Page 1 of 12 1 2 3 4 5 6 ... LastLast
Results 1 to 25 of 280
  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2017
    Location
    SLC, Utah
    Posts
    862

    coffee for mags - a coffee roasting trip report (& free mag coffee)

    hey guys - in the espresso making mags thread, jm2e asked if someone would make a TR on roasting coffee, and i thought i would put one together. since this isn't about espresso, i felt it deserved it's own thread.

    so - here's the deal, i love coffee, and i love roasting coffee, and i'm also super stoked on sharing coffee. i am happy to send coffee to any mag who meets the following criteria:

    - you are unemployed and need coffee (i'll send for free)
    - you are a frontline worker (whatever the fuck that means, you have to deal with people, bonus if you're medical) - i'll send you coffee for free
    - you just want nice coffee - if you chip in to Protect Our Winters (or whatever nonprofit you want) - i will send you coffee.

    i am not a professional roaster, but i do roast a ton, and i figured i'd just get a list of people who want coffee and then work down the list. there are a couple mags I definitely still owe some beans too (Hutash is top of mind), so I'll include those by default. so yeah if you want coffee hit me up, tell me what you like, and i'll send you some beans. i won't be super timely but i will mail you some cool shit.

    okay so on to the coffee roasting trip report:

    this is what we start with - these are green coffee cherries, separated by origin and put into sharpie-labeled mason jars. i told you i'm not a professional...

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	IMG_20200729_173711.jpg 
Views:	204 
Size:	1.55 MB 
ID:	337181

    coffee is technically a cherry, and it grows around the equator, mostly in volcanic soil, at higher elevations (between 1,200 and 2,500 meters above sea level, usually). what we roast is the seed of the cherry, which first needs to be separated from the fruit itself. here is some stock image of the cherry proper:


    Name:  coffee cherry.jpg
Views: 847
Size:  51.0 KB

    the way the seed is separated from the cherry REALLY matters - the three things that make a difference in how coffee tastes are:

    1 - where it's grown (different regions grow different varieties of coffee, all of which taste different)
    2 - how the cherry is removed from the seed (how the coffee cherry is dried and processed)
    3 - how it's roasted

    everyone always focuses on #3 but that is maybe the least important aspect. how the coffee is processed is maybe the biggest and easiest to understand difference. there are two main ways of processing beans (and a half dozen less common ways), and any roaster worth their weight will tell you how a particular bag of coffee is processed:

    washed process - the cherry is washed off of the seed in a big old tank - these coffees are clean tasting and have bright acidity, usually. this way requires a bunch of water though, so in some growing regions it's not feasible to wash coffee.
    natural process - (sometimes called dry process) the cherry literally rots off of the seed, and the flavors of the fermentation are what the coffee ends up tasting like. these coffees usually have less acidity but have crazy big fruit flavors, like blueberry and strawberry and mango. most people who try a natural for the first time are usually like "holy shit i had no idea coffee could taste this wild". the trick here is though - the processing has to be really good to be worth a damn - processing natural coffees requires a lot of skill to do well, otherwise, the coffee ends up tasting like gym socks

    here is an example coffee label for hipster 3rd wave coffee -

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	IMG_20200807_092732.jpg 
Views:	195 
Size:	1.21 MB 
ID:	337199

    the only things you need to pay attention on a label are the origin and the process. idk why they include all that other shit in there - it's important to roasters but not to consumers. i guess it just gives them street cred, but as a consumer, none of that really means anything.

    here is a very quick guide to coffee origins - you can find better information online but this is a pretty quick summary:

    ethiopia - floral or fruity, light
    kenyan - super bright, grapefruit, lemon, cranberry
    burundi - tea like flavors, close to ethiopian coffee
    rwandan - similar to burundi, sometimes raisin flavors
    columbia - apples, big body/mouthfeel
    indonesia - dirt, tobacco, grass, big body, dark chocolate
    guatemala/honduran - good body, chocolate/nut flavors
    brazil - chocolate/nuts
    yemen - tobacco, banana cream pie, cherries, orange, leather (no i am not making that up).


