Roast and Learn Together - December 2013

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

December's coffee is a fine Ethiopian Washed Gedeo Yirga-Cheffe, likely one of the best of that region this year (I say region, because being an exchange coffee, its not possible to nail down a specific co-op). Frankly, as long as it's kept relatively light, it's a hard coffee to screw up. There is a cornucopia of flavor attributes in the cup, wonderfully structured acidity that isn't anywhere near the sour side of the spectrum. I only wish I bought more while it lasted.

We're going to follow on with the same basic structure that Dave and I had aimed for initially, with only one small add-on for clarity sake, and to make these long threads easier to digest. In each members post who wishes to profile and dialogue, we ask that you name your roaster, and your charge weight in the first sentence or thereabouts of the post. In addition, I'd strongly urge members to consider consolidating their updates as far as cupping goes, in the same post. It will make for a much easier to read thread, that won't run on quite as long. I don't want to spend 45 minutes bouncing between 15 different pages of posts, just so I can get a picture of what you're talking about. Simply starting your cupping notes by date post roast and your updates will communicate more linearly. So, please go back and edit your main post with cupping updates and that way, we'll all know exactly where to look. Any other comments or questions, whatnot, can of course be dialogued separately wherever you like. I will redo a few more profiles and update this post as well.

Artisan graphs are useful to ourselves, and less so, to others. I only share mine for charge temp and overall time, and a bit of a glimpse of the whole profile, but they don't serve well to be dissected and over analyzed due to the endless variables affecting each individual roaster.

With that said, here's my second profile, using 180g charge weight on my modified Quest M3. The coffee from this profile is long since gone, but from my notes, it's front loaded with the most incredible peach nectar sweetness I've seen in a very long time. It's likely the sweetest cup I've had since the Cera Azul AAA Geisha. It cups quite complex with many other notes balancing out the peach, plenty of soft tea and jasmine. I only made notes on 24 hours out, and then 3 days out. The rested coffee finishes longer, lingers well. Don't be afraid to let this coffee sit anywhere from 4-9 days, it will improve until about 9 or so.

As to a general approach for this coffee, it's a perfect candidate for a slow start-fast finish at slightly lower overall temps. I allowed plenty more time than normal from the beginning of dry, thru the yellow, yellow gold stage on thru the ramp to 1C. I see little to be gained by letting this coffee drag beyond the end of 1C.


12/8 Brewing/tasting notes:

This coffee certainly fades very slowly. This latest batch still exhibits are the clear, resonant, delicate retro-nasal aromatics as well as peach tea sweetness. I remember my previous batch having a more syrupy sweetness whereas this batch is a bit lighter. I'd judge my latest version a tad underdeveloped. Certainly no rich caramelization notes or cocoa. The ever so slight sour enveloping tanginess might be able to be nudged out with just a tad more p1C development time.

I find this coffee an interesting detour of many of my other Ethiopians on hand, in that, it's not a coffee dominated by berries of any kind. There's stone fruit, but it's extremely clean.

12/11 Brewing/tasting notes:
I was surprised to see this coffee turn significantly more sour and undrinkable. The sourness overwhelmed all the other fine aromatics and the peach tea notes. Like I mentioned on the 8th, it needs more p1C dev time.
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#2: Post by tamarian »

Roaster: I use a PID'ed 4 inch pipe gas-fired fluid bed. Charge is usually 1lb, but can go from 100g to 1kg. Drop in temp is usually room temperature.
Goal: I roast mostly for espresso.
Roaster calibration: Drys at 160C, 1C starts at 200C ends at 213C, 2C starts at 229C

Plan: This month I'd like to optimize the way I do things to nail a profile faster. In the November thread I did a fast and slow roast, found out the November bean does well on fast roasts, then did a fast roast with sampling at various roast levels. With this December bean I'll try it the other way around. Start with a 10 minute sampling roast (neither fast, nor slow, for my fluid bed), dropping samples near end of 1C, and every 2 degrees from there on till Full City. Once I find the best roast level I like, I'll reach it fast, slow, extended, gentle 1C entry and aggressive 1C entry, with small batch roasts to hopefully nail the best possible profile. Would love to hear others' strategy on how to optimize the workload in nailing a roast.

First roast: Dec 3rd., 1 lb. cupping/sampling roast, 1C in 7 minutes, end of 1C at 9 min, dropped half the charge at end of 1C for brewing and cupping and continued dropping samples every 2C degrees for espresso. This will gives me 6 roast levels to cup next day, and shots to pull after 4 days.

