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  #26  
Old 09-30-2012, 03:29 PM
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Originally Posted by Ilovemycar View Post
That was pretty good, huh? (I mean, for a first time trying to make a squirrel.) I looked at your photo and kinda copied, if you notice the similarities. I just tried to change the tail to "fan" only down, not to spread. But ehh, the tail didn't come as I planned. It was fun for one time. Took me about a minute.


Quote:
Part of my motivation to post all the photos and mini-review is also to kind of say a little thank you for your guidance. If it wasn't for you, there is a tiny chance that I would never have got to roasting my beans, an idea I've mulled over for years now at this point. A small chance, but a real one nevertheless, so thank you.
Really????? Oh wow, thank you, and you're welcome. I thought you were pretty decided to buy a roaster. Coming to think of it, I don't even remember who you came to ask about a roaster of all things, and in a Vitamix thread. The chances that anyone would know about coffee here was minuscule.

I'm hesitant about getting one because of the smoke. I live in an apartment building. NYC, you know.
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  #27  
Old 10-01-2012, 10:35 PM
Ilovemycar Ilovemycar is offline
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Originally Posted by MatWiz View Post
That was pretty good, huh?
Very!

Quote:
Really????? Oh wow, thank you, and you're welcome. I thought you were pretty decided to buy a roaster. Coming to think of it, I don't even remember who you came to ask about a roaster of all things, and in a Vitamix thread. The chances that anyone would know about coffee here was minuscule.
I don't recall exactly, but I'm pretty sure I was addressing you, and you sent me to SM's roasting page. That may not seem like much, but it was *exactly* what I needed. All of the ensuing dialogue didn't hurt none neither.

Quote:
I'm hesitant about getting one because of the smoke. I live in an apartment building. NYC, you know.
I just roasted the rest of the Bolivian bag earlier this evening, .508 lb worth. I decided not to "cheat" and put in the 1lb setting (if there was a 3/4 setting I would have though, to be clear), and instead kept the "true" 1/2 lb setting, but right from the get go hit the + button as many times as it would let me. This is all from memory, so hopefully the #s are accurate, but it was 12:00, then 6x the plus button to make it 13:30. First pop of the first crack happened at about 2:14 left to go- which is almost exactly the 2:10 estimate between cracks for this weight that I typed out here previously.

Chaff cleaning takes more time than I bargained for. One part of me definitely wonders if I need to be nearly as meticulous as I'm trying to be after each roast (maybe I should instead just do the "deep clean" after every several), and the other part of me wonders about some sort of refined chaff cleaning technique I can come up with to do each time.

But the real reason I want to post: Again, I never saw one instance of smoke. I know you really like SM, maybe contact them for their honest opinion in this regard, because I really didn't see any whatsoever, and today was with max heat (again), maxed out additional time (again), on a very warm evening. If it wasn't so hot, I would have done it indoors to really see, as the "bad smell" isn't bad at all to me, I think I kind of like it! I will eventually try it indoors I think. I think you should go for it, personally speaking.

Trying batch #2 again, I can now most definitely say it tastes 100x better than batch #1, of which I threw the rest away (very, very little left anyway). Today's 3rd batch has a very subtle difference in hue from #2, and I really wonder how much of this is due to roast vs time (as time will change color AFAIK). Ok, that's the latest, chat soon, and I say you should go buy the roaster man, after you talk with SM that is . . .
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  #28  
Old 10-01-2012, 10:41 PM
Ilovemycar Ilovemycar is offline
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Here is this evening's 1/2 lb roast. This pic has flash unlike all of the others I've shared so far, fyi.

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  #29  
Old 10-01-2012, 11:11 PM
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Cool reviews.

Try using a vacuum cleaner to clean the chaff??

Maybe you could adjust the batch size a little less than the profile so that way you don't need to circumvent the safety thing. Like if you make the batch 10% less.. Like 200g instead of 225g and use the half pound setting. In time you'll find what percentage reduction works the best? I read in the reviews that you linked that people say that the roaster seem to be "over protective" from over heating and fire.

