How much of a batch of green coffee do you buy?

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

Postby Elfmaze » Mar 18, 2019, 10:27 am

I have a house hold of two, rarely entertain. so I go through 18 to 32grams of coffee a day. So if I wanted to get into roasting I would think 250 to 500 gram batch size is about right...

But onto the greens. I am reading that sometimes a batch of a particular bean just will not develop right and it may take several runs at a roast to get a flavor you prefer. So is buying a variety of beans at a lb each, or 5lbs+ of a single variety and playing with it before moving on a better strategy to get into playing with roasting?

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spromance

Postby spromance » Mar 18, 2019, 10:41 am

Hi Dan,

IMO, batch size will mainly be determined/restricted by what you roast on. Not that thinking about ideal batch sizes isn't good to do, it just may steer your buying decision for equipment, depending how flexible you are. As an example, my roaster can roast up to 200 or maybe even 225g in decent time frames...but, really, I end up roasting batches more around 175g so that I have a bit better control while roasting (and usually so that the bean inners get adequate development). SO, since I need more than 175g/week for consumption, I just end up roasting 2-3 batches each time I roast, and stay flexible about when I need to roast again (depending how fast I move through my roasted stock). Hope those are some helpful thoughts about batch size.

As far as greens, imo, the temptation as a beginner is to try everything at once (which is what I did for 2+ years). Nothing wrong with that if you're primarily interested in variety and/or seeing how different origins/varietals turn out in your roaster. But, if you're wanting the best version of a coffee you can turn out in your roaster, I'd highly recommend picking one origin and doing it over and over and over. Taking notes along the way, learning to taste how the aspects of the cup change with different roast approaches, maximizing what you like about the coffee, etc.

Again, I used to buy a bunch of different green because I wanted to have a fun, fruity African around, and a nice round sweet Central around, etc...but, I've shifted to buying boxes from Royal (22lbs) and sticking with that single bean for 3-4 months. Maybe sounds boring/monotonous...but, it has really helped me improve by only being able to work with one bean at a time. Good luck! There's no wrong way you can go as you dive in and experiment, it just kind of depends on what kind of experience you're looking for.

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bean2friends

Postby bean2friends » Mar 18, 2019, 12:56 pm

Yeah, I agree. There's no right or wrong way. I've done it both ways. I understand that if I stick to one bean I'll likely develop my roasting skills better and get the best out of that bean. But, life is short. And, I'm not convinced that my tastes are sufficiently developed that I'd know the difference.
What I do know is that I seldom get what I would consider a roast defect. I figure buying good quality beans and then paying attention to my roast, I always end up with at least pretty good tasting coffee. It always pleases me.
Right now, I'm buying mostly 2 pounds of each coffee at a time. 10, two pound bags from Sweet Maria's gives me lots of variety, which I enjoy and a decent shipping price.

Although, as I get closer to better weather, I'm thinking about a 10 or 20 pound bag of Sweet Blue from Theta Ridge. Everyone I roast for likes that.

Elfmaze

Postby Elfmaze » Mar 19, 2019, 2:55 am

This is true, I didn't think about how fast roasting cycles are. I'm coming from a beer brewing background where each batch takes 6 hours. With 15 min roasts running the machine twice is not the end of the world

Elfmaze

Postby Elfmaze » Mar 19, 2019, 6:37 pm

For what its worth, I'm not exactly approaching roasting with the mindset of perfecting roasting, although I do not know many other approaches to life :roll: .

I am more in it for the economics($6 a lb vs $20lb roasted), freshness, and better storage of greens vs having to drive a half hour each way to a roaster twice a month.

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spromance

Postby spromance » Mar 19, 2019, 10:12 pm

Gotcha, fair enough. No one need feel pressure to roast to someone else's standard by any means. Again, I definitely think variety in green stock keeps things fun and exciting for what you get to drink at home (vs a more monotonous sole type of green approach). Again, it all really depends on how your expectations for coffee quality vs how your initial results (talent/luck) with roasting turn out. For me, I did such a bad job at roasting for a long time at the beginning, although the variety of origins/green tasted unique from each other, they all tasted similar in one regard: they all tasted bad, lol :lol: That's not actually to discourage though, because if it's not clear, the core of the issue wasn't me using a variety of greens, but just not having a good working knowledge of my roasting equipment. In my case, switching to one green helped me start to really learn my equipment so that I could begin to use it in a way that (usually) produces good flavors across any given coffee I'm roasting. So, I guess you could say my green stock strategy was really more compensating for a general lack of skill in roasting, than it was about 'perfecting' my skills in roasting, haha.

