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Sweet Maria's: Roasting successes and failures


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#31 rotuts

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Posted 11 July 2012 - 02:19 PM

Well SM will help you if you get winning lottery tickets with this:

http://www.coffeeshr...b/content/quest

look at the vids Tom has and it will aid you in your roasting with this machine or not!

#32 abooja

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Posted 12 July 2012 - 09:23 AM

Another day, another roast...

Today, it was three ounces of Sweet Maria's "Ethiopia Illubabor Baaroo", roasted for exactly eleven minutes. Strangely, or maybe not so strangely, First Crack began shortly after two minutes, but continued, on occasion, through eight minutes. I believe I heard flickers of Second Crack, but I could have been imagining that.

Here they are on the right, with my control beans, Eight O'Clock Colombian, on the left:

3rd roast ethiopian right 8 o'clock colombian left2.jpg

I think, overall, they look very similar in color, particularly in this shot:

3rd roast ethiopian right 8 o'clock colombian left.jpg

There was even a bit of sheen to some of my beans. Not that I am looking for sheen. Once again, I tried to measure bean temperature with an infrared thermometer and, once again, they reached a peak of 410 degrees Fahrenheit, before dropping to the upper 300s. I would love to know the exact reason for that. 410 is certainly within First Crack range, but the beans would had to have been scorched, losing all moisture, before cooling back down that much. Assuming that did not happen, it is clear that measuring temperature with an infrared thermometer is not particularly useful.

Incidentally, I tasted the last of my Brazilian roast, two days later, and rather enjoyed it compared to my earlier efforts. I brewed it more strongly this time, plus the beans had two full days to age. If I had enough beans to make more than the one cup, I could have toyed with different strengths. I have no idea if it was the aging or the coffee to water ratio that improved the drinking experience, but I'll take it.

#33 rotuts

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Posted 12 July 2012 - 09:59 AM

try roasting until you get very dark oily beans. as a test of your roaster. I'm guessing your roaster is having trouble getting to French and beyond. As a point of learning.

#34 abooja

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Posted 12 July 2012 - 10:32 AM

I have been roasting longer and longer each time, but have been loathe to burn the beans, despite encouragement to do so. After reading the following discussion...

http://www.sweetmari...t=2436&start=30

...I think I have an explanation for why First Crack happens so soon, but then many minutes pass, and the beans still do not burn. The thermostat on my 1040 watt popper causes a stall, prolonging First Crack and possibly preventing Second Crack from ever happening. Perhaps my infrared readings were correct, and my imagination did get the best of me.

Rather than go to the trouble of modifying a cheap popcorn popper, I will likely venture into the heat gun method, and larger batch sizes, sometime soon.

#35 rotuts

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Posted 12 July 2012 - 10:51 AM

OK but ... you are not going to 'Burn the Beans' you are simply taking a small amount of beans to the threshold of your current equipment. As a 'study.'

French Roast is not 'burnt.' :raz:

You may decide to roast with a different system which is fine. But learn as you go. After all, as 'The Perfect Cup' is a personal experience.

http://www.newyorkba...-perfect-cup-2/

so wing it a little more and learn!

:biggrin:

#36 MikeHartnett

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Posted 12 July 2012 - 11:49 AM

Once again, I tried to measure bean temperature with an infrared thermometer and, once again, they reached a peak of 410 degrees Fahrenheit, before dropping to the upper 300s. I would love to know the exact reason for that. 410 is certainly within First Crack range, but the beans would had to have been scorched, losing all moisture, before cooling back down that much. Assuming that did not happen, it is clear that measuring temperature with an infrared thermometer is not particularly useful.


I am not in any way, shape, or form what you would call a "science person," so wait for Chris Hennes to confirm, but I believe the heat loss is because first crack is an exothermic reaction, meaning that the crack results from the bean expelling heat. It seems like that might explain the loss of heat at that point. Then again, a lot of things that seem right to me are not, as I have been informed by my biologist fiancée.

French Roast is not 'burnt.' :raz:


Actually, according to Sweet Maria's, French Roast is basically defined as the nearly complete burning of the beans' sugars. Of course, roasting coffee is about caramelizing the sugars in the beans, so I guess it depends on what stage you'd consider "burnt."

