bob Rendrick

About to try my first roast.  Using a wok on a conventional gas range, how do I determine when to add the beans?  ...no way to know the temperature.  Advice would be appreciated. ....Bob 


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13) From: Pecan Jim Gundlach
Bob,
     I put the beans in right after putting the wok on the fire.
        Jim Gundlach
On Jan 15, 2004, at 12:22 PM, Bob Rendrick wrote:
<Snip>
range, 
<Snip>
<Snip>
<Snip>
<Snip>

14) From: Steven Dover
Ease up on yourself Jim. I have always enjoyed your posts and you have given
us yet *another* way to roast coffee. That's just gotta be positive. You
never said it would be easy or that we wouldn't need to work on the
technique. I'd probably burn the beans just like Jerry but I *am* better off
for knowing it can be done and having the input of one who has been
successful roasting with a wok. - Steve D.
<Snip>

15) From: Pecan Jim Gundlach
I'm swamped right now, got back late went out in the dark to feed the 
horse - the moon is in full eclipse.  Saw all the wok roasting posts, I 
haven't had time to read all of them.   I have been an advocate of wok 
roasting, especially to learn about what happens during roasting.  One 
of the classes I occasionally teach is research using secondary data 
sources.  These data are machine readable files created by someone 
else.  I teach my students to wallow in their data and get to know them 
well before using them.  I think you could call wok roasting wallowing 
in the roasting.   You get to see, hear, and smell more of what goes on 
by wok roasting than any other way I have tried.  Why did I try wok 
roasting?  Soon after I joined this list Tom noted in a posting that he 
learned more about roasting by wok roasting than any other way!  I 
earned the Ig Nobel, but Tom was the first to advocate the wok, I've 
just been persistent.  Welcome aboard Mike.
     Jim Gundlach

16) From: Gary Townsend
I wished that I could have seen the eclipse, but, we had a
thunderstorm, tonight, and too much cloud cover in this part of
Kansas. I gotta try to roast over an outdoor fire, now that i have
one! I even found an old popcorn popper that was given to me 15 years
ago, while I was packing up boxes for the move to my new house. I like
the appeal of not using electricity, and I might even try cowboy
coffee when i brew up some of it! Even dig out my old and trusty perc
pot, as well. Gotta be prepared for anything!
On Wed, 27 Oct 2004 22:38:24 -0500, Pecan Jim Gundlach
 wrote:
<Snip>

17) From: Brett Mason
I conducted my first WOK / HG roast last night 
"No Guts No Glory" Mike said - he was right!
I wok'd 1lb of Colombia Supremo Popayan to a Full City in about 14 minutes...
It's resting today, and tomorrow we'll try the Eclipse Wok'd Surprise....
Mike's challenge got me moving - THANKS MIKE!
Regards,
Brett
On Wed, 27 Oct 2004 23:07:34 -0500, Gary Townsend  wrote:
<Snip>
-- 
Regards,
Brett Mason
 HomeRoast
      __]_
   _(( )_  Please don't spill the coffee!

18) From: Hank Eggers
OK you guys got me interested in this WOK roasting thing. Just last week
my trusty Toastmaster popper bit the dust and my itching to roast in
bigger quantities. I'm heading off to the 99 market at lunch to pick up
a SS wok. Going to have to try it on my Weber BBQ as the wife wouldn't
appreciate the smoke! 
 
About a month ago I posted that I'm a big fan of SM Monkey and someone
replied back that there is a single bean out there that does great for
americanos. I didn't save the info. Please re-send as I'm needing to
place a bean order! Thanks!
 