Cupping notes:

Dec. 4th (next day). So I had 6 samples, the darker 3 samples are all at the same temp, because I accidentally forgot the exit chute open.

S1: just at end of 1C, at 214C, 2 minutes after start of FC
S2: at 217C, 2:30 minutes after start of 1C
S3: at 220C, 2:50 minutes after start of 1C

S1: honey fragrance, very strong citric acidity, lemon.
S2: honey and spice fragrance, balanced sweetness vs. acidity, hints of vanilla
S3: honey. spice, lemon, lavender, very sweet, medium acidity, more complex and pronounced flavours.

S1 reminds me of good cascara, sweet very tangy. Interesting brew, but overpowers other flavours.
S2 was very aromatic and floral, more balanced acidity vs. sweetness and may work for both brewing and espresso.
S3 lost nothing of the S2 aromatics, lost some acidity and added more sweetness. Added some cocoa, and hints of rose water. Looking forward to pulling some shots.

I'm guessing city+ to full city for SO espresso. But due to not getting more samples, and screwing up the darker samples, might do another small roast to fill the gap between S2 and S3 and get a darker S4, so I can then pick a roast level and start profiling it.

Dec 7th (4 days after): Espresso shots

S1: Great first sip, sweet lemonade, when it cooled down, it was harsh, sink shot.
S2: Had only enough for one shot, no room to change temperature, also a sink shot. The acids were just harsh.
S3: Same as S2.
S1. S2, S3 all had plenty of sweetness, the acids were just harsh, unpleasant, unbalanced and overpowering anything else found while cupping.

Conclusion: My initial sampling roast was too fast for espresso, acceptable for brewing. This bean may do better on slow profiles. I'm a dry-processed Ethiopian bean junkie and have no experience with washed Yirga Cheffe. Next plan of action:

1. Repeat sampling roast, with a much slower profile, I'll particularly extend the ramp to at least 4 minutes, drying to 5 minutes, extend 1c to 3 minutes.
2. Practice my routine of pulling samples, cooling them and logging them. The fast pace of pulling close samples while coordinating everything can be overwhelming. Actually thinking of writing down a procedure on the wall in front of me and the numbered sampling cups lined up in the correct order!

Second roast Dec 7th: 1 lb slow profile, 9 minutes to 1c, with 5 samples dropped at 215C, 217C, 219C, 221C and drop at 223C:

Dec 11th, 4 days after second sampling roast: (shots pulled as 17.5 grams dose, giving 25-30g espresso in about 30 seconds.
Started with S5 (darkest sample, dropped at 223C): Not bad at all, may need more rest, and dialing in, but it was good, sweet, mild acidity, medium body. Drinkable as SO.
Dec 13th: Pulled a shot with S3, and this one made a very good espresso. I'm thinking more rest will make it great. It was sweet, comfortably bright with medium body and quite fruity.
Will wait a day or two for further sampling, but I'm now optimistic about the Gedeo for espresso.
Dec 20th: S1 and S2 are even better, 10 days pas roast.
A slower roast for this bean is much better than a faster roast, but still more work is needed to fine-tune the profile. Might do several alterations in small batches to see if I can nail it before the end of December.
Dec 22nd: Pulled all remaining samples. The slower profile produced a good espresso, bright and sweet, my favorite is S2, but it muted other flavors. So while good as espresso, it's waste of good coffee to use for SO espresso, and I'll now focus on it for brewing, and may test it for blending.


#3: Post by pShoe »

Last Update 12/29

Roaster: Quest M3 w/ black drum and EricS probes
Experience: Novice

Roast Session One: Dec. 4th

Update 12/4:
Roasting Notes:This is the first time roasting since painting the drum black. My drying time and 1C time were faster, substantially in the scheme of things. This is perfect, because I was hoping to gain some flexibility, and that is exactly what this mod did. I believe I can easily achieve 3-6 min dry times now. Before, ~5 min dry times seemed to be my limitation. The energy storage is pretty impressive now. My MET was so low during my second roast, but I still hit my timings as I intended. The recorded MET would have resulted in a completely stalled roast pre painted drum. I tried a different drying method for my second batch. I kinda winged the new drying settings (7.5A:6F). I think I used to much fan. I hit drying around 6:00, which was my goal. However, the color was slightly more pale than it should have been at the drying temp, so I think the roast will be noticeably bad. I really like using smell to determine when drying is over and I could not do that with the new drying routine. I went back to normal operations for batch 3. I'll revisit new drying methods when I've researched them more.