I'm going to order more coffee Tues or Wed. Guatemala, Honduras, Ethiopian (all single origin) and a Guatemala & Costa Rica blend. I'm almost out. I'm thinking of getting only from the 2 SO out of the 3, + the espresso blend. Not sure which SO to skip this time. Decisions...
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  #30  
Old 10-01-2012, 11:18 PM
Ilovemycar Ilovemycar is offline
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Originally Posted by MatWiz View Post
Cool reviews.

Maybe you could adjust the batch size a little less than the profile so that way you don't need to circumvent the safety thing. Like if you make the batch 10% less.. Like 200g instead of 225g and use the half pound setting. In time you'll find what percentage reduction works the best? I read in the reviews that you linked that people say that the roaster seem to be "over protective" from over heating and fire.

I'm going to order more coffee Tues or Wed. Guatemala, Honduras, Ethiopian (all single origin) and a Guatemala & Costa Rica blend. I'm almost out. I'm thinking of getting only from the 2 SO out of the 3, + the espresso blend. Not sure which SO to skip this time. Decisions...
I don't know what SO is, but I am definitely going to pay attention to which coffees you lean towards. A couple of my recent favorites do include Huehuetenango (Guatemalan, eh) and Mocha Java. Costa Rica used to be my favorite years ago, when I just really liked smooooth. I also like Ethopian when I have it, but funnily enough I don't really know/remember what it tastes like.

Ok so I did think about reducing the amount, below the 1/4, 1/2, etc. But then, what do I do with the leftover beans? Throw them in with some other different bean type, hoping that I guessed that they will react similarly? Throw them away? I'm not going to do a 25g roast, of course. Of course, if I had a great deal of the same type, this would not be an issue. I did start with the lowest 1/4 just to test this all out. Maybe with the next fresh 1 lb bag, I will split them into three 1/3 batches, using the 1/2 setting each time.

But if the other (hard) beans react similarly to the Bolivian, I predict that I could be quite satisfied for now, simply by maxing out the additional time.
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  #31  
Old 10-01-2012, 11:19 PM
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Picture looks nice. So that's right before second crack, or right at the start of second crack? It looks City, or City+ to me, but I don't know how accurate the tone is on my monitor and with your flash. Looks good though. Good job.
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  #32  
Old 10-01-2012, 11:24 PM
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That's the thing MW, I cannot say with certainty that I ever quite reached 2nd crack (outside of the "3rd time is a charm of an overroast"). I can only hang my hat on the amount of time that passed after a definite crack of the first crack. Not only that, I cannot say when 1st crack has truly ended for sure- I'm wondering if it's sometimes a "smooth transition" of sorts, rather than two extremely distinct periods. Yes, obviously I'm very new to this!
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  #33  
Old 10-02-2012, 04:52 PM
Ilovemycar Ilovemycar is offline
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Today's coffee had some sourness to it, greater acidity, and slightly upset my stomach I think. I noticed some lightweight orangy chaff, just a bit, after grinding, but there might have been on the other occasions too. Also, I think the beans weighed more per volume. Not 100% sure, but pretty sure, as I've been scooping the beans on to the scale with an espresso cup, and I believe I scooped less to get the same weight.

I've busted out the roaster quite often recently, so I'm considering trying to finish them off in a cast iron pan (because my guess is that it needs a tad more roasting). Maybe I should still take the roaster out again though, even if it's only for a minute of roast or whatever, because apparently one of the drawbacks of cast iron is that it may underroast the inner part of the bean, compared to the outer part.

With whichever bean I choose next, I am definitely intending to split it into 1/3 lb batches.
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  #34  
Old 10-02-2012, 06:11 PM
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Originally Posted by Ilovemycar View Post
Today's coffee had some sourness to it, greater acidity, and slightly upset my stomach I think.
If this happens, try to grind a little smaller, and brew in a higher temp water - 205F instead of 200F. That will extract more from the grounds, and will coax more of the bitter oils from the coffee. It will move the balance from sour to bitter and may balance the flavor.

Quote:
I noticed some lightweight orangy chaff, just a bit, after grinding, but there might have been on the other occasions too. Also, I think the beans weighed more per volume. Not 100% sure, but pretty sure, as I've been scooping the beans on to the scale with an espresso cup, and I believe I scooped less to get the same weight.
Don't worry about the chaff, I often have chaff after grinding. Some beans and roasts will just have leftover chaff and it doesn't have any effect on the drink.

