New to Roasting - What bean?

Discuss roast levels and profiles for espresso, equipment for roasting coffee.
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#1: Post by LBIespresso »

I have never owned a roaster but I have taken a couple of hands on classes. I have also read a ton here as well as watched many hours of videos on Youtube. I have a drum roaster on order and figured I would post a few questions on here all with the lead in of "New to Roasting - XXXXX"

I hope other new roasters will be able to use this to find thoughts and opinions on these topics more easily. My first question(s):

What is a good bean to start out with? How many roasts worth should I order?

I have read that it is good to stick with one bean for a while until you learn that bean and your roaster a bit better. I would love to hear your opinions on a specific bean to start or even a general direction (Natural Vs. Washed or Origen etc...).

LMWDP #580

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#2: Post by Almico »

I would get a nice Narino Colombia both green (10#) and roasted (12oz) from the same supplier.

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#3: Post by LBIespresso » replying to Almico »

Thanks Alan!

I should clarify that the roaster is a Cormorant and I assume I will be roasting 1# batches (since I read that in general, 80% of stated capacity is likely best batch size). Do you think 10# is enough?
LMWDP #580

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#4: Post by baldheadracing »

My first roaster had a capacity of 170g, and I started with 20lbs., which works out to about 50 roasts. I am a slow learner, so maybe half of that - a couple dozen roasts' worth - is a better target. (I also got awfully tired of that coffee by the end of those 50 roasts, even though I did have other coffees.)

I used a washed Guat, but any coffee that works at a variety of roast levels would be good. Washed coffees are probably easier to start with as well. As a first coffee, I'd avoid choosing a coffee at extremes, like acidic Kenyans or rustic Sumatra's. (I'd still say to at least try these coffees eventually.)

If it is a brand new roaster, then you'll usually want some seasoning greens as well. Mill City has a nice video on seasoning your roaster ...
What I'm interested in is my worst espresso being fantastic - James Hoffmann

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#5: Post by GC7 »

Good luck. I would stick with a wet process coffee as they are easier to roast and to reproduce results.

Burman Coffee has a few different varieties from Colombia, Mexico, Nicaragua and Peru on sale for $3.99 per pound. Browse through their offerings and pick one or more of them that suit your taste. Their beans are first rate and you will be back for their more expensive choices in no time.

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#6: Post by TomC »

Everyone's point above is solid. But I'm not 100% on the need for "seasoning" a drum personally. If it were me teaching someone how to roast, I'd tell them to get 20 pounds of a washed Guatemalan that doesn't break the bank and learn how to achieve good results in the cup at various roast levels, aiming for the ability to repeat a profile.

I second the idea of buying the same bean roasted and green to check yourself. It might up the price, but it's going to be worth it in the long run. Any quality roaster like Klatch is going to have the profile already dialed in.

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#7: Post by bean2friends »

Wet process for sure. I just roasted the last pound of a 5 pound lot of Brazil from Sweet Maria's. It's Pedra Branca. It's a good coffee. But, it defies me in my Huky roaster. I've roasted well over 500 roasts in my Huky. And this dry process just won't behave. Almost every other coffee starts 1st crack at 390F. This one waits till almost 400. And then it wants to take off. It's very unpredictable, and like most dry processed coffees it has a huge amount of chaff.

I do like getting the same green and roasted coffee. I've done that with Klatch, and Paradise, also with Metropolis with their Redline Espresso.


#8: Post by treq10 »

I pretty much agree with the others' suggestions.

I'd add that it's critical to use greens that are free of defects. In the beginning, the better the quality of greens, the more easily you will be able to detect what is a roast issue vs. flaw of the greens. For something like this, a nice fresh crop washed Guatemalan would really fit the bill, just as TomC advised.

I started my roasting journey with some bad greens and had the worst time triangulating my technique issues...Generally, you want to understand how each of the different tools you have affects flavor in the cup - heat, charge weight, roast time, airflow quantity, development. Each roaster is unique in its ability to apply these variables, so the best thing to do is roast, cup, repeat while trying to isolate the impact of a single variable each time. That's been my experience...

Happy roasting!


#9: Post by SJM »

Oooooooh, this one from Burmans would be a great place to start: ... s-organic/

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#10: Post by baldheadracing »

TomC wrote:But I'm not 100% on the need for "seasoning" a drum personally.
I'd say seasoning, in and of itself, is only needed to prevent rust on cast iron/carbon steel surfaces in the drum (if there are any). However, a brand new roaster could have any manner of leftovers of the production process. In smaller roasters, one can remove and clean the drum and various components before first use, but in other roasters drum removal isn't practical. Running a roast or two through will hopefully accomplish the same thing as cleaning.
What I'm interested in is my worst espresso being fantastic - James Hoffmann