www.cafelatstore.com: home of Cafelat products for sale on the internet

Experience great professional coffees before you start home roasting - Page 3

Postby lparsons21 on Mon Jan 08, 2007 2:12 pm

SL28ave wrote:Perhaps in agreement with Marshall, I largely disagree with the often stated notion that home roasting is the way to go because it's fresher than professional roasts. I don't only disagree with this when the coffee drinker has a local roaster to get beans from. I think that many great (and essential in many cases) coffees will do just fine when shipped across the country.

Both home and professional roasting can be OK! Roasting is damn tough, though. And at times there are expressions of coffees that only pros will have.


The problem with fresh roasted is not that you can't get it shipped fast enough cross country, you can't economically ship small quantities across country on an often basis. Home roasting gives me the flexibility to have a wide variety of greens to roast and taste at my leisure in the quantity that makes the most sense.

While there is a bit of fiddle factor involved, roasting just isn't difficult at all. A bit of experimenting, logging what you are doing and cleaning up is all that is involved.

I don't begrudge those that buy roasted coffee from excellent producers, why would you begrudge me doing the same thing on a do-it-yourself basis?
Lloyd
lparsons21
 
Posts: 125
Joined: Dec 04, 2006
Location: Herrin, IL

Postby SL28ave on Mon Jan 08, 2007 3:01 pm

lparsons21 wrote:I don't begrudge those that buy roasted coffee from excellent producers, why would you begrudge me doing the same thing on a do-it-yourself basis?


I'm not begrudging you. It's just coffee and you can like whichever kind you'd like.

lparsons21 wrote:While there is a bit of fiddle factor involved, roasting just isn't difficult at all. A bit of experimenting, logging what you are doing and cleaning up is all that is involved.


We may be talking about coffee on different levels then. Roasting coffee the way I like is a royal headache. If the technology isn't there when tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars are dished out by people who literally think about roasts in their sleep, sorry if I'm pessimistic towards many home setups... I'd love to taste more home roasts, though. And I never said home roasting isn't great! (Did I?) :D
"Few, but ripe." -Carl Friedrich Gauss
SL28ave
 
Posts: 127
Joined: Dec 19, 2005
Location: Rockville, MD

Postby another_jim on Mon Jan 08, 2007 3:19 pm

Hi PeterL,

Before people jump in and criticize him, note that Terroir sells all their coffees green as well. I hope this becomes the norm with all the top roasters (Paradise, Metropolis, and Gilllies do this as well; Intelly does a bit, but should do more, Peter G, are you listening, hint hint)

Now the interesting part. Terroir stocks superlative beans and roasts them superlatively (they'll recall roasts that aren't!) However, on the whole, I prefer my more journeyman roasts of the same beans. I roast them a little slower, maybe 5F further, and get more sweetness and caramel relative to the origin flavors. Peter probably thinks my roasts are wimpy ("real men don't drink caramel"), but it's what I prefer.

Home roasting is a hobby; not some sort of oath never to drink professionally roasted coffee. Gaining skill depends on comparing ones own roasts to the same coffee roasted by pros and other amateurs willing to swap. If you do these comparisons, go to the trouble of learning a bit about cupping, home roasting will teach you more about coffee than anything else you can do (short of buying a finca)
User avatar
another_jim
Team HB
 
Posts: 8818
Joined: May 05, 2005
Location: Chicago

Postby Rainman on Mon Jan 08, 2007 3:24 pm

I'd have to agree with just about everything Marshall has stated. I started home roasting while still in college (about 20 yrs ago) using readily available equipment that my english comp professor suggested (the world famous popcorn popper.. can't remember which one, though). I had no idea what I was doing, but it sure beat the heck out of the pre-ground stuff I was buying in the store. I've had periods where I didn't roast at all, and just used locally roasted stuff (some new roasters appeared here and there in town) and occasionally ordered from Intelligentsia, Paradise and George Howell's place all the way across the country in Massachusetts.. (although since I've pursued building my green bean stash in ernest this past year, my home roasting has completely consumed me in terms of what I put through my equipment). I'll continue to sample from the pro's, just to provide a reality check, and I'd encourage most people to do the same. I'm certainly an amateur, but I think I get some really great tasting blends and SO's, and have lots of fun achieving that in the home environment-- it's also a whole lot more convenient than ordering everything online, which is what I'd have to do otherwise.. there's just no competition locally for what I get at home.

my $0.02/worth.

Ray
Rainman
 
Posts: 136
Joined: Oct 15, 2006
Location: Charleston, SC

Postby pauljolly65 on Mon Jan 08, 2007 6:34 pm

Marshall wrote:You said it, not me. :D But, for similar reasons, I am always urging people to calibrate their palates at a top notch (you can call them "third wave," if you like) coffee shop. I think way too many home baristas give up on truly great espresso and rely on milk drinks and americanos...

if you are serious about this art (and if you are reading this forum you are probably serious enough for your family and friends to think you have a screw loose), it is really worth a little pilgrimage.


Amen to that! I had a great day in SF last month doing nothing but sampling espresso (OK, I confess: I also picked up a nasty Gibraltar addiction there, too). It was eye-opening to taste the flavors, aromas, and assorted nuances that varied so greatly from shop to shop. There were some which I could sip all day....

