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Hmm, Mexican Altura sure roasts fast.

addertooth

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May 30, 2022
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First post in this forum; I am located in extreme Southern Arizona.

I picked up a used Gene Cafe CBR101 about a week ago, and grabbed some green coffee beans.
The green beans are:

Colombian Nariño Supremo (two batches one Full-City, and the other Full-City+)
Colombian Royal Select Swiss Water Process Decaf (one batch roasted to Vienna)
Mexican Huatusco Alturo (one batch roasted to Full-City+)

I used the well known "double roast" method on all three types of beans. The non-decaf Columbian has two different roasts with it.
The steps were: pre-heat to 230f, then 230f dehydrate for 8.5 minutes, removed beans and forced cooled.
While cooling the beans, raised the roaster temperature to 392f. Once the temperature was stabilized and the beans room temperature, the beans were put back in to begin the roasting phase.

The kitchen timer was zeroed at this time and started. 00:00

The Colombian non-decaf were Roasted at 392f for 5 minutes, then raised the temperature to 464f for 6.5 more minutes, then dropped down to 410f until final color. (first and second batch, these were my "cutting my teeth" runs)

Decaf Colombian beans were Roasted at 392f for 5 minute, then stepped up to 450f for 6.5 more minutes, dropped down to 440f until final color (Vienna).

For the non-decaf Colombian beans the 410f temperature step happened at 11 minutes 30 seconds. For the Mexican beans the temperature 410f step occurred at 11 minutes 00 seconds, as that batch was already starting to brown faster than the Colombian beans.

The full City roast first batch of the non-decaf Colombian beans completed at 15 minutes. About 4.5 minutes after first crack. No oil was seen on the surface, chocolate brown. The tips of the beans showed cracks.

For the Full City+ roast second batch of the non-decaf Colombian beans, completion was at the 16 minute mark. About 5.5 minutes after first crack. No oil was seen on the surface, dark chocolate brown. The tips of the beans showed cracks.

For the Decaf Colombian, which were roasted to Viena, completion was at the 17 minute mark, with smoking happening in the final minute. It had some beans with oil on the surface.

For the Mexican beans, which were roasted to Full City+, they completed earlier than expected at 15 minutes. They finished darker and with a smoother bean texture than the than the Full City+ Columbian. No oil was seen on the surface of the beans. The tips of the beans showed cracks. A few beans showed cracks in the middle. Smoke was seen during the roast.

First crack for the Colombian beans all fell in the 10 minutes 15-30 second range.
First crack on the Mexican beans arrived earlier at 9 minutes 45 seconds. The beginning of the Second crack was heard about 15 seconds before the roast was ended (I can only move so fast).

Roaster's notation. The Colombian beans which were roasted to Full-City/Full-City+ never produced smoke at 392f. The Mexican beans did.

For the Colombian beans which were roasted Full-City and Full-City+ no smoke was ever seen. For the Decaf Columbian beans, smoke was seen at the end of the Vienna-level roast.

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Taster notes after letting the beans rest 48 hours before milling and preparing a cup (yes, a bit soon but I was curious):

First batch Colombian showed lots of character of the beans with strong sweet, chocolate, with a balanced roast flavor. This batch had the lowest level of roast flavor, but it was quite pleasant.

Second batch Colombian showed slightly less character than the first batch but with caramel, chocolate and buttery flavor present. The roast flavor was more pronounced, but not excessive.

Decaf Colombian had big bold roast flavor, with noticeable chocolate notes.

The Mexican coffee was roasted today, so it will be a couple days before it is sampled.

**********************************************************************************************************

So now the actual questions:
I only have four roasts under my belt. Is it expected that some types of beans will roast much quicker? The Mexican beans finished darker and a full minute sooner than the Colombian beans (of equivalent size).

Is it normal for some beans to produce smoke at only a few minutes into the roast at 392f? The Mexican beans were the only ones which showed this characteristic. The Colombian and decaf Colombian did not do this.
 
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Musicphan

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Yes, the different densities of beans will roast faster if less dense. The decaffeination process also degrades the quality of the bean and will roast faster (you will need to drop at a lower temp and it will look darker than reg coffee dropped at the same temp). Always pay attention to the elevation the coffee is grown, in general the higher grown = more dense. Now the tricky part... highly dense beans will take much more energy to get going... but once they get going they will require less energy than less dense beans.

