Use All Five Senses To Determine Degree of Roast

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This is the most important aspect of home roasting to master.  The roasted coffee you buy from the store or your local coffee shop has been roasted on commercial equipment that does provide certain advantages in roasting coffee to a particular level.  However, the main drawbacks are they may roast too dark (in most cases) or not dark enough (in very few cases), and the selection of coffee available to you is limited.  By honing your skills and knowledge you can create roasts that are every bit as good as those from your local shop or store.

Roast Profiling

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When we talk about roast profiles , we can be talking about a few different things.

Firstly, we can be talking about the flavor profile of a coffee; how the coffee tastes, the mouthfeel, acidity, balance, etc. Flavor profile characteristics are of course determined by the coffee itself, but are greatly impacted by the roast profile. A roast profile is basically what happened during the roast and what adjustments were made to effect the outcome.

Rhyme or Reason

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Sept. 25, 2014

Why You Roast - Marshall Hance

Stretchin' Out the Roast pt. 3

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The initial spark for this series of experiments and articles came from  discussions regarding a class that I have been teaching for the Roasters Guild. The essence of the class is that it is the job of the coffee roaster to shape roast development to accentuate a coffee's positive attributes.

Using Smell to Determine Degree of Roast

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There are subtle aroma shifts that occur as coffee is roasted and you will quickly become aware of the noticeable differences. At lighter roast levels you can detect delicate aromas as steam escapes the bean, but as you go darker this steam turns to smoke as you begin to incinerate the sugars and volatile organic compounds locked inside.  

Here are differences in aroma you’ll notice while roasting:

Nov - Dec 2001: The Coffee Purist Vs. The Roast Stylist; Vietnamese Robusta: A Cruel Joke?; A Great Coffee Mill

Date: 
Thu, 2001-11-01
percolator cross section from Tea and Coffee Trade Journal, circa 1923

The Coffee Purist Vs. The Roast Stylist
Roasting is a fairly straightforward act. You dump coffee in a heat chamber, it cooks, you stop the roast where you think it will taste best and that's it. When we roast coffee we are basically cooking a dried seed, a singular ingredient, a singular and continuous cooking process.

Aug - Sept 2003: Drum Roasting vs. Air Roasting?

Date: 
Fri, 2003-08-01
arabica.jpg

Drum Roasting vs. Air Roasting?

Mar - Apr 2000: Tom's Home Roasting Diatribe, San Francisco SCAA Conference

Date: 
Wed, 2000-03-01

Tom's Home Roasting Diatribe
It seems like a good time to mull over the "state of the union" ...that being the community of home coffee roasting enthusiasts. Changes in our favorite hobby have been swift, and largely dictated (for better or worse) by the appearance of new home-roasting appliances on the market. Results have been a reasonable amount of growth, but not enough to label this a fad ...thankfully!

Jan - Feb 2002: Big Differences and Dumb Details

Date: 
Tue, 2002-01-01
factoryoperation.jpg

Big Differences and Dumb Details
In my experience, people come to home coffee roasting because they want consistently better coffee, and because they don't mind (or even enjoy!) the craft of roasting. But certainly even the most diehard "do-it-yourselfer" does not start roasting because they lack an abundance of nagging details and unpleasant tasks in their workaday world.

Apr - May 2000: Snap vs Crack - Web Page Changes...Groan - Green Coffee: How Old is Too Old?

Date: 
Sat, 2000-04-01

Snap vs. Crack

The Coffee Cupping Reviews for our green coffees often recommend how long you should roast a particular coffee relative to the first crack and the second crack. While it is an imperfect way to talk about the "degree of roast," let me explain why we chose cracks as reference points for how dark the roast is, and the alternatives.

Apr 2001: Pops, Cracks and Snaps; New Crop Central America Update

Date: 
Sun, 2001-04-01

The Coffee Cupping Reviews for our green coffees usually recommend how long you should roast a particular coffee relative to the sounds of the roast; thefirst crack and the second crack. While it’s an imperfect way to talk about the “degree of roast,” let me explain why we chose cracks as reference points for how dark the roast is, and the alternatives.

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