    so - if you like flavors like blueberry and strawberry and fruit, without much acidity, get a natural/dry coffee. if you like flavors like orange and lemon and cranberry, get a washed coffee. there's one more processing method - called giling basah - but that only happens in indonesia, and it's what makes their coffee so rich and earthy.

    anyway, on to roasting. here is my roaster:

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	IMG_20200729_174021.jpg 
Views:	188 
Size:	1.51 MB 
ID:	337186

    the way it works is there's a drum that spins around a heating element, and a fan that blows cold air through the chamber. i can control the amount of heat and the amount of fan and that's it. if you want to roast at home on the cheap, a lot of people use popcorn poppers.

    it's basically a small scale version of big shop roaster, and i use a datalogger connected to two thermocouples that give me real time data on how much heat is in the roaster, and what temp the beans are. that datalogger outputs to a graph which looks like this:

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	Screen Shot 2020-08-11 at 5.41.03 PM.png 
Views:	185 
Size:	137.6 KB 
ID:	337191

    roasting coffee is pretty much like popping popcorn (no, seriously, the coffee pops just like popcorn after 7-9 minutes) - with the part after popping being the most critical moment of the roast. the "popping zone" (called first crack) is the yellow bar on my graph, the red check mark shaped line is the drum temp, the blue checkmark is the bean temp. this coffee is a very, very light roast.

    here the beans go down the hole:

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	IMG_20200729_174339.jpg 
Views:	178 
Size:	1.53 MB 
ID:	337196

    different coffees roast differently (higher grown coffee has more fiber and can therefor take more heat, lower grown coffee is delicate, naturals are also a little more delicate), and there are two things that matter when roasting: roast level and development time. everyone knows roast level - light/medium/dark - that's how dark you let the coffee get before you dump it out. but development time is how long you let it roast for, and how big of an opportunity you give for caramelization and sugars. more developed coffees = sweeter, bigger body, but they often times lose out on some delicate flavors - this is why good coffee from ethiopia or kenya (the holy grail of the coffee world, largely) is usually light with little development time.

    in general, if you roast anything for long enough, it'll all taste like toast. it doesn't matter how nice of a bean it was to begin with, they all carbonize just the same. for that reason, MOST good coffees are done to a light or medium range. there are exceptions - coffees that are done to a dark roast, but really, speaking broadly, most good coffees should be on the lighter side of the spectrum. that's what allows you to taste what makes them unique.

    for many roasters, the holy grail is a light, well-developed coffee. that means the coffee is sweet while still retaining it's cool, unique flavors

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	IMG_20200729_192532.jpg 
Views:	178 
Size:	876.9 KB 
ID:	337201

    for calibration sake, here is what i mean when i say light to medium - the furthest left coffee is a true light coffee. the one in the middle is a light-medium, and the one on the right is medium. i don't often go darker than the one on the right, but sometimes it's fun. dark coffee only really works with certain origins, too (indonesian and yemen coffees do well super dark). notice how the center line (the chaff) changes color from light tan to medium tan as the roast gets darker. but also notice - none of the beans are oily or gross, that shit is rank, you should not drink coffee like that. obligatory fuck starbucks. i'm sorry, you can do dark coffee well, but that is NOT what coffee should look like. go collect ashes from your firepit and brew that if that's what you are into.

