Coffee Cup
"Espresso! My Espresso!"
An Ongoing Internet Novelette
by Randy Glass - Copyright 2002 - All rights reserved

Coffee Cup
Getting Serious About Roasting
1/25/00 - I received my coffee order which will enable me to start looking for a blend of my own. Mainly this was to save money, but I was looking for something richer than Monkey. Don't get me wrong- Monkey is nice, but I just wanted something to call my own. I'll talk more about that in future installments.

      To begin with, I know that whatever I do it was important to document my roasting and blending so that whatever I accomplished would be repeatable or avoidable as the case may be. As part of that I bought a roasting thermometer to add to my HWP roaster. As it turns out, this was not that good of an investment. It does add a bit of data for the early roast process, but for the longer, darker roasts it just sort of sits at around 455 or 460 regardless of how long the roast takes. From the time the roast hits about 455f. and up until the point where actual pyrolysis takes place accompanied by flames, I think that you need to trust your eyes, your nose, and your ears.

      To force myself to pay more attention to the roasting process and how the beans progressed I set the HWP all the way up to 10 so that I would have to manually stop the roast at the correct time. My first test batches were done with a couple of batches of Monkey. I took these to a much darker roast than any previous roast that I had done. The longest previous roast had been to about ten minutes and usually to about 9 or 9:30. Today I took the first batch of Monkey to 13:45 and the second batch was to 12 minutes.

      I found that second crack can go on for some time- a lot longer than I had suspected that it would from my previous experience. It seems to sort of start with some of the beans second-cracking early at around 8:00 or 8:30, pause for a bit then begin again becoming a bit more dynamic up to around 12:00 minutes or so. I assume that this is an effect of roasting a pre-blend where the beans crack at different times. You learn something everyday! Based on that, I will be pre-roasting and post-roast blending to start my custom blend when the time comes.

      Since I use an exhaust fan over the HWP I never saw any smoke from my past roasts, but these two dark batches, when removed from the roaster showed a good amount of smoke coming off the beans. (I manually cool my roasts by pouring between two colanders). Even though they were smoking, neither batch smells burnt at all- they actually smell pretty darn good.

      I then dark roasted a batch of Malabar Gold- my first experience with these beans. I took these to 12:30 which was just past the time that second crack began to slow and taper off.

      Future reports will include taste testing of these roasts. Stay tuned!

Here is a chart of my dark roast of Monkey
of Roast
4:44415First crack begins (thermometer apparently reads about 15 degrees higher than internal bean temperature.
6:00425Light Brown - First crack continues.
7:15435First crack ends. Med light brown. No oil.
8:10440Medium Brown
8:40445No change
9:064502nd Crack begins
9:554552nd crack continues. Light smoke seen coming from HWP using flashlight.
11:004582nd crack slows. Small oil spots on a few beans.
11:45-2nd crack reemerges quite active. Beans a dark brown.
12:22460Beans show an oily sheen and more oil spots seen. 2nd crack slows.
13:45-Stopped roast and removed beans. Beans smoking but do not exhibit a burnt or smoky smell whatsoever.

      My second batch of Monkey progressed much as the one above but it warmed up a bit quicker in the first three minutes. I guess this is because the roaster was pre-heated from the first batch. I stopped this batch batch at 12:00 as the second crack slowed. They look just a slight bit lighter than the first batch and a taste test in a day or two should prove interesting.

Coffee Cup
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