Haven't made it up to Seattle in the past 15 years, but I'd love to stop at Stumptown & miKe's on the way up, try Vivace, see if my old favorite (ETG in Fremont) is still around. Also love to hit Intelligentsia, but have no other reason to go to Chicago. And so on....just to continue to keep my palate sharp.

Paul
pauljolly65
 
Posts: 89
Joined: Jan 07, 2007
Location: Santa Rosa, CA

Postby espressoperson on Mon Jan 08, 2007 10:56 pm

SL28ave wrote:We may be talking about coffee on different levels then. Roasting coffee the way I like is a royal headache. If the technology isn't there when tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars are dished out by people who literally think about roasts in their sleep, sorry if I'm pessimistic towards many home setups... I'd love to taste more home roasts, though. And I never said home roasting isn't great! (Did I?) :D


So we do have something in common with professional roasters. Just like us homeroasters, you believe your roasts are better than ours even though you have no evidence or experience to back it up. :P

Maybe that's just part of the roasting experience; the wonderful feeling of accomplishment it gives us all - amateur and professional.
michaelb, lmwdp 24
User avatar
espressoperson
 
Posts: 215
Joined: Jun 05, 2005
Location: Philadelphia

Postby mrgnomer on Mon Jan 08, 2007 11:27 pm

One thing I just realized was when I started home roasting my only source for supposedly fresh beans were a few micro roasters who roasted more to supply small coffee houses than for retail. Their roasts were better than store-bought but more expensive.

The first time trying home roasting with an iRoast and an Harrar the roast beat everything I had up to then by miles. A really good, fresh professional roast would have probably put me in a delirious coma but the home roast was and is better than probably 95% of the commercial roasts out there.
Kirk
LMWDP #116
User avatar
mrgnomer
 
Posts: 281
Joined: Jan 15, 2006
Location: Canada

Postby RapidCoffee on Tue Jan 09, 2007 1:59 am

Marshall wrote:I have the utmost respect for people like Ken Fox and Jim Schulman, who have devoted serious time, thought and money to putting out a professional-level roast. But, frankly, I am wary of anything that might encourage more novices to home roast before they experience great professional coffees.

Your point is well taken, but I think you're missing something fundamental. Most of us grew up seeing coffee as a prepackaged, preground commodity. If you have a love of coffee, your first home roast can be a revelation. That's why you see all the home roasting evangelists.

With simple inexpensive equipment and a modicum of skill, home roasting results can easily surpass the vast majority of roasted coffee sold in this country. That makes it an ideal hobby for the coffee lover.

We all have to start somewhere, and it's seldom going to be at the level of a Ken Fox or a Jim Schulman. In my case, I began with some green beans, an old popcorn popper, and a copy of Kenneth Davids' Home Coffee Roasting: Romance and Revival. That was probably the most important step I took on my journey into coffee and espresso. There is something amazing, magical, and unquantifiable about roasting your own coffee.

I would urge anyone with an interest in home roasting to give it a try, regardless of your expertise. This isn't an either-or situation. When I travel, I always make an effort to sample the best local espresso. Home roasting does not dissuade me from experiencing great professional coffees; it enhances the experience by giving me another basis for comparison.
________
John
User avatar
RapidCoffee
Team HB
 
Posts: 3092
Joined: Dec 11, 2005
Location: Rapid City, SD

Postby Compass Coffee on Tue Jan 09, 2007 6:09 pm

Experience great professional coffees before you start home roasting

Ready-Aim-Fire!
or
Ready-Fire-Aim!

Different approaches both with Pros and Cons. While it's great to have a target sometimes it works just as well to just go for it and find the target along the way. Today it's much easier to get great professional coffees than it was just a few years ago. (In fact that is the why I started home roasting in the first place a short 6 years ago.)

Much can be learned from Professionals and from fellow home roasters. Personally I think I've learned as much or more from continuing dialogs and roast exchanges with fellow home roasters than spending time with Professional Artisan roasters. Regardless all sources of knowledge and learning are good!

Let's face it, roasting coffee isn't Rocket Science. It's quite simple to turn green beans brown, as simple and easy as spreading a layer of greens on a cookie sheet and popping them in a 500f pre-heated oven. Can actually get a decent roast this way and even with some very limited profile control dropping oven temp after 5 min or so into roast to slow anticipated 1st at 8 to 10min to end of roast. OTH to get the most out of da wee little bean is more complicated than Rocket Science. (At least according to two home roasters I know who happen to also be Rocket Scientists.)

I'm not advocating anyone start or stop home roasting. I don't really care, it's a personal choice. I happen to enjoy coffee roasting as an integral part of my coffee journey. And now that great Professional coffees more readily available occasionally add them to the journey.
Mike McGinness, Head Bean (Owner/Roast Master)
http://www.CompassCoffeeRoasting.com
Compass Coffee
Sponsor
 
Posts: 1677
Joined: Jun 03, 2005
Location: Vancouver, WA, USA

Postby TimEggers on Fri Jan 26, 2007 11:48 pm

All I can say is that my home roasts never did taste quite right (for espresso only). It may be my espresso technique, but it was probably my roast.

Marshall took some guts to say what he did...and frankly based on my own experiences I couldn't agree more.

Well said.

(toss some of those arrows my way)
User avatar
TimEggers
 
Posts: 799
Joined: Mar 30, 2006
Location: Tiskilwa, Illinois