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	IMG_20200729_175555.jpg 
Views:	174 
Size:	1.33 MB 
ID:	337202

    okay once coffee is roasted it needs to be cooled down as quickly as possible - here is the coffee in the cooling tray. you want to stop the coffee from cooking any longer as fast as you physically can.

    once coffee is cool, it needs to rest before it is good to drink. most people do not realize this, and they think that fresh is best - that is NOT true. a good roaster will always tell you the date that a particular coffee was roasted, and most coffees are best somewhere between 3 and 14 days after the roast, after which point they gradually decline. this is because coffee needs to off-gas co2 that is released when the coffee goes through first crack (popcorn popping). once it has finished degassing, it's good to drink.

    as for brewing coffee - whatever works - as long as you grind fresh before brewing. burr grinders are best, and i like pourover. french press is also great. espresso is fun but somewhat finicky and expensive as shit.

    anyway, thanks for coming to my tedtalk, hit me up if you have any questions or want some coffee.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Click image for larger version. 

Name:	IMG_20200807_092732.jpg 
Views:	105 
Size:	1.21 MB 
ID:	337198  

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Posts
    3,874
    Dude thanks for posting this. Itís one of those topics that you have to read at least 3 different descriptions to start to understand it. I learned things here that were not in published books on the matter. Yours is the first description that tempted me to consider doing my own roasting.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Posts
    1,172
    I like the Roaster-Scope chart.......albeit it confused me....

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2017
    Location
    SLC, Utah
    Posts
    862
    Quote Originally Posted by bennymac View Post
    Dude thanks for posting this. Itís one of those topics that you have to read at least 3 different descriptions to start to understand it. I learned things here that were not in published books on the matter. Yours is the first description that tempted me to consider doing my own roasting.
    one detail i forgot to mention in this TR is that the reason to get into coffee roasting is purely economical. this is an important detail.

    on average green coffee costs me $6/lb. coffee loses water weight while roasting - so that's about 12oz roasted for $6, for coffee of such high quality that if you bought it from a roaster it would easily cost $20-30 for 12 oz.

    if i wanna be super fancy, i'll buy coffees in the $18-22/lb green range - these coffees are ultra rare, and regularly sell for $100/lb roasted (i'm not kidding). but, at $20/bag for me, i can drink that on a tuesday and think nothing of it.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Seattle
    Posts
    7,102
    Nice Ted Talk. Very informative. Thanks. What's the cost of entry for equipment? I drink cheap coffee cuz the good shit is too fucking expensive and I go through a lot of it,
    Quote Originally Posted by Foggy_Goggles View Post
    If I lived in WA, Oft would be my realtor. Seriously.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2017
    Location
    SLC, Utah
    Posts
    862
    Quote Originally Posted by pepperdawg View Post
    I like the Roaster-Scope chart.......albeit it confused me....
    yeah real roaster nerds will nerd out on a million more things, and their charts are super fucking complex - they track so many variables. i actually simplified this chart to make it easy to understand; there is a TON that goes into roast theory and profiling - if the blue line is more or less shaped like a check mark, the art of good coffee is how you shape or profile that line. i figured that was too nerdy for this audience though.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2017
    Location
    SLC, Utah
    Posts
    862
    Quote Originally Posted by oftpiste View Post
    Nice Ted Talk. Very informative. Thanks. What's the cost of entry for equipment? I drink cheap coffee cuz the good shit is too fucking expensive and I go through a lot of it,
    thanks! so you can roast on something as basic as a modified popcorn popper, but that's pretty shitty. for real roasters, most start in the $300 range. here is a good little guy for $260:

    https://www.sweetmarias.com/fresh-roast-sr800.html

    here is a great step up for $450:

    https://www.sweetmarias.com/behmor-2...s-roaster.html

    and finally, here is the king of home roasters - this will be my next upgrade:

    https://www.sweetmarias.com/roasting...1-roaster.html

    the economics work out though; if you spend $400 on a roaster and save $10 a bag, buying one bag a week, the thing pays for itself in about a year.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    PNW
    Posts
    5,664
    Quote Originally Posted by tgapp View Post
    too nerdy for this audience though
    nope, buncha nerds in here. your chance to be king coffee nerd/bro, shine yer light!

    great thread.
    life ain't guaranteed, love your people while you can

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Posts
    11,453
    Does this work on Kopi Luwak and Black Ivory coffee, or do I follow another method?
    "timberridge is terminally vapid" -- a fortune cookie in Yueyang

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2017
    Location
    SLC, Utah
    Posts
    862
    Quote Originally Posted by Timberridge View Post
    Does this work on Kopi Luwak, or do I follow another method?
    uhh that's like a novelty thing for tourists who are into scat porn and shemales. not trying to kink shame but kopi luwak isn't really popular among coffee enthusiasts. weird cat shit coffee.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    the ham
    Posts
    8,366
    Wow. Interesting and informative.

