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Discussions > Coffee > Home Roast > Long Roasts?  
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nixdorf
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nixdorf
Joined: 10 Nov 2004
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Posted Sat Nov 27, 2004, 11:30pm
Subject: Long Roasts?
 

Are long roast times OK, provided the temp of the roast is kept consistent?  Do long times effect taste/body?

I just roasted two batches (1/2 cup by volume per batch) of Panama Hartmann Estate "Songbird" on a Toastmaster, greens from Sweet Maria's.  Sorry, no link to the info on SM's site for this bean--it's disappeared!  Pretty surprised that Tom removed it (when he usually leaves it for reference), but I digress ...

I used my new thermocouple to roast these batches.  I used some aluminum tubing to stick the thermocouple down into the bean mass to get the best readings.  I also used Tom's new pictorial guide as a determinant for the different stages based off temperature.

OK, here's the rub: I'm roasting FOREVER!  Don't get me wrong, I'm loving every bit of home roasting, but I've obviously got a problem.  My roasts are taking almost 20 minutes.  I'm using the thermocouple and the popper's switch (modded to control heating element; fan always runs) to keep the temp consistent.

The main reason I'm roasting so long is for consistency in color.  I know some variaties won't roast consistently in color (Ethiopian, for example), but the only way I've been able to find consistency with any bean that I've roasted is to stretch the roast out to around 20 minutes.  If I roast around 12 minutes or so, I'll get around 15% of the beans at a very light brown color while the others are at City.  Again, I can easily get a decent roast at 10-12 minutes, but I have to pick out a ton of beans before I dare grind.

To answer the obvious: Yes, I'm stirring the beans as they roast.  I'm also shaking the roaster.

Any ideas?  I'm at a loss.

Pete

EDIT: Noticed Tom's guide over at SM's site says to ignore the roast times, but even still: 20 minutes?
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JonR10
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JonR10
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Posted Sat Nov 27, 2004, 11:59pm
Subject: Re: Long Roasts?
 

nixdorf Said:

OK, here's the rub: I'm roasting FOREVER!  Don't get me wrong, I'm loving every bit of home roasting, but I've obviously got a problem.  My roasts are taking almost 20 minutes.  

Posted November 27, 2004 link

If you have a problem then my problem is much worse because my roasts commonly take longer than 20 minutes.  But I roast mainly for espresso.

nixdorf Said:

The main reason I'm roasting so long is for consistency in color.  I know some variaties won't roast consistently in color (Ethiopian, for example), but the only way I've been able to find consistency with any bean that I've roasted is to stretch the roast out to around 20 minutes.  

Posted November 27, 2004 link

It's really OK for the end product to have variation in color and beans that are at different roast levels.  I have come to appreciate varieties that seem to roast "unevenly".  Roasts like that seem to have more complex taste profiles.  The Mokha Yemen coffees I always rave about are a perfect example.  

Yes, the roast will get more even in color when you stretch the time, and they also "mellow".  The end result is a fuller body and lower-acid coffee.  This is nice in some varieties (IMO) but other varieties are better lighter and brighter if you know what I mean (like Kona, Guat, and Jamaican).

I find the stretching particularly helpful when roasting pre-blended beans, especially when the blend is made of many parts.  Today I roasted a pound that was comprised of 6 different beans, here's how it went:

I ramped up very slowly (15 minutes to first crack).  The slow ramp gets the various beans to go golden together.  I stretched to get the very first snaps of second at ~21 minutes but then I lifted the lid and stirred the beans manually (on my GG/SC combo this lowered the temp ~30 degrees).  The roast got back to second crack again at 23 minutes, rolling at ~24 minutes, pulled about 45 seconds later.  This roast is for espresso, and it ended with some variations in color but no beans were dark enough to have oil.  I'd call it FC+ overall.  

I expect to see a few specs of oil here and there after a couple of days and then I'll use it for espresso shots (hopefully good enough to take some pics).

Hope that makes you feel better about going 20 minutes in a roast.   ;-)

Do what works for you.  Enjoy your coffee and don't mind too much what you believe others will think is "wrong" or a problem.  Whatever you did, if you like it that way then you got it right.

JonR10: IMG_0683.JPG
(Click for larger image)

 
Jon Rosenthal
Houston, TX
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tom_b
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Posted Sun Nov 28, 2004, 12:12pm
Subject: Re: Long Roasts?
 

What temp are you roasting to - can you get the beans up to 450? Your thermostat may be opening, or if you put a dimmer on the unit it may be reducing the power to the heater..
tom:)
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nixdorf
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nixdorf
Joined: 10 Nov 2004
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Location: Huntsville, AL
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Posted Sun Nov 28, 2004, 1:00pm
Subject: Re: Long Roasts?
 

JonR10 Said:

Hope that makes you feel better about going 20 minutes in a roast.   ;-)

Posted November 27, 2004 link

It does.  Thanks. :)

JonR10 Said:

Do what works for you.  Enjoy your coffee and don't mind too much what you believe others will think is "wrong" or a problem.  Whatever you did, if you like it that way then you got it right.

Posted November 27, 2004 link

Amen.  I'm beginning to learn that specialty coffee is alot like wine, or most other things based on taste: you shouldn't let anyone tell you what tastes good and what doesn't--it's up to you.

Pete
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nixdorf
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nixdorf
Joined: 10 Nov 2004
Posts: 48
Location: Huntsville, AL
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Krups Novo 2300 (968)
Grinder: Solis Maestro
Vac Pot: Bodum Chambord (press)
Drip: Technivorm KBTS
Roaster: HG/DB (on grill),...
Posted Sun Nov 28, 2004, 1:13pm
Subject: Re: Long Roasts?
 

tom_b Said:

What temp are you roasting to - can you get the beans up to 450? Your thermostat may be opening, or if you put a dimmer on the unit it may be reducing the power to the heater..
tom:)

Posted November 28, 2004 link

Sorry, forgot to mention that the thermostat is stuck closed.  I can easily get up to 450 on this popper--my first roast was quite close to a Spanish (charcoal) roast.

