Ok, guys! I see a lot of great conversations on this site but it seems to me that far too few of them are actually about the art/science of roasting. Most discussions focus brewing and retailing- which is totally fine. However, I'd like to discuss the reason we're all here.

 

It seems to me that, as with being a barista when pulling an espresso shot, there are a limited number of variables at work during a roast.

 

When pulling a shot a barista balances: dose size, grind size, brew time, water volume in, and coffee volume out. The result of the equation is the extraction and the taste of the espresso.

Each of these variables has a somewhat predictable effect on the extraction and taste of espresso. That, of course, is another conversation.

 

Similarly, a roaster has in the works his own variables: batch size, bean size [and water content], roast time, air temperature, drum temperature, bean temperature, and airflow. I would like to see an informed discussion as to how each of these effects the outcome of a roast.

 

We can discuss batch size by asking, among other questions: what characteristics are common among roasts over 20lbs and what traits are common in smaller roasts? For example, do smaller roasts tend to have certain cupping results? Do larger roasts?

 

Roast time is an interesting topic because it is directly correlated to each other variable.

 

The question I have the most difficulty answering as a roster is: where does an increase in airflow have the greatest impact? Is it in the time/temperature vectors or is it on the cupping table?

 

How can we dissect these elements, and then reconstruct them for a fuller understanding of coffee roasting?

 

 

Views: 528

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

Josh, Lance, agreed.

Most of the conferences, seminars and expos I've experienced since being a roaster:

 

1.) most roasters are men.

2.) most roasters are incredibly greedy with roasting techniques.

3.) most roasters are assholes, especially online.

4.) most roasters think they are your father figure if you're new.

5.) if you scratch their back, they'll most likely scratch yours.

 

I'm a 25 year old southern girl who happens to be 6'3'' and I dont take much shit from anyone. Considering my above observations, it was pretty difficult for me to adjust in the southeastern "roasting community" if you can call it that. we're pretty spread out and it's difficult to get together. However, since I've gotten some direct trade connections and gave them to my other roaster friends, they're way more apt to talk frankly with me about techniques, trouble shooting and sourcing. It also helps to take them a few samples of what you've done so they can cup it with you and critique it. (Be prepared for that one, it takes a huge amount of humility to get through it I tried to reference lots of martial arts movies in which there was a sensei that was to be respected and learned from. We all need mentors, when we've gotten to a point that there is nothing more to learn, it's time to die. The trick is to finding a roaster that enjoys discussing his trade and talking about the industry as a whole. I openly welcome competition in my area. I know for a FACT that it wont matter. I have insane customer loyalty as well as an increasing desire to learn more every day, and I have.

 

Your best bet for making some of your desired discussions happen is to break them down a bit further and see what people throw back. i.e., where does an increase in airflow have the greatest impact? Is it in the time/temperature vectors or is it on the cupping table?

You've got some great topics to get out there. 

 

I said all of that to say,

 

My best experience has been to seek out roasters in my area and have a face to face with them. Develop a relationship and get some legit feedback.

 

 

also, Bill Ledbetter from Atlanta Coffee Roasters is SUCH A COOL ROASTER to talk with. He's completely independent, and the shop has been roasting since 1983. It's a fluid bed roaster, he built it himself, he's incredibly smart. I want to say he's a retired engineer, either chemical or mechanical. Either way, he knows a lot about both aspects of engineering. I pick up my bags of direct trade Brazil at his shop about once a month.

 

Although I enjoy the hell out of talking with old snobby roaster men about how much better they are at everything than I am, or young corporate hipster roasters about how they're more sustainable or their music is obviously better than mine, experienced roasters with a good heart and a sharp mind are my favorite friends to make.

 

thats one of the coolest things i've ever heard a roaster say... (not sarcastic)

Hey now.  I'm a man, and I'm neither greedy with my techniques nor an asshole.  I have a badge to prove it.  

 

Oh, wait, no I don't.  Because you haven't made it yet.  GET BACK TO YOUR SEWING MACHINE, WOMAN!

