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Lack of depth in coffee, new to roasting
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badmajon
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Joined: 26 Apr 2012
Posts: 13
Location: Pasadena, CA
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Fri Aug 10, 2012, 7:37am
Subject: Lack of depth in coffee, new to roasting
 

Hello, I am pretty new to roasting. I've only done a few batches. I am using an air popper (west bend air crazy, modified to bypass the thermostat) and a thermometer to roast my coffee.

Although I am happy in general with the coffee I have roasted, some guatamalan and some rwanda (sorry, don't have bags here so I'm not sure exactly what they are), the coffee seems a bit tart for my tastes. Not really sour, but a sort of 'front of the mouth' tangy kind of flavor. It just doesn't have a lot of body. I have tried roasting to full city to city +, and although the beans taste different depending on roast style and variety, I'm still not getting that deep body I am looking for.

I usually get to my target roast level in 3-4 minutes and I am letting the beans rest for 24 hours before grinding. Like I said, the coffee still tastes much better than the usual stale crap I get in the store, but I have yet to really say "wow!" to anything I've roasted.

Any ideas? Perhaps slowing down the roast time by adding a dimmer to the circuit (or doubling up on extension cords)? I also heard that drum roasters give more body, but I really don't know if I want to throw down 3-400 dollars yet. My wife might kill me... although she does like a good cup of coffee I think I need to woo her a bit with the freshly roasted stuff before I propose that!
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gimpy
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Posted Fri Aug 10, 2012, 10:21am
Subject: Re: Lack of depth in coffee, new to roasting
 

Couple of thoughts. It might take a couple of more days of rest to mellow the taste a little. Also, 3-4 minutes is a very fast roast. Try to lengthen that out by 3-4 more minutes (at least). There are several suggestions that you can try, if need be. Some coffees just naturally have a "brighter"/more acidic taste than others. Possibility these are some of those?


Some ideas to extend the roast:

I used a 100' extension cord.
I tilted the popper to allow some of the hot air to bypass the beans.
I also twisted every second or third air vent open more. Keeps the air a tad cooler.

Best of luck.

 
Frank, "Still the one"
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Prof
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Prof
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Posted Fri Aug 10, 2012, 4:50pm
Subject: Re: Lack of depth in coffee, new to roasting
 

gimpy Said:

Couple of thoughts. It might take a couple of more days of rest to mellow the taste a little. Also, 3-4 minutes is a very fast roast. Try to lengthen that out by 3-4 more minutes (at least). There are several suggestions that you can try, if need be. Some coffees just naturally have a "brighter"/more acidic taste than others. Possibility these are some of those?


Some ideas to extend the roast:

I used a 100' extension cord.
I tilted the popper to allow some of the hot air to bypass the beans.
I also twisted every second or third air vent open more. Keeps the air a tad cooler.

Best of luck.

Posted August 10, 2012 link

+1

I got a variac for my popper roasts and it worked wonderfully to lengthen the roast times to get a better roast.

 
LMWDP # 010
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IMAWriter
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IMAWriter
Joined: 4 Jul 2002
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Location: Brentwood, TN
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Posted Fri Aug 10, 2012, 9:25pm
Subject: Re: Lack of depth in coffee, new to roasting
 

And there you go.
These are all great suggestions.

Did you say you had "by-passed the thermostat?"

Usually, folks separate the blower from the heating element, and use a rheostat type device to be able to manipulate the thermostat up or down.
Is that what you did?

 
Rob J (LMWDP #187)
My Music Production web site:
www.robertjason.com
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badmajon
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Joined: 26 Apr 2012
Posts: 13
Location: Pasadena, CA
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Sat Aug 11, 2012, 3:24am
Subject: Re: Lack of depth in coffee, new to roasting
 

Hello, thanks for all of your replies. I ended up using 100' of extension cord, and tilting the popper slightly and managed to increase roast time to about 5:30. Still not enough... the idea of a variac is interesting and easy, but, for $100, I may as well buy a real air roaster or even go for the $300 Behemor drum roaster (which will probably be a christmas present to myself).

I bypassed the thermostat completely by cutting off the wires leading to it, splicing them with an appropriate wire splicing nut, and then moving the connection to the bottom of the roaster as people discussed on the long aircrazy post on sweet maria's coffee forum. BTW, I could not get to first crack at all before I modified it.

Next I think I'll try to modify the air vents, and if need be, look into that dimmer switch.

Thanks! At least I know the roast should be longer and that's what I'll aim for.
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mrbjvb
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Posted Sat Aug 11, 2012, 7:18am
Subject: Re: Lack of depth in coffee, new to roasting
 

Most of the "stale crap" you get at the store will be a blend. Single origin fresh roasted coffee will be much more brighter, and have a different flavor.
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Frost
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Frost
Joined: 26 Jul 2007
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Posted Sun Aug 12, 2012, 2:06pm
Subject: Re: Lack of depth in coffee, new to roasting
 

Cooler weather will help slow down the roast in your unbridled popper. Many years ago when I roasted with them, I found ambient temps of 60-70F worked best.  Try to aim for about a 10 minute roast with at least 3 minutes to finish after first crack starts. ..... that's a tough recipe for an 'uncontrolled' corn popper but will bring more depth of flavor and body to your coffee.
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Burner0000
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Posted Wed Aug 15, 2012, 6:04am
Subject: Re: Lack of depth in coffee, new to roasting
 

Have you tried stovetop roasting?  You have good roast control without all of the mods.  I used a regular Tfal for a while.  It allows up to 1lb roasts.  I would allow at least 4 min just to get to the browning stage.  I have roasted both stovetop and popper for over a year.  The popper I never allowed the inner bean to fully roast.  Fr stovetop the Whirlep pop poppers are awesome and cheap.

Click Here (diyroasting.com)
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bekeld
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bekeld
Joined: 13 Sep 2011
Posts: 41
Location: Fairfield, Iowa
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Espresso: Quick Mill Vetrano 2B
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Posted Wed Aug 15, 2012, 6:56am
Subject: Re: Lack of depth in coffee, new to roasting
 

I really like heat gun dog bowl (HGDB). I'm using a basic 4-4-4... 4 minutes to yellow the beans, 4 minutes to first crack, 4 minutes to finish. For me, this was a good starting point.
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