(Hopefully) Useful Home Roasting Tips - Page 5

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

#41: Post by Reality Check »

HB wrote: I don't think anyone would disagree, but Ken's point was:

It really pays to have others taste your results. And he does. Recently Ken asked me to evaluate some of his homeroast and I provided feedback he plans on using to refine his results.
A great point it was, however, it got somewhat buried, by placing Pros on Mount Olympus untouchable by mere mortal Home Roasters.

Ken Fox (original poster)

#42: Post by Ken Fox (original poster) replying to Reality Check »

It depends on how you define "professional roaster." Perhaps I should have been clearer. I was talking about the sorts of roasters one discusses on a coffee enthusiast site such as this one, the Counter Cultures, the Paradises, the Rocket Roasters, the Intelly's, those sorts of places. These are the sorts of roasters that forum members are likely to order coffee from, and the ones we hold up as being truly "professional."

If your point is that there are a lot of people who roast coffee commercially who do a bad job, selling poorly roasted and stale coffee for high prices, of course that is a given. Hopefully you don't compare your own roast product to that of these sorts of places, because that is exactly the line of reasoning that convinces many home roasters that they are god's gift to roasting. Likewise, comparing your home cooking to what one might be served at a Denny's may convince you that a team from Gourmet Magazine is about to knock on your door to request permission for a photo shoot.

And I repeat, most home roasted coffee is not very good, even though those producing it might think that it is. This is no comment on YOUR home roasted coffee, with which I am totally unfamiliar. I myself have produced some really bad home roast, and this is in spite of a lot of effort and good equipment. Hopefully, one learns from mistakes and moves forward, which is what I attempt to do.

ken
What, me worry?

Alfred E. Neuman, 1955

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farmroast

#43: Post by farmroast »

I understood Kens comment, that a TRUE pro. roaster (not the guy whose next job will be a car salesman) has so many more opportunities to hone their craft. Big bags of beans, many batches, customers for feedback, training workshops, travel to network etc. If we homeroasters have the desire to hone our craft it will just take longer and we will have to work with each other on a forum like this rather than share ideas with each other at the next convention or workshop.
Ed
LMWDP #167 "with coffee we create with wine we celebrate"

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mrgnomer

#44: Post by mrgnomer »

This has been talked about before. Pro vs. home roaster.

I find roasting is like espresso extraction. Takes some research, practice, experimentation to gain the experience to control/predict to some degree your results. If you're passionate about roasting the learning curve will probably be very steep and in a short time your roasts will be very good. But it takes practice.

It took me 3 years, over 5000 hours to get really good at a skilled trade. I can do now what I never thought I would be able to do. It's the little subtle things that took time to see, understand and control. Like a sport. Practice hard and work the fundamentals and you get good. I see home roasting and espresso extraction is like that for me.
Kirk
LMWDP #116
professionals do it for the pay, amateurs do it for the love

sdcoffeeroaster

#45: Post by sdcoffeeroaster »

I thought I'd try to dive into this thread and offer my idea that maybe we should all try to roast the same bean type and then exchange results with each other. I too have questioned the quality of my roasts now that I have a real live very repeatable bean probe for my BBQ. I feel as if I've been given the gift of sight and an extreme amount of control over the roast. Suddenly, like Ken, roasting is not the chore it once was and I can't wait to roast again sometimes.

But I'm reluctant to speed up my roasts because when I have in the past, they have looked mottled and almost burned. That could be too large of a load at one time too and maybe I just have to adjust to the idea that I can really only roast 3 lbs max to be able to reduce the times to 1st crack. I've already come to realize that 5 lbs is too much in my drum. Right now I target 11 min and 4 between 1st and when I pull the roast, usually just before or just into 2nd. 1st occurs right at 397-403 and 2nd at 428-432 F with just about every roast I've run with this new probe. I'm going to start by roasting a couple of batches at 8, 10, and 12 min to first, stop them at 426 f and see what that yields. In addition to Ken speaking of the benefits of a shorter time to 1st crack, a local commercial roaster I respect has said the same thing to me that 11-12 min might be too slow for optimal results and that he felt I should be trying for 9 min. If I keep hearing this from enough sources it might just sink in some day.

lparsons21

#46: Post by lparsons21 »

Ken Fox wrote:And I repeat, most home roasted coffee is not very good, even though those producing it might think that it is. This is no comment on YOUR home roasted coffee, with which I am totally unfamiliar. I myself have produced some really bad home roast, and this is in spite of a lot of effort and good equipment. Hopefully, one learns from mistakes and moves forward, which is what I attempt to do.

ken
I know you've said this before, but I don't know that I would agree with you. While the home roaster may not be producing what the pros do all the time, if I enjoy the end results, and my friends and family all think it is great, then it is. It may very well be different than what would come from the pros, but it doesn't make it bad.

Kind of like the pooh-poohing that goes on when someone talks about sugaring their espresso. Personally I don't like straight espresso shots, sugared or not. But I do like Cafe Cremas and Americanos, and I usually sugar them, and I like them made from quality beans, properly roasted, whether that's my roasting or someone else's.

I would think that the pro roaster has a big interest in repeatability, whereas I might not be as interested in that part of it. I enjoy the various flavors of different roasts of the same bean and usually have 4-6 1/2# roasts that I drink during the week. But if I buy from a pro, I know exactly what to expect and I want to get that from them every time I buy that particular blend.
Lloyd

seacliff dweller

#47: Post by seacliff dweller »

question is for ken fox:
ken,
I would like to know if you know of a way measuring the internal temperature of the coffee bean during roasting.
also, in your sample roaster, do you keep track of 2 temperatures or just one
George

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TimEggers

#48: Post by TimEggers replying to seacliff dweller »

I'll yield to Ken of coarse but I don't know of anybody who knows how to reliably read the internal temperature of the beans themselves during a roast. Typically temperatures are taken inside the tumbling bean mass.
Tim Eggers
http://www.facebook.com/TimEggers
LMWDP #202

seacliff dweller

#49: Post by seacliff dweller »

"I'll yield to Ken of coarse but I don't know of anybody who knows how to reliably read the internal temperature of the beans themselves during a roast. Typically temperatures are taken inside the tumbling bean mass"
tim,
that is what i thought - reading the surface temperature of the beans, but yet you read about internal temperatures all the time - how did they get the info - just a few beans for research purpose?
also, the other question is whether pid is useful in coffee roasting since the inflection point (endothermic to exothermic temperature) changes from species to species and maybe even from batch to batch, how do you program the pid? so ken's setup - probe with temperature readout the most you will need?
george

IMAWriter

#50: Post by IMAWriter »

Ken...sadly this was my first time to reads your fine posting here. Happily, I can say it is a wonderful treatise, a valuable resource, and most of all, written in a way that home roaster of all experience levels should tape to their walls next to the roaster of their choice.
The Stir Crazy/Convection combo afforded me an opportunity to adjust temperatures (certainly a bit more crudely than your equipment)...usually with good results. very easy to extend times between the middle to end of first and the onset of 2nd...also afforded users the ability to start a roast at a temp close to 350f.
The Behmor 1600, my roaster of choice these days, is a bit trickier to accomplish this stretch you so rightly recommend, but it is do-able with some experimentation, experience and patience.
I've copied and pasted your writing here, for MY future reference only!
I promise there will be no publication, reproduction, or other uses of this article without the express, written consent of Ken Fox and Major League Baseball. :lol:
Rob
LMWDP #187
www.robertjason.com