    My SOP is drip in the morning and maybe an espresso based pick-me-up in the afternoon. I recently replaced my drip machine with one that has a pre-infusion function. What's your opinion on how necessary and/or how long after roasting it might be unnecessary?

    (totally academic question because covid has made freshly roasted very difficult to get in this town)

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Seattle
    Posts
    7,102
    Quote Originally Posted by tgapp View Post
    the economics work out though; if you spend $400 on a roaster and save $10 a bag, buying one bag a week, the thing pays for itself in about a year.
    This. And your house smells fucking amazing. Thoughts on a budget burr grinder?

    This rabbit hole appeals to me, especially if it can be done economically.
    Quote Originally Posted by Foggy_Goggles View Post
    If I lived in WA, Oft would be my realtor. Seriously.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Mar 2017
    Location
    SLC, Utah
    Posts
    862
    Quote Originally Posted by Ted Striker View Post
    Wow. Interesting and informative.

    My SOP is drip in the morning and maybe an espresso based pick-me-up in the afternoon. I recently replaced my drip machine with one that has a pre-infusion function. What's your opinion on how necessary and/or how long after roasting it might be unnecessary?

    (totally academic question because covid has made freshly roasted very difficult to get in this town)
    yeah so pre-infusion or blooming is a critical step of any brew process. it allows the coffee to fully hydrate and absorb water, and it also settles the bed, which will allow for a more even extraction. this is true of all brewing methods, but especially espresso. espresso without a preinfusion will not work.

    the newer the coffee, the more violent the pre-infusion (literally, it bubbles up and blooms and smells like god's cum). after coffee has degassed it's not as dramatic but it is still important. i would always bloom and then brew.

    order of importance for coffee is usually this: freshness of grind AND freshness of beans > quality of coffee > quality of grind > quality of brew method

    if you can't find good coffee locally just order online. i can make a comprehensive list of good roasters who will mail you coffee, including amazing budget picks, if there's interest in that sort of stuff.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Mar 2017
    Location
    SLC, Utah
    Posts
    862
    Quote Originally Posted by oftpiste View Post
    This. And your house smells fucking amazing. Thoughts on a budget burr grinder?

    This rabbit hole appeals to me, especially if it can be done economically.
    if you like dark coffee your house will smell like burnt hair all the time. if you like light coffee it can be nice though.

    for a budget burr grinder - what's your budget and are you okay hand grinding or not? not trying to be snarky but different people have a different idea of what that means. for example - i have what many consider to be the best "budget" espresso grinder. it's $700. it's amazing, and a steal of a deal, but most folks would balk hard at that.

    for a hand grinder - prices range from like $30 to $1000
    for a good electric grinder - $120 to $4,000

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Posts
    1,530
    Iím a middle school teacher. Am I considered front lines?


    Sent from my iPhone using TGR Forums

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Mar 2017
    Location
    SLC, Utah
    Posts
    862
    Quote Originally Posted by splitter View Post
    Iím a middle school teacher. Am I considered front lines?


    Sent from my iPhone using TGR Forums

    yeah man DM me your info and what kind of coffee you're into and i'll put you on my list.

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Posts
    1,530
    Quote Originally Posted by tgapp View Post
    yeah man DM me your info and what kind of coffee you're into and i'll put you on my list.
    Sweet! Thank you!