So, by all means, don't avoid variety if having different greens around interests you. As long as the roasts are tasting good to you, you're good - that's the goal for all of us!

baldheadracing

Postby baldheadracing » Mar 20, 2019, 1:08 am

Elfmaze wrote:For what its worth, I'm not exactly approaching roasting with the mindset of perfecting roasting, although I do not know many other approaches to life :roll: .

I am more in it for the economics($6 a lb vs $20lb roasted), freshness, and better storage of greens vs having to drive a half hour each way to a roaster twice a month.

If you're more in it for economics, then keep in mind that greens are usually less expensive the more you buy.

After I read in this forum about how to freeze coffee - both green and roasted - then I never again bought small quanities. I get 10lbs at a time, but I limit myself to four varieties - to avoid ending up with a freezer full of coffee :lol:.

When I started out on an iRoast (like the currently-available Freshroast), I bought lots of samplers and small quantities, but eventually I bought 20lbs of a coffee that was flexible - one that tastes good at a variety of roast levels, and is forgiving to a roaster like myself who wants '80% of the results with 20% of the effort.' I learned a lot roasting those 20 lbs, but even today I have absolutely no desire to drink a washed Guatamalan :) .
What I'm interested in is my worst espresso being fantastic - James Hoffmann

happycat

Postby happycat » Mar 20, 2019, 8:43 am

Elfmaze wrote:I have a house hold of two, rarely entertain. so I go through 18 to 32grams of coffee a day. So if I wanted to get into roasting I would think 250 to 500 gram batch size is about right...

But onto the greens. I am reading that sometimes a batch of a particular bean just will not develop right and it may take several runs at a roast to get a flavor you prefer. So is buying a variety of beans at a lb each, or 5lbs+ of a single variety and playing with it before moving on a better strategy to get into playing with roasting?


I have a half pound roaster.

My wife and I go through a lot more than you do.. prob 70-100g per day.

I usually buy 5lb and 10lb bags of green to save money, choosing a couple of varietals. Say a Brazil, a Central American and an African or SE Asian.

I run 3-4 batches to roast for the week. If I am doing well, the coffee has time to age a bit before consumption but I am a procrastinator so often I do a bunch because we're running out soon.

That being said, I recently started buying 1 kg bags of greens at Ethiopian markets, which brought some fun back into the game. Being in a production mode for years did get a bit wearying. But that's largely a function of my doing lots of roasting late at night on a Sunday :D just to "get it done".... although it always tasted good with a Rao style curve.
LMWDP #603

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PapasCup

Postby PapasCup » Mar 20, 2019, 9:00 am

New poster to this forum, but been home-roasting for 20yrs. If I'm reading correctly, you haven't started roasting yet. From your daily usage, starting with smaller batch sizes of 250 gms would be reasonable and roasted weight will be less than green bean weight. I started with an electric 225gm capacity drum roaster that served me well and we go through ~60gms a day for just the two of us. I would do 2-3 roasts at a time because I didn't want to roast every 3-days. Choosing the amount to buy is so different across different people, is based on consumption and not allowing a roast to be stored so long that it stales.

When you are first starting to home-roast, focus on learning to roast with your senses and some basic understanding of how to roast. Roast as much as you will consume in a week or so, but some people like to roast every 3 days. You'll find your "comfort zone" with home-roasting and it can also be affected by proper storage of your roast. I use our Food-saver with the mason jar attachment and seal my roasts in glass mason jars. But, there's lots of ways to do it, especially if you plan to store roasts for longer than a few days.

One thing is for sure, roasting your own coffee = fresh coffee. What you buy (roasted) in stores is rarely labeled as to the "roast date" and usually stale by the time you open the bag. :wink:

Elfmaze

Postby Elfmaze » Mar 22, 2019, 11:48 am

happycat wrote: Being in a production mode for years did get a bit wearying. But that's largely a function of my doing lots of roasting late at night on a Sunday :D just to "get it done".... although it always tasted good with a Rao style curve.


This is honestly a concern of mine...I am finding in life that the little weekly tasks are dragging me down a bit, Mowing the lawn, cleaning the hot tub, weeding the garden, laundry, dishes, Its like my whole week is already full of routine tasks. Had a cleaning girl for a while till she quit on me and I never got a replacement.

So I have a If I can do it why would I pay someone to do it for me attitude. But trying to take on too much can drain you.