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BarryR
Senior Member


Joined: 21 Nov 2010
Posts: 263
Location: Wilbraham
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: CC1
Grinder: Baratza Preciso
Drip: Behmor Brazen, Clever...
Roaster: Hottop KN-8828B2-K
Posted Sat Jun 8, 2013, 5:16am
Subject: Roasting African Beans
 

I know many of the Africans are softer and should be roasted more like Indonesians, etc, than like most South American coffees.
Some, though are harder and should be roasted more like South Americans.
I believe Kenyans are in that list.

How do I know how best to roast an African coffee?
I can't always find out the hardness or altitude.

PS: I use a Behmor, though my question is generalizable.

Thanks,
Barry
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Prof
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Prof
Joined: 10 Sep 2004
Posts: 670
Location: Seattle
Expertise: Pro Roaster

Espresso: PV Lusso
Grinder: Pharos 696, Zass
Drip: Aeropress, Brazen
Roaster: Behmor, TO/SC, Poppery I
Posted Sat Jun 8, 2013, 9:56am
Subject: Re: Roasting African Beans
 

It would be hard to put a specific rule or roasting profile for a particular green bean.  Sweet Maria's usually has a range of roast durations (i.e.  FC to Vienna) on most of their greens.

Your taste buds will tell you what level of roast darkness you prefer.  

Last week I roasted some Ethiopian beans to FC, using (P2) on the Behmor.  

I have no idea what type of Ethiopian bean they are.  But today's blueberry blast in the nose was pretty awesome.

 
LMWDP # 010
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myallawala
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myallawala
Joined: 25 Dec 2012
Posts: 86
Location: San Antonio, TX
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Crossland CC1
Grinder: Mazzer Major & Baratza Vario
Vac Pot: Yama Burner
Drip: Hario V60 & Chemex
Roaster: Behmor 1600
Posted Sun Jun 9, 2013, 10:16am
Subject: Re: Roasting African Beans
 

When you talk about roasting beans a certain way, do you mean what sort of heat curve to use? Or batch size? Or maybe a flavor you're trying to bring out and highlight?

African coffees vary so widely. There are so many geographies and altitudes and weather conditions that span Africa that you really can't assign a roasting technique to "African coffees". Maybe more so to each country but even still you'll find such different behaviors from each bean.

If you want to get an idea, you can literally just smash the bean or pop it in your mouth. See if it's soft or hard and compare it to everything you have on hand. Try smaller batches and roast on a wider spectrum. You'll learn so much from practice.

The Behmor is a good home roaster but it's much harder to control the roast profile than a commercial style roaster with access to airflow and temperature. I enjoy the coffee from mine though. I roast P1 all the way through and I might crack the door open to draw out a stage and at the end to cool the beans faster.

Good luck!
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BarryR
Senior Member


Joined: 21 Nov 2010
Posts: 263
Location: Wilbraham
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: CC1
Grinder: Baratza Preciso
Drip: Behmor Brazen, Clever...
Roaster: Hottop KN-8828B2-K
Posted Sun Jun 9, 2013, 4:07pm
Subject: Re: Roasting African Beans
 

Sorry, my post wasn't clear.
I meant profile (or equivalent like cracking the door), I wasn't referring to roast level.
With Asian coffees (and decafs), I assume I want a gentler roast profile. I usually use P1 but can crack the door, etc. For non-Brazil South Americans I assume less gentle roast.
For Africans I wing it unless I have info to guide me.

I like the ideal of smashing the bean, didn't realize "hardness" was that literal.
Will my teeth be OK if I try to chew a green coffee bean?
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CoffeeLoversMag
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CoffeeLoversMag
Joined: 10 Jan 2013
Posts: 218
Location: Seattle
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Mon Jun 10, 2013, 6:45am
Subject: Re: Roasting African Beans
 

How about roasting it by smaller batches?.. See which suits your taste. Most African coffee beans I know are best tasting if roasted from city roast to full city.

 
Did you know...? Dark roast coffees actually have less caffeine than lighter roasts due to the fact that the process of roasting burns off caffeine.
www.coffeeloversmag.com/theMagazine
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GVDub
Senior Member


Joined: 25 Jan 2008
Posts: 845
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Londinium I, Arrarex...
Grinder: Gaggia MD85, Dienes Mokka,...
Drip: Behmor Brazen, Abid Clever
Roaster: Behmor 1600
Posted Mon Jun 10, 2013, 7:50am
Subject: Re: Roasting African Beans
 

You may simply have to do the research when you buy the beans. Most importers of speciality coffees have info about altitude, etc. for a specific lot. I know that Thom at Sweet Maria's almost always has elevation info. If you know what farm/co-op/region it's from, you can usually find info about the geography on the web and go from there.

Hardness doesn't seem to be strictly altitude related from what I know (though I'm always learning more), and is affected by the weather conditions in that particular growing season. So it's going to vary a certain amount from year to year. This is why developing cupping skills is an important part of roasting. take a small batch just to the end of first crack, cup it, and see what the flavors tell you.
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