#37 cdh

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Posted 12 July 2012 - 12:28 PM

Chris-I used that setup for 3+yrs and it worked well, will do one lb easily-but I gotta confess that I melted 3 or 4 stir crazies during that time-there's so much some involved that you need to roast outdoors, and in the winter its too easy to go in thinking you'll come back out in 15 min to check on first crack, then get distracted...


Thanks for the pointer, Greg. Will have to make sure I've got a loud countdown alarm too.

You know, it seems there might be a local quorum of us to get together sometimg and help abooja out getting the feel of roasting... If our eG location strings are up to date, we're all within a half hour of Allentown, and all south of the Lehigh Valley proper... maybe a meetup might help get abooja's roasting and coffeemaking on track.
Christopher D. Holst aka "cdh"

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Chris Holst, Attorney-at-Lunch

#38 glepore

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Posted 13 July 2012 - 05:20 AM

]
You know, it seems there might be a local quorum of us to get together sometimg and help abooja out getting the feel of roasting... If our eG location strings are up to date, we're all within a half hour of Allentown, and all south of the Lehigh Valley proper... maybe a meetup might help get abooja's roasting and coffeemaking on track.


Yup. I'd be game, think she's likely within a couple miles of me, I'm near intersection of King's Highway (Geryville Pike) and Limeport Pike.

#39 rotuts

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Posted 13 July 2012 - 06:37 AM

Went back to SW to see the color chart vs temp vs name.

Its true they say 'full french' French Roast is basically defined as the nearly complete burning of the beans' sugars.

however light FR to Full FR has a 10 degree range. As I use a temp probe to keep a consistency to my roasts ( external mass not internal bean) i can tell you those 10 degrees at the 445 range are night and day.

so ... how dark will the popper pop?

million years ago Melita sold an electric air roaster. I got it and tried it and it never got past LT City, which I dont care for. Gave it away.

took about 15 more years hear about SM and to learn to roast magnificent coffee!

#40 abooja

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Posted 14 July 2012 - 09:51 AM

An eG coffee get together sounds like a fun idea! I'm willing to host, if you're willing to travel. It will take a bit of planning -- and four-wheel drive. Our driveway is steep and gravelly.

I'm drinking a cup of my latest (Ethiopian) roast, aged 48+ hours, and it's not half bad -- not terribly complex, and very light bodied. (This sounds exactly like my last review.) It doesn't taste any more darkly roasted than the Brazilian roast, despite having been roasted an additional few minutes. I actually think I preferred the Brazilian beans. Since the popper seems to stall after First Crack, but stays quite hot, despite not getting any hotter, I wonder what the effect is on the finished product. Is it sort of like searing a steak on a hot pan, then finishing it in the oven? Or toasting spices low and slow instead of hot and fast? Does the coffee not still cook? Regardless, this is clearly not the preferred approach to roasting coffee, and coffee beans will never get to a Full City+ or French roast with an unmodified popcorn popper. After recently tasting, and enjoying, a professionally roasted French blend, I realize that I am not averse to dark roasts, just overextracted coffee.

#41 rotuts

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Posted 14 July 2012 - 10:17 AM

just what do you mean by 'over extracted?' I'd stop worrying about the oil on the 'fresh' beans and keep notes and what you like 'in the cup'

I take it you put milk in your coffee? No big deal, but milk from non-fat to cream mutes the taste of of the coffee itself. Thats not a personal concern, as you are after your own 'Perfect Cup'

as roasting temps increase its true the 'varietal' nature of the 'bean' get somewhat lost. So What? this isnt wine

:raz: :biggrin:

worry less on what your read and see and get to your own 'Perfect Cup'

not to give your 'Bad Dreams' but it has also been said from the Coffee Cognoscenti ( :blink: ) that milk is added to coffee due to an over burnt roast or by those that really don't like Coffee.

Not by me of course: keep experimenting and keep track!