Same with weight/volume. Harder beans tend to be denser.


Quote:
I've busted out the roaster quite often recently, so I'm considering trying to finish them off in a cast iron pan (because my guess is that it needs a tad more roasting). Maybe I should still take the roaster out again though, even if it's only for a minute of roast or whatever, because apparently one of the drawbacks of cast iron is that it may underroast the inner part of the bean, compared to the outer part.

With whichever bean I choose next, I am definitely intending to split it into 1/3 lb batches.
Eh, I wouldn't do a cast iron pan. To be honest if I were you I would start with the 1/4 pound batches and take it from there. It would give me more batches to practice on, and if something goes wrong, not too much damage has been done. After practicing and starting to get a feel for what is needed, I'd risk a higher weight batches.

Just so you know, roaster have 100g test batches in a lab test roaster before they go for the 10lbs or larger roaster. IIRC even SM does 100g for his cupping.

Cupping = flavor tasting. The equivalent of wine tasting for coffee. For those who didn't know.
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  #35  
Old 10-02-2012, 06:20 PM
Ilovemycar Ilovemycar is offline
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Thanks for all of the good advice, I will follow almost all of it. I'm not going to do 1/4 batches, it's all gone just way too quickly. Even 1/3 will be pretty quick. I want to eventually get to the point of not roasting more than once a week, as it has seemed incessant.

TBH, if the "timers" allowed for longer times, I possibly may have been spared some of my issue(s). I'd simply listen for the beginning of 2nd crack, hit the cooldown button, done. So whether it's 1/4 or 1/3, I'm going to use the 1/2 setting on the machine.
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  #36  
Old 10-02-2012, 07:17 PM
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Oh, you asked about "SO".

SO = Single Origin.

SO means that all the beans in your bag are from the same place. The opposite of SO (single origin) is a blend where beans from different counties or regions are mixed together.

Regarding blends, all supermarket brands are blends. Even when it says "100% Colombian Coffee" it is still a blend because all it means that they can mix from different regions, different farms, different varietals, all from one country. They do this to make it cheaper.

But on the other hand when buying an espresso blend from a specialty coffee roaster then they are mixing to create a more complex flavor.

"Specialty Coffee" is a coffee grade rank. It is the highest grade of coffee beans. About 1% (ha!) of the coffee grown in the world is ranked that high.

Single Origin in a specialty coffee grade means that that coffee comes from a specific region or a farm and is of one varietal. You would want that because then you get a chance to taste the unique flavors of that coffee in it's purest. And if that SO is fantastic, you don't want it to be mixed with anything else. Just like you would not want to mix ground chuck into a ground Kobe Beef for your burgers or meatballs.

But different countries would give you a different level of single origin. For example in Central America you can get the beans per farm. If you buy in Kenya for example, they have organized tens and hundreds of little farmers into CoOps and they are all bringing their beans into the washing and processing center. There those beans are being mixed. You still get a SO for that region but not for per farm.

Then you have a country like Ethiopia (the place were coffee was first discovered, according to stories) and the government there does not allow direct purchasing and everything is mixed. Still, from Ethiopia you can get Sidamo (a province of Ethiopia) or Yirgachefe (WiKi) which is a varietal of Sidamo, only that there they were able to narrow down the SO. Very good coffee BTW. Similar to Yemen coffee which is also considered one of the best. Read: expensive. LOL

So there are different levels of OS. All the beans that you got there from Roastmasters are SO.
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  #37  
Old 10-02-2012, 07:27 PM
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Originally Posted by Ilovemycar View Post
Thanks for all of the good advice, I will follow almost all of it. I'm not going to do 1/4 batches, it's all gone just way too quickly. Even 1/3 will be pretty quick. I want to eventually get to the point of not roasting more than once a week, as it has seemed incessant.

TBH, if the "timers" allowed for longer times, I possibly may have been spared some of my issue(s). I'd simply listen for the beginning of 2nd crack, hit the cooldown button, done. So whether it's 1/4 or 1/3, I'm going to use the 1/2 setting on the machine.
Makes sense.
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  #38  
Old 10-03-2012, 01:18 PM
Ilovemycar Ilovemycar is offline
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I forgot to grind finer, but did use hotter water, and it was definitely better today. How strange. Thanks for the explanation on SO, quite detailed. The Bolivian I just went through is an example of multiple farms from the same region. IIRC, maybe even 40 or so farms? Thanks for the good news on all my beans being SO. I've bought a bag of Yirgacheffe before and remember liking it.

