I thought I'd take a moment and comment on my recent experiences with =
If y'all will remember, I posted about 1.5 weeks ago about my first =
roasting experience; how it was weak and how I wasn't much impressed =
with my results. I'd like to give an update if anyone is interested.
1) I've discovered that getting a sample pack of coffee is not the best =
way to begin. There are so many variations between bean-types that I'm =
finding it hard to do much testing: by the time I've roasted 4 batches =
(from a FR+ point of view), I'm out of beans for a particular type. It =
makes trying variations in roasting difficult.
2) I prefer dark roasts (eg, FC to french roasts) to lighter ones. =
Perhaps a remant from my "bad coffee" drinking days, but still my =
choice. A FR+ doesn't seem to want to make good, dark roasts. I believe =
the problem is that because of the lack of temperature control: the =
outside of the bean roasts darker before the inside does. I've done =
several roasts that LOOKED like they were want I wanted to achieve, but =
when I ground them, I found the grinds to be much lighter than I =
expected (with a corrisponding lighter taste). If I roast until the =
interior of the bean is at the right darkness, the outside is burnt and =
it tastes like ****. I tried various foolish things to improve on this. =
My most recently experiments have been with letting the roast go until =
just after 1st crack, then killing the power on my FR+. Wait 15 seconds, =
and turn it on for 5 seconds. Repeat until 2nd crack begins, then keep =
the power on until about 20 seconds after 2nd crack ends (the philosophy =
being that the temperature will equalize more). This has produced some =
of the better roasts I've done. I suppose this situation is why people =
use a variac?
3) I found that following the recommendations and letting beans sit for =
multiple days makes a HELL of a difference in the body of the cup. Some =
of the roasts I did the first week have improved 110% with age. Like the =
buttery-esque flavor from Kona. Mmmmmmmm... Kona (which I found makes a =
REALLY REALLY good dark roast when combined with Tanzanian Peaberry).
4) The FR+ doesn't really do a good job roasting even. Check out =http://pix.binary9.net/2003-05-07,%20Coffee/to see what I mean. #40 in =
particular. Is this normal for this (price) level of roaster?
Continuing with the issues I have with uneven bean-heating with the FR+: =
almost all the guides suggest that you cool the beans down to room =
temperature as quickly as possible to prevent additional cooking. Does =
this hold true with the FR+ and my situation of not being able to =
produce a dark roast? I would think that that letting the beans cool =
slowly would allow the inside to "catch up" a bit with the outside. =
Since the out is exposed to the cool air, it would stop roasting before =
the interior did. Or at least that's what I would expect to happen.
I guess that's it for now. I've already written more than enough in this =
email :) As always, if anyone has any thoughts or suggestions, speak up! =
* nicholas j leon, java developer
technology concepts and design inc