HomeRoast Digest

Topic: My first roast (long) (9 msgs / 335 lines)
1) From: Christopher Jackson
I made my first post a few days ago, inquiring about a good beginner's 
bean.  Thanks for the many helpful replies.
Today I actually got started.  Like many, I had a hard time deciding which 
hardware to purchase, given the problems frequently reported with every 
device save the the Hottop.  Having just purchased Silvia and Rocky a 
month ago, I wasn't prepared to drop that much cash on a roaster so soon.  
Plus it seems other methods might be highly educational.
So I bought the Toastmaster popper at Target today for $15 bucks, AND a 
heat gun at a local home improvement store.  Haven't tried the latter yet, 
and will probably post about it separately, since I'm having second 
thoughts about the model I selected.
My first experience with the Toastmaster was VERY postitive.  I did two
roasts, using SM's Columbian Narino San Lorenzo, with came as part of 4
sample pack I received for Christmas.  I'd planned on putting a Weber
thermometer through the butter dish, but in testing the thermo in boiling
water, it only registered 140F, and there are no wrench flats for
calibration.  Oh well.  Had to depend on eyes and ears (nose not being of
much use, as a beginner).  I did attempt to time each roast, but ended up
forgetting to log times, except for the beginning of first crack, at about
The Toastmaster recommends 1/2 cup max (corn, of course) in the
instructions, so that's what I started with.  Weight was approx 85 grams.  
I pulled this first roast sooner than I intended.  I was expecting first
and second crack to occur close together, but now I'm pretty sure I was
still at the end of first when I spilled the beans.  I don't pretend to
have a good understanding of roast stages, but I'm guessing this first
batch would be considered Cinnamon or New England, using SM's
descriptions.  Definitely light.
Second batch I decided to up the quantity a bit to 100 grams.  Still had 
trouble deciding when 1st crack was done, as popping never subsided all 
the way, though it certainly slowed.  At the point where I was pretty sure 
2nd was starting, I transferred the beans to one of two colanders for 
cooling.  This was the approx. roast I was aiming for--city to full city.
While I didn't check my watch, I suspect the total roast time was about 
6:30.  I should mention that I was in my marginally heated garage, ambient 
temps probably around 50 - 55F.  And very high humidity.  We're 
experiencing a Monsooned Monroe County today.
A couple hours after finishing, my curiosity got the best of me, along 
with the intoxicating smell, and I pulled a shot using the second batch.  
In reading Tom's description, I suspect this bean is not best suited to 
espresso, as it's especially acidic as Columbians go.  I also realize a 
longer rest is necessary.  For whatever reasons, and as expected, the shot 
was not wonderful.  Again, my descriptive vocabulary is still limited, but 
grassy/grainy was the dominant characteristic, along with a thin 
body/mouthfeel, and some sourness.  The latter might have been my 
technique, as my shots are far from consistent, even with good, fresh 
beans.  (I intend to PID next month.)  The real test will be tomorrow 
morning with the press pot.  
But don't think I'm disappointed--quite the contrary.  The whole process
(including clean up)  was really easy, and based on all of two roasts,
apparently controlled and repeatable.  The second roast appears to be very 
even.  It sure looks and smells right.
At this point I want to learn more about what constitutes a good profile, 
and how to best achieve such without additional equipment, e.g, Variacs.  
I was encouraged by the fact that the roasts didn't go too quickly, no 
doubt in part because of my low ambient temp, nor too slow, as I've read 
about folks having to make modifications just to get to 2nd crack.  
So far, so good.  
Ellettsville, IN

2) From: miKe mcKoffee
Congrats on the beginning of your never ending journey! Good to hear you're
having fun at it. Sounds like your first batch may be under roasted,
especially for straight shots. A light roast is difficult to do properly
with an unmodified home air roaster, I've found you need about a minimum 3
minutes from onset of 1st to finish of roast minimum regardless the degree
of roast. But all is not lost. I'd suggest re-roasting the batch to just
when you see the first oil droplet for a medium espresso roast. I understand
double roasting is a common technique for espresso roasting in Italy, or
once was. Makes for a smoother shot.
Kona Konnaisseur miKe mcKoffee
MCSE (Maniacal Coffee Systems Engineer/Enthusiast;-)
URL to Rosto mods, FrankenFormer etc.http://mdmint.home.comcast.net/coffee/Rosto_mod.htm

3) From: Christopher Jackson
On Sun, 4 Jan 2004, miKe mcKoffee wrote:
I'm not sure why, but I thought re-roasting was a bad idea; I'm glad to
hear it's an option.  I'll give it a try tonight.

4) From: miKe mcKoffee

5) From: Ed Needham
Just plop on a stainless canning jar funnel.
Ed Needham
To Absurdity and Beyond!
homeroaster ... d.o.t ... com

6) From: Felix Dial
Hi Christopher, you wrote:
I know every popper is different, but the stock wearever pumpers and the
stock westbend poppery2's that I've roasted with all had a noticeable pause
between 1st and 2nd crack.  From my experience, depending on bean type, 1st
crack can last a few seconds to as long as a minute or so.
... some snipping ...
I'm pretty certain that if you tasted grassy/grainy, then the roast was a
bit underdone, which leads me to think that the roast never really reached
2nd crack.   I've never roasted the specific Colombian you roasted, but from
my little bit of experience, beans roasted to 2nd crack don't taste
Take a look at the roasted beans.  If there are little bean divots or if the
beans themselves look as if peices from the surface came off, then you
reached 2nd crack. The number of beans that looked "damaged" in this way
will depend on how far you get into 2nd.
I only purchased 4lbs of greens from sweetmarias when I first started and
each roast batch seemed REALLY REALLY valuable.   But if you can bring
yourself to it, I highly recommend taking your next batch to a vienna-french
roast.  Roast until you really hear the beans crackling through 2nd crack
and see divots flying out of the popper.  You'll also see a fair amount of

7) From: james.garlits
There is a Sivitz link somewhere on the web that sells a heat gun attachment
that allows you to roast a few ounces at a time.  Look hard enough and I'm
sure you'll find it.  The link I saw had pictures of the attachment, and it
didn't look like it'd be hard to manufacture by yourself if you had access
to simple sheet metal fabricating tools.

8) From: Stephen Jones
As someone who started roasting fairly recently, and with an unmodified
popcorn pumper, I sympathize with the difficulty in determining the
difference/presence of 2nd crack.  I could never bring myself to ruining
even a small quantity of beans by "going all the way" (might be dating
myself with that phrase), so I just kept listening and looking at the timer,
and now can usually tell when second crack starts.  Emphasis on 'usually.'
I also had my share of grassy tastes, if that's the correct word, to the
point that I was one last try away from giving the whole thing up.
Fortunately, that last try worked.
So keep at it.  
In my own opinion, which I respect deeply, it's worth it.
Stephen Jones

9) From: Christopher Jackson
On Mon, 5 Jan 2004, Felix Dial wrote:
You know, I think you're right that I never made it to 2nd.
I'll definitely give this a try.  Thanks for the suggestion!
Chris J.

HomeRoast Digest