BTW, yes these hard beans are denser, but when I was guessing at the greater density, I was comparing to the same beans, but different roast attempts. Anyway, I'm not quite sure about it.

Speaking of the coffee being better today, what is your take on wait time after roast? I've heard 2 days for degassing, to forget the waiting just drink it now, to immediately seal/freeze/use immediately when desired . . . Thanks.
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  #39  
Old 10-03-2012, 01:43 PM
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Originally Posted by Ilovemycar View Post
I forgot to grind finer, but did use hotter water, and it was definitely better today. How strange.
Ha!


Quote:
BTW, yes these hard beans are denser, but when I was guessing at the greater density, I was comparing to the same beans, but different roast attempts. Anyway, I'm not quite sure about it.
Roasting darker makes them lighter? A burnt piece of wood is lighter after you've burnt it?


Quote:
Speaking of the coffee being better today, what is your take on wait time after roast? I've heard 2 days for degassing, to forget the waiting just drink it now, to immediately seal/freeze/use immediately when desired . . . Thanks.
Let them degas and age a little. 2 days is what people consider as the time for the CO2 to get out of the beans.

Super fresh beans will not extract as well because the gases create a barrier between the ground coffee particles and the water.


Ethiopia Sidamo

At the processing station, after peeling the berry, putting out in the sun for drying. Then it is sold as green coffee beans.

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  #40  
Old 10-11-2012, 04:06 PM
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Coffee sprouts in Kenya.

Kenya is one of the best coffees in the world. Read: Expensive. ~$22 - $35 per pound.

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  #41  
Old 10-11-2012, 05:06 PM
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I already drank a 1/2 lb worth of Guatemala SHB. Instead of finishing off that bag, I want to try another bean, probably the Costa Rica SHB. When it's time to order more beans, I will probably order at least 2 lbs increments, because 1/2 lb goes too quickly; I'd like to try roasting 3/4 lb at a time.

Still no smoke, not the slightest MW. However with the Guatemala, yes even if with slightly more beans this time (1/2 vs 1/3 lb), it was decidedly more smelly than the Bolivian, no question about it. I set it at 1 lb setting, and just sat in front of it. Timer starts at 18:00, 1st crack was about 7:30, end of it was roughly 7:00, and I sure have the impression that knowing when 2nd crack truly starts is the trickiest part (which I guess is a known thing; H20 & CO2 always act the same, but coffee cellulose structure varies quite a bit). It was somewhere between 5:30 and 5:00, and the very moment I was convinced it was 2nd crack in earnest, I hit the stop button.

Drinking some within 12 hours or so, it was not offensive, but not so great; something about it reminded me a tad bit of the overroasted coffee from before. Did I ruin some more, I wondered? A couple of days later however (using leftover Mocha Java during the meanwhile), it tasted just about perfect though. Quite rich, and a little bit of that complexity that I was missing was there. Still not as complex as I hoped, but something more at least. 3-4 days later, it had a more pronounced chocolate thing going for it, and I don't think I would change a thing!

Now a new habit I must soon form is to roast a few days before* I'm out of beans! (You know, I'm so used to buying some right when I'm out.) I am now totally convinced that I should wait at least* a couple of days before drinking.

1/2 lb barely does not fit in one of my new mason jars, which is a bit disappointing. Well, when I do start roasting 3/4 increments, I'm pretty sure it will be pretty close to filling up two mason jars at a time. I may drill a hole into the top of one, a tip I read online. I may order some one-way valves in the future when I have to place an order for more beans.

As I have now technically done 5 roasts, I used Simple Green per the instructions to clean up the insides a bit. For the chaff tray and bin, I just used Dawn with a sponge.

I will likely post up a few pics, one or two each of the Guatemala and Costa Rica in the near future. Cheers.
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  #42  
Old 10-14-2012, 06:16 PM
Ilovemycar Ilovemycar is offline
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The elapsed times noted above must have been incorrectly attributed. I roasted the whole Costa Rica bag, in two .5 lb batches, back to back. Both starting with a time of 18:00. I have now dedicated a spiral bound notebook as my roasting log, where I will write down all the elapsed time figures, updated with a few words here and there as for my tasting impressions.