 

(Calm down everyone.  It's an inside joke.  Sort of.  I may actually get fired for that last line...)


Sarah Leanne Barnett said:

1.) most roasters are men.

2.) most roasters are incredibly greedy with roasting techniques.

3.) most roasters are assholes, especially online.

4.) most roasters think they are your father figure if you're new.

5.) if you scratch their back, they'll most likely scratch yours.

 

 

 

 

I dont even know how I became a roaster. I should be sewing things and making you a sandwich!

 

I will kill you in your sleep, boy. Don't even play.

hahaha, you're fired. for sure.

 

you're not a roaster yet, boo boo. Baristi are a wee bit different. you're lucky I love you so effin much.



Adam Wilson said:

Hey now.  I'm a man, and I'm neither greedy with my techniques nor an asshole.  I have a badge to prove it.  

 

Oh, wait, no I don't.  Because you haven't made it yet.  GET BACK TO YOUR SEWING MACHINE, WOMAN!

 

(Calm down everyone.  It's an inside joke.  Sort of.  I may actually get fired for that last line...)


Sarah Leanne Barnett said:

1.) most roasters are men.

2.) most roasters are incredibly greedy with roasting techniques.

3.) most roasters are assholes, especially online.

4.) most roasters think they are your father figure if you're new.

5.) if you scratch their back, they'll most likely scratch yours.

 

 

 

Got a question or idea? Why not explore/try it a bit yourself first? Then post a more pointed question including details of what one has already found. There are so many things that can effect a roast. It's hard to know where to start with broad questions. Explain more about what you already know, reference what you've read, so those that respond don't have to write a book to include every possible variable that needs to be considered.

Have you read what's available to anyone in the online SCAA library? What Boot offers online? The Illy book? Stefan Schenker's investigations? Carl Staub's article on roast chemistry? Ulkers old classic. These are all available free online (except the Illy book). I even listed some of them with links on my blog. 

 

 

As a barista-turned-roaster, I can say that I do understand why.  Not in a way I can communicate well, but roasting is far different.  One single roaster is responsible for a far greater number of cups of coffee than a single barista.  Service is not part of the equation.  Personality is not part of the equation.  The only thing that makes a roaster great is his/her skills at the helm of the machine being driven.  A great roaster can also be a great cupper, or a great green buyer, but these are different hats that may be worn by the same individual.  

 

In short: there's more at stake. 

Joshua Longsdorf said:

Mike, I'd say it's possible to talk about roasting without giving away your roast profiles. Also all we can really do is talk generally. I've roasted on several different machines and they all handle differently. Some have better airflow, some have better heat retention, etc. I don't know why most roasters don't talk more openly. I trade my profiles pretty openly with roasters across the country, none of us are trying to copy the others but when we accompany those profiles with tasting the coffee, it can be a true learning experience.
+1 with Jason.  I'm in the same boat and of the same opinion.

That, and I can teach every barista in town all of "my tricks" without having a significant negative impact on our shop's business. However, if suddenly there's an equally good roaster in town that wants to play price games, they could easily poach a huge chunk of a more established roaster's clients.

 

I'm seeing it happen right here, right now. With so many roasters having to jack up wholesale prices of late, there are a whole lot of unhappy shop owners out there. Easy pickings for a roaster that's "good enough" but a bit cheaper.

 

That kinda climate sure takes the incentive away from helping a newly-hatched roaster along.

I do agree that many roasters are pretty secretive. I'm not sure if that behavior really protects any accounts(or proves that they are greedy assholes...), but I can see the thought process.

It seems that the original  post called for a discussion about roasting itself.  That might be an unreasonably broad topic. Could a discussion of initial drop temps be more manageable?  Here's a few thoughts for discussion.

