Hi from Cucamonga!

CucamongaDan

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Jan 22, 2018
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Hi everyone! As I just said in the introductions thread, I've been home roasting for about three years. I'm the only coffee drinker at my house, so I roast about a pound a week (in 1/4 pound batches because I like variety). I do give some away to a few people too.

I started with a air pop popcorn maker, and after collecting a few I began tinkering with them after reading how they ought to be modifed to give better control of the roast.

This is the current incarnation of what I've been using for almost two years now.

0825161044.jpg

Inside the blue box is the heating coil assembly from a 1200 watt popcorn pumper. I put each heating coil on its own circuit and can switch them on and off as needed. Usually I run them both but might switch the smaller one off as the roast is getting into the cracks so I don't get too hot and scorch it. Then when its done I switch them both off and keep the air running until it has quickly cooled down to about 100 F before I dump it onto a cookie sheet for final cooling and to check for defective beans. I mainly use the air flow rate to control the speed of the roast. I removed the original fan and its motor and in place of that fan motor is the nozzle from an electric air pump- the kind used to inflate air mattresses.it is plugged into the router speed control you can get from Harbor Freight Tools.


I average about 8 minutes to first crack and go to cooling about 2 or 3 minutes after that. I like light to medium roasts and when I'm shopping for green beans I tend to get ones that take well to lighter roast levels. I like almost all the coffee varieties I've tried to roast.


Looking forward to talking to some fellow roasters and lover of good, fresh coffee.
 

JoeConiglioArmenia

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Nov 10, 2017
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Welcome Dan and neat makeshift roaster setup you have that seems to be extremely effective for your application. What types of coffee do you find yourself roasting more so than others you just tried?
 
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CucamongaDan

CucamongaDan

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Thanks Joe, where to start? There are so many good green beans out and I love them all! The only one I bought and was at a loss to appreciate was Monsoon Malabar. Also, I have gotten a few natural Ethiopias that I had to "learn to love", and still wasn't quite sure what I thought about it after it was all gone. Sometimes it's a matter of figuring out how to roast and brew it to bring out the best in a particular coffee- start with the seller's recommendations and hopefully find the sweet zone by adjusting to personal preference. I've often been surprised how good my final roast was of a coffee I wasn't too sure about until then. Maybe I just had to pay more attention and get it right because it was almost gone.


I'll recommend at least one coffee from each of the major regions (and the regions as defined below are just how I keep track of my personal inventory- they could certainly be categorized differently):

Africa:
Sweet Maria just listed this year's Rwanda Gitesi: I got it the last two years and its fantastic. I hope I can get around to making a Sweet Maria's order before it sells out. I think I'm beginning to like African coffees the best- I've had so many good Ethiopians, Rwandas. Kenyas, Congos, Tanzanias. Malawi Mzuzu has been very good to me so far too. I got a pound from Burman's last year and just got more from Lavanta. Looked a little different but tasted just as good as I remembered

Asia, Indonesia, and various Pacific and Carribbean Islands:
A very pleasant learning experience for me last year was Myanmar Ywangan. I got it from HappyMug. I'll definitely look for it again this year! I like a good Sumatran Mandheling-type process at a lighter than usual roast point too. I've been very happy with washed Sulawesi and PNG coffees too.

South America:
I love a mild Brazil roasted gently to about City+. The pulp naturals can be the "comfort food of coffee" to me. I am looking forward to when Bodhi Leaf brings the new ones in.

Central America:

There's so many good ones it's mind boggling. I was particularly pleased with the Panama Santa Teresa farm I got from Bodhi Leaf, both the washed and the honey process.The Guatemala Las Penas I got from them is very enjoyable as well.
 

JoeConiglioArmenia

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Nov 10, 2017
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8128a52f5bf381540e93178b6009cd88.jpg


FRESH Sumatra Gr 1
 

JoeConiglioArmenia

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Nov 10, 2017
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Thanks Joe, where to start? There are so many good green beans out and I love them all! The only one I bought and was at a loss to appreciate was Monsoon Malabar. Also, I have gotten a few natural Ethiopias that I had to "learn to love", and still wasn't quite sure what I thought about it after it was all gone. Sometimes it's a matter of figuring out how to roast and brew it to bring out the best in a particular coffee- start with the seller's recommendations and hopefully find the sweet zone by adjusting to personal preference. I've often been surprised how good my final roast was of a coffee I wasn't too sure about until then. Maybe I just had to pay more attention and get it right because it was almost gone.