Hank
 
<Snip>
I conducted my first WOK / HG roast last night 
"No Guts No Glory" Mike said - he was right!
I wok'd 1lb of Colombia Supremo Popayan to a Full City in about 14
minutes...
It's resting today, and tomorrow we'll try the Eclipse Wok'd
Surprise....
Mike's challenge got me moving - THANKS MIKE!
Regards,
Brett
On Wed, 27 Oct 2004 23:07:34 -0500, Gary Townsend 
wrote:
<Snip>
years
<Snip>
like
<Snip>
perc
<Snip>
the
<Snip>
posts, I
<Snip>
wok
<Snip>
One
<Snip>
data
<Snip>
them
<Snip>
wallowing
<Snip>
goes on
<Snip>
wok
<Snip>
that he
<Snip>
I've
<Snip>
unsvbscribes) go tohttp://sweetmarias.com/maillistinfo.html#personalsettings
<Snip>
unsvbscribes) go tohttp://sweetmarias.com/maillistinfo.html#personalsettings
<Snip>
-- 
Regards,
Brett Mason
HomeRoast 
      __]_
   _(( )_  Please don't spill the coffee!

19) From: Hank Eggers
OK you guys got me interested in this WOK roasting thing. Just last week
my trusty Toastmaster popper bit the dust and my itching to roast in
bigger quantities. I'm heading off to the 99 market at lunch to pick up
a SS wok. Going to have to try it on my Weber BBQ as the wife wouldn't
appreciate the smoke! 
 
About a month ago I posted that I'm a big fan of SM Monkey and someone
replied back that there is a single bean out there that does great for
americanos. I didn't save the info. Please re-send as I'm needing to
place a bean order! Thanks!
 
Hank
 
<Snip>
I conducted my first WOK / HG roast last night 
"No Guts No Glory" Mike said - he was right!
I wok'd 1lb of Colombia Supremo Popayan to a Full City in about 14
minutes...
It's resting today, and tomorrow we'll try the Eclipse Wok'd
Surprise....
Mike's challenge got me moving - THANKS MIKE!
Regards,
Brett
On Wed, 27 Oct 2004 23:07:34 -0500, Gary Townsend 
wrote:
<Snip>
years
<Snip>
like
<Snip>
perc
<Snip>
the
<Snip>
posts, I
<Snip>
wok
<Snip>
One
<Snip>
data
<Snip>
them
<Snip>
wallowing
<Snip>
goes on
<Snip>
wok
<Snip>
that he
<Snip>
I've
<Snip>
unsvbscribes) go tohttp://sweetmarias.com/maillistinfo.html#personalsettings
<Snip>
unsvbscribes) go tohttp://sweetmarias.com/maillistinfo.html#personalsettings
<Snip>
-- 
Regards,
Brett Mason
HomeRoast 
      __]_
   _(( )_  Please don't spill the coffee!

20) From: Mike McGinness
You're welcome. MM;-)

21) From: Brian Kamnetz
Hank,
If I may pass along a bit of advice....
A while back I was thinking about going the wok route and Pecan Jim offered 
the following advice:
"Brian,
     If you can find a 14 gauge, a little over 1/10" thick,  carbon steel 
wok that is something like this:http://www.i-clipse.com/detail.asp?PRODUCT_IDRBWS   You will be doing fine.  Be sure to cure it and keep it lightly oiled 
and it will last forever.
        Jim Gundlach"
At 12:37 PM 10/28/2004 -0700, you wrote:
OK you guys got me interested in this WOK roasting thing. Just last week my 
trusty Toastmaster popper bit the dust and my itching to roast in bigger 
quantities. I'm heading off to the 99 market at lunch to pick up a SS wok. 
Going to have to try it on my Weber BBQ as the wife wouldn't appreciate the 
smoke!
About a month ago I posted that I'm a big fan of SM Monkey and someone 
replied back that there is a single bean out there that does great for 
americanos. I didn't save the info. Please re-send as I'm needing to place 
a bean order! Thanks!
Hank

22) From: Ruth Kohl
Mike, you said you seasoned your wok, would you tell us how you did this?
Ruth
A penny saved is a government oversight anon