I haven't used any dimmers yet, and probably won't at this point.  Turning the heating coil on and off after rewiring it has been pretty effective for me.  

I've also learned how to maintain proper temperature by using the switch and shaking the popper.  If the temp gets too high, I switch the heating coil off and shake the popper in an up/down motion to disperse the heat stored in the bean mass.  It's pretty effective--it can lower the temp of the bean mass 10 degrees (if in the 400 degree range) in a couple of seconds.  The down side of this method is that the temp can go too low VERY quickly, so you've got to be very careful.

Pete
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tom_b
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Posted Sun Nov 28, 2004, 1:32pm
Subject: Re: Long Roasts?
 

nixdorf Said:

I can easily get up to 450 on this popper

Posted November 28, 2004 link

But, you said roasts are taking 20 minutes.. Me confused. I'd expect you to have the flexibility to do anything from a 6 minute to a 36 minute roast, depending how often you turn off the heater. How fast is the roast if you don't turn it off at all?
tom:)
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IMAWriter
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IMAWriter
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Posted Sun Nov 28, 2004, 1:40pm
Subject: Re: Long Roasts?
 





I find the stretching particularly helpful when roasting pre-blended beans, especially when the blend is made of many parts.  Today I roasted a pound that was comprised of 6 different beans, here's how it went:

I ramped up very slowly (15 minutes to first crack).  The slow ramp gets the various beans to go golden together.  I stretched to get the very first snaps of second at ~21 minutes but then I lifted the lid and stirred the beans manually (on my GG/SC combo this lowered the temp ~30 degrees).  The roast got back to second crack again at 23 minutes, rolling at ~24 minutes, pulled about 45 seconds later.  This roast is for espresso, and it ended with some variations in color but no beans were dark enough to have oil.  I'd call it FC+ overall.  




x]
Jon...it may be that a slow ramp helps the beans "go golden together"...but is that necessarily correct?...I'm wondering if certain beans, based on density, etc were meant to ramp up faster...maybe their taste profile is enhanced, rather than baking longer....i.e....certain higher acidic beans would lose a bit of their character...that's why I posted a thread earlier inquiring about more elaborate air roasters (aka Sivetz) and how much they would cost)....but like it's been said here...whatever tastes good to YOU... :>)

 
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nixdorf
Senior Member
nixdorf
Joined: 10 Nov 2004
Posts: 48
Location: Huntsville, AL
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Krups Novo 2300 (968)
Grinder: Solis Maestro
Vac Pot: Bodum Chambord (press)
Drip: Technivorm KBTS
Roaster: HG/DB (on grill),...
Posted Sun Nov 28, 2004, 2:11pm
Subject: Re: Long Roasts?
 

tom_b Said:

But, you said roasts are taking 20 minutes.. Me confused. I'd expect you to have the flexibility to do anything from a 6 minute to a 36 minute roast, depending how often you turn off the heater. How fast is the roast if you don't turn it off at all?
tom:)

Posted November 28, 2004 link

With constant heat, the roast takes 3-4 minutes.  The main reason I'm roasting so long is for consistency.  If I roast straigh through, without cycling the heat, half the beans are at City/City+ while the other half are still at brown stage (again, using Tom's pictorial guide).

Stretching the roast out to around 20 minutes seems to be the only way for me to get good consistency.  I guess it's due to the popper's design (heating the beans on the outside of the chamber).  Shaking the popper helps to mix up the beans and even the heat out.  I really can't stir that much because of the thermocouple (don't want to bang into it or move it mid-roast).  

I should probably borrow a digital camera and take pictures of my setup.  Pictures would do a much better job of explaining that.

Pete
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JonR10
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JonR10
Joined: 26 Apr 2004
Posts: 10,376
Location: Houston, Texas
Expertise: I love coffee

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Posted Sun Nov 28, 2004, 3:18pm
Subject: Re: Long Roasts?
 

IMAWriter Said:

Jon...it may be that a slow ramp helps the beans "go golden together"...but is that necessarily correct?...I'm wondering if certain beans, based on density, etc were meant to ramp up faster...

Posted November 28, 2004 link

Robert,
I have no idea if it's accurate or not, but it does seem to me like bringing the temp very slowly up to ~400 gets me off to an even start.  

And I believe that you certainly are right about roasting certain beans faster to preserve the bright notes.  I already agreed with you  :-)

JonR10 Said:

The end result is a fuller body and lower-acid coffee.  This is nice in some varieties (IMO) but other varieties are better lighter and brighter if you know what I mean (like Kona, Guat, and Jamaican).

Posted November 27, 2004 link


 
Jon Rosenthal
Houston, TX
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ChrisatCafeGreenBean
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ChrisatCafeGreenBean
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Posted Sun Nov 28, 2004, 6:09pm
Subject: Re: Long Roasts?
 

JonR -

Just wondering a couple of things.  Forgive if you have stated them before.

What temp setting do you put your GG on?  Do you ever adjust it during the roast?

I have been taking your advice about stretching the roast out, and I think I am liking it better.  The problem is, when I have a larger batch (say > .5 pound), there is a fair amount of chaff stuck in-between about 30-40% of the beans.  Also the larger the batch, the less even it seems the colors are.  Maybe I need to stretch it even more?

Currently for .5 pounds of Liquid Amber, I hit first crack around 14 minutes, lifted the lid, stir and second crack is around 16 minutes.  I have my Convection oven set for about 425F.

 
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