I'll recommend at least one coffee from each of the major regions (and the regions as defined below are just how I keep track of my personal inventory- they could certainly be categorized differently):

Africa:
Sweet Maria just listed this year's Rwanda Gitesi: I got it the last two years and its fantastic. I hope I can get around to making a Sweet Maria's order before it sells out. I think I'm beginning to like African coffees the best- I've had so many good Ethiopians, Rwandas. Kenyas, Congos, Tanzanias. Malawi Mzuzu has been very good to me so far too. I got a pound from Burman's last year and just got more from Lavanta. Looked a little different but tasted just as good as I remembered

Asia, Indonesia, and various Pacific and Carribbean Islands:
A very pleasant learning experience for me last year was Myanmar Ywangan. I got it from HappyMug. I'll definitely look for it again this year! I like a good Sumatran Mandheling-type process at a lighter than usual roast point too. I've been very happy with washed Sulawesi and PNG coffees too.

South America:
I love a mild Brazil roasted gently to about City+. The pulp naturals can be the "comfort food of coffee" to me. I am looking forward to when Bodhi Leaf brings the new ones in.

Central America:

There's so many good ones it's mind boggling. I was particularly pleased with the Panama Santa Teresa farm I got from Bodhi Leaf, both the washed and the honey process.The Guatemala Las Penas I got from them is very enjoyable as well.

You my friend are versed and happy to have you on board. You hit the nail on the head roast profile and brewing methods vary by coffee. We can always paint a broad brush stroke and generalize better than whats readily available but to fully compliment and extract the best from the best you must focus on all aspects.

Why not get yourself a sample roaster or something with potentially a bit more inputs/data capability?
 

JoeConiglioArmenia

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I do not know whether you have one of these (photo 1) or not, but I use this magnifying lens for my phone (huawei mate 7 with 13 m camera) quite a bit, specially when I am working with green bean customers in Guatemala.

Photo 2 is just with my cell phone camera. as close as I can get.
Photo 3 is with that mag lens.

if you do not have one, please get one. quite useful. (there are millions of them in Amazon)


View attachment 9279View attachment 9280View attachment 9281

Wow, i never saw this before seems really cool!
 
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CucamongaDan

CucamongaDan

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Jan 22, 2018
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Thanks Alex and Joe!

That's a good question about inputs and data. I'm at the point where I can always get a good result without having to pay a whole lot of attention, and my weekly coffee roasting is a relaxing time for me to hang out in the back yard with the dog and enjoy all the sights and smells of the developing roasts. I really love catching a whiff of the coffee in the early stages when it is yellowing and a lot of steam is coming off! Sometimes in the first few minutes of a roast I'll wander around the yard taking care of small things and the smell will surprise me as it drifted across the yard. Then I get back to check the roast- it has been less than 5 minutes, my thermometer has gotten close to 300 F, and the beans are moving faster than at first because they lost so much water weight. I turn down the air so they'll continue to rise gradually in temperature and once the temperature is up to 350 I stay really close, listening for cracks, watching the thermometer, stirring and pulling out beans for visual inspection with my long, skinny wooden spoon.

But I know I can get better and more consistent roasts if they are monitored more carefully and notes about the roasting profiles and subsequent tasting impressions are kept. I'm thinking I might ease into this a low tech way by making a graph form where I can record the time and temperature and other variables of each roast, as well as some notes about the brewing and tasting. Then I could keep a notebook of my graphed profiles, and study them.

I had a set of cheap clamp-on lenses for my cheap LG smartphone I got on a lark at the 99 cent store. I was surprised the macro one actually could give a good result. I will look for them- they are probably around here somewhere still- or get new ones (maybe better?) from Amazon.

Those Sumatran beans remind of the Sumatra Tano Batak I got from HappyMug the other day, and am looking forward to trying this morning. About 60 hours post-roast by then.
 

JoeConiglioArmenia

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No need to complicate your current setup if you are consistently extremely happy with the results imho. I asked because I see how crafty you are my guess would be to assume you would love to tinker with actual inputs and log differene etc.

How are you enjoying your Tano Batak?
 
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CucamongaDan

CucamongaDan

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It's very interesting and enjoyable stuff. I had another cup after dinner last night that I liked even more than the first one.

I selected it because HappyMug's description says it is the fruitiest, most complex, sweetest wet-hulled coffee he's had at a medium roast. I roasted to city+ and can't disagree. The first thing I noticed was the great balance of the tanginess with sweetness and and an amazing, almost syrupy mouth feel. The after-taste is pronounced and refreshing. The flavor is fruity, but not like some natural Ethiopians where it can be cloying if things don't go the right way.

I've tried a couple of cups blended 50-50 with Africa coffees as well. Both were really tasty, though not necessarily greater than the sum of the parts. I liked the one I did with a washed Ethiopian better than the one I did with a honey-process Burundi.
 

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