Roasting coffee with "evenness" as the goal - Page 5

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

Postby Almico » Aug 02, 2018, 12:26 pm

The RoastRite color analyzer came in very handy last week:

My local coffee importer rep brought back a dozens bags of a nice Honduras Pacamara microlot https://www.royalny.com/assets/img/coff ... s/5721.pdf from a recent trip. I excitedly put my name on one bag pending sample approval.

I received the 1# sample and did a medium roast, dropping about 2:15 into 1C. I cupped it the next morning and was very disappointed to find it exceedingly meh. I call this "hole in the donut coffee". Nothing offensive in the cup, no roast defects to speak of, just no sweetness or flavor either. Considering this is not and inexpensive coffee, I felt badly that I would have to renege on my commitment to purchase.

But before doing that, I suggested we get together and cup my roast, along with a sample roast that they prepared with their bank of Probat sample roasters. I'll admit, the thought was creeping into my head that it may be my relatively inexpensive air roaster was not capable of roasting this coffee well.

So we met up over the cupping table the past Tuesday and started slurping. Sure enough, each of their two roasts were bright and juicy and nuanced with terrific body. My kind of coffee. The roast I did was flat and boring like someone just sucked the life of it. It reinforced my concern, coupled with the thread How does high airflow strip flavor from the bean?, that somehow my roaster was deficient and I needed to spend $20-30K on a new drum roaster to take my game to the next level.

The fact that their roasts were great and mine was lacking did not solve my commitment to purchase dilemma. If my roaster couldn't make this coffee taste good, I would still have to turn it down.

Then came the RoastRite to the rescue. I ran out to my car to get it and started measuring the coffees. Their two samples measured 59/72 (bean/ground) and 60/73. Mine measured 54/50. That is quite a bit darker, but you could not tell that looking at the beans. My roast, when ground, did look darker, but without measuring, it was hard to quantify how much.

Now armed with more data, I suggested buying another sample and try roasting it again...lighter this time.

It would be nice having a roast development analyzer inside my roaster, but I went with best guess and dropped at 1:35, just when 1C was winding down. It measured 62/69 and as it turned out...close enough.

I brought what was left of the better of their two roasts along with my roast 2.0 to the bar and made a couple of pour overs.

I sipped both coffees back and forth for the better part on an hour and came away with a few things. First, I do not need a new drum coffee roaster in order to roast great coffees greatly. All my employees and including the market manager (who only drinks my coffee now) said they liked my roast better. She used the term "pickles" when describing her overall thought of the importer's roast. I didn't get pickles, but some sour, underdeveloped notes did creep in as it cooled.

My other takeaway was that their roast did have (after an hour back and forth) a bit more body along with being less developed, confirming (at least for this instance) the adage that drum roasted coffee can have more body than air roasted coffee. That said, if I was scoring these coffees for body, I would give their coffee no more than a half point increase. Maybe an 88.5 instead of 88. The difference was very subtle and if I wasn't A/Bing them back to back, I would not have picked it up.

The lesson there is written words on the internet can read black and white and not in appropriate degrees. When we read air roasted coffee has less body we think air roasted coffee is like tea water and drum roasted coffee like molasses. My findings from this very small sample is that more can mean very little more and hardly worth noting, as in this case.

So I'm very grateful for my new RoastRite analyzer. It wasn't cheap, but it may have saved me a pile of money on a new roaster.

As far as this thread goes, it seems the less "even" coffee won out over the more evenly, albeit darker roasted.
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EddyQ

Postby EddyQ » Aug 02, 2018, 10:05 pm

Lot of interesting experiments going on there Al. Thanks for posting!
I'm liking the data you are getting from the RoastRite.

Almico wrote:As far as this thread goes, it seems the less "even" coffee won out over the more evenly, albeit darker roasted.

.

Is it possible the lighter less "even" roast won because of roast level?

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Almico

Postby Almico » Aug 02, 2018, 10:45 pm

EddyQ wrote:Lot of interesting experiments going on there Al. Thanks for posting!
I'm liking the data you are getting from the RoastRite.

Is it possible the lighter less "even" roast won because of roast level?


I'm sure it is. But for now, it seems evenness goes hand in hand with roast level. I haven't figured out how to narrow roast level differentials on lighter roasts yet.

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trumz

Postby trumz » Aug 03, 2018, 3:35 am

Hi Alan,

How much lower was your drop temp between the first and second roast?

EddyQ

Postby EddyQ » Aug 03, 2018, 8:36 pm

Almico wrote: I haven't figured out how to narrow roast level differentials on lighter roasts yet.

. I'd bet dragging the roast out would help roast evenness, but then there would be a risk of baking them. I really like these experiments you are doing. I'd bet a very even roast, without being baked would be optimal. And maybe I am coming at it from a drum roaster perspective, where the beans likely get heated by a hot drum one second and cooled by air the next. The fluid bed may be different, but I'd bet the incoming air is not thoroughly mixed and has hot/cooler turbulents which hits the coffee. Even a Loring, where air is thoroughly mixed, still has a drum at some questionable temp that could cycle heat to the bean the same as any drum roaster. But your method of measuring this is great IMO. And once we can measure it, we have a chance at conquering the problem.

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Almico

Postby Almico » Aug 04, 2018, 8:50 am

trumz wrote:Hi Alan,

How much lower was your drop temp between the first and second roast?


I can't find my second roast, but this is the first, dead one:

Image

410* is a low drop point for me, so I can't imaging the shorter roast was much lower.

EddyQ wrote:. I'd bet dragging the roast out would help roast evenness, but then there would be a risk of baking them.


Could be. But so could hitting them hard in the beginning, building up pressure to utilize the "pressure cooker" effect. I would think that as the water pressure builds inside the bean, it would be easier for it to move inward rather than outward.

The good news is I really don't need to know how coffee roasting works; I just need to know how to do it. And that can be found through some relatively simple, but diligent experimentation.

I've been shooting from the hip up until now and trying to learn by memory, but I'm finally getting around to putting together my personal "Book of Roast".

This would entail:
logging every detail in Artisan's "roast properties" feature, including roast notes and Agtron #s,
printing the roast report,
cupping every coffee with the roast report in front of me
Uploading cupping notes in Artisan
Printing a final copy for the roastbook for future reference.

crunchybean

Postby crunchybean » Aug 04, 2018, 1:49 pm

Because my mouth is bigger than my foot.

You should have waited waited longer before turning the heat down into 1st crack. You could go faster through yellow but that will give you too much cellulose breakdown (syrupy but lots of potential for molasses if you spend too much time developing). So I believe more speed in through 1st and then slow down when it gets rolling. But I know nothing and you should take my advice with cream and sugar.

Rilleys

Postby Rilleys » Aug 07, 2018, 6:30 am

I agree that the air roasted coffee has less body but more clarity in the acidity but the body a bit different than the drum roasters. somehow the viscocity is thicker with the drum. I dont really have much success shooting for eveness in the roast as some of our local customers don't particularly liked it. I prefer to aim to roast according to the local customers taste above all else. Maybe other people do have success in getting evenness though