Impossible to give you guidance on the smoke question... they will all smoke at some point - temp is based on roaster. In general, they will smoke at 1st crack.
 
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addertooth

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Yes, the different densities of beans will roast faster if less dense. The decaffeination process also degrades the quality of the bean and will roast faster (you will need to drop at a lower temp and it will look darker than reg coffee dropped at the same temp). Always pay attention to the elevation the coffee is grown, in general the higher grown = more dense. Now the tricky part... highly dense beans will take much more energy to get going... but once they get going they will require less energy than less dense beans.

Impossible to give you guidance on the smoke question... they will all smoke at some point - temp is based on roaster. In general, they will smoke at 1st crack.
Thank You for taking the time to respond. I felt those things you listed were the likely cause, but with only 4 roasts done, it is easy to second-guess myself.
 

Musicphan

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It's a learning process... I do suggest taking good notes and documenting times/smells. Start with 1 coffee and roast it as many ways as you can think... roast to 1st crack / then into the second crack... take those temp #'s when that occurs then roast a 3rd in the middle. Then CUP - and determine what tastes best to you.
 
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addertooth

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Tasting notes on the Mexican Altura Coffee.

Nice roast flavor, good body, noticeably low acid.
No other notes in the flavor other than a slight chocolate flavor.
A pleasant drink, but nothing which stands out for unique character.
It has only rested a bit over 2 days. It may get revisited in a few days.
It is less impressive than the Colombian beans at the same point.

At this point, I am waiting on some beans to arrive this weekend.
The arriving beans will be:
Kenya AA select plus (5 pounds).
Ethiopian washed gedeb worka sakaro gr1 (5 pounds).
Kona peaberry (1 pound).
Kona extra fancy (1 pound).
Brazilian Daterra pearl bourbon peaberry rfa (3 pounds).
Costa Rican decaf La Magnolia swp (3 pounds).
Brazillian decaf mogiana mwp (3 pounds).

I am looking forward to what I expect some of these beans to do.
 

Musicphan

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The Kenya/Ethiopian will probably take a bit more energy at first... possibly same with Kona (ltd roasting exp w/ Kona). The Brazil's and Decaf you will need to roast a bit softer. Good luck!
 
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addertooth

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The Kenya AA and the Decaf Costa Rica coffees were roasted outside before the Sun set (so I could get a good view of the beans while they were roasting).

Kenya AA Select Plus Washed was roasted first:
The Gene Cafe was pre-heated to 392F for about 5 minutes.
The beans were put in, and the temperature immediately dialed down to 305f.
They were dehydrated at 305f for 6 minutes.
The beans were removed and force cooled for about 2-4 minutes until at 99f.
Much of the heat remained in the roaster, the beans were put back in the roaster.
The clock was zeroed and started 00:00
The temperature adjusted for 473f.
First crack began at about 08:36, (08:36) the temperature was lowered to 437 until finish.
First crack had completed, and the beans were at a City+ level of roast at 10:36. (10:36)
The beans were removed, and force cooled. It produced losts of chaff.

Observations post roast:
The beans were fairly smooth, with surprisingly even color for such a short roast. There was some mottling of color, but not strongly so. About one bean out of three had light cracking at the tips. I would evaluate color/texture/cracks as City+.
The aroma is very sweet, and lightly roasty, with a bit of caramel and butter. I thought I could smell chocolate, but it was too soon after the roast to get any real certainty.

In a couple days, the first bit will be ground. I am hoping for a taste of butter/caramel/chocolate, with perhaps a hint of fruit. Time will tell.
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Decaf Costa Rica La Magnolia SWP:
This was done similar to my last decaf, but with a shorter roast to Full-City, as verus Vienna. There are some notes I wanted to be experienced in this coffee, which I believed a Vienna would obliterate. It was only taken to Full-City.

