"Espresso! My Espresso!"
An Ongoing Internet Novelette
by Randy Glass - Copyright 2002 - All rights reserved
E-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org
19Once all that initial excitement was over and I had brewed a number of pulls from Silvia using the Illy roasted beans that were supplied by Whole Latte Love, I broke out the Precision Roaster and went to work with a couple of batches of Monkey. The first batch was roasted at a setting of 5 and came out much too light for espresso- at least that's what I felt a tthe time looking at them. I roasted another batch using a setting of about 7 ½ but stopped that batch by ear.
For you newbies (like I was yesterday), when beans are roasted they make noises like popcorn does. Not quite so dramatic, but noticeable when you listen. The first crack occurred for me at around 4 to 5 minutes into the roast. This sounded a bit like a pencil breaking at a distance. Evidently, not all the beans in a batch will do this, but enough do to make it apparent. Then again at around 6 to seven minutes into the roast the second crack takes place. This sounds more subtle, like when you 'snap' your fingernails to make a clicking sound in the same way you snap your fingers or maybe like tapping a pin on a hard surface.
For these first batches I stopped the roasting in the middle of second crack. The beans are not as oily as the Illy beans appear to be. There are obviously a lot of different roasts, and that is one of the delights in home roasting, For any blend of beans you can experiment and find the roast that suits your tastes. Later that evening I roasted a couple of batches of decaffeinated Donkey blend as well. I am quite excited to try the home roast in the morning and to be able to compare it with the Illy beans we brewed today.
Roasting, even when not done to extreme dark roasts, still emits a strong smell that will quickly permeate the entire house and threatens to stay there for some time. Even though I roasted on top of my Jennair stove with the exhaust fan on the smell of the roasting beans filled the house. I will have to build some sort of hood to direct the smell towards the stove or a vent system to the outside to temporarily place in a window while I roast.
When roasting you quickly realize how important it is to roast beans. During the roasting process the beans do not smell much like coffee. Once removed from the roaster they still do not smell much like coffee, but minutes afterwards as the beans begin to out-gas, the coffee smell starts and in just a few minutes they emit that wonderful aroma we associate with coffee.
The Precision Roaster seems to be easy to use and control. It cleans up easily and the cool down cycle seems to draw cool air in quickly to stop the roasting process. It will just be a matter of some experimentation to find the correct roast.