So you want to start roasting? How good are your coffee greens? - Page 7

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

Not saying you're going to get great taste from inferior beans, but you will learn the nuances of your machine.

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drgary
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#62: Post by drgary »

To a point, but Dick's right. You won't taste much difference when you make "nuanced" changes, so you won't know what they will do.
Gary
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What I WOULD do for a good cup of coffee!

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luca (original poster)
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#63: Post by luca (original poster) »

GC7 wrote:Given my limitations as an evaluator of coffee, I'm very pleased for the most part with the results using the occasional purchase of special roasted coffees or what I get from supposed great shops as a reference.
I think what I'm saying is as a new roaster, do you complacently rely on the assurances of what is written, or do you come up with some system to evaluate and distinguish the quality of the green coffee to be able to distinguish between bad tastes that might be due to your bad roasting or bad tastes that might be due to green. It sounds like you aren't complacently doing that, but you are still benchmarking against what is commercially available, which is great.

Nowhere in this topic have I said that anyone ought to be aiming for any particular level of quality, and I've deliberately avoided referencing scores and such, for a number of reasons. I'm just setting the yardstick in terms of your own expectations.
GC7 wrote:I accept that here in the US, we may be spoiled a bit by availability of quality green beans to roast compared with other parts of the world. I hope that you catch up as businesses see a market.

I used Aida as one example of what's available to us (thanks again Aida) but the great majority of what I roast costs $8-12 per pound shipped to my door. I'm not at all claiming that I do them justice as a pro roaster might but I use the tools available as mentioned above to learn with every roast. Given my limitations as an evaluator of coffee, I'm very pleased for the most part with the results using the occasional purchase of special roasted coffees or what I get from supposed great shops as a reference.
I think that small quantities in Australia are going to be challenging, particularly with us nosediving against the USD and with the logistics issues brought on by covid and a number of other things. But we do have a few roasters that will sell green if you twist their arm and a green buying cooperative where I've been fortunate to get to cup the samples from importers and be able to point out what I'm interested in to sic them on coffees that I want. So there's at least some ability for us to get access to some of the stuff that commercial roasters have access to, with more importers being willing to go down to a single bag or box quantity if you're willing to lump the shipping on it.

But what is true is that pretty much any importer, anywhere, is going to have variable quality. It's just the nature of the beast. They'll try to buy the best they can find, but they'll also buy the best that they can at the price points they service, they might do things like grudgingly buy things to make up volume for their valued suppliers, they may ask for experimental processes that work, but don't work as well as they might have liked, they may have coffees that arrive not matching up with their pre-ship samples, but they're not too bad and it's more work to contest them than to just discount them and move them (and often they won't want to contest delivery; they are in it for the long haul and want to be supportive of their suppliers, so they might just pay the full amount, move it on at a discount and talk to the supplier about it to try to work together to improve things the next year), they may have slow shipping that they can't control, which degrades quality, or they might have difficulty moving things, so they may be left with old coffee. None of this necessarily takes coffee from being acceptable to being total trash; it may simply make it taste different, but still acceptable, or it may leave the coffee a lesser version of what you expect, but still perfectly enjoyable and delicious. For these reasons and more, roasters buying spot from even the most highly respected importers, will usually be selective rather than deferring to their eminence. But what you might get is a relationship with a green broker where you can pick up the phone to them, they know what you like and they'll give you a straight answer where your expectations are highly enough aligned that you are happy to just order without sampling.

If you look at the coffee in the first post, which is full of full black defects, that is from a highly respected coffee importer that supplies competition coffees for both Australian and overseas competitors, and the coffee itself is from a farm that has supplied WBC competitors. The importer has some coffees on their list that are $300/kg+ (and are quite delicious). Importers often have a wide range of quality, and price points, on offer. And I don't fault them for it; I can absolutely see that if you were roasting something for office superautos to make milk drinks, that coffee would probably be fine as a fruit component for a milk blend, even with the full black defects in it.
mkane wrote:New roasters should concentrate on learning the ins & out of their machine before spending good money on premium beans.
I don't disagree, and I'm not suggesting that anyone should be aiming for the most expensive beans available.

New roasters don't need to buy the most expensive thing on the market, but they need to be able to distinguish between green and roast defects. The mouldy coffee that I posted, for example, had a bitter, persistent, chemical aftertaste. I can easily see a world where a new roaster thinks that that is something caused by their roast and makes roast adjustments that they probably shouldn't. For example, they might think that the problem is coming from roasting too dark, so they might over-adjust and keep on going lighter. They might then conclude that they are getting roast bitterness or flicks at very light colours, and when they move on to another coffee, they might then start with a roast that is too light and be too timid in moving to go darker. In this example, you can easily see how green with taste issues that the new roaster isn't expecting may well result in a month or two and a dozen roasts that are total wastes of time and expenditure, and are not enjoyable.
LMWDP #034 | 2011: Q Exam, WBrC #3, Aus Cup Tasting #1 | Insta: @lucacoffeenotes

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mkane
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#64: Post by mkane »

I wasted my first 500 roasts, and the beans weren't cheap and I'm still giving coffee away.

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borrik

#65: Post by borrik »

There is a golden rule "know less, spend less". People drink instant coffee and pretty happy. But as humans we need some challenges, results comparison, knowledge exchange, etc. just because of this we are here. And this is the main and honest reason why I started home roasting, and yes not all that smooth but sometimes it comes out pretty good. So that enough. Moreover, if there is no challenges, roasting turns to boring routine. Need to taste junk sometimes...

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Ypuh

#66: Post by Ypuh »

Couple weeks/months into home roasting (with an Artisan controlled 1kg roaster) and I'm still comfortably into the junk territory. It's drinkable, but I don't want to hand it out to friends and family yet.

