Rwanda – Costa Rica Decaf – Classic Italian

I decided to stay a little lighter on the Rwanda Gkongoro Nyarusiza than I might have, based on some test roasts I did. I roasted pretty much full heat until the very beginning of 1st crack; average of 1:30 minutes, 403 f. Then I brought the flame down to the minimum amount I could to draw out the roast time and yet not too little to stall the roast. This is critical, because when coffee goes exothermic during 1st crack, you must be providing enough heat to the roast charge in order to keep things moving along. It makes sense in terms of pyrolysis in other types of cooking, and it makes sense in coffee. The key browning event in coffee is the Maillard reaction, an interaction between amino acids and reducing sugars, and it’s the same that occurs in the browning of beef! And it definitely wouldn’t be good BBQ technique to achieve a nice brown meat by letting it go cold when it’s half done, then crank up the flame again and finish it. Anyway, the Probat takes care of warm-up phase with the roasts quite well – we don’t have to diddle with the air and gas controls from the green-to-yellow-to-tan phases. We do make adjustments for the finish phases of roasting, and this is true with the Costa Rica La Libertad decaf this week, because you can easily race to the finish temp. of 428 f on this with too much “momentum”. So I also back off the flame severely at the start of first … in fact I make sure with decafs that I approach first gingerly. Classic Italian is our darkest roast for espresso, darker than Puro Scuro and Monkey and Moka Kadir. That said, we are still on the light side compared to other roasters. If you want shiny black pieces of carbon, look elsewhere. The fact is, we put such nice coffees in our blends, I just can’t abuse them with roasting until everything tastes like charcoal. 463 f is the highest finish temperature on the Classic, and it does depend a little of the atmosphere and “speed” and which you approach 2nd crack. That’s where you need the human in front of the roaster. In coffee, the numbers always DO lie, at least just a little bit. The thermocouple can shift a little, the air can be a little more humid, the gas valve can be set a tad more open or closed … that’s where an experienced roaster-person is so important.

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2 Responses to “Rwanda – Costa Rica Decaf – Classic Italian”


  1. 1 bpolkinghorn

    Thanks for including some info on your decaf offering.

  2. 2 farmroast

    About the decaf. You mention “gingerly” approaching 1st. with decafs in general. I have a beanmass thermocouple and have adjusted it’s location to pretty closely align with your temp. for 1st C with a same bean. When you say “gingerly”, about what rate of, degrees rise/min. rate would it be? I roast decaf centrals for a family member but don’t drink much of it myself.
    thanks,
    Ed B.

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