The Gene Cafe was pre-heated to 320F for about 5 minutes.
The beans were put in, and the temperature was kept at 320.
They were dehydrated at 320f for 8.5 minutes.
The beans were removed and force cooled for about 2-4 minutes until at 97f.
During the bean cooling, the temperature was adjusted to 392f.
The beans were put back in the 392f roaster.
The clock was zeroed and started (00:00)
The beans roasted at 392f for 5 minutes. (05:00)
The temperature was raised to 451f. The beans continued to cook at 451f for 5.5 minutes. (10:30)
First crack began at about 10:40, (10:40) the temperature was lowered to 440 until finish.
First crack had completed, and the beans were at a Full-City level of roast at 15:30. (15:30)
The beans were removed, and force cooled.

Observations post roast:
The beans were very smooth, with very even dark color. There was no mottling of color. The majority of the beans had cracking at the tips, a few had cracks in the middle. I would evaluate color/texture/cracks as Full-City.
The aroma is slightly sweet, and quite roasty, with a bit of chocolate and caramel. I thought there might be other notes, but it was too soon after the roast to get any real certainty.

In a couple days, the first bit will be ground. I am hoping for a taste of butter/caramel/chocolate, with perhaps a hint of fruit. Time will tell.
 
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addertooth

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Today's notes about roasting the Ethiopia Yirgacheffe washed beans.

I had planed on following the same profile used for the Kenya AA beans, but that was not practical.
They were smaller, had more variability in size, and included a surprising number of peaberry beans.

Never-the-less, the same temperature steps used in the Ethiopia roast as what was used for the Kenya beans.
Only the time at temperature were changed.

To my surprise, First crack occurred a minute later with the Ethiopia beans, they seemed to progress slower, even
though they were noteably smaller. So, the drop to 437 did not happen until a minute later than what was used for the
beans from Kenya. The roast was extended a full minute to achieve the same level of color. The Ethiopian beans had more bean-to-bean variation in color as well.

I was interested in observing how the peaberries in that bag roasted, relative to the more normal berries as a
reference for an upcoming 100 percent peaberry roast.
 
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addertooth

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Well, two batches of Brazil Pearl Bourbon peaberry beans were roasted today. The beans are of the washed variety from the Daterra Estate. But then, that name is too long; I prefer "stealth beans", or "God is laughing at you beans".

Most Gene Cafe roaster users will acknowledge it makes a surprising amount of noise. If you have a carboard tube against the exhaust port (to listen for cracks), it sounds like an ancient catapault being wound up for the next devastating strike.

In short, First crack could not be heard on either of the two batches. And trust me, I tried. This bean was intended to be the sacraficial lamb which the oddities with peaberry beans were learned on. I don't want to make rookie mistakes on the Kona Peaberry beans which are waiting to be roasted.

Summary of the first batch: Over-Roasted to Full-City+. I had my head cocked to the side, with a carboard tube against the exhaust of the roaster and the other end of the tube against my ear. I strained to listen for the first crack. It was like the Christmas Pony that never came. But, while I was intent on listening for a crack, the beans continued to roast. By the time I looked down at them, they had already darkened well past the point where the lighter notes had been roasted out. It has a great roast smell at this point, but will likely be a cup of sadness.

The first batch roasted fairly quickly, with the roasting phase ending at 13 minutes and 30 seconds.

I examined and tasted the beans, and tried to figure out where it all went wrong. I realized that being preoccupied with waiting for the Crack-sound before lowering the temperature for the browning phase was one of the critical mistakes with this batch.

I entered round-two fully armed with all my unatural OCD abilities. When I walked past my wife, she said I "looked grim like I was about to enter a full battle". Yes, I had a bit of a grudge against these beans (Satan's Eye-Crust), and was determined to bend them to my will. A detailed plan was prepared, it follows:

A reminder: No battle plan ever survives first contact.

A second round was started with the goal of roasting the beans light enough that some of the floral/fruity flavor might be preserved. I am confident the first batch will have little or none, as the roasting level was at least a Full-City+.

The roaster was set to 230f for the dehydration phase and left to stabilize without beans for 5 minutes.

The beans were added and the clock was started. The roaster was started.

The beans were removed at 7 minutes and they were dumped into the bean cooler. (Less than the 08:15 which was used on the first batch)

The roaster was set to 392f, and left to stabilize without beans for 10 minutes.

The clock was zeroed 00:00, the cooled beans were added to the drum, the roaster was started at 392f, and the clock was started.

