Roasting Notes

I’ve been doing some reading today and think I should jot down some notes on significant things that I learned. I’ll just paste what I recorded in Evernote for the time being and then distill the important points.

Here’s the link to the Evernote:

Very interesting Home-Barista thread!

First, it’d be helpful to know what you didn’t like about your roast. Do you have more info on your roast besides ~8 min first crack? Charge weight? Charge temp? Power and fan settings you used?I haven’t roasted this coffee on my hottop but i’ve got a pretty good handle on the machine. It’s very different from Tom’s Quest. For this coffee you’ll want to use low fan and med/high heat with a medium sized charge (I worked with 150 grams).Try something like 8 power, charge at 200 with 0 fan and let it ride until BT (you have a bean temp probe?) is about 290 (hopefully about 5 minutes) and add 25% fan. At BT~370 (10-15 degrees below 1cb) decrease power to 5. At 1Cb increase (9:30isn) fan to 100%. Drop after about a 1:00-1:15.

The key is to find the charge temp/power to get the drying time to 5:15ish while not building up so much heat that it goes too fast from there and 1c is 4ish minutes later and then coast it in for landing.

Comment on changing temp and fan only once during roast

I’m a hottop user but not as experienced as Tom or Eric. Nonetheless I would still suggest using a bit of fan even in the initial stage. The reason for me is that the hottop is perforated drum, and the heat element can be harsh on the beans sitting right next to them. That’s just my take. The quest and usrc are both solid drums so I assume this is not an issue. Or, unless you’ve got some suped up fins like Rama does.

In all of my good results with my hottop, except for the initial first minute, and except for the final 3 to 4 min to back down the heat before and during FC, I only change the heat no more than twice, and the fan no more than once, during drying and ramp up. During the initial first minute, I would start with fan = 4 to avoid tipping, and then back down to 1 or 2 for the entire roast. That has worked for me, both for my slow to fast brew profiles and fast to slow espresso profiles. What I would do with a perforated drum is, the gentler the change in your heating and fan, the better. By the way I always stick with the same charge weight of 225g exactly, and charge temp of BT=350F, for all of my roasts so far, and this really depends on your BT and ET probe positions etc etc. This is true from central SHB to indonesian gilang bisah, with great results.

The takeaway point I want to suggest is, the fewer knobs to tweak, the closer you can roast systematically. So what I do is just an example. You can choose to adjust charge weight but keep other elements the same. In the end you choose what knobs to change, and the more you can limit changing, the less frustrating.

Roast, taste, (analyze, adjust roast plan), repeat.

Ok…Stupid question…My artisan says that my drying time ends at that particular point, but it automatically plots that…I have no clue if it’s actually finished drying stage at that point…How do I know for sure when drying stage is complete? Smell or visual inspection? other?

Also, what section of my plot is the 1:20s development time? (sorry i’m such a rookie)

omega probes

K Type Thermocouple Grounded Welded Junction style 1

ETA: using a hottop

Determining drying phase

You should remove the automatic marking of the drying phase in Artisan. You must have it triggered as it crosses a particular temp range, for most people, this is close to 300°F, but I’m not at the moment looking back at your profile.

The drying phase has occurred when you notice the color change from a pale green to a light straw color on most beans, along with a change in aromatics of wet grass that yield to a light bready toasty aroma. Denser, larger or harder beans will take either more time, or a higher temp in order to reach that phase at the same time as an equivalent charge of less dense beans.


your development time begins at the onset of first crack and continues on till the point that you end the roast.

grounded thermocouples are slower to respond than ungrounded: Wrong! It’s the opposite!!

So you’d recommend ungrounded when i change them out?What’s the rule of thumb for the drying phase…do we want a long drying phase…short one? depends on coffee?I’m missing the foundational knowledge unfortunately…Any book or online resource that could help me with the theory behind all this?

SAB wrote:Until this thread, I was unaware of the more superficial sugars and oils on dry processed beans. Your passing comment about changing charge weight and ET, along with your explanation as to why, has helped provide insight into things I should look for and be aware of in my own roasting.

It’s part of the effect from the pulp drying on the pergamino, some higher concentrations of sugars and other compounds are closer to the surface of the bean. You can protect these by roasting with lower ET’s than any typical high grown, dense, washed bean.

SAB wrote:Do you PREFER light roasts for espresso? Or again, bean specific.

I prefer sweet espresso that doesn’t hide cultivar under heavy roast. But sweet is of ultimate importance and my main consideration. If I can’t make a coffee sweetly, I don’t use it as espresso. It’s clearly bean specific. Any cupping roast that cools sweetly can be used for espresso, some better than others.

by TomC on May 30, 2014, 1:54 pm

seacliff dweller wrote:So my question is: what really determines whether a bean is suitable for espresso or not. I am confused.

