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Bedouin roasters

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I have been experimenting with using a heavy cast iron rounded skillet that is used traditionally in the Middle East as a bedouin coffee roaster, usually over an open fire.

Results have been fantastic for very dark roasts (espresso, and Arabic coffee) but not so much for lighter roasts where i am getting a lot of unevenness in the roast. Can i get advice from people who are doing stovetop roasting what they are doing to get more evenness in the roast? i am stirring constantly but that does not seem to be enough over the 8-10 minutes of a medium roast... it seems to be fine over the 12-14 minutes of a dark roast though.

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Is this a blend of different beans or one straight varietal? if it's a blend then the answer is to do "binary" roasting before blending - determine which are the faster roasting and which the slower roasting beans and do them ins separate batches before blending.

If, OTOH, it's all one bean type.... you might try the dog bowl method with heat gun as detailed in another post in this forum (I believe that in the post Mike Lloyd also provided a helpful link to a website where the process is full detailed.

You might also consider lowerihng the heat for a bit at some poitn in the roast to slow it down without taking the beans to as dark a level.

Last I can think of is that some bean varieties, Yemeni beans in particular, have a tendency to roast a bit unevenly unless taken to a fairly dark level.

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thanks it is pimarily yemeni beans, i will experiment with some others and report back. i have ordered some different varieties from sweet marias but have not received them yet. i tried different heat levels without much success in changing the result

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Ahhh... the beloved Yemenin beans. The uneven roasting is typical, as is a tendency there to be significant size and shape variation among the beans. Seeing odd looking beans that might be considered a taint in other varietals are to be expected with Yemeni beans. I suggesting so that most of the batch achieves the desired roast level and pick out the few beans that are truly underroasted.

If doing a blend (Yemini makes for wonderful blends - both in Moka Java and also to add a wild earthy note to espresso blends), just roast the Yemini's separately from the other beans in the blend.

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the variation in roast contributes to the unique "wild" flavours of Yemeni coffees. you want to roast into 2nd crack, at which point the least roasted beans will usually be at a City roast level.

if you want to test and practice technique, i would suggest trying a roast with a more consistent coffee. some of the Brazilian coffees would be good choices for this sort of practice - and if you use a Traditional Dry processed one, you'll get some of the same flavours that you get in a Yemeni (though, admittedly, to a dramatically decreased degree).


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