At 5 minutes 05:00 the temperature was raised to 451f. (lower than the 464f which was used on the first batch) 05:00

First crack was never heard, but he beans had discarded most of their chaff, and had significantly darkened. The main seam on each bean was fully open. Cracks were forming at one tip (on one end of the peaberry beans). Unlike more typical beans, Peaberry beans like to have tip cracks on only one end for this level of roast. I could not hear first crack, no matter how I tried with these beans. I had to make a guess based upon visual queues that first crack had completed. 10:00

At 10 minutes, the roaster was adjusted down to 410f. 10:00

The beans were pulled from the roaster and force cooled at 11 minutes. 11:00

Color was much lighter than the first batch but still a chocolate brown, lighter notes could be smelled, and it lacked the very strong roasty odor of the first batch. I may not be crying in this batch of coffee. We will see in a couple of days. I always try to remember "tears make the roaster rust".
 
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addertooth

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Tasting summary of the Brazil peaberry coffee batches.

The first roast, which was believed to be over-roasted was spot on. It is a great cup.

The second roast, which was done lighter significantly lacked roasty flavor and body. It seemed insipid. It did have stronger secondary flavor and smell notes. But, the greater presence of those other notes did not win me over.

Lesson learned, this bean requires a higher level of "apparent" roast to be balanced.

The second batch will need to be blended with something which is a bit high on roasty character, and short on secondary notes.

Brazil Peaberry first and second batch.jpg
 
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addertooth

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Roasting notes for:

Kona Extra Fancy beans from Coffee Bean Corral.

Roasting machine: Gene Cafe CBR101 2016 production model, stock.

Measure 8 ounces or 227 Grams of green Kona Coffee and set aside.

Place the empty roasting cyinder in the roaster, Pre-Heat Gene Cafe Roaster to 305 degrees F or 151 degrees C.

Wait 5 minutes for the temperature to stabilize, and the chamber to uniformly warm up.

Place unroasted beans in the roaster, dehydrate at 305 F for 8 Minutes.

Stop the roaster, remove the beans and force cool them.

While the beans cool, place the roasting cylinder back in the roaster.

Set Roaster to 392 degrees F, or 200 degrees C. Allow the empty roaster to pre-heat for 12 minutes while beans cool.

After waiting 12 minutes, zero and start timer, place the well-cooled beans in the roaster, roast at 392 F for 5 minutes.

After the 5 minutes at 392 F, raise the temperature to 460 degrees F, or 238 degrees C. Continue roasting.

With this batch, first crack was heard at 10 minutes with the Kona Extra Fancy bean.

Thirty seconds after first crack (10 minutes 30 seconds on a kitchen timer), lower the temperature to 450 degrees F, or 232 degrees C.

Continue to roast until desired level of roast,

For this roast, the Roast duration used was 13 minutes and 00 seconds (this does not include the time dehydration took, 8 minutes).
The bean came out as a Full-City roast.

A total of four roasts were done today.
Colombian Decaf
Brazillian Decaf
Kona Extra Fancy
Kenya AA

pictured, a close-up of the Kona post-roast.
 

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addertooth

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The cupping review on the Kona indicated I need to go a touch darker than the first batch. The Kenya AA was spot on, the Decafs (using my typical decaf profile lightly tweaked) came out rather well too.

Roasting adventures set up for this weekend! I am not sure what profile to use for the Panama Geisha coffee, and I sure don't want to produce an "unhappy batch". I am also going to be doing a new Ethiopia Yirgacheffe Misty Valley this weekend (not pictured). It is supposed to be able to produce Blueberry notes. I am a huge fan of Blueberries.
 

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addertooth

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Ethiopia Yirgacheffe Misty Valley

These beans were labelled Grade 1, but have a lot of variability in size.
I don't want to make the same under-roast mistake made with the Brazil Peaberry beans, so these will be pushed more to the roastiness of the second batch of Brazil peaberry

Roasting notes for:

Ethiopia Yirgacheffe Misty Valley GR1 beans from Coffee Bean Corral.

Roasting machine: Gene Cafe CBR101 2016 production model, stock.

Measure 8 ounces or 227 Grams of green Ethiopian Coffee and set aside.

Place the empty roasting cyinder in the roaster, Pre-Heat Gene Cafe Roaster to 305 degrees F or 151 degrees C.

