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Note: The Latest Sweet Maria's Nesco/ Zach & Dani Tip Sheet is available in printable .PDF format
Home roasting is fun and you will be amazed how easy it is. Don't be afraid of crackling coffee beans and pay attention to the process, especially toward the end of the roast. Please note: Your roaster package might contain 12oz Costa Rica that is NOT from Sweet Marias. This coffee cups as an old, past-crop lot. Use it to test your roaster, or save it for a desperate situation (no coffee!)...
Home roasting is fun. You will be amazed how easy it is.
Pay attention to the process, especially toward the end of the roast where
the exact degree of roast is determined: City (med.), Full City,
Vienna, French, then Fire!
Coffee roasting produces a wonderful fragrance, unobtrusive
with light roasts but smokier if you roast dark. Your roaster has an excellent
smoke-eliminating catalytic converter, but some strong roast aromas
Roasting produces chaff. Chaff is a fine skin that detaches
from the bean as your roast is agitated. Your roaster takes care of chaff,
but if you are careless, you may have to do some sweeping. Empty the chaff
collector between every roast and brush it out to get perfectly consistent
results. It is very handy, but not always practical, to have a ShopVac near
your roasting station.
Never leave the room while you are roasting coffee, even
though the roaster is automated.
Built-up coffee oils in the roaster are of no real consequence
until they impede visibility or become a fire hazard. (In fact, a professional
drum roaster requires hours of roasting initially to properly season
Batch size is critical in any roast process; if the amount
of coffee you put into the roaster varies, the roast will vary too. Ideally,
it is best to roast by weight, not volume. We currently offer an accurate
Salter digital scale for this purpose. I find the ideal batch size for
the Nesco is 4 oz. Larger amounts will fail to reach darker roast levels.
On the Nesco the roast setting is
made by adjusting the keypad number up (for darker roast = more time)
or down (for lighter roast = less time). This roaster produces very even
light roasts, but if actual household voltage is low (110v or less),
the roaster will take a long time to acheive a French roast, and might
not macke it at all. Every coffee varies slightly in how it roasts,
and every roaster operates a little different based on household voltage,
but here are some roaster settings that work as a starting point:
Roast: City Full City (med-dark) Vienna (Light French) French
Roaster Setting: 23 24 - 25 26 - 27 28+
Another great way to roast to get the exact degree of roast
is to set the roaster at the highest number and manually stop the roast
by hitting the Cool button when you see, hear & smell the signs of that
roast you prefer! Trust your ears and senses to get best results...
Remove the coffee from the roast chamber into a stainless
mesh colander after the cooling cycle completes! You want to get the coffee
away from the warm metal/glass surfaces. When the coffee is room temp. I
transfer it to canning jars. Coffee is better after 12 hours of resting,
which allows the CO2 to de-gas from the coffee. It is at its flavor peak
at 12-72 hours. When you open the jar, you will know what I mean!
No home roaster is designed to do serial
batches! All home roasters need to cool before
roasting another batch. This also improves consistency. Wait 20 minutes
or longer - is the roaster feels cool to the touch - then if is safe to
run another batch.
Nesco provides an excellent warranty for the machine. Contact us for more information
In a nutshell, here is the roasting process you will be observing:
For the first 4 minutes the bean remains greenish, then
turn lighter and emit a grassy smell.
The beans start to steam as their internal water content dissipates.
The steam becomes fragrant. You will hear the "first
crack" (12.5 min) an audible cracking sound as the real roasting starts
to occur: sugars begin to caramelize, bound-up water escapes, the structure
of the bean breaks down and oils migrate from their little pockets outward.
After the first crack is thoroughly complete, the roast
can be considered complete any time according to your taste. The cracking
is an audible cue, and, along with sight and smell, tells you what stage
the roast is at. I would say that the minimal roast time on the Nesco
is 16 minutes (21 setting).
Caramelization continues, oils migrate, and the bean expands
in size as the roast becomes dark.
At this point a "second crack" can be heard, often
more volatile than the first. Small pieces of the bean are sometimes blown
away like shrapnel! It can be more difficult to hear than the first crack
As the roast becomes very dark, the smoke is more pungent
(oils burn against the hot surfaces of the roast chamber) as sugars burn
completely, and the bean structure breaks down more and more.
Eventually, the sugars burn completely, and the roast will
only result in thin-bodied cup of "charcoal water."
If you want a great cup of coffee, you have to start with exceptional green beans. We cup thousands of coffees to find the 60+ selections on our Green Coffee Offering page. Nobody is as rigoous as we are in reviewing and publishing our complete cupping notes for every coffee.
Complete Sweet Maria's Coffee Library Page