Ultimately, your palate. Plus what I just wrote in the previous reply. Don’t be afraid to let the Konga rest a bit longer before being pulled as espresso. Most DP and nearly all Ethiopians have longer legs, i.e. they’ll last longer and develop flavors as they rest, better than other coffees. But again, I reiterate, my primary focus is sweetness. I don’t care how amazing a coffee might taste in the cup, if it’s sour and lacking sweetness, there’s no way I want to prepare a concentrated version of it. That’s what so many cafes/roasters fail to ultimately realize. You can’t roast to an Agtron number and call yourself an accomplished roaster, regardless of how you extract it.

TomC on May 30, 2014, 3:42 pm

LDT wrote:Tom,I roasted this coffee last night and hit 1C at a much higher temp than your graph shows. I’m at work so I don’t have the information handy, but I recall it was closer to 390F. I was using a charge weight of 235 gms. Is your temp of 377.4F at 9:36 correct and could this be associated with your roaster you were using? I also realize different themocouples, etc. could explain some of the difference. Any comments?

No lateral correlation can be made between the two different roasters, probes etc.

What’s more important is information about length of drying phase (very important), and post first crack development times. Aromatics from the tryer can tell you if you’ve pushed past the brighter, sour acids and developed the roast without over roasting the sugars. My finish is a tad slower so I can carefully monitor the development and assess the sweet aromatics, so I know once I cross that threshold I can immediately end the roast.

by TomC on Jun 02, 2014, 12:32 pm

Fear not.Just opening the jar proved that a great deal of the coffee has changed. I cracked open the seal and immediately a 2 foot radius around me was enveloped with the exact same aromatics of Verve’s famed Green Tip Geisha. It’s Fruity Pebbles on steroids, on a cocaine bender. It’s fruity :mrgreen:This is almost not coffee. It could equally be described as a meal replacement beverage :shock: . I swear to God sipping this coffee and enjoying it’s aftertaste is identical to the best late spring breakfast of a tall stack of buttermilk pancakes crammed with as many ripe blueberries/blackberries as you can fit in the batter. Then pour a quart of boysenberry syrup over the entire plate. There’s a hint of cinnamon dancing around in there subtly, makes me think of French Toast too ( the vanilla extract in the egg batter, Mmmmm). This coffee draws out poetry. Let it rest properly and it will blow your friggin mind. The boysenberry flavor won’t leave your palate it’s parked there. I’m still tasting it 8 minutes after my last sip as if I just put it in my mouth.

The ferment is greatly tamed, its no longer waiting to kill the finish after the fruit hits up front like ir did 36 hours-2 days post roast. Now it’s something softer, smoother, and more gently integrated into the cup without insulting it. There’s no doubt that it’s a natural processed coffee, but I can put this in front of 10 professional cuppers and tell them that I’m asking them to assess a new dry processed Geisha and 9 of them would believe me. They’d probably sell a kidney to be able to get it all bought up too.

Ok, a bit more organized:Brewed 4 days post roast, 15:1 Kalita Wave. This time, brew water was 195°F. I think that helped tame the ferment (plus the aging)

Dry Fragrance: explosive, pungent, lush, purfumed blackberries. See Green Tip Geisha

Aroma: Enveloping, bright laser like focused Jolly Rancher berry and about a gallon of agave syrup sweetness.

Flavor: Put on your seatbelt, you’ll be here for a while. I haven’t tasted fruit like this since the Green Tip Geisha (that cost more than 20x per pound) and this has the Green Tip trembling in it’s massive shadow. Again, this isn’t coffee. This is something else entirely. I’ve never experienced anything this focused on one crystal clear blackberry flavor. This has Don Pachi shamed. There’s delicately perfumed jasmine, but it’s not heavy, the only thing my tastebuds can perceive is some kind of ultra sweet pineapple upside down cake that just happens to be buried in a mountain of blackberries. I doubt I’ll ever gush over another coffee like this one. Nobody should miss this experience.

Acidity: moderate, delicate slightly acetic, like a very fine Pinot Noir.

Finish: At least 20 minutes of tongue happiness. This is too good to be artificial, but it would be hard to convince a non coffee nutcase that this is just a ground up coffee bean.

I’ll never expect to score another coffee higher. This is a 97 point coffee, right here, in my kitchen, from my roaster. This coffee kicks dirt on my Geisha blend I competed with. I ordered 5 pounds (after the first 2 for a total of 7 on hand) and I think I’ll go back and buy as much as I can store up. I’ll throw stuff out of the deep freezer to make room for this coffee vac sealed and kept. If I were to sit here and fill out a SCAA scoring sheet, I’d land somewhere near a 93, but the fact that this experience is so focused, so intense, perfectly unique, it redefines what a natural Ethiopian can be, it demands more. This has every Geisha I’ve ever tried (quite a few) beat, and stands only with the Cerro Azul AAA Geisha from Colombia. Nothing else comes close. Not to my palate.

Get this coffee.


Here’s another interesting thread! 


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