:biggrin:

forget until you get to "The Cup" the 'froo-froo'

at least you get your Greens form SM, they would not sell a 'bad bean'

#42 mkayahara

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Posted 17 July 2012 - 06:42 AM

My Sweet Maria's order arrived last week, so I roasted my first half-pound on the weekend, and let it rest until this morning. I started with the Sumatra Lintong Dolok Sanggul. A roaster friend who has some experience with Sweet Maria's coffees recommended I be careful with the Sumatra, recommending I take it just past first crack, so that's what I did. I'm terrible at doing formal tasting notes, but I will say that I'm very much enjoying the cup: it's got an earthy fruitiness to it, and I can see why "tree bark" appears in the tasting notes on the bag. It's also got much nicer acidity than any of the other coffees I've been roasting. This isn't necessarily the type of coffee I would want to drink every day, but it's definitely good.

I also have to say that it kills me that, apart from exchange rate (which, of course, fluctuates), it's actually cheaper for me to order from Sweet Maria's than to buy locally in Toronto... even when the shipping is included.
Matthew Kayahara
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#43 cdh

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Posted 18 July 2012 - 11:34 AM

An eG coffee get together sounds like a fun idea! I'm willing to host, if you're willing to travel. It will take a bit of planning -- and four-wheel drive. Our driveway is steep and gravelly.


Let's plot and scheme after this godawful weather breaks. I can bring along my elderly FreshRoast. I'm in the middle of constructing a TurboCrazy roaster, so that project may be done as well, though I make no promises that I'll get it completed by any particular date. And perhaps various coffee prep methods would be useful to experiment with for you as well. I have a spare Gaggia espresso machine mothballed that could come along, as well as an Aeropress... those are my two primary methods of coffeemaking for myself... and it's an espresso 9 times out of 10 for me...
Christopher D. Holst aka "cdh"

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Chris Holst, Attorney-at-Lunch

#44 Kerry Beal

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Posted 18 July 2012 - 12:11 PM

You guys could join us at the heartland gathering and bring along all your coffee stuff for the Saturday dinner (and the Sunday brunch)!

#45 cdh

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Posted 19 July 2012 - 09:21 AM

Heartland gathering? We're in Pennsylvania, not Chicagoland...
Christopher D. Holst aka "cdh"

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#46 Chris Hennes

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Posted 19 July 2012 - 09:25 AM

The Heartland Gathering is in Philly this year.

Chris Hennes
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#47 cdh

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Posted 20 July 2012 - 06:25 AM

Wow... did not realize that.... guess that's what you get for not reading the midwest board. I'll definitely have to come out and play...
Christopher D. Holst aka "cdh"

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#48 abooja

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Posted 02 August 2012 - 12:18 PM

I recently made the switch to roasting with a cheap heat gun instead of a popcorn popper, and have finally been able to achieve darker roasts.

My first attempt was with four ounces of Sumatra Lintong Tano Batak beans, roasted for five minutes on low (750 degrees Fahrenheit) and nearly eight minutes on high (1,000 degrees F.) This roast was quite dark, having achieved both First Crack and most of Second Crack, from what I could tell. The resulting cup was too strong/bitter (I still don't know how to describe it), but drinkable when blended with other beans. Here it is on the right, next to some One Village Artist's Blend on the left:

(small) 4th roast 7-25-12 sumatra right, one village artist's blend left4.jpg

My second attempt was just this morning. Four ounces of Colombian beans (same as first popper roast), also roasted for five minutes on low, but for about a minute and a half less on high, or about 30-60 seconds past First Crack. This time, I pulled the heat gun a bit farther away (4-5 inches instead of 1-2 inches) during the initial heating as well as the final few minutes of roasting. I think I achieved a very even, brown roast, similar in color to Eight O'Clock Colombian, which was purely by accident. Here it is in the center, along with Eight O'Clock on the right, and One Village on the left:

(small) 5th roast 8-2-12 colombian center, one village artist's blend left, 8'oclock colombian right.jpg

I can't wait to taste it on Saturday morning.

Edited by abooja, 02 August 2012 - 12:19 PM.


