For Those Who Take Robusta Seriously

Discuss roast levels and profiles for espresso, equipment for roasting coffee.

Postby crunchybean » May 05, 2019, 11:56 am

TLDR: how do you roast and brew your Robusta? (Profiles much appreciated)

I mean really serious new wave Robusta Revolution. I don't even know if that exists but if there was going to be a Robusta Renaissance I'd hope maybe somewhere coming from Vietnam, Italy or maybe Madagascar there is a person/shop roasting and slinging shots trying to get more than dry cacao steering it to the cocoa instead (meaning fruity/flavorful). or at least getting a more refined cup. I know there are whispers of Robusta here and there but does anybody know where I can get a really well processed green? Does anybody have any suggestions for roasting/brewing Robusta....maybe a V60 recipe?

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Postby SAS » May 05, 2019, 12:43 pm

I purchased Sweet Maria's Rwanda Gikongoro Robusta in order to provide a more caffeine for certain customers who are looking for the extra lift.

From Sweet Maria's:
Rwanda Gikongoro Robusta- The cup is all about bittering cocoa, mild malty sweetness, muted acidity, and massive body. Roasted buckwheat, leather, and nutty notes mark the aroma and finish. Good for espresso blending.

I have only roasted one batch. I used a very small charge of beans, 200 grams, and really didn't know what I was doing as it was my first try with a Robusta.


I have never brewed this just by itself. I found it a very nice addition to roasts that needed some extra dimension. i have been using 10% to 20% added to coffees that aren't thrilling me. For a single V60 cup, I just add less coffee beans in V60 scoop,
Image ,and top it off with the Robusta. I'm pleasantly surprised each time.
LMWDP #280
Running on fumes.


Postby crunchybean » May 05, 2019, 2:38 pm

Thanks for that, I roasted 1lb so far (around 50g, 9 batches) and I have another pound to play with of the Flores Dry Process Ranaka Robusta from SM. At first the roasts were all turning my stomach, prob because of too little rest and not enough heat. I'm finding this Robusta needs a lot more heat and the green flavor notes I'm getting during roast are much more umami like olives and wood, savory/salty/buttered bread. Nothing to make me think it can be turned to a sweet fruit. When I added 5% to an arabica it didn't complete the fruit but completely numbed and overpowered them. Now, after 6months I'm out of arabica, I opened a ziplock container and put 13.5g in an aeropress, not bad. Definitely not stomach turning (some very slight 15min after drinking) but overall I could see how people do this in a strait espresso. I just want to do it better :)

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Postby another_jim » May 05, 2019, 4:19 pm

I roast my robusta at a high ET, to just ahead or the first pops of the second crack. Then I leave them in a valve bag for a month before using. You can have them stale as you like, and they still act like a setting agent for the crema (you'll become an instant latte art master). The staling also brings out the cocoa flavors and turns what was initially rubbery into a brandy-like flavor.

I'm not sure if it's a trick used by Italian roasters, but mixing staled (aged?) Robusta with fresh Arabica works for me.
Jim Schulman


Postby crunchybean » replying to another_jim » May 05, 2019, 9:39 pm

I don't get a rubbery smell, but an olive bread -> wood. Which did concern me back in Nov. because someone said to go past the rubber into vanilla but I couldn't find it with just 1lb. Maybe because this was a dry processed Robusta, I'm not sure.

I'll take a note from the chocolate world and call my "aging", "tempering" instead. ;)

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Postby SAS » May 06, 2019, 2:21 pm

Regarding my earlier post, I didn't get any rubbery smell or taste; unlike Vietnamese coffee.
That was also a pleasant surprise!
LMWDP #280
Running on fumes.

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Postby Chert » May 06, 2019, 2:56 pm

The Taza Dorada was the last I heard of specialty grade robusta trying to become a thing. This old post from Paradise Roasters (the main US roaster to my knowledge that wants to be part of improving robusta) refers to it:

Here's my roast graph of those greens from Ecuador:

And myself from 27 months ago:

"There's the artisan graph. 2:30 second after start of first crack. Full city according to arabica roasters curve behavior, but I don't think I detected the sound of second crack. Also for the 12 days or so it took for me to go through the 200g beans I kept for myself the beans did not gain an oily sheen. The most memorable shot had an upfront dry taste, a pleasant bracing bitterness not acidic like arabica, but dry. Of that shot I remember liking the mouthfeel and otherwise I recall some sweetness of a caramel type and of the tastes described on their website i remember thinking "maybe banana?". Definitely a nice change of pace and I could enjoy it as a single origin shot. I look forward to roasting and pulling some more come March sometime."


Postby crunchybean » May 07, 2019, 5:53 pm

@chert, thanks I was going to try and get back to you with a profile but having some family in town so when things settle down I'll post my trial. Banana sounds promising :)


Postby crunchybean » May 14, 2019, 8:57 am

So as we (should) know the issue of rest is a somewhat uncertain conundrum since in Ethiopia they roast fresh any anything after 30 min is compost. So I tried this Robusta taken just into 2nd crack (maybe a little longer than I'd like) the 2C cracks were extremely quiet. Hot cup was generic Robusta-y, Hershey chocolate but the cool cup was really powerful tootsie roll. It was a blend of 5g Robusta 8.5g reroasted Nicaraguan. Determining from the profiles listed above (thanks again, Chert and SAS) I though going on the up and up with my heat should be. My maybe I'll have to kick in my initial ramp/charge to get fruits. Something is nagging at me that there is fruit in Robusta, banana makes complete sense.

Belieber or not, here's the profile:
Image ... YItS8Q1wE=

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Postby doubleOsoul » May 16, 2019, 12:02 am

Some really great roasting notes here, and I particularly like Jim's idea of aging it for a month. I age a lot of aromatics (castoreum, ambergris, etc) for my other business so why not Robusta lol. I bought some greens last year and was a little unsure how I was going to roast them but this thread gives me a direction. :D
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