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
    champlain valley
    Posts
    5,306
    what model is the $120 burr grinder? My son's birthday approaches and I need a gift

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Mar 2017
    Location
    SLC, Utah
    Posts
    862
    Quote Originally Posted by DBdude View Post
    what model is the $120 burr grinder? My son's birthday approaches and I need a gift
    looks like it's $140 here:

    https://www.seattlecoffeegear.com/ba...coffee-grinder

    there are other good options, but Baratza has incredible customer service and makes a fantastic product. that's a great grinder. if he's okay with a hand grinder you can get cheaper or better quality for the same price, but that's my pick for an entry level, high quality electric burr grinder.

    seattle coffee gear are good people too. you can usually get a 10% off coupon when you sign up.

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Seattle
    Posts
    7,102
    I drink dark coffee because I think the cheap dark stuff is better than the cheap light stuff.

    Started down a rabbit hole of light roast a while ago when I could kind of afford it. I definitely prefer it. Couple years ago visited a Portland roaster who had this coffee from like 3 trees that were genetically unlike all others and he'd bought its entire production. Spent an hour hearing the great story story of the coffee, the roaster's quest etc. which is where I got turned onto light roasts.

    Quote Originally Posted by tgapp View Post
    if you like dark coffee your house will smell like burnt hair all the time. if you like light coffee it can be nice though.

    for a budget burr grinder - what's your budget and are you okay hand grinding or not? not trying to be snarky but different people have a different idea of what that means. for example - i have what many consider to be the best "budget" espresso grinder. it's $700. it's amazing, and a steal of a deal, but most folks would balk hard at that.

    for a hand grinder - prices range from like $30 to $1000
    for a good electric grinder - $120 to $4,000
    Quote Originally Posted by Foggy_Goggles View Post
    If I lived in WA, Oft would be my realtor. Seriously.

  21. #21
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Posts
    31,873
    Cool beans, mang.

  22. #22
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    tree OH TREE!!!!!
    Posts
    3,568
    good stuff tgapp

    great friend quit corp life and started his own coffee roasting business in KC. https://www.encorecoffeeco.com/

    If anyone in KC area and wanted to experience the roasting process on a decent sized roaster he is more than happy to share. does a few cuppings every now and then.

  23. #23
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    PNW
    Posts
    5,664
    Quote Originally Posted by tgapp View Post
    literally, it bubbles up and blooms and smells like god's cum
    hm, now I believe you actually are a coffee elite, throwing terms like that around. is there an index of excellent descriptive terms in the back of the roaster manual?

    Quote Originally Posted by tgapp View Post
    order of importance for coffee is usually this: freshness of grind AND freshness of beans > quality of coffee > quality of grind > quality of brew method
    copy.

    Quote Originally Posted by tgapp View Post
    if you can't find good coffee locally just order online. i can make a comprehensive list of good roasters who will mail you coffee, including amazing budget picks, if there's interest in that sort of stuff.
    yes please.
    life ain't guaranteed, love your people while you can

  24. #24
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Location
    slc
    Posts
    12,770
    Great post! Sending you a PM.

  25. #25
    Join Date
    Mar 2017
    Location
    SLC, Utah
    Posts
    862
    Quote Originally Posted by hawkgt View Post
    good stuff tgapp

    great friend quit corp life and started his own coffee roasting business in KC. https://www.encorecoffeeco.com/

    If anyone in KC area and wanted to experience the roasting process on a decent sized roaster he is more than happy to share. does a few cuppings every now and then.

    looking at his sourcing he's getting some good coffee in. very fair prices too. usually people who are sourcing that well are doing a good job roasting, too.

    participating in cupping is fun and all but unless you're a q-grader who has cupped 1000 or more coffees it's not very helpful honestly. it's still a cool part of the coffee ritual, but like, home roasters who are like "you should cup your coffee" are silly because unless you really know what you're doing it's somewhat of an act of theater.

    still if i was in KC i would go spend an afternoon cupping, it can be a ton of fun.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •