Flat, Stale, and Very Profitable: Thoughts on Light Roasted Coffee - Page 10

Discuss flavors, brew temperatures, blending, and cupping notes.

#91: Post by archipelago »

George is on a Loring (GH was a fairly early adopter) - not sure how their machine is tuned or if it's a model with the V2 turbo upgrade and higher circ fan VFD setting. It's been a minute since I've checked in on their roasting but I've heard from various people that the roasting ranges from extremely light to medium.

Manhattan as of May is roasting on a Typhoon fluid bed roaster. He's yeeting his coffee in under 6 minutes. Fluid bed roasters, in general, tend to hold up less well over time IME.

Sey is also on a Loring (the S15).


#92: Post by exidrion »

Just chiming in to say that I don't think the intent of the OP was one of a crass veiled insult to light roast drinkers. In particular I do agree that the prices of some of these baked coffees are getting out of hand for what it is.

What Jim is saying has more merit than "oh you're disregarding people's preferences! It's all subjective anyway!" If we were to be so reductive in every discussion there would be very little to post about. I think as long as we're not breaking site guidelines, posters should be allowed to have opinions and post them in the way they naturally would. You know, Hanlon's Razor and all that.

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#93: Post by Milligan »

jpender wrote:To be fair to the light roast enthusiast who has been scorned by the crowd, who here has read the 1000+ pages that comprise those two sources Jim linked? When I first saw that I wondered if he was just sending the guy off on a snipe hunt: "Go read these two giant books and then maybe we can talk". I looked through the tables of contents and index of each book and then did some text searching but I failed to find the answer to the question. Would it be asking too much for page numbers to be provided?
I wasn't speaking to the veracity of the articles but to the reason why the light roast enthusiast dismissed it only 3 minutes after it was offered.
archipelago wrote:Not quite! It's possible to maintain a positive pressure environment in a P12 (but the coffee will taste smoky) and IMF are quite flexible in terms of pressure inside the drum. Willem Boot has extolled Giesen for pressure profiling and talked of its effects on a roast - once again, my experience simply builds on the work others have done before me. The IMF allows for recirculation or introduction of fresh air and uses a perforated drum, roasting nearly purely with convection. The biggest variables at play for Prodigal are the altitude at which they're roasting (lower coefficient of convective heat transfer, requiring higher inlet temps and/or airflow) and how they're roasting: light and fast (6-7 minutes).
IMF seems like quite the flexible machine. Would you say maintaining positive pressure in the P12 is common practice? I assumed most gas drum roasters would pull air through and would most commonly be used in a negative pressure configuration. Curious to now know how Prodigal uses their IMF with relation to roast chamber pressure and what the norm is for most that use the IMF. There seems to be a distinct difference with the Loring compared to most other roasters above and beyond chamber pressurization. Scott puts forth a factor being "oxygen free" (likely well reduced but not free) roast environment that Loring describes.
Almico wrote:Scott answered the why in a recent IG post. They are roasting coffee lighter and lighter every week.

I'm not sure how minute differences in roast chamber air pressure makes on a coffee bean that is experiencing over 100psi of internal pressure prior to 1C.
Thank you for that update. I dont keep up with IG but I get his emails and remember one earlier in the year about resting:
Scott Rao wrote: What factors make resting beneficial?

As noted, light roasts seem to benefit more from resting. Coffee from air roasters seem to benefit more than coffee from drum roasters. Presumably, the conductive heat transfer in drum roasters damages the outer layers of the beans during roasting, weakening the cell structures, and making them more porous, more developed, and less in need of resting.

Resting times among different air roasters

I have spent the last several months roasting on two air roasters, a Roest sample roaster, and a 15kg IMF. I roast on the light side by almost any standard, and my roasts seem to benefit from some rest. However, while they may peak one or two weeks after roasting (the jury is still out), they taste perfectly fine a day or two after roasting.

But not all air roasters are the same; in my experience, coffee from Loring machines requires longer resting periods than coffee from other air roasters. I'm not sure why that is, but one of two unique features of Lorings is the likely culprit: the roasting chamber is pressurized, and the roasting environment is oxygen-free (I cannot confirm that, but Loring claims that is the case.) One of those two factors is likely the reason why coffee from Lorings needs longer resting times than coffee from other machines.

How long should you rest coffee?

Judging by my inbox, many people assume all roasted coffee needs lengthy resting periods. Of course, everyone has his or her own preference. But I would argue optimal roasting time depends on roast level, whether the coffee came from a drum or air roaster, and if from an air roaster, whether the machine was a Loring.

If I were forced to drink a dark, oily roast, I would not rest the coffee for more than a day, as the coffee will likely taste a little rancid within a few days. (And of course I would add salt, haha.) I don't find coffee from classic-drum roasters benefits from more than a day or two of rest, unless the coffee is what I would consider underdeveloped. As for air roasters, I would probably rest the coffee from one to four weeks, depending on development level and whether the coffee came from a Loring.
That makes sense that the recommendation changed both because of roast level (roasting lighter now) and because they moved from a gas drum roaster to the IMF. Not necessarily because of drum pressure but he puts forth the idea that conductive transfer causes the outer layer to become more porous and therefore allows gasses to escape faster. 1-2 day rest for gas drum for most roast levels is all that he recommends. Email is from May 30th if anyone is interested in reading the full article in their inbox.

The bolded line is very interesting. Curiously, most modern sample roasters are air roasters (Ikawa, Roest, Kaffelogic) which could arguably not give an impression of the peak flavor a coffee has to offer until 3-4 weeks of rest. Maybe there is something to the old sample Probat roasters. 1-2 days off roast and they could be at their peak. That isn't accounting for roast quality between the two types though nor giving credit to the green buyer's ability to look past the limited resting period when consuming before peak rest. Something interesting to chew on anyway.

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#94: Post by Almico »

exidrion wrote: I do agree that the prices of some of these baked coffees are getting out of hand for what it is.
Then don't buy it. Problem solved.

Personally, I'm highly intrigued by roasters asking and getting $30-40 for 150-250g of coffee. It remains to be seen whether the coffee is good enough to inspire repeat purchases when the novelty wears off.


#95: Post by exidrion replying to Almico »

I probably won't anymore based on a recent experience. Bought one 200g bag of "light roast" coffee from a reputable producer for $55 CAD. Got it and it turned out to be more of a medium light and I could easily grind fine enough to get something great. Weeks later I buy a similar coffee from the same producer but this time it arrived extremely light and had multiple broken beans and quakers. Couldn't realty get anything good from it. Partly the fault of shipping maybe, and it's not typically the case with that particular roaster, but I would definitely say the novelty did wear off after that and I won't spend that money again.

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#96: Post by ShotClock »

archipelago wrote:George is on a Loring (GH was a fairly early adopter) - not sure how their machine is tuned or if it's a model with the V2 turbo upgrade and higher circ fan VFD setting. It's been a minute since I've checked in on their roasting but I've heard from various people that the roasting ranges from extremely light to medium.
I live very close to GH, and order from them regularly. I've found that their "light" filter roasts are comparable to Prodigal etc. - a bit more developed than the bleeding edge, but not massively. Interestingly, their "medium" roasts seem to be a fair amount darker than I would expect, looking to be dropped around the start of 2C to me. Maybe this coffee has a much wider audience than their fancy/expensive filter roasts? Perhaps I've roasted, drunk and forum chatted myself into a smaller range of roast levels than I'd previously thought...

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#97: Post by another_jim (original poster) »

ShotClock wrote:- George Howell - Mamuto AA - Amazing burst of berries and sparkling acidity at first, faded noticeably within a week, quite disappointing after two. Not sure what they are roasting on. Would love to be able to buy this in a smaller bag...
- Manhattan - Various washed experimental process Colombians - huge fruit and sweetness to begin with, noticeably faded after a couple of weeks (fortunately for me, they sell small bags). Appears to be a Probat from their website.
- Prodigal (early roasts) - Amazing fruit and sweetness immediately, faded within 1 week, disappointing in two. Probat
This has been my experience. For instance, I'm very glad I froze my kilo of Letty Bermudez, and didn't do any aging experiments on it; it's a very mild coffee with delightful aromatics and fruit compote flavors. It seemed way too delicate to hold up to aging. (BTW, I'm not against light roasts, it's at least half of what I buy; I'm questioning the idea that they will get better over long time periods, and that this can justify higher prices)


My datapoint on the relation between roasting types and aging:

I roasted for a decade on a heavily modified P1 popcorn popper, with a ramp/soak PID comtrol on the inlet air, and good insulation, so the inlet air never needed to go over 450F, even for 2nd crack roasts. I was doing 11 minutes sample roasts, dropped at 415F outlet temperature, right after the first crack was done. These needed no rest.

Obviously, this is not a light roast by today's standards. But if the air roast, cell wall argument is right, these roasts would have needed rest. So whatever the reason for improvements with resting that extends beyond degassing, it is more complicated than that.

Has anyone ever roasted the same coffee to the same degree of roast on different roasters, or with different roast parameters, so that one was good immediately and the other required rest?
Jim Schulman

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#98: Post by SteveRhinehart »

another_jim wrote:Ammonia or chlorine I consider standard astringent aromas. Or put fruit rinds, grass, melon peel, or orange zest in a pan, heat, open your mouth and nose and breath in. Irritating, eyewatering, but not acidic, not smoky, and short of caustic. For me, it's the characteristic smell of a roast during the early to middle first crack, when it's not ready to drop. When it fades, you have an immediately drinkable light roast.
Very illuminating and that imagery instantly clicked for me. Thank you!

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#99: Post by Jake_G »

Almico wrote:Then don't buy it. Problem solved.
It's not that simple.

This comes back to Luca's note on the way roasters market their wares. I don't tend to spend lots of money for fancy roasts very often, but there are times when a description sounds particularly intriguing and I'll bite.

When a roaster describes all of the good things you'll find in the bean, but leaves out all the bad, the consumer loses. If there really is nothing bad about the bean and the consumer doesn't buy it, they lose out on enjoying a great bean. If the consumer purchases the bean and the negative flavors ruin the experience they lose. The only winning combo is getting lucky and purchase something that sounds delicious and is delicious.

Personally, I rely heavily on the recommendations of those whose tastes I trust. And I'm not often "burned" by this. But simply telling consumers to not buy coffee they don't like is not really something they can reliably do.


- Jake
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#100: Post by Sal »

Almico wrote:Then don't buy it. Problem solved.

Personally, I'm highly intrigued by roasters asking and getting $30-40 for 150-250g of coffee. It remains to be seen whether the coffee is good enough to inspire repeat purchases when the novelty wears off.
I agree. Purely out of curiosity and for educational reasons, I bought a couple of dozens of highly regarded roaster's bags. The most expensive one had a $60/10 oz price tag without shipping cost added. That came out to be ~$80/lb equivalent for the greens with shipping. I have purchased greens as high as maybe ~$40/lb before, but they never tasted that good, so I did not buy them again. For the roasted coffee, I have not found any bag that is worth going back. Personally, I prefer $16/lb "baked" coffee beans from my local roasters over coveted "light" roasts fruit-forward coffees from those high-end roasters. But, since I know I can roast my own to my liking with $5/lb greens, I just don't see going back to them either.
I am a home-roaster, not a home-barista...