1st CR batch, first pop at 7:53, no doubt about it 1st crack is on at 7:13, 1st crack dying off around 5:30. I noted that this coffee was much quicker to 2nd crack than the other coffees I've roasted. Again I stopped at the moment I knew it was 2nd, but this time the 2nd crack continued for at least a few/several seconds during the cooldown. This is why the manual must have been advising to think of the roasting process 10-15 secs ahead, or whatever it said.

When I find my favorite beans, and I get an idea of how they roast, along with the aid of my notes, perhaps I'll dial in the roasts just perfectly in the future. They're coming out pretty darn good, and I have to say roasting with this machine is pretty easy, it seems anyway. The way I will likely try to "dial it in" is by timing a certain amount of seconds after the end of 1st crack before hitting cooldown; not waiting to hear the 2nd crack if I prefer a lighter roast than that for any given bean.

2nd batch was actually .510 lb, and while I thought the machine would be warmed up (incorrectly predicting a faster roast), I think it must have been the dropping temp in the evening that made for a marginally longer roast (if anything), and I guess there's the marginally greater weight. Pop 7:08, 6:40 1st crack fo shizzle, 5:20 waning, cooldown commenced at 5:00.

I waited at least two days to drink either batch. They're both good, the second batch is roasted slightly lighter, and carries a bit more acidity along with it. I noted with the second batch that it could probably use a greater concentration than 18:1, so I very well may go 17:1 the next time with this batch. The CR didn't seem to be as smelly as the Guatemalan either.

Pics. I think* this must be the Guatemalan, I failed to give it a title.



I don't know the first thing about photography, but it took me a number of (lighting) occasions to show the subtle roasting difference between the two Costa Rica batches.



How I'm currently storing the beans. I usually had beans left on the counter in a bag, but now I store these in the cupboard beneath. When I get some one way valves in the future, I will likely try something like these I found when browsing the web (removing the valves from the bags, and installing them on jars):

http://badgerandblade.com/vb/showthr...gassing-valve?

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  #43  
Old 10-15-2012, 07:16 PM
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I can put a bunch of one way valves for you in the mail if you want. I have a few tens of them just laying around. I can put a few in an envelope and mail you.
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Old 02-07-2013, 09:51 PM
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I saw this yesterday and thought it gives a nice short intro

Quote:
What is coffee? As most of us know it, it's the roasted seed of the fruit of a tree. In spite of what we call it, the coffee seed is not a bean at all. It's more akin to the center of a pecan, two halves (usually) that make up the center of the fruit. The coffee fruit itself is referred to as a 'cherry' because it's about the same size and color of a wild cherry, and it grows on a tree.

Arabica coffee originated in Ethiopia and still grows wild there. Even though it's only one species, there are dozens of varieties (like apples or tomatoes), each with its own flavor characteristics. After being discovered in Ethiopia around a thousand years ago no one knows for sure), it was brought to the Arabian peninsula and from there it was taken around the world and planted in Indonesia, Hawaii, Central and South America, New Guinea, even Nepal.

When coffee cherries are harvested, they are processed in one of three ways: wet, dry, or pulped natural. During wet processing, the outer skin and mucilage - the 'meat' of the fruit - is removed, leaving a parchment hull around the bean. Then it is washed and dried in the sun or by a mechanical dryer. Then the hull is removed and the beans are bagged for shipping. In the dry process, the whole cherry is left to dry in the sun for a couple weeks, then hulled. This process tends to infuse the beans with more fruit flavors and aromas as they are in contact with the fruit for so long. The third process is pulped natural, in which the pulp is partially removed and then the cherries are dried in the sun.

When reading coffee reviews or descriptions, you might find that they sound more like a wine descriptions, with notes of this, hints of that, elements of things you don't normally associate with coffee. The truth is, coffee has roughly three times the amount of flavor compounds that wine has, and when coffee is sorted, processed and roasted properly, there really are amazing things like different fruits, spices, nuts and chocolate, without any flavorings added. But you will only find these amazing qualities in the best grade of coffee, which is Specialty grade, the only grade we sell. ("Premium" grade is actually a step below Specialty grade in quality.)

