Home Roaster Camp July 2009...next Camp is September 26!

On Saturday July 25th, 2009, Josh Housh facilitated a "home roasters dream camp" at our warehouse in Oakland. Each participant was asked to roast two different coffees to a City+ level so we could compare and contrast cup quality from different roasting methods. Each sample was logged and assigned a random number so we could do a "blind" cupping. The results were very intriguing and we've compiled a detailed list of photos and notes about the results. It was a fun-filled day of roasters sharing stories and profile ideas with each participant getting a chance to try different machines and the group roasting two batches on the 12 kilo Probat. A list of all participants are below. Thanks so much to the wonderful folks who attended the first camp, you really did a great job and hopefully this data will be useful to many other home roasters out there.

For this first camp we instructed the participants to roast light, to a City + roast, so we could reveal the coffee flavors without a strong overlay of roast taste. In retrospect, we should have asked for a darker roast, because I found that most people slightly underroasted the coffee and got to City, not City + (the Roast Level column below is what people felt they had roasted to). So the low cupping scores and comments have as much to do with the under-developed roast flavor as with the roast machine itself. That said, I was really impressed with the fact that no coffees (aside from 2 batches) were mis-roasted, meaning they were not scorched or tipped. A couple are heavily roasted, and one lot was actually NOT roasted, because it did not really reach first crack. And some of the best roasts came from a Poppery! I photographed each batch on the copy stand with a macro lens and cupped every coffee. The photographs and comments are below. Please note that under a strong light, the roasted coffee looks very contrasty and patchy. Under normal room lighting, these coffees would look more even and darker. So here are the images and comments. Click on the thumbnail for the larger image.
- Tom

We are planning to have another camp on September 26th (it is already full - sorry!) and are planning to get the widest possible cross-section of different roaster types - folks who using a Freshroast, modified Popcorn Popper, Nesco, Gene Cafe, and stovetop methods. These camps are helping Sweet Maria's critically examine the different results from the home roasting machines we sell or that people create themselves. This page has images from the camp and a roster of participants.

Image #
Image
Sample #
Roast Level
Roaster
Person
Coffee
Notes
Score
1
4
City+
BehmorP1
John
Peru San Ignacio Cajamarca
Sweet, thin, grainy pasty bready - not bad roast but too light.
84.5
2
6
City+
Poppery
Dustin
Peru San Ignacio Cajamarca
Acids are balanced, good roast level, bittersweet, dry
85.5
3
8
FC
BehmorP4
John T.
Peru San Ignacio Cajamarca
Astringent and dry, too light
83.5
4
11
City+
BehmorP1
Greg
Peru San Ignacio Cajamarca
Mild cup, soft acids, sweet, nuts
84.5
5
12
Vienna
Iroast
Janice
Peru San Ignacio Cajamarca
Very roasty, but still retains acidity
83.5
6
14
FC+
Iroast
Janice
Peru San Ignacio Cajamarca
Mild, tannic, sweet but a little odd in finish - 1.06% TDS
84.5
7
20
City+
BehmorP3
Greg
Peru San Ignacio Cajamarca
Baked roast taste, thin body
83
8
22
City+
Poppery
Chuck
Peru San Ignacio Cajamarca
Very drinkable, balanced, milk chocolate, good roast level
86.5
9
25
City+
Iroast
Mike
Peru San Ignacio Cajamarca
Good roast level like sample 22, finish a bit thin
86
10
26
City+
BehmorP1
John T.
Peru San Ignacio Cajamarca
Far too light, astringent
82.5
11
27
City+
BehmorP1
Bonie
Peru San Ignacio Cajamarca
An off bean? Some taint in  the cup. Too light
81
12
28
City+
BehmorP2
Bonnie
Peru San Ignacio Cajamarca
Sweet and dry, more rustic than others, not bad, light
84
13
31
City+
Hottop 14 min
Steve
Peru San Ignacio Cajamarca
Sweet and balanced, more floral than others
86
14
32
City+
Probat
Josh
Peru San Ignacio Cajamarca
Very balanced sweetness, soft acidity, round mouthfeel 1.33% TDS
86.5
15
35
City+
Poppery
Mark
Peru San Ignacio Cajamarca
Thin, but still sweet
83.5
Image #
Sample #
Roast Level
Roaster
Person
Coffee
Notes
Score
1
1
City+
Poppery
Chuck
Indonesia Flores Manggarai
Sweet, very nice body, balanced, short finish
86.5
2
7
FC
BehmorP1
John T.
Indonesia Flores Manggarai
thin acidity, underdeveloped roast taste
84.5
3
9
City+
BehmorP3
Greg
Indonesia Flores Manggarai
Malty, grainy sweet, butter, wafer cookie
84.5
4
10
City+
BehmorP1
Bonnie
Indonesia Flores Manggarai
balanced, less sweet but nice body
85
5
13
City+
Poppery
Dustin
Indonesia Flores Manggarai
odd rustic, like baggy, not seen in others, tight
84
6
15
City+
Poppery
Mark O.
Indonesia Flores Manggarai
average, mild, sweet
84
7
16
City+_
Hottop
Steve
Indonesia Flores Manggarai
sour-sweet, thing, too light
83
8
17
City+
BehmorP1
Greg
Indonesia Flores Manggarai
rustic, thin, sour, baked, too light
82
9
18
City+
Probat
Josh
Indonesia Flores Manggarai
darker roast than others, body, balance, mild
85.5
10
19
Vienna
Iroast
Janice
Indonesia Flores Manggarai
dark roast, burned, carbony, uneven
79
11
21
City+
BehmorP4
John T.
Indonesia Flores Manggarai
vanilla, cereal sweetness, light
84
12
23
City
Iroast
Mike
Indonesia Flores Manggarai
very cereal like and grainy, not roasted, really 1.52% TDS
79
13
24
City+
Behmor
John
Indonesia Flores Manggarai
Vanilla and butter, light, sweet but too thin, light
84.5
14
33
City+
BehmorP2
Bonnie
Indonesia Flores Manggarai
Sweet butter, a bit thin, too light but nice also
85.5