On one hand it's easier than I thought to get started, on the other hand the taste is still off to what I'm used to (lots of excellent coffee roasters here). I don't regret my choice yet, but it's a challenge for sure.
I don't want a Decent

Capuchin Monk

#67: Post by Capuchin Monk »

Ypuh wrote:Couple weeks/months into home roasting (with an Artisan controlled 1kg roaster) and I'm still comfortably into the junk territory. It's drinkable, but I don't want to hand it out to friends and family yet.
Have you compared your Artisan graph to others and see what may be causing it?

Rickpatbrown

#68: Post by Rickpatbrown »

luca wrote:
New roasters don't need to buy the most expensive thing on the market, but they need to be able to distinguish between green and roast defects. The mouldy coffee that I posted, for example, had a bitter, persistent, chemical aftertaste.
This is actually the first time that I heard descriptors for green defects. I've always just seen it as presented as "bad".

I only had a quick roating session today and culled all the defects from this Colombian Premium Huila Palestina - Aguazul - Pink Bourbon Washed. It got me thinking that I should roast two, back to back identical (when i have more time). One roast could have all the defects culled and dumped into the other. It'd be interesting to identify what bad greens taste like. These beans were super hyped on these boards. I don't know if these are from a different importer or if I got duped. The flavor is kinda boring. Nothing offensive, but nothing great. Most of the defects look like pinholes from insects. There are huge screen size discrepancies, depulping injuries, black beans, shriveled beans, puffers or Peabod ... not sure. About 50 defects in this 325 gram batch, but I'm sure I could have picked another dozen.




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luca (original poster)
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#69: Post by luca (original poster) »

I absolutely think tasting defects is a great thing to do to learn. The thing with the visual defects is that they are ... visual ... so out of fairness to producers, of course we need to taste to make sure that the defects actually do have an effect in the cup. I guess the SCA is telling us that they do, but I still think we should check, and that's why I roasted and tasted these defects, and I distributed samples of them to my friends. I can totally see a world where something like an insect damage hole or a pulper nip is submerged in a fermenting mass that prevents any unwanted bacteria or whatever from taking hold, and if it doesn't make a difference in the cup, producers absolutely shouldn't be punished for it.

I had a chance to taste the reference samples that the CQI uses to train people how to catch mould, which, I gather, are prepared by adding some mould flavour additive to the coffee ... green or roasted, I don't know. That was similarly very persistent and kind of rough, bitter and slightly chemical, but it had a green, herbaceous quality to it. It sort of reminded me of alfalfa. I think I got a slight vegetal character on the nose, but not in the cup.

In hindsight, I think what might be good is to separate out the defects and put them into other green that roasts similarly, and then taste that against the regular roast of the other coffee. That way, you're eliminating the idea that there might be other things wrong with the rest of the coffee that you didn't pick out as a visual defect.

Tasting the defective coffees was useful, since they didn't really match up to my expectations. The mould wasn't as vegetal as I was expecting. The full black defects weren't as dominating in the cup as I expected - the coffee had quite a nice passionfruit character to it, but the aftertaste was very rough and awful.
LMWDP #034 | 2011: Q Exam, WBrC #3, Aus Cup Tasting #1 | Insta: @lucacoffeenotes

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GC7
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#70: Post by GC7 »

Rick

Yours is an interesting post and example for this discussion. Below is a reply I gave to TomC on April 9th when he asked about the available Palestina Pink Bourbon. I was disappointed it wasn't a Crown Jewel but purchased a 5 pound bag from Captain's Coffee based on the prior two harvests that were among the best coffees I've had in the past couple of years. This harvest, not so much. I have a pound left after drinking and gifting it over the past 5 months. I just looked at those beans and quickly sorted out about 10 defects that I would be shocked if present in the Crown Jewel prior harvests (I'm not defrosting any now but will look in the future). The beans from this harvest are not as uniformly large with the sort of unique pink bourbon pointy shape as I remember. Burman later offered the beans at a considerable discount. I don't know if the lots are the same for the Burman and Captain's coffees but I know Captain's came from Royal. Notably, neither of the last harvests used the term "Aguazul" that was part of the Crown Jewel name for the coffee. The farm and 14 farmer description seems the same as the CJ lots of the previous year.

This is an interesting lesson. Was the farm getting a bit complacent rather than working harder to perfect coffee from those PB trees? Will we see this coffee again this year from Royal?
Hi Tom

I've been a big fan of quite a few Pink Bourbon offerings from Prime Coffee, Bodhi Leaf, two Crown Jewel Palestina Aguazul's and the latest crop Palestina.

The first Crown Jewel offering was perhaps my favorite coffee of the past 3 years. If you do a search, you should find some of the comments on the coffee. It set itself aside from others with what is to me intense sweetness that impacted all its flavors which were clean and well separated. Add to that a creamy mouthfeel that coated your palate for a long time and you had something special (to me).

Like grapes and wine, coffee is an agricultural crop and harvests will vary to a degree. A great Grand Cru Burgundy will be really good in about any year and so in my opinion, this crop of the Aguazul Pink Bourbon, is really good but not quite up to the previous ones. It's not as sweet and a bit less well defined for lack of a better descriptor. My guess is that is why it was not made a Crown Jewel again. It is clean like an excellent washed coffee, fruity (depending on roast level) and quite delicious. I don't like any of them too light so perhaps that's where I differ with some others here. My best roasts are mid way between 1C and 2C as a solid city+. Don't deprive yourself from my posts. I enjoyed some this morning along with my #1 coffee of the past crop, Kenya Nyeri Rukira AA.