When I was using my +8, Tim at Fresh Beans said he liked to pause for about 20 seconds after first crack. That 20 second pause extended the 5 minute total time about two minutes. I tried it and it tasted good. So that was my formula for several months. Then I decided to try a comparison of this to my original 5 minute roast. To my surprise the 5 minute roast tasted as good or better, so I returned to that formula.
I recall reading on another forum that someone else thought that the faster the roast the better it tasted to him.
All of my roasts are high-grown Guatemala. Perhaps we would agree if we used the same beans.
I find this quote from page 66 of Kenneth Davids' "Home Coffee Roasting" to be interesting though it fails to provide a clear direction. In comparing fast vs slow roasts he wrote,
"Who's right? Perhaps both are. I have tasted superb coffees roasted quickly on fluid-bed machines, and slowly on drum roasters. The controversy may turn on what you consider a "good" coffee. If you favor an acidy but sweet cup (or a sweet, pungent cup in dark roasts) with a clean, straightforward flavor profile, you may weigh in as a backer of the fast-but-gentle school. On the other hand, if you prefer a fuller, less acidy cup, emphasizing complexity and depth rather than assertive brightness (with a bit more bitterness in dark roasts), you may back the slow-and-deliberate platform.
Both camps acknowledge that coffee held at too low a temperature for too long a time will taste baked and flat, while coffee brought to a given roast style too quickly at too high a temperature will lack complexity, resonance, and power."
Of course 5 minutes in a drum roaster would be considered "too quickly" and 18 minutes in a fluid bed roaster would be considered "too long a time".
Kenneth Davids is probably right when he says that a longer roast in a drum roaster is preferred for fuller, less acid cup. I (and my sons) prefer less brightness and fuller body. So I look for that in Sweet Maria's cupping diagrams. Several Sumatra beans are like that and my favourite (so far) is Sumatra Mandheling. OTOH, one of my sons does espresso and he likes Monkey Blend. I suspect there is a lot of Brazil in it and I roast it on a gentler (read longer) profile, sometimes as long as 20 minutes with 1:00 min of 2CR after I go to cool. That Monkey Blend roast will be FC+ with a slight sheen on the beans but no oil spots.
Part of 'heavy body' is related to 'mouth-feel'. For a single cup I use my (your) Aeropress, inverted, with the original Coava filter (0.010" thickness and 300 micron holes). There is some sludge at the bottom of the cup. It is my opinion (confirmed by testing) that as well as sludge there is 'micro-mud' in suspension that adds a creamy character to the cup.
You can do that test yourself. After plunging, pour the coffee extract back into the Aeropress ...but this time with a paper filter, and observe the residue after a second plunging. If you weigh the filter before, then air-dry it, then weigh it again, you can quantify the so-called micro-mud. It's not much, but I can taste/feel the difference.
Some of this might be OT. However, your post was about roast uniformity and taste. If your +8 gives you a mixture of light and dark roasted beans, sometimes it will be great ...but you might never reproduce that roast again. I tried my best and could not.
I started roasting 2 years ago with a SR500. I still think fondly of it, and am thinking of buying one of those refurb bases/heaters so I can do more of that kind of roasting. I used the tip and tilt method to get enough agitation at the beginning of a roast.
The heater gave out after almost 1 year, was replaced under warranty, and then gave out again a little less than a year later. Towards the end I couldn't get the kind of controls I needed, and then finally couldn't achieve high enough temps. When the heater was working well, I really liked the control I had with it. Control isn't exactly the right word, but I could do things that would affect the roast.
I've had a Gene Cafe now for about 10 weeks and 30 roasts. I do like being able to roast larger batches, but I miss the SR500. I'm still learning how to roast with the Gene Cafe, and it's getting better, but I don't like not being able to do a faster ramp up to high temperatures in the early-mid part of the roast. The coffee is good, but it all tastes the same whatever the origin. Well, not exactly the same, but I'm not getting the origin flavors I would like. I tried some new techniques with temperature controls today; the test will come in a few days.
Running the FreshRoast was like driving a sports car with loose steering and brakes. Using the Gene Cafe is more like driving a railroad locomotive.
Alan, SR500 roasts were often 7-8 minutes. I could roast a bit faster, but didn't want to. Gene Cafe Roasts get to 1C at about 14-16 minutes. Sometimes they go a bit over 20 min. I don't think there is any way I could get them to 1C faster than that, and getting there that fast takes careful management. Usually I like to stop short of 2c. On the SR500 I didn't always succeed in stopping short of that.
roach56 Senior Member Joined: 17 Jun 2010 Posts: 120 Location: USA Expertise: I love coffee
Posted Sat Feb 2, 2013, 7:19am Subject: Re: Fresh Roast SR300 SR500 ...Did anyone buy one?
Found this thread on a google seach for the SR500. I saw pics of one disassemble and I wonder what the life span of the poppery style motor/heater will be. I saw one post in this thread that reported 10 years with an FR 8 plus. I think this model has been out since 07 so there should be some owners out there that have 4-5 years on them.
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