Standardising the light source for roasting

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

Postby luca » May 13, 2019, 7:51 am

Hi All,

Some friends and I are in the middle of bringing my Quest back to life and having another crack at home roasting. I think I'll try to hunt down a cheap lamp to illuminate the window in the hopes of making the colour changes easier to spot, especially if I'm roasting without good natural light. Does anyone know if there is any sort of standard industry spec for what sort of lighting one should use?

My quick google on this threw up this 350 Euro lamp, which is an LED with colour temperature of 5000k. Loring's manual says the roasting area should be well lit. I couldn't see that probat has anything to say about it.

Cheers,
Luca
LMWDP #034 | 2011: Q Grader Exam, Brewer's Cup #3, Australian Cup Tasting #1

OldNuc

Postby OldNuc » May 13, 2019, 8:57 am

You want the highest Ra you can find or you will have no idea what the actual color is. Then you a eye test for color sensitivity.

crunchybean

Postby crunchybean » May 13, 2019, 12:13 pm

The fixture (lamp) doesn't matter but the bulb does. Something in the 90's of the color spectrum (blue-white) and get something made by a big company so you can use the same bulb year after year. I tried finding the article by Willem Boot in Roast Magazine where he talked about lighting but couldn't find it.

Roasting isn't as easy as just tastings coffee..burn, jk. It's is also not an easy task to master. It also requires lots of trial and error. The best way is to find a place that sells green and roasted and then roast the green try and copy the roasted. Then try and roast it better. Then try and roast like Starbucks and Maxwell and then the champs. Keeping track of what changes you made on each roast (limiting the variables), keep detailed notes on those changes (what was good/bad) and roasts for reference. Take your clipboard/notebook to the cupping table. There is no better tool for a roaster than cupping, but taking a roast and also putting it through espresso, V60/drip, aeropress is priceless. Try and limit the variables. The closer to an actual real scientific experiment you can perform the fast the learning curve will be. Good luck.

OldNuc

Postby OldNuc » May 13, 2019, 12:21 pm

You also want a wide spectrum source. The Ra and spectrum are not the same thing. LEDs are monochromatic sources so getting wide spectrum and a high Ra requires a bit of research. The usual gro lamps are a good place to start.

User avatar
Peppersass
Supporter ♡

Postby Peppersass » May 13, 2019, 12:33 pm

Since I need AC for the roaster, shop-vac and computer, I use an old AC-powered halogen light I had laying around. The roaster plugs directly into an outlet and the rest of the AC gear plugs into the AV cart, which plugs into an outlet on a different circuit. Halogen bulbs have much higher Ra than most LED bulbs and are quite bright.

The light isn't on in these photos, but you can see the lamp to the right of the roaster.

Image

Image

OldNuc

Postby OldNuc » May 13, 2019, 6:59 pm

A good halogen bulb would be high on my first choice list for this application. The only downside is they get real hot.

EddyQ

Postby EddyQ » May 13, 2019, 8:28 pm

I recently replaced the 220V compact fluorescent lamp on my North TJ-67 with a Satco 8.5W (60W) 3000K 120-277V LED that has a claimed CRI of 80. Obviously higher CRI, like >90 is better. But LED 220V E26 base bulbs are hard to find. Unfortunately, I must report that it is horrid. I can no longer tell when my beans turn from green to yellow to tan. The compact florescent is better.
I wonder if I can get a halogen for 220V with E26 base?

happycat

Postby happycat » May 13, 2019, 9:31 pm

luca wrote:Hi All,

Some friends and I are in the middle of bringing my Quest back to life and having another crack at home roasting. I think I'll try to hunt down a cheap lamp to illuminate the window in the hopes of making the colour changes easier to spot, especially if I'm roasting without good natural light. Does anyone know if there is any sort of standard industry spec for what sort of lighting one should use?

My quick google on this threw up this 350 Euro lamp, which is an LED with colour temperature of 5000k. Loring's manual says the roasting area should be well lit. I couldn't see that probat has anything to say about it.

Cheers,
Luca


Did you want to share the challenges you had before?

You probably need to use the trier to get accurate colour anyway.

You have lots of nice credentials in your sig... maybe some thermocouples and software are in your near future?
LMWDP #603

User avatar
luca

Postby luca » May 14, 2019, 6:11 am

Hi guys,

Thanks for the feedback. I had no idea about CRI, but all makes sense. I'll go for something high CRI or full spectrum.

crunchybean wrote:Roasting isn't as easy as just tastings coffee..burn, jk. It's is also not an easy task to master. It also requires lots of trial and error. The best way is to find a place that sells green and roasted and then roast the green try and copy the roasted. Then try and roast it better. Then try and roast like Starbucks and Maxwell and then the champs. Keeping track of what changes you made on each roast (limiting the variables), keep detailed notes on those changes (what was good/bad) and roasts for reference. Take your clipboard/notebook to the cupping table. There is no better tool for a roaster than cupping, but taking a roast and also putting it through espresso, V60/drip, aeropress is priceless. Try and limit the variables. The closer to an actual real scientific experiment you can perform the fast the learning curve will be. Good luck.


happycat wrote:Did you want to share the challenges you had before?

You probably need to use the trier to get accurate colour anyway.

You have lots of nice credentials in your sig... maybe some thermocouples and software are in your near future?


I got pretty great roasts on the Quest using the following procedure:
1. Find and read Jim Schulman's instructions.
2. Follow them.

I'm pretty sure that if you don't do step 1 properly, but do step 2 properly, you can probably still get pretty good results. When I was roasting, it was way back in the dark ages when coffee roasters in Melbourne would put on fairly big blind cuppings for the public on weekends. I'd bring some home roast along every now and then when I had some good green and they always performed well. So I certainly didn't stop home roasting because of difficulty in getting good roast quality. I'm also not for one minute suggesting that lighting was an issue. Rather, since I'm going to buy a lamp, I might as well buy something that's good.

The reason main reason why I stopped roasting was because my element burnt out. Fixing it was work, and it didn't seem worth it, since I found it very difficult to buy green that I liked - remember that I'm in Australia, there aren't many suppliers.

So what has changed?

Well, for one thing, I have changed my brewing equipment and set my sights on the high-wire act of espresso from fairly light roasted coffee. Unfortunately, there's not really much on the market here that does that well. Most espresso roasts have roast type characteristics like black pepper, roast beef, smoke, etc, and I find that I'm really sensitive to that. Most filter roasts tend to be a bit vegetal, lacking in sweetness and fruit and very difficult to work with through an espresso machine. Overseas, there are many commercial roasts that are suitable both for espresso and for filter coffee, but there isn't much here. Even with educated guesses, I'm finding that probably 30-50% of the coffee that I buy isn't really enjoyable. That starts to get expensive. So the last thing that I want to do is to try to emulate commercial roasts here.

For another thing, one of the obstacles to getting the quest refurbished is that you need either time or expertise. I happen to have lucked out and had some friends volunteer a bit of each; one has already taken delivery of some custom thermocouples for me and we've got a TC4 on the way. I gather that once we fix the element, it should be pretty straightforward to hook all of this up to artisan and eliminate the need to fumble through trying to log info by hand (which was pretty futile).

Of course, all of this leaves the big question mark of how I'm going to find good green coffee to roast. That's very much a problem that I'm going to have to work through.

Cheers,
Luca
LMWDP #034 | 2011: Q Grader Exam, Brewer's Cup #3, Australian Cup Tasting #1

OldNuc

Postby OldNuc » May 14, 2019, 10:52 am

There are specific rather high priced photo flood lamps that provide excellent illumination.