Crim Senior Member Joined: 13 Dec 2010 Posts: 11 Location: China
Posted Wed Dec 5, 2012, 8:00am Subject: Home Roasting for Espresso (and blends)
Do you guys generally roast your own coffee for espresso or buy from a reputable roaster?
I've been roasting at home for about a year now with an iRoast2 but to be honest I don't really pay attention much to the roasting process like I should be. If anything it just comes out to be cheaper to roast at home than buy already roasted coffee (not to mention I *think* I would be able to tell the difference between fresh and stale coffee by now).
Having just ventured into the world of espresso with a mypressi, I wonder if I should be doing anything different when it comes to roasting. All arabica or should I blend in some robusta? How do you even blend coffee in an iroast? Just dump everything together? Actually I do that anyway when I only have small amounts of different origins left... hehe.
As a side question how much does the profile change the result, in reality? I just watched a video of Jimmey Kimmel giving people a chance to taste test StarBucks new 7 dollar coffee when he actually just used normal coffee in both cups and watched as people tried to find a reason to like one better than another. I just wonder if that's what ends up happening when we get into the process of using x temperature for z minutes at phase y. Or should I really be trying to do this?
Lee_M Senior Member Joined: 2 Dec 2012 Posts: 51 Location: Los Angeles Expertise: I live coffee
Grinder: Baratza Encore Drip: V60 Roaster: Popper
Posted Wed Dec 5, 2012, 7:59pm Subject: Re: Home Roasting for Espresso (and blends)
I don't know much about roasting for espresso, but to address your last point, there are a few types of tests commonly employed to answer the question of whether something has a noticeable sensory effect, such as ABX and triangle tests. In an ABX, two known samples are presented (e.g., A is roast profile 1, B is roast profile 2), followed by one unknown sample, which is either sample A or B. If you can reliably identify the unknown sample correctly as either A or B, then there's a significant difference for you. A triangle test is similar, except that none of the samples are identified: three unknown samples are presented, two of which are identical. If you can reliably pick out which of the three is different, then there's a significant difference for you.
Obviously psychology has an impact on taste. No one denies that. That's exactly why professional coffee roasters regularly engage in blind tastings. So should you, if you can. Then you will be able to answer your own question, because only you can say whether doing x makes a difference for you.
troposcuba Senior Member Joined: 19 Nov 2012 Posts: 8 Location: Tucson Expertise: I live coffee
Posted Wed Dec 5, 2012, 8:18pm Subject: Re: Home Roasting for Espresso (and blends)
I have a couple iRoast II's, but rarely use them since I got my Gene Cafe. I have been roasting at home for about 10 years and would say I have a pretty good handle on it. You can blend pre or post roasting. there are a ton of good recipes out there for espresso blends. Some people won't share theirs. The batches in the iRoast are small enough that you could roast separatly and then blend after without ending up with too much coffee to consume before it gets stale. The thing that tends to happen if you blend before you roast is that the beans will not always roast evenly depending on which varieties you are blending. Some beans take more time/heat to achieve the same degree of roast than others. This is not always a bad thing though. The blend I usually roast I have done both ways. It is better if I roast them separately because I tend to be able to get the best out of each bean that way. You don't really need to add any robusta to your blend unless you really feel it is necessary due to not being able to achieve the taste you are looking for from another blend.
Posted Thu Dec 6, 2012, 8:23am Subject: Re: Home Roasting for Espresso (and blends)
It's usual to blend for espresso, using a Brazil arabica for sweetness and crema, plus Central Americans and Indonesians or Africans to adjust the flavor profile, although some coffees wok well as single origin espresso.
I hope you can see this, the guide to blending from Sweet Maria's, which should walk you through the basics of espresso and drip blending.
Posted Thu Dec 6, 2012, 10:05am Subject: Re: Home Roasting for Espresso (and blends)
Having roasted on so many different roasters (Every Hottop model ever made, iRoast, iRoast2, Hearthware Precision, Hearthware Gourmet, GeneCafe, and Poppery1, and most recently, a Hottop with aftermarket computer control and logging), I thought i might comment:
There is no rule about what to roast or how to blend. The beginning steps are to roast and brew single origins. Try just Brazil. Roast to different levels, allow to rest, and brew. Then try some other coffees. Some Indonesians or Africans. Tanzanian peaberry, Yemens, Kenyans, Rwanda, or whatever to find the flavors and roasts you like. Then try blending. For the iRoast2, I would recommend roasting and post blending. Create simple blends. Something like one South or Central, and one "other." A simple one might be a 50/50 Brazil and Yemen Mocha. it should be smooth, sweet, and chocolaty.
And as soon as you get good at that you will find the crop changes and you have to readjust. For example, for a number of years i liked the Sumatrans, but for some reason they got far to 'earthy" for me. Earthy as in tasting more like dirt than coffee. That was a few years ago so I might revisit those coffees soon. Coffee changes, roasters change, brewing machines change, and tastes change. Don't get stuck in a rut. When it comes to home roasting, habits are bad and lead to stagnation.
+1 that was the easiest way for me to get a grasp on roasting for espresso. Then, like Jerry mentioned above, SM has some tasty pre-roast blends. That way you can focus on getting the roast down with one less variable to worry about (these are also nice if you aren't buying a large amount of a variety of coffees).
YMMV, but with my Behmor my espressos turn out better with a longer roast-not necessarily darker, but just taking a longer time to reach 1st crack.
Also, I'd suggest you roast enough to taste it daily for ~10-15 days. At first I did 1/4lb batches each at a different profile, but they never lasted more than 6 days (after a 2 day initial rest) so I don't know how they were when rested.
Hope that helps, ~Nick
There's a big difference between drinking coffee to wake up and waking up to drink coffee.
Crim Senior Member Joined: 13 Dec 2010 Posts: 11 Location: China
Posted Fri Dec 7, 2012, 10:57am Subject: Re: Home Roasting for Espresso (and blends)
I really wanna try ordering from SM (but it would be international...). Actually I feel a little iffy about what I buy here. I wouldn't really know if they were giving me Ethiopian beans or the cheapest things they can fit in a bag. I wouldn't put it past people to do that here though I certainly hope they're not.
With regards to SO beans are all Kenyan beans pretty much the same?
With regards to roasting, does lowering the temp mid roast do much from your guys experience? I know some people write about warming up the bean and such but as long as it's at a standard temperature that's not going to just outright scorch the bean's exterior is there much of a reason to program a profile as such?
Thanks for the replies so far... sorry I think this post is a little funky it's really late here.
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