 

Low drop temps:

-help low altitude coffees avoid tipping

-combat unneveness especially with naturals

-make sense if temperature of beans/air/machine is high

-seem to help develop mildly acidic fruit notes(strawberry/melon/red apple/grape) in some coffees

-are requisite with smaller batches

-can delay 1st crack in order to downplay some unwanted brightnesses especially in the case of very fresh green

-often necessary to develop decafs without scorching 

 

High drop temps:

-Can preserve acidic snap in higher altitude coffees

-Make sense if temp of beans/air/machine is lower

-Facilitate a faster approach to 1st crack which often brings out more acidic fruits(citrus/tropicals/raspberry etc.)

-Helpful with larger batches

-Faster approach to 1st crack might keep some brightness as the green ages ungracefully

 

These are just my own observations and theories about roasting on a Diedrich.

I began this discussion in the hope that other users would themselves ask pointed questions and we could begin to create a dialogue within this discusssion that would be FULL of different-direction pointed questions and answers regarding the roasting process contained under one main header. This would make it easier for people who are interested to follow the various discussions going on around roasting rather than wading through all the crap about why 17oz lattes are bad or ristretto shots are--- whatever. I was simply frustrated by the lack of discussion regarding the actual process of roasting under the roasters' discussion forum. It seems my efforts have paid off very little and only brought much criticism and negative attitude. WHICH is why, in the modern, computerized age, I have to disagree with those who say that personality is not a factor in what makes a good roaster.

 

 I, personally, am a barista/roaster/trainer because it is my way of incorporating all aspects of my SELF into what I do for a living. I have a pretty discerning pallate, a fine personality, smarts, and an analytical thought process that makes me, perhaps, more inclined to be a good scientific-style roaster than most. Artisan roasting, to me, is like playing a song by ear: I can barely do it. Tell me what key the song is in and what the time structure is and it all falls into place easily.

 

 I, of course, agree with all of those who have said there are no easy answers. Just to be clear, I wasn't looking for "answers" I was looking to inspire a conversation. Instead, it seems, we're having a conversation about having a conversation. This is very frustrating and just harkens back to the other lame conversations under this main forum.

 

I've been a barista since 2004. I began managing what was a very successful coffee shop in 2006. That same year I began an apprenticeship for a coffee roasting company which, at that time, produced the best cups of coffee I'd ever tasted. After my apprenticeship I went back to managing the shop and then I tasted counter culture coffee. I've never looked at coffee the same way since. I new my calling was as a coffee roaster, buyer, cupper, business person, etc. I bought a YM-2 in 2009.

 

So in the 5 years I've been roasting coffee I've learned a little. Mostly I've learned that if one wants to learn more about roasting they must shell out BIG bucks or roast, cup, roast, cup, roast, cup AND make very, very detailed roast charts and analyze the small differences in the numbers and the cupping results. While I've enjoyed every second of doing both of these things, I'd still like to encourage an open dialogue here regarding the process of roasting coffee. So, if you are a person who is not like minded, or who doesn't believe that roasters should feel obligated to help elevate the quality of production of their entire community, go find a discussion about 18 oz lattes or whatever it is you do want to talk about.

 

 

 

 

farmroast said:

Got a question or idea? Why not explore/try it a bit yourself first? Then post a more pointed question including details of what one has already found. There are so many things that can effect a roast. It's hard to know where to start with broad questions. Explain more about what you already know, reference what you've read, so those that respond don't have to write a book to include every possible variable that needs to be considered.

Have you read what's available to anyone in the online SCAA library? What Boot offers online? The Illy book? Stefan Schenker's investigations? Carl Staub's article on roast chemistry? Ulkers old classic. These are all available free online (except the Illy book). I even listed some of them with links on my blog. 

 

 

Reply to Discussion

RSS

Barista Exchange Partners

Barista Exchange Friends

Keep Barista Exchange Free

Are you enjoying Barista Exchange? Is it helping you promote your business and helping you network in this great industry? Donate today to keep it free to all members. Supporters can join the "Supporters Group" with a donation. Thanks!

Clicky Web Analytics

© 2019   Created by Matt Milletto.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service