Batch One: Ended at end of 1C

Charge Weight: 150g
Profile: 3:42 - 3:42 - 1:37
Charge Temp: 204
Turn Point: 1:30
Dry: 151 @ 3:42
1C: 193 @ 7:24
EoR: 212 @ 9:11

Batch Two: Ended at around end of 1C

Charge Weight: 150g
Profile: 5:48 - 3:08 - 1:45
Charge Temp: 202
Turn Point: 1:31
Dry: 156 @ 5:48
1C: 198 @ 8:56
EoR: 214 @ 10:41

Batch Three: Ended at end of 1C

This was the best profile I roasted, but could benefit from a longer dry time, and possible a slightly longer DT

Charge Weight: 150g
Profile: 4:50 - 3:58 - 2:12
Charge Temp: 204
Turn Point: 1:37
Dry: 150 @ 4:50
1C: 196 @ 8:48
EoR: 212 @ 11:00

update Dec 7th:
I understand it's likely due to my lack of tasting talent, but I've never found the standard cupping procedure to bring out a coffee's potential. I don't have a way to make multiple pour overs at one time, but I do have a few small french presses. That is how I did my "cupping." I'm not big on FP either, but I did find it better than traditional cupping. I didn't mention all this just to waste your time, but because I didn't pick up on clear distinct flavors in the cup. I believe, actually I know this is due to the preparation and not the coffee. At least I was able to determine which I liked the most.

While I don't like FP, the prepared coffee was enjoyable. I wouldn't mind drinking this coffee as a FP, and that in itself should say something about this coffee. My girlfriend and I cupped the coffees blind and we placed the three roasts exactly the same way. Roast 3, 1, than 2. This was really splinting hairs. Obviously, because it's the same coffee roasted the the same degree. Diffrent profiles though, which does make a diffrence. This was more so true with roast 3 and 1. The coffees were allowed to cool and we tasted them again. No defects detected at all. The cool coffee had a nice sweetness, no bitterness still bright. Roast 3 edged out the others due to a more pleasing body, slightly more complex, better finish, and linger. I pretty much guessed it was roast 3 because this was the only roast that had any kind of development after 1C. Roast 2 was flat compared to the others. My girlfriend, a much better taster, mentioned maple syrup, citrus and fruity notes during the cupping session.

update 12/9:
I brewed roast three with a nel drip. There was a lemonade taste I've never gotten from another coffee with tea and honey. I like it but still enjoy a more fruit loaded DP Ethiopian more.

To my preference, I don't think a long warm-up/drying leads to the best cup for this coffee. This is based on the limited tasting from the 3 roasts, so take that inference with a large grain of salt.

Goals for next roast: Try to get the profile equally proportionate. More specifically, ensure I slow the roast down going into 1C to allow better development. Taste, tweak, roast again... After my tasting I'll be shooting for a 3-3-3 profile and a 4-4-4 to compare. I would not go over a 4 min dry time with this coffee.

Roast Session Two: Dec. 11th

Update 12/11:
I roasted close to 2.5lbs tonight (7 batches). The largest roasting session I can recall preforming. I'm leaving tomorrow for a pretty long trip, and this coffee will be used during that time. I tried ending the roast 30 secs after the end of 1C, but I didn't hit that most of the time. The roast speed up a little too fast. Two roasts likely won't be making the trip because they stalled too much in the post 1C phase. I'll brew them tomorrow morning to see if they are as bad as I think they will be. I should have some good notes when I get back.

Update 12/12:
Espresso Note: One of my roasts last night held steady (stalled) for ~2 mins after end of 1C. I figured this might take out enough brightness from the coffee to make a good espresso. I ground much finer than normal, increased my normal dose (22g), and increased the brew temp. It turned out nice. It was a bit acidic at first but mellowed out a lot when it cooled a little. Easily picked up on lemon and citrus notes. Not a lot of balance and the finish leaves something to be desired. This is not an amazing SO espresso, but it can definitely be a great blend component. I've pulled plenty SO espresso that go right down the sink. At least this was drinkable. Most likely because of the extra prepartions I took. Bottom line: This wouldn't be my go to SO, but it is passable for one. The same roast brewed is flat.

Update 12/23:

Cupping Notes from 2nd Roast Sessions:

Aeropress: I hardly got a handle on this coffee. There is no doubt I haven't nailed down the perfect roast to showcase its potential. Nevertheless, I have achieve good roasts, which I can draw some conclusions on. My main take away is: This was a harder coffee to roast than November's. Perhaps this WP Ethiopian has a narrower range of acceptable roats parameters. Maybe this is partly true for most WP Ethiopians...? Based on this coffee, and another WP Ethiopian I roasted recently, I have a feeling my preference is for DP Ethiopians. I don't have enough experience with either type to have a hard line determination yet.

