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z0mbie
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z0mbie
Joined: 26 Sep 2013
Posts: 340
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Expertise: I live coffee

Posted Fri May 2, 2014, 9:41pm
Subject: the art and science of coffee roasting
 

As much as I've studied the science behind roasting (and I admit I am a wee lad of it) I must say that I am beginning to truly appreciate the art of it.

For many roasting is all about understanding and harnessing the controls to achieve a desired result.  And to do it consistently it requires a level of experience with the machine that no amount of education on paper can provide. Without the hands on of such equipment, one simply cannot master the roasting process.

The thing is, as an avid home roaster using nothing more than a small pot and a stove I can't help but marvel at capability such a primitive approach can achieve.  But because I'm working primarily with my senses, I deem the highly manual process mostly an art form. While there is certainly lots of science going on the process is anything but.  

I wonder what you guys think of your roasting own achievements?  

It has been a true joy learning to hand roast coffee and it's oh-so-satisfying to be able to hit my roast targets simply by 'feel'.

Most of my roasts have been medium or light medium but lately I've been stepping over to the darker side since my doesn't enjoy lighter roasts.

I been roasting French roast batches back to back that turned out perfectly and I felt like sharing my success with you guys.
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z0mbie
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z0mbie
Joined: 26 Sep 2013
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Expertise: I live coffee

Posted Fri May 2, 2014, 9:48pm
Subject: Re: the art and science of coffee roasting
 

(Beans are Columbian, Huila from Bodhi Leaf).

z0mbie: FB_IMG_13990884052913850_20140502214837829.jpg
(Click for larger image)
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boar_d_laze
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Joined: 21 Nov 2006
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Posted Sat May 3, 2014, 10:32am
Subject: Re: the art and science of coffee roasting
 

Hey Scotty,

"Art," standing by itself can be a difficult concept to pin down.  Too much "de gustibus."

The artisanal craft of roasting is a little easier and a little more objective, though.  It comes with the process of creating ideal profiles, executing them, cupping, and tweaking on that basis. The whole idea is to do things on purpose.  Consequently, part of being a good artisan means understanding enough roasting science to predict how certain things will effect the roast's in the cup qualities.

"Profiling" means breaking the roasting process into intervals; then creating and executing a plan for each interval.  It's easy to identify the common intervals -- Drying, Ramp, and Development -- as they occur by their smells, sights and sounds.  

Sadly, there's only so much agility and control you can get from unsophisticated equipment.  Similarly, there's only so far the sights, sounds, and smells of roast milestones can take you; a lot of refinement comes from anticipating milestones and acting proactively.  The more agile your roaster and the better its telemetry,  the closer you can cut the corners, and the more reactive you can be to correct a profile which is not moving according to plan.

Rich
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z0mbie
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z0mbie
Joined: 26 Sep 2013
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Expertise: I live coffee

Posted Sat May 3, 2014, 11:51am
Subject: Re: the art and science of coffee roasting
 

Perhaps one day when I actually have the facilities to set up a bonafide pro micro roasting station, my goals and outlook would certainly change with that potential.

For now I'm reveling in what I'm actually able to create with a $4 pot and $4 worth of green coffee.  Yes it's a bit of boasting on my part but I truly am proud of the fact that I can do anything of the sort in my small humble apartment with one window and no ventilation.

For the time being I can only focus on developing my own 'facilities' and that in itself will keep me plenty busy if not at least entertained. That's why I really call it an art form because the results are blindly serendipitous and unscientific. It's more in line with my whole "oneness" with coffee philosophy, and this style of roasting is just another aspect of that thinking.  So for now my process of making coffee is nearly entirely manual, end to end. Roasting, grinding, brewing.  I guess you can say it's my"thing".. and everyone has one ;)

But reflecting on your advice I do take it to heart. My dream is to one day own a home with back yard and a garage where I can work on my car, build cool things (I love to weld), and maybe set up a professional roasting station as a side business.
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OregonCityMan
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Joined: 30 Oct 2013
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Location: Portland, Oregon
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Posted Wed Jun 4, 2014, 3:00pm
Subject: Re: the art and science of coffee roasting
 

And you are roasting with a jiffy pop? Those are good looking beans my friend. Before WWII this country boasted thousands of home roasters using skillets and coal or wood fired crank type machines. It was an all manual experience then.

I use a small stainless steel pot roaster I designed and spin it over a propane camp stove. The roaster has no bells or whistles but I get excellent results as I control the heat, and the speed of the roaster. The roaster is equipped with an agitator that I mount to the center axle and plenty of passive air flow in the form of holes in both ends of the roaster.

I do have a small 1 kilo electric commercial roaster that sits as I don't roast commercially anymore. I prefer the propane roaster as I get instant results when I turn the heat up or down.

You have what it takes my friend, fantasy.
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z0mbie
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z0mbie
Joined: 26 Sep 2013
Posts: 340
Location: Online
Expertise: I live coffee

Posted Wed Jun 4, 2014, 5:59pm
Subject: Re: the art and science of coffee roasting
 

Thank you for that.  

What is the roaster that you have? 1 kilo doesn't sound small but I guess it is from a commercial standpoint..
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hankua
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hankua
Joined: 29 Aug 2009
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Location: Jacksonville, Florida
Expertise: I like coffee

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Posted Wed Jun 4, 2014, 8:58pm
Subject: Re: the art and science of coffee roasting
 

Patrick's sauce pan roaster would be a good upgrade, I'm tempted to try one myself. Not totally original, but an improvement on a commercial hand cranked portable roaster.
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kutis
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Joined: 21 May 2014
Posts: 9
Location: jakarta
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Thu Jun 5, 2014, 2:55am
Subject: Re: the art and science of coffee roasting
 

I'd say that any form of self expression is art, and that goes well beyond paintings, sculptures, or music. Roasting (or cooking in general) is an art form similar to that of writing, yes there are "recipes" to roast coffee vis-a-vis formula or grammar to writing or story telling. However, the minutiae of your craft is what make your art yours. As others have put it so well here, happy roasting!
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