23) From: Vince Petrell
I have been roasting using a wok for the past few weeks, but have had some =
difficulty, especially with some scorched spots on the beans. I was using a=
 smaller 8" Calphalon anodized aluminum wok with a flat bottom on an electr=
ic stove (I am not a big fan of electric, but that's what came with the hou=
se!) I usually set the heat to 75-90% because it takes so long to roast, us=
ually about 18-20 minutes to first crack.
But I kept getting scorched beans in certain spots. I thought it was becaus=
e the pan was so small, so I just bought a new stainless steel 10" Calphalo=
n stir fry pan (as a side, it was very difficult to find a good pan in Colu=
mbus, GA!). It is much larger, but I still get the scorching, probably due =
to the high heat, even though I toss and stir constantly.
I am thinking to turn down the heat, but am worried that I will not get to =
first crack. Any suggestions that may help out?
Thanks,
Vince

24) From: Peter Barnes
What you're describing is very similar to what I experienced during the 
first three months or so of wok roasting.  I have a gas stove, but it 
doesn't get very hot.  An even roast needs to be stirred, but I could 
only get the roast hot enough without baking by using a lid.
Eventually, I came to a new setup.  I bought a cast-iron wok, a 
cast-iron heat diffuser (you should think about getting one of these), 
and a glass lid.  I also started roasting about 300g at a time, instead 
of a full pound.  I still leave the heat on all the way, but I stir 
frequently, watch the roast through the lid, and generally hit full city 
+ at around 18 minutes. 
There are many factors that you can tweak.  I would recommend a heat 
diffuser, fewer beans per roast, and faster stirring for starters.
cheers
peter
Vince Petrell wrote:
<Snip>

25) From: Rick Copple
Gail Shuford wrote:
 > Hi Rick. I was onlline and just happened to see this.  I am fairly new
 > to roasting myself and you are the first person I have heard of that
 > roasts with a wok.  I gather you tried the hot air poppers and didnt
 > care for that method?  I have a Wok in a box in my shed that I could use
 > but it seems that you would have to stand there and stir the whole time
 > and who knows if the temp would get hot enough.
Well, I recall when I was on the list a little over a year ago there 
were some other wok roasters around. Maybe they will chime in.
I do have a hot air popper, a Pumper, that we have had a for a long 
time. That was the first thing I used to roast in, I recall I started 
this roasting journey at the end of 2003. I still use it occasionally 
when I want to roast up a quick batch for one pot.
But early on I became tired of having to roast nearly every evening, so 
I wanted a method that could roast larger quantities at a time, and 
since I was short on money, I happened to have a good thick plated wok 
on hand, and learned to roast with that. Now I will usually do two 1 
pound batches and that last me around a week.
Yes, wok roasting is very much an hands-on roasting method. I do sit at 
the stove and stir the beans for about 15 minutes. I've become use to 
it, but I do find myself wishing from time to time that I had a Hot Top 
or something I could just toss them in and set it to going and relax.
However, wok roasting is a very unique experience. No two batches come 
out exactly the same, and for a variety person like me, that's a good 
thing. That said, I've rarely made a batch and thought I really missed 
the roasting spot I was shooting for. But that takes some qualification, 
because the roasting level of any one bean is more varied than an air 
method. In a FC roast, some beans will be in FC+ while others are in C+, 
and some extremes on either end. Even on the bean itself, since the flat 
sides tend to stay in contact with the bottom of the pan longer than the 
rounded sides, parts of the bean will be more roasted than other parts.
So, no temperature readings here. You go by crack, smell, and color (for 
me sort of in that order) and I have a timer that I can gage if the 
beans are going too fast or taking too long. Usually, first crack starts 
somewhere around 8 to 11 minutes into the roast, and finishes around 11 
to 13. Once past 15, I'm usually either close to second crack. By 20 
minutes, I've usually taken them off the stove, as they have already hit 
FC+ by that point, and would be at a Vienna (which there are a few beans 
I take that dark).
My usual procedure is to pre-heat a little over half way heat level (I 
have an electric stove, and my 1 to 10 dial is usually set on 6.5 to 
pre-heat). Then I turn it down to half-way (5) and toss in the beans, 
and begin stirring. Some people don't constantly stir, they'll fold it 
over every once in a while. My method is like stir fry, I have a pattern 
of stirring constantly that goes into the center and then out to the 
edges and back in a constant cycle. My feeling is the beans will roast 
more evenly that way and the pattern seems to rotate the beans around 
sufficiently.
Once first crack is winding down, I'll kick the heat down to 4 (if top 
of dial is off/full-on, dial moving to the left to go higher, then it 
would be at about 7 to 8 o'clock) to extend the time between first and 
second, and also because at this point the bean mass has built its own 
internal heat that is growing, so doesn't need as much heat from the 
elements to nudge it along.
Once the beans are at the point I want them based on where they are in 
the "cracks" progress, the color (I usually judge that by the rounded 
part of the bean as the flat sides are usually too dark) and the smell 
is ringing true to my nose, then I pull them off and cool them.
The only batches I messed up was the first couple. What I described 
above is for a 1 pound roast. I tried that with a half pound and 
scorched them something awful! Then I think I messed up a decaf because 
I didn't know enough about them at the time, so I think I ended up under 
roasting it.
Also, getting a city roast from a wok is tricker. You don't want to rush 
into first crack as I've described above, instead I start at 4 with that 
to create a slower build. I have found that 15 minutes is the time to 
hit for a full roast, so for a city roast I extend the time to and into 
first crack so that it is winding down around 15 minutes. It takes some 
experience and a touch to do that, city is much easier to pull off in 
the popper.
I've wanted to do some video shots of my roasting technique and put it 
on my blog, and will at some point. Mostly what is on my blog right now 
is writing stuff. I use to have some coffee post there, but I lost that 
data and had to start over, and just haven't had a chance to put up 
coffee related stuff yet.
But, I like the coffee I get from my wok. Great flavors. But if you try 
this, expect to mess up the first time or two till you get the hang of 
it. Use some of the less expensive beans. And you will want to make sure 
the wok you use is thick, about a nickel thick, if I recall correctly. A 
thin one will tend to not distribute the heat as well and scorch the beans.
I use a wooden spoon to stir.
-- 
Rick Copplehttp://www.copple.us/blog/