The coffee from the second roast session was soft and relaxed. I didn't take notes, but it was similar to the 1st roasting session. I picked up a vanilla flavor this time around. The coffee was really nice in the morning but was not quite as enjoyably later in the day or at night. I never brewed an incredibly fruit forwarded cup to date with it, which I like and have produced commonly with DP. I wish I had more time, and more importantly enough of this coffee left to try and nail down a great roast. Even if I achieved it by luck. Maybe we can start spending 2 months on a coffee? :|

Update 12/29

What I learned:
Not much :oops:. Well I shouldn't say that. I guess "didn't improve much" is a better way to say it. I didn't do any research approaching this specific coffee. I've never actively research a specific recommended approach to any coffee I've roasted. I just try to rely on memory and recall things I've read before. I'm going to avoid that going forward.

I'm beginning to think I was way off saying, "I don't think a long warm-up/drying leads to the best cup for this coffee." I now think it really would benefit from one. My 3rd roast from the 1st roast session was the best I got out of this coffee. I thought it was because of the longer DT (development). I'm sure it help (even though it was a relative short DT). Looking back, it likely was best because it had a longer drying phase than most of my roasts for this coffee (and longer total roast time). Roast 2 is largely not being considered because the drying stage was messed up. DT can be a little tricky, but varying drying time is easy enough. Roasts from my 2nd roast session zipped threw the drying stage in 3:00-3:30. While they were far from undrinkable, they fell short of expectations.

I would not rush through drying with this coffee, or similar ones. I have a little left, so I'm going to experiment with longer drying (4:30 at a minimal).

On another note, I roasted basically the last of the Nov coffee I had. I just wish I bought more because it is killing it as a SO espresso.

*All Temps are for BT and in C.


#4: Post by rgrosz »

Every time I see FC, I think of Full City - I am easily confused. :?

Any interest in using 1C for first crack and 2C for second crack?
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#5: Post by Boldjava » replying to rgrosz »

Yes. That is the advantage of having a small listing of definitions and abbreviations. I will start a separate thread this week. Folks can submit recommendations/definitions.
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#6: Post by pShoe »


I look forward to hearing how the espresso will turn out with your second roast. I figured this coffee would not work well as a SO. I wasn't planing on roasting any for espresso. If one of your roast samples works I'll try to pull of a similar profile for espresso.

I attempted to pull a shot with city roast, but it was a choked shot. I just got a Pharos and this was my only coffee. I decided to just roast some SM #29 to FC+. I didn't like the idea of wasting a WP Ethiopian trying to dial in a grinder only to produce bad shots anyway. Grinding the light roast was way harder too :lol:

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#7: Post by tamarian »

Paul, I think you are right about it not being a great bean for SO espresso. I'll still try my best and see what I can do with it for espresso, and keep the option of using it as part of a blend, plus a few radical alternatives, like going "Nordic" on it, and trying it as a "blond" roast, let alone, obviously, brewing.

Not sure where are the rest of the participants, or the instigator of this hole thing, Dave (I need my January coffee!), but I'm greatly enjoying this project and doing things I rarely do, like cupping and sampling, or roasting WP Ethiopian coffee.


#8: Post by pShoe »

tamarian wrote:Not sure where are the rest of the participants
I was thinking of asking the same. Perhaps it sold out too quickly.

tamarian wrote:I'm greatly enjoying this project and doing things I rarely do, like cupping and sampling, or roasting WP Ethiopian coffee.
Same here. I kinda sunk into a groove with roasting. The problem is I'm not even close to a point where that should happen. I have too much more to learn. Unfortunately, a lack of dialog pretty much limited my motivation. This is fun though.

I must have missed the announcement for the January Coffee. Link?

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#9: Post by TomC (original poster) »

Good point. Although we can still have a meaningful discussion if there's 4 or more people who actually have the coffee we're discussing, it would be good to get a head count of how many people have it. A 94 point washed Ethiopian for $6 isn't going to sit around very long in anyones warehouse.

My other thought lately, is the busy nature of the holidays will likely stymie some folks roasting oprotunities. I've only roasted 3 batches of it, and two were on the same day.

I have it, I assume Dave has it, who else?
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#10: Post by tamarian »

pShoe wrote:I must have missed the announcement for the January Coffee. Link?
I'm just assuming there is a January coffee, not sure what beans it is, but I probably want it :D