Unfortunately, all the flavor and aroma subtleties diminish through oxidation shortly after grinding, much as wine does after the cork is pulled. In the whole bean form, even when stored in an airtight container, coffee will only be at its best in the first month.

All our coffees are packed in either foil bags or zip-lock bags immediately after roasting and the off-gassing during the next couple days will push the air out, but once they are opened and air is reintroduced, the oxidation will begin. If you will be using the coffee within a week or two, squeeze the air out each time you re-seal it. If you order the 5 pound bag and want to store it, the best way is to vacuum seal it with something like a Foodsaver, and then freeze it. Coffee that is not vacuum sealed will still age in the freezer, but vac-sealing and freezing seems to stop the aging process almost completely.
http://www.redbirdcoffee.com/aboutcoffee.html
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Old 02-11-2013, 01:33 PM
Ilovemycar Ilovemycar is offline
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It's neat to see this thread bumped and see what my roasts looked like at first, haha. I am definitely roasting lighter since. I've already done at least 27 roasts so far, the next one will be very soon. Using this machine borders on stupid easy. Oh I recently opened up the machine, the right side panel, and the silver vent, to vacuum out the impellor, but it was pretty darn clean, and probably quite unnecessary. The updated care manual says to do a dry burn every 5 roasts or so, and I also suspect this to be overkill, if only because I do lighter roasts I guess.

The trickiest roasts, sort of, for me are those that go so quickly into 2C right at the end of 1C, where I was at first mistaking 2C to be the tail end of 1C. This would mean overroasting by the time I realized. There was one variety in particular that was tricky this way, but I don't remember which one it was.

My next DIY foodie adventures will occur during the next couple of weeks. First time grinding meat, for a fancy burger, then my first sausages later this week, then making cheese this weekend, then making flour for first time, to make my first pasta.

I've also read a few hundred pages on some pretty technical stuff regarding homebrewing. I'll probably give that a shot soon. As I now have a grain mill, I'm wondering if I should go straight to the mash tun to begin with, I dunno, it's such a big time commitment. Anyway, most of all of the above things are made possible because I just acquired an extremely good condition KA stand mixer that is almost three decades old.

Last edited by Ilovemycar; 02-11-2013 at 01:34 PM.
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Old 02-11-2013, 08:32 PM
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I now weigh my coffee and water.

Thanks, guys!
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Old 02-11-2013, 08:33 PM
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the coffee I buy looks way darker and oilier.


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Last edited by paulg; 02-11-2013 at 08:38 PM.
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Old 02-12-2013, 04:08 AM
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best coffee on the planet


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Old 02-12-2013, 10:01 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by paulg View Post
the coffee I buy looks way darker and oilier.


What's the roasting date on this?

Roasted coffee beans get oily for 2 reasons:
1. Roasted dark, to the point where the natural oils in the beans start to separate or break down and leak out of the beans. Or,
2. The beans are too old and the oils start breaking and leaking out.

Old oil turns rancid... Tasting bad.

Solution?
Buy medium or light roast. Skip the supermarket coffees. Buy from that espresso bar nearby, they'll have fresh roasts with the date on them, from a good (tasty) source.
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Last edited by MatWiz; 02-24-2013 at 11:07 AM. Reason: Typo
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Old 02-12-2013, 10:22 AM
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Quote:
It's neat to see this thread bumped and see what my roasts looked like at first, haha. I am definitely roasting lighter since. I've already done at least 27 roasts so far, the next one will be very soon.
So you're starting to enjoy the more sour / berry notes of your coffee?

Quote:
The trickiest roasts, sort of, for me are those that go so quickly into 2C right at the end of 1C, where I was at first mistaking 2C to be the tail end of 1C. This would mean overroasting by the time I realized. There was one variety in particular that was tricky this way, but I don't remember which one it was.
We should probably use "first crack" and "second crack" because most people here wouldn't know what 1C means in roasting. Heck, they wouldn't know what first crack and second crack means. But at least they could have a sense of it.

To clarify, it's like when you make popcorn, it pops, making a noise. Same with coffee beans, they pop, crack, making a popping sound. First one, and then a second. So listening to the cracks gives the roaster the indication when to stop the roasting.
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