Cultivating sweetness with a Behmor roaster

Discuss roast levels and profiles for espresso, equipment for roasting coffee.
quality8453

#1: Post by quality8453 »

I have learned a fair amount from posts here regarding how to make the best of a Behmor roaster.

Recently I have bought some coffees that claim to offer sweetness in the flavor profile. I would like to roast to optimize this sweetness to the extent it is possible.

Using the Behmor 1600+ I usually do a preheat to 280°F or thereabouts, and I usually do 300g batches. About the only thing I vary from roast to roast is the amount of time between the end of first crack and the start of cooling. All roasts are done outdoors, so I use an external fan blowing on the Behmor (door open) to get the cooling done as quickly as possible.

A typical roast (taken from Behmor B-button thermocouple temps) looks like this:



Any wisdom or insight would be appreciated.

ira
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#2: Post by ira »

The only wisdom I have to give is, if you really care about learning to roast, you have the wrong roaster.

Ira

quality8453 (original poster)

#3: Post by quality8453 (original poster) »

Gee, thanks, really helpful.

ira
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#4: Post by ira »

Sorry, I've had a Behmor since the very beginning, Currently it's probably around the most highly hacked Behmor in the word and while admitting I'm not much of a roaster, even having essentially infinitely control over drum speed and heater power along with an actual bean temperature probe, I can't get 2 roasts in a row having the same or even close to the same profile. Everyone here who has moved on has said how much better their roasts became afterwards. If I hadn't got to the point where it made more sense to buy roasted coffee, I would have moved on to another roaster.

Ira

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Brewzologist
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#5: Post by Brewzologist »

This was my favorite recipe for the Behmor but I can't speak to whether it helped with sweetness. I enjoyed the Behmor and it was a great tool for the price and learning it provided. But I agree with Ira that the quality and repeatability of my roasts increased substantially when I upgraded to a different roaster. And I also debated for awhile whether to buy quality roasted coffee versus upgrading too. In my case I enjoyed the journey so I opted to go further into the roasting rabbit hole...

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mckolit

#6: Post by mckolit »

I would suggest cooling the beans by dumping them out. There's still a bunch of heat in the machine during the cooling cycle even with fans blowing into it. I went with the shopcav ban cooler. https://ineedcoffee.com/cooling-your-coffee-beans/ With this setup, I can at least cool the beans quickly and get more consistent results, at least with the cooling process.

rjacan

#7: Post by rjacan »

I have an original Behmor 1600 from 2012 and my roasts have significantly improved since adding the following the the past month:
1. bean temp probe (phidgets) and tracking with Artisan
2. switch to turn off the burners (since I have an original 1600 without the new controls)
3. switch to turn off the drum motor so I can pre-heat for 5 minutes then throw in the drum and insert bean probe
4. only roast 150g at a time

I'm finally getting roasts that I would be happy paying for :)

maccompatible

#8: Post by maccompatible »

My best roasts on my Behmor, before moving on to the Quest M3s for reasons others have already said, is to try to mimic what the better roasters do. I've realized that the only useful data A and B give is when the roaster is going to turn itself off (331 B temp), and when I can turn it back on for another batch (129 A temp).
So I used 1/3 to 1/2 pound batches tops, preheated on P1, and then loaded in at the 6 minute mark, or 12 minutes left on the timer. I used manual mode, and P5 until approaching the end of green. Then, switch to P4. Leave it there until it sounds like first crack is just getting ready to begin, then lower again to P3. Obviously I don't have curves to prove it, but the taste being so much better by incrementing the heat down at the same general time as drum roasters made the times make more sense (DE at 4 minutes, 1C at 7 minutes) and the flavors improved significantly too. I think stretching the middle and late phases really increases sweetness, and eliminates off flavors from slamming it with P5 the whole time.
"Wait. People drink coffee just for the caffeine??"
LMWDP #628

quality8453 (original poster)

#9: Post by quality8453 (original poster) »

ira wrote:Sorry, I've had a Behmor since the very beginning, Currently it's probably around the most highly hacked Behmor in the word and while admitting I'm not much of a roaster, even having essentially infinitely control over drum speed and heater power along with an actual bean temperature probe, I can't get 2 roasts in a row having the same or even close to the same profile. Everyone here who has moved on has said how much better their roasts became afterwards. If I hadn't got to the point where it made more sense to buy roasted coffee, I would have moved on to another roaster.
I'm familiar with some of your posts showcasing the Behmor you are referring to. That is part of why I am asking here.

Cards on the table, I'm sure I am not much of a roaster either, nor do I have a sophisticated palate. I'm just trying to get the best from what I have, and trying to distinguish between want$ and need$.

I should add a bit of information. I am brewing exclusively using a Hario V60. No espresso. I generally do not even get into 2C by design; all my roasts are finished between the end of 1C and the start of 2C.

