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Advice on roasting an Ethiopian Harrar Natural

expat

New member
May 1, 2012
430
1
Ireland
I got in some samples from one of my brokers of an Ethiopian Harrar that was a blueberry explosion in my cup (as these can sometimes be). So we bought a bag based on the sample.

We roasted one light batch. The shrinkage was 15.25%.

Then we roasted one a bit lighter - 14.24%.

We cupped the darker roast after only a few hours rest and it gave us no joy. No blueberries. The lighter roast we cupped right after that and it only hinted at blueberries.

So we roasted another, lighter, batch yesterday at 13.65% thinking we'd discover the blueberries. We cupped that after about 20 hours rest and only got a SLIGHTLY bigger twinge of blueberry, but not a lot more than the 14.24% roast.

The 13.65% roast we dumped when it was about 70% through first crack and let it finish in cooling tray.

Any ideas on where the blueberries went? Or where they are? Or how we can get the blueberries to develop? The bag we bought is supposed to have come from the same lot that the sample came from so for now I'd prefer not to think that a switcheroo has taken place.

Maybe we could roast another batch a bit lighter--but not much or we won't have even made it to first crack. But considering the sample was packed with blueberry flavor and our two lightest roasts only hint at blueberries I'm not sure that is going to do it. Another thought is that the beans just need to rest a day or two longer. Seems I have heard of that happening but have no source to confirm it.

Well, that's the story over here. Any ideas on what happened to the blueberries? Oh, by the way, the three batches we roasted are FANTASTIC, full of flavor, so no complaints about he coffee in general, but no blueberries.
 

eldub

New member
Mar 28, 2012
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Ha! The EXACT same thing happened to me with natural Sidamo beans. The first light and medium roasts we made were like cups of blueberries. But things went down hill from there. In the end, I like roasting these beans to medium, (440*) but never keep track of the moisture loss.

I now roast these naturals after running a batch or two of other beans to get the roaster good and hot. I charge the roaster and run the temp up immediately to keep the process moving quickly. However, I don't let the ambient temp get over 200*C as more chocolate character seems to be imparted when the roaster is allowed to get hotter than that. Sometimes my Sidamo roasts finish in 13.5 to 14 minutes.

I've read online that the end product can vary greatly batch to batch w/ these natural Ethiopians even when similar techniques are used.

Good luck, mon.

scott
 

PinkRose

Super Moderator
Staff member
Feb 28, 2008
5,224
11
Near Philadelphia, PA
The place where I buy my coffee beans won't carry Harrar because it's so difficult to roast and get the result to come out consistently each time.

Last weekend, I went to a large farmers market, and purchased roasted Ethiopian Harrar beans from their resident roaster. The beans appeared to be a medium roast. Some of the beans were slightly darker than the others, which I've been told is common for Harrar coffee. The blueberry (wine) flavor was very noticeable, much more so than other times when I've purchased Harrar beans. I actually smelled a hint of blueberry wine each time the coffee was brewing. In all honesty, it was a bit much for my taste. I doubt that I'll try it again in the near future.

Rose
 

JumpinJakJava

New member
Dec 12, 2011
389
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Thomaston, CT
After roasting as a hobby(1995) and now a start up small roasting business, I have found that Monsooned Malabar, Eth. Harrar, Sidamo, and Swiss-Water decafs to be the hardest
coffees to roast. The pulped natural Sidamo, I have found best results between 440-444 degrees, just short of Full City+. I like using the air vent damper(Ambex machine) to regulate or better yet maintain a steady/even heat, rather than throttling up the gas. It may be 16:30-17:30 time. Harrar is another story.! I love those blueberry notes, to me time and crack is more important than temp. finish.(my opinion). I do not use any profiling software. Simply me and my senses and the machine. You cannot judge the appearance of the beans, because there is generally too many quakers. Sidamo same thing. I find those blueberry aromas and taste in the Harrar, when I finish the roast at the first sound of 2nd crack. Dump and cool quickly. Let the coffee rest 72hrs. Then cup. I do the same with the Yirgacheffe(try to dump just before 2nd crack), hopefully you could stretch 3min.
out after first crack. Like Eldub, I do not keep records of moisture loss. Do not worry about the quakers, grind and brew. With Monsooned Malabar Gold, I hardly ever hear the 1st crack, but 2nd is plain. Nice thing about Malabar is NO CHAFF! I let Malabar sit for 7 days(Full City +). Very nutty taste. Try it as single origin espresso(wait 14 days to peak),
great body and taste. Love it in a latte.
 

poison

New member
Aug 31, 2012
134
0
How long were the first two roasts? Going lighter is not going to bring out the blueberry, most likely, but instead citrus notes. If you hit second crack you'll kill the blueberry as well. Try a bit before second crack at around 14 minutes.
 
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expat

expat

New member
May 1, 2012
430
1
Ireland
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Answering Poison -- yes, I think you're right. The 2nd roast, the 14.24% shrink, went all the way through first crack, roasted on a bit, and was dumped before 2nd crack. That is the roast with the most blueberries--after a 60 hour rest. The lighter roast, now having sat for 36 hours only hints at blueberries. The 1st roast, our darkest, which we ran right up to the first note of second crack and then dumped has gone over the edge and doesn't blueberry at all -- although it is a beautiful cup of coffee.
 

poison

New member
Aug 31, 2012
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Yup. Also keep in mind that sample roasting may not translate directly to production roasting. I don't know what you use for each job, but in the y experience one of my biggest hurdles is choosing the coffee I think I can best work with given my rudimentary roaster; I have had many outstanding samples that I passed over because I wouldn't be able to mimic the same profile in production sized batches. I've only screwed up twice, committing to a purchase only to discover I couldn't coax the same flavors out of due to the different batch size dynamics.

Then again my current roaster sucks. Where's my sf'can?
 

Redswing

New member
May 30, 2013
227
0
Northern California
I have a bag of Ethiopia natural sidamo grade 4 that I bought from Royal Coffee in Oakland. I shamefully admit I did just about zero research on that bag, just listened to the salesperson at Royal. After a handful of roasts on my "sf'can" 6 pounder, I was surprised at the blueberry flavor. I was even hesitant to give it out, figured I must have done something wrong. The guys at Royal said not true, I must be doing something right. And then I came here and was surprised to see this conversation.

I finished the roasts around 436 degrees, about 12-14 minutes in, about 5-10 seconds into 2nd crack. Following Willem Boot's guidelines of higher initial heat for high grown coffees, lowering to medium heat a couple minutes before first crack, aiming for about 3 minutes from first crack to finish.
 

eldub

New member
Mar 28, 2012
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Sounds about how we do ours, Redswing.

I'm sitting on a couple of bags of natural sidamo grade 4 from Royal that just showed up Monday. Apparently this batch scored a 90 cupping. Can't wait to give 'em a spin......
 

Hankua

New member
Nov 11, 2011
128
0
Jacksonville, FL
My Ethiopian DP profile courtesy of a friend is the opposite of Redswing. Lower drop-in, extended drying (7min.), wide open to just before 1c, low heat to finish; works well for a city roast. Done on a one pounder so ymmv.
 
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