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Tribalxgecko
Senior Member


Joined: 13 Nov 2012
Posts: 3
Location: New York
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Tue Nov 13, 2012, 5:46pm
Subject: Coffee brews very light...
 

My friend and I have been experimenting with a handful of different beans with our grill / drum roaster. While we have been pleased with the various roasting profiles and the flavors of the coffee, we seem to be running into a strange situation. Our coffee, when brewed, has a color more like a dark tea. This goes for any roast between medium and french or vienna. They all come out with a light to medium color. The only way we have found to fix this is to GREATLY increase the amount of coffee used in brewing the coffee.

To give you an idea what I mean: we use 3 scoops of Folgers Colombian Supremo for a 10 cup pot of coffee. Using a Bunn Brewer, the coffee comes out fairly dark and strong, which is what we like. We made a roast of Sweet Marias French Roast Blend and roasted the beans until they were in the Vienna stage. We tried the beans after roasting, and also let them set for 48 hours. In both cases we used 3 scoops in the 10 cup pot, just as we did with folgers columbian. Both times the coffee comes out more like a dark tea or light coffee. The beans, once ground are significantly darker than Folgers Colombian roasts, so why is the coffee coming out so light when brewed? The coffee still comes out quite tasty, and is strong, but it does not have the color or the body that the folgers does, even though it is a darker roast. We were able to get the color deeper and the body more heavy once we added more coffee (we added 5 scoops instead of 3) but it still was not at the dark color level of the Colombian, nor was the body. While we could go with 6 scoops, that will be pushing the capacity of the filter.

So I guess I have a few main questions I am trying to figure out...Why is our fresh roasted coffee, while at a darker roast, coming our so much lighter than the folgers? Why do we need to add so much more of our roasted coffee just to come close to equaling the color and body of the folgers?

As I stated in the beginning, we are using a grill and coffee drum. The drum is for up to 5lb of beans, has rails for agitating and rolling the beans consistently, and we are using a 58rpm motor. The flames of the grill are covered by a diffuser plate which blocks any chance the flames reach the beans. We roasted between 440 and 450 temps. We cleaned and blew off a large percentage of the chaff, and when we broke the beans in half we have an even roast throughout (we checked a handful of beans at the least). We originally thought that perhaps the outside of the bean was roasting / charring faster than the interior, but that is not the case. The beans have a very even roast, with even the lightest being close, if not in the Vienna stage.
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CoffeeRon
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CoffeeRon
Joined: 26 Apr 2009
Posts: 749
Location: Tacoma Wa.
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Wega Lyra, Europiccola(still...
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Posted Tue Nov 13, 2012, 6:33pm
Subject: Re: Coffee brews very light...
 

You make no mention of the type of grinder you are using let alone whether you have played around with the grind setting. That is the first thing I would be suspicious of from what you have said.
 Cheers,
     Ron
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Tribalxgecko
Senior Member


Joined: 13 Nov 2012
Posts: 3
Location: New York
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Tue Nov 13, 2012, 6:50pm
Subject: Re: Coffee brews very light...
 

Sorry, I meant to mention this as well and over looked it. I have a Capresso 560 Conical Burr Grinder. Here is a link to it if you need it: Click Here (www1.macys.com)

The grinder has 12 settings ranging from course to very fine. We have thought of this as well though. I normally use setting 5, which is a course-medium. But we have tried setting 3, 5, 7, and 9. All with the same results.

Also, if it matters any, we have made espresso with it which turned out excellent. I have also used my french press several times and that too makes a fine cup. I also have a clever dripper, which worked well, though I did need to let the grinds steep about 2 min longer than normal. So it really seems to just be an issue with the drip brewers. I tried my GE coffee maker tonight with the exact same results as the Bunn.

Thanks for your input!

-Morgan
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Frost
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Frost
Joined: 26 Jul 2007
Posts: 2,090
Location: Sierra
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Isomac Venus
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Posted Wed Nov 14, 2012, 4:54pm
Subject: Re: Coffee brews very light...
 

I'll put this out as a possible cause, but I have little to no first hand experience with the issue/problem:

*Check/measure bean expansion. Measure total bean volume (batch) before and after the roast.

You don't mention details on your roast profile, timing. One possible issue that clues me is the extra brew time for french press and clever dripper. The available solubles in the ground coffee partly depends on the cell structure of the bean being 'broken up' and available to the brew water. This is done partly by grinding the whole bean, but the roast process also greatly expands the bean volume provided there is ample internal  pressure developed in the bean during the roast. This expansion makes the bean more porous and available to the brew water.

The speed of the roast in getting to first crack is key to this bean expansion. Water vapor and CO2 is developed during the roast, creating the internal pressure. If the roast process takes too long, the expansion will be minimal.

If this is the issue, smaller batches and carefully controlled heat during drying and ramp to first crack are possible solutions.
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Tribalxgecko
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Joined: 13 Nov 2012
Posts: 3
Location: New York
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Thu Nov 15, 2012, 6:36am
Subject: Re: Coffee brews very light...
 

Thanks Frost!

Actually, this makes a lot of sense and I think may fix out issue. We were roasting at around 450. It was taking about 18min or so to reach 1st crack. I did some research and a lot of people are roasting close to 500 (for a 1lb batch). So we are going to ramp up the heat on our next try and see what that does for us. Thank you very much.
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