Wait 6 minutes for the temperature to stabilize, and the chamber to uniformly warm up.

Place unroasted beans in the roaster, dehydrate at 305 F for 6 Minutes.

Stop the roaster, remove the beans and force cool them.

While the beans cool, place the roasting cylinder back in the roaster.

Set Roaster to 392 degrees F, or 200 degrees C. Allow the empty roaster to pre-heat for 10 minutes while beans cool.

After waiting 10 minutes, zero and start timer, place the well-cooled beans in the roaster, roast at 392 F for 5 minutes.

After the 5 minutes at 392 F, raise the temperature to 460 degrees F, or 238 degrees C. Continue roasting.

With this batch, the very first crack was heard at 10 minutes 10 seconds.

Thirty seconds after first crack begins (10 minutes 40 seconds on a kitchen timer), lower the temperature to 450 degrees F, or 232 degrees C.

Continue to roast until desired level of roast, Stopped and force cooled at 14 minutes and 00 seconds.
First crack had completed by this time.

For this roast, the Roast duration used was 14 minutes and 00 seconds (this does not include the time dehydration took, 8 minutes).
The bean came out as a Full-City roast.
Significant Chaff was produced, equal to the largest amount seen on previous batches of other beans. Less chaff was left in the seam than on the Kona beans.

Hopeful notes: This bean's claim to fame is a Blueberry flavor. We will see if any can be detected in a couple days. The color came out in the same ranges as the previous Kona batch, even though the roast was a minute longer (and the beans were smaller than the Kona beans).
 
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Musicphan

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For the fruit notes to come out you typically have to roast short/hotter ... what is the purpose of the dehydration? Have you done a A/B comparison with/without this process - its atypical of roasting coffee.
 
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addertooth

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The Gene Cafe is a hybrid roaster. It has a drum which tumbles, but the heat is not applied via contact with a heated drum, it is via hot air blown through the drum. This makes roasting profiles "odd". But, pre-heating the drum does seem to have "some" impact, due to stored heat in the pre-warmed drum.

To add to the confusion, the temperature the roaster reports is not the temperature of the bean or the drum, but rather the hot air which has left the roasting drum. The actual temperture of the drum and beans lag well behind what the roaster is set for. All of my temperature numbers are the "reported exhaust air temperatures by the Gene Cafe roaster". I have started using an optical thermometer (pyrometer) to try to gauge the temperature of the beans, but even that is woefully inaccurate. When I hear the beginnings of first crack, the pyrometer typically shows 350 degrees F, which is about 50 degrees short of the "expected" temperature. I don't put those pyrometer values in my postings, as they would simply add to the confusion.

All this considered, this makes most classical drum roasting profiles mismatched with what you get with the Gene Cafe. Those oddities are why I post the recipes here, as there can be a steep learning curve for beans which are less common. For the record, the Kenya AA roast which was done, turned out very good. The Costa Rica roast was "acceptable, but short of full potential". The Kona roast was very pleasing too, but might benefit from another 30 seconds to bring forward more of the caramel character.

The dehydration phase is from a well-reputed source ("Coffee Roasting at Home", author Claus Fricke), which many sites claim is "the way" for Gene Cafe roasters. The recipe normally calls for 8 to 8.5 minutes for dehydration. But, I have learned that coffees with floral notes seem to benefit from a shorter dehydration phase. The lower temperature during the dehydration phase drives out less of the lighter and more aromatic elements of the bean. Dehydration of the beans shorten the "roasting phase at higher temperatures", otherwise the roasting phase tends to be rather long (due to a low rate of rise within the roaster).

I will fully admit that I am still dialing in my curves, which is why I got 5 pounds of the Ethiopia Yirgacheffe Misty valley beans. They seemed like a good "mule" to try different roast profiles, and learn from the results. Those general concepts learned will allow me to adjust the roasting profile for other floral/fruity beans more effectively. I really want to get closer to the sweet spot before I roast the Panama Geisha beans (which are waiting patiently in a cool-dry-dark place).

But, as a novice, I always openly invite ideas, and especially those earned via experience with the Gene Cafe roaster. It is an odd duck, and although many were sold, there seems to be few people who did much more than turn it up to roast temperature and "let it rip". I would wager there were a lot of marginal roasts done with it via that method.
 
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