#49 cdh

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Posted 03 August 2012 - 10:09 AM

You look like you're getting there! Hope Saturday morning proves it on your taste buds. Looking at this reminds me that I need to do some roasting.
Christopher D. Holst aka "cdh"

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#50 mkayahara

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Posted 09 August 2012 - 09:55 AM

So this thread got thoroughly derailed from Chris' original intention, but I thought I'd post a couple of notes anyway. In the past few weeks, I've roasted several half-pound batches of Sweet Maria's coffees. I really enjoyed the Burundi Karinzi Maruri Hill, roasted at Full City+, but both the Papua New Guinea Tairora Smallholders (City) and Ethiopia Illubabor Baaroo (City+; oddly, doesn't seem to be listed on their site) struck me as only so-so. I'm fully willing to believe that the problem lies exclusively in my roasting technique, however. With the remaining half-pound of the Ethiopian, I'm going to try a darker roast, and see how that does.
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#51 abooja

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Posted 09 August 2012 - 12:17 PM

Incidentally, the Colombia "Dos Payasos de Tolima" beans, when properly roasted, were quite tasty. Nothing exotic about them, but then that's how I like my coffee, apparently. I've finally been able to enjoy good (for me) coffee. The stuff is so fresh, it effervesces as I add the hot water, so constant stirring is required.

Yesterday, I repeated the heat gun technique with some more Brazil "Fazenda do Sertao (Lot 50)" beans, to be tasted tomorrow morning.

I also reordered -- two more pounds of Colombia "Dos Payasos de Tolima" and two pounds of Costa Rica "Lourdes de Naranjo" beans. I have high hopes for the latter.

#52 rotuts

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Posted 09 August 2012 - 12:21 PM

nothing like home roasting for finding your "perfect cup" after you find a bean you really enjoy, consider roasting it a little darker, a little lighter and even adding two different roastings of the same bean to a single bean blend.

keep that grinder very very clean!

#53 mkayahara

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Posted 09 August 2012 - 01:10 PM

What roast level did you take the Colombia "Dos Payasos de Tolima" to, abooja? I just roasted a batch this afternoon, aiming for City+, though I'm not sure I made it quite that far.

Lately I've been worrying about how first crack takes place. Not all the beans hit the same temperature at the same time, so when the last beans reach first crack, the first ones that reached it have been continuing to heat. I know that some unevenness is to be expected, given the method and depending on batch size, but it makes the finer distinctions of City+ and Full City a little hard. The only things I can say for sure are "cleared first crack" or "first snaps of second crack," because those cues are audible.
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#54 chileheadmike

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Posted 09 August 2012 - 01:18 PM

I haven't read all the responses yet, but I got rid of my iRoast II. The thing never did seem to get hot enough to roast the beans. I roasted in the garage and it did sort of OK but not great in the summer, but they never would roast properly in the winter. I went back to my hot air popcorn popper.

I'm almost out, I need to place an order. Looks like that have some good Ethiopian, I usually get some from Central America too. I miss the monsooned Malabar, that was good stuff.
That's the thing about opposum inerds, they's just as tasty the next day.

#55 abooja

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Posted 09 August 2012 - 02:44 PM

What roast level did you take the Colombia "Dos Payasos de Tolima" to, abooja? I just roasted a batch this afternoon, aiming for City+, though I'm not sure I made it quite that far.

Lately I've been worrying about how first crack takes place. Not all the beans hit the same temperature at the same time, so when the last beans reach first crack, the first ones that reached it have been continuing to heat. I know that some unevenness is to be expected, given the method and depending on batch size, but it makes the finer distinctions of City+ and Full City a little hard. The only things I can say for sure are "cleared first crack" or "first snaps of second crack," because those cues are audible.

My assumption -- and this is based purely on timing (around one minute after First Crack) and color -- is somewhere between City+ and Full City. I have the same problem in that some beans are roasted more than others. Perhaps an actual dog bowl is needed. Its larger diameter would cause the beans to spread out more, giving the heat gun access to a wider surface area at one time.

#56 Steve Irby

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Posted 08 September 2012 - 03:16 PM

If you like espresso try the Ethiopia Sidama Deri Kochoha. The SM description includes amazing mouthfeel and dark chocolate which is dead on. It is also billed as the "A-Bomb" of single origin beans that are currently in stock. I roasted on the light side and when brewed in the french press it was a good cup but really shines as espresso.

Edited by Steve Irby, 08 September 2012 - 03:19 PM.