26) From: Gail Shuford
Wow! I loved what I read.  Sort of like a catchy novel where you cant  
put it down.  It seems that you, by default, found a method that  
really works for you.  I would want to do larger batches as well.  I  
dont think the Wok I have stored would be heavy duty enough.  It's  
one of those red West Bend Woks but after reading this I might pull  
it out and try it! U C , I am always open to new ideas and methods of  
widget refinery.  That would be super to see some of your wok  
roasting in action.  Im sure the novelty of the hot air roasting is  
going to wear off soon for me bec of the frequency of operations and  
the small quanties you are limited to in hot air poppers.  I had to  
run a batch of hard beans thru twice today just to get a dark enough  
roast but my popper is only 1250 watts.  I  learned about this on my  
own.  I did not know you could re-roast batches and it not affect  
quality.  I came close to passing the idea off and then thought what  
did I have to lose by trying - not a whole lot of beans!
What brand is your Wok? Maybe I can keep an eye out at the thrift  
shops for one.
Thanks for the great info!
Gail
On Jul 11, 2007, at 10:54 PM, Rick Copple wrote:
<Snip>

27) From: Brett Mason
Rick, I think you nailed it!  I have a 12" skillet that I roast in from time
to time.  Open wok/skillet roasting is totally hands on.  I think it should
be a prerequisite class to roastermanship - Roasting 102 or something.  The
roaster is totally hands on involved with the roast from green to great to
gone (depending on when you stop).  The aromas, smoke, scorched beans when I
forgot to stir - this method will help the roaster understand the whole
process!  And you can do a pound or more at a time!
Brett
On 7/12/07, Rick Copple  wrote:
<Snip>
-- 
Cheers,
Bretthttp://homeroast.freeservers.com

28) From: Angelo
You might also try an Asian market. I find them to be pretty 
inexpensive in these types of stores....
<Snip>


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