My usual MO with a 300g batch is preheat to around 280°F to 300°F (depends a little on the ambient temperature, I usually try to roast only when the ambient temperature is between 68°F and 80°F), and then, put the drum in. Behmor is in manual mode, and I usually use the fast drum speed only. Once the beans are in, I usually switch between P5 and P4 in 15- or 30-second intervals to keep the temperature moving up, but at a decreasing rate as 1C approaches. The plot I posted is pretty typical.

Obviously one variable I can control is how long to roast after 1C ends. Another is how much heat to put in, particularly during 1C. Batch size and cooling method are others. I roasted for a long time without preheating, but I will agree that preheating does reduce the roast time (as much as two minutes for a 300g batch), which seems to be generally desirable.
mckolit wrote:I would suggest cooling the beans by dumping them out. There's still a bunch of heat in the machine during the cooling cycle even with fans blowing into it. I went with the shopcav ban cooler. https://ineedcoffee.com/cooling-your-coffee-beans/ With this setup, I can at least cool the beans quickly and get more consistent results, at least with the cooling process.
I agree, there is a lot of heat left in the machine, even with a strong fan blowing right on the drum. However I'm a little skeptical that a colander and a shop vac moves more air than the fan I am using. I put the Behmor in cooling mode, pull the chaff tray, and fire up the fan, as you can see:



Curiously, B-button temps seem to rise slightly after the fan starts blowing; I've noticed sometimes that if I check the temperature using the B-button after the machine is cooling, I may see 329°F and it seems that one can even experience Err2 shutdowns after cooling starts. But I digress.

I think I would try smaller batches before I would try a colander and a shop vac.

As an aside, I think many roasters, myself included, may have a blind spot for their own roasts. A vintner once related to me how he confines consumption of his own wines to <10% to keep him from starting to like his own stuff too much. Though I do purchase professionally roasted coffee from time to time I generally get stuff from Bodhi Leaf which is similar to what I am roasting. I'm not saying my roasts are good or bad, but I do not notice a huge difference, generally, nor do the folks who help me consume this coffee.

Anyway...
rjacan wrote:I have an original Behmor 1600 from 2012 and my roasts have significantly improved since adding the following the the past month:
[...]
4. only roast 150g at a time

I'm finally getting roasts that I would be happy paying for.
All the Sweet Maria's Behmor-focused articles say the same. Roast 150g-200g at once.
Brewzologist wrote:This was my favorite recipe for the Behmor but I can't speak to whether it helped with sweetness. I enjoyed the Behmor and it was a great tool for the price and learning it provided. But I agree with Ira that the quality and repeatability of my roasts increased substantially when I upgraded to a different roaster. And I also debated for awhile whether to buy quality roasted coffee versus upgrading too. In my case I enjoyed the journey so I opted to go further into the roasting rabbit hole...
Agreed, Behmor roasters are good for learning, but the proof is in the taste, and since I am halfway/kinda sorta satisfied with the coffee I get from my roasts, I'm not ready to spend significantly to upgrade. I just want to get the best that can be obtained from the machine with the life left in this Behmor I have, with minimal additional expense.

I looked at your spreadsheet, the detail is helpful but I am wondering about a couple of things. You seem to be cool with letting the B-button temperature fall. Is it wrong to think the bean temperature is falling if the B-button temperature is falling? Isn't it generally undesirable that the bean temperature falls before cooling? Urban myth?

Too, on my machine, when the fan starts (10:30 on the Behmor countdown for 1lb setting, 7:30 into the roast) I usually get a B-button temperature drop of 10° to 12°F, before it recovers, but it takes a few minutes with a 300g batch. I usually preheat using P5 (100%), then when the drum goes in, I alternate between P4 and P5 to keep the temperature moving up, as noted. But once the fan starts, it is P5 until the temperature recovers to 300°F or so, then I start cycling between P4 and P5 in 15- or 30-second intervals. You're deliberately dropping to P4 when the fan starts, which is not something I have tried.

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Brewzologist
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#10: Post by Brewzologist »

On the Behmor all you have is exhaust (A) and chamber (B) temps which are both measuring parts of the environment, not the bean.

On my drum roaster it is common for me to decrease heat as the roast progresses, which results in a leveling off and/or decrease in environmental temp. However the bean temp continues to rise, just more slowly, which generally leads to the best possible roast development.

The Behmor roast recipe in that spreadsheet more or less levels off the environmental temps* allowing the beans to continue rising slowly. Since I didn't have a bean probe, I inferred the beans developed more slowly because the sounds of first crack were less intense and slower than other methods. Try this and see if you like the taste using this recipe.

*Note: when the exhaust fan kicked in on the Behmor I stopped watching the B temp and turned my attention to the A temp because it seemed like the fan shifted which probe was reading the actual heat in the roaster.