Coffee Cup
"Espresso! My Espresso!"
An Ongoing Internet Novelette
by Randy Glass - Copyright 2021 - All rights reserved

Coffee Cup
I Learned Something Today (about roasting)
Wednesday, December 22, 2021
all text and photos unless otherwise noted ©2021 - All rights reserved

    Just a few days ago I finished my 30th roast on the new-to-me Santoker R500 LPG gas roaster. Going from the Hottop which has a stated 250 gram recommended capacity to the Santoker which has a stated maximum capacity up to 700 grams has been an adventure. The first roast or two I think I used 350 grams to 'get the feel' of the roaster. From there, through the 28th roast I was measuring out 500 grams of green per roast. The last two roasts I used 700 grams; 1˝ pounds! One of those roasts would have been three roasts in the Hottop!
    I have related a few times a quote from one of the Mill City Roasters YouTube roasting classes. “If the boss asks me what I learned today roasting and I can't answer, I should be fired.” Thankfully I am self-employed and have a no-cut contract, so no worries there.
    For roast number 29, it was immediately obvious when dropped that the it was very uneven. There were a number of beans so darkly roasted (not burnt, but very, very dark), that I hand picked them out and tossed them into the trash. There was roughly an equal number that were much lighter than the rest. I thought about the above quote as I contemplated the cause (which you likely have already guessed).
    The drum speed in the Santoker and similar roasters is controlled by a generic motor-speed control on the back end of the roaster. It is not specific to the Santokers, and not to coffee roasters at all. The speed can rotate the drum from clockwork slow to a speed that makes it impossible to focus on the drum. When I started the roast the speed was set at the speed I normally use and I gave it no thought at all when roast twenty-nine was in progress. The speed was too slow and so agitation of the beans was insufficient. Result: uneven roast.
When I charged roast thirty I sped the drum up in small increments until I could gather a good load of beans in the trier while they were still green. Result: a very even roast that led to some very smooth espresso.
    So, yes, for the last roast, I can tell the boss what I learned today, even though he is an idiot.
Coffee Cup
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