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Amazing smell, uninspiring flavor
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jjtjp
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Joined: 3 May 2013
Posts: 12
Location: Charlotte, NC
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Fri May 3, 2013, 8:09am
Subject: Amazing smell, uninspiring flavor
 

I've been a long time lurker, but decided I'd finally join. I've been a fan of good coffee for several years now. Well, what I used to call good. I began liking coffee as a starbucks employee. The Starbucks I worked at strived to promote coffee culture, besides milk drinks, by doing coffee tastings and food pairings weekly. So my palate is now accustomed to the starbucks flavor, which I see many people on here describe as burned or old. So, wanting to branch out and mature, I decided to begin home roasting. I've now roasted 5 batches in my Toastess popcorn popper, and each one I've done to varying degrees. Every one of them has smelled amazing, especially once I grind them. My problem is that once I begin to pour water over them, either via my hario or in the drip machine, the smell changes to a sort of sour smell that reminds me of the coffee at waffle house. The flavor isn't as bad as the smell, but it, too, is uninspiring. Does anybody have any clues why this may be happening? Is the center of the bean not being roasted thoroughly, or am a roasting too slowly? I'm just curious if what I'm describing is a common symptom with an easy remedy. Thanks for all the help you've provided me thus far!
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sae
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Joined: 5 Nov 2010
Posts: 60
Location: Canada
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Breville Dual Boiler,...
Grinder: baratza vario
Drip: Melita one cup
Roaster: Behmor, Popcorn popper
Posted Fri May 3, 2013, 10:33am
Subject: Re: Amazing smell, uninspiring flavor
 

How long did the roast go? If you cut a bean in 1/2 is it roasted evenly all the way through? How long after roasting it did you wait to drink it?

I found when I used my popcorn popper to roast that I could only get good tasting roasts at the first snaps of second crack - anything lighter than that and it wasn't roasted all the way through.  My roasters were typically in the 8-10 minute range.
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jjtjp
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Joined: 3 May 2013
Posts: 12
Location: Charlotte, NC
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Fri May 3, 2013, 11:03am
Subject: Re: Amazing smell, uninspiring flavor
 

They have been various lengths. All of them exhibit the same great smell (more or less) and are varying degrees of badness in the cup. My shortest roast was around 5 minutes, my longest I made last 11 minutes with extension cord. I'm not sure if I've ever heard second crack though. When I cut it in half, how can I know if it's roasted all the way through? color? The color was uniform in all my roasts. I was looking for cutaways of roasted beans but couldn't find anything. As far as waiting, I've tried them anywhere from 1 to 2 days. I'll let them rest one day longer and see if that improves things. I just find it crazy how they smell amazing yet the flavor ends up sour. Is this how it's supposed to taste and I've been conditioned into burnt coffee from starbucks? I find the smell of my roasts way better than even my favorite black apron Starbucks, though. Thanks for your input. I'll keep on trying.
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Netphilosopher
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Joined: 14 Jan 2011
Posts: 1,602
Location: USA
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Fri May 3, 2013, 1:24pm
Subject: .
 

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jjtjp
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Joined: 3 May 2013
Posts: 12
Location: Charlotte, NC
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Fri May 3, 2013, 2:53pm
Subject: Re: Amazing smell, uninspiring flavor
 

Wow, Netphilosopher! Thanks for such a thorough reply! They are a light brown, I would compare them to SM's photos of a City+ or FC, hard for me to tell which. I haven't bought anything but dark roasts such as espresso and Verona from *$ in a long time. I would guess they're close to House blend. My roasts are definitely drier than any other coffee I've bought from *$ or the local coffee shops. From what I've read, this is what I want, and that oilly surfaces mean either a very dark roast or an old bean. I'm aware that there is going to be some flavor differences in the cup between my lighter roasts and starbucks scorched stuff, but I would think that I could aquire a taste for my lighter stuff. It's not that this stuff is undrinkable, just unpleasant.

I'll let the beans keep resting and maybe experiment with timing the temperature with the next batch. I guess I should buy a thermometer and modify the popper so I can monitor the temperature.  I appreciate the meat analogy and it makes complete sense. Do you think I can get adequate control with a thermometer and two different length extension cords? If I need to buy a variac to get the kind of control I need, I might as well just invest in a real roaster or give up the hopes of a good roast from an air popper.
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Netphilosopher
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Joined: 14 Jan 2011
Posts: 1,602
Location: USA
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Sat May 4, 2013, 10:18am
Subject: .
 

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jjtjp
Senior Member


Joined: 3 May 2013
Posts: 12
Location: Charlotte, NC
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Sat May 4, 2013, 6:38pm
Subject: Re: Amazing smell, uninspiring flavor
 

I'm an idiot. I'm almost positive now that one of the main reasons for my funky flavor was the fact that I never disabled the safety switch. I'm not sure how I missed that step. I thought the modifications for the poppers were just to help profile your roast a bit. I didn't realize that it would never get above 360 without that. I'm guessing I just got into first crack and then continued to roast it for 2 minutes at the same temperature, a recipe for a bad bean, for sure. I just did a roast tonight after disabling the thermostat and I heard a few pops of second crack around 9 minutes and I shut it down. After the beans cooled I bit into one and I could tell a definite improvement. I'm not sure if my popper had a thermofuse too and if so what it's temperature is set to, but I forgot to look/disable it so I guess I'll just keep roasting until I find a problem with that.  I'll update this after I have a cup in a few days. I wish I had some more money right now to highly modify my popper now. The arduino controlled PID seems really fun! Thanks for everyone's input!
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