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Noob seeking advice

Mommyjeans

New member
Aug 28, 2022
2
1
Texas
I’m getting into this whole roasting thing. I have good quality green beans. I use a cast iron Dutch oven. I’ve used gas, electric burner and propane grill for the heat source. I whisk non stop. I hear it takes about 20 mins total. I’ve had only 1 successful roast out of….6 attempts. I have a laser thermometer but haven’t really payed attention to the temp of the beans. Just getting the pan hot. I’ve used medium heat, high heat and low heat. I’ve left the temp alone and some I’ve adjusted. The issue is, the first crack is non existent. They change color perfectly. They seem like they want to crack around the 13-15 min mark but they don’t. Then they just seem dry at that point. I’ve gone as long as 40 mins just hoping it would crack. Nope. What on earth is going wrong? Is it the heat? Using the grill it may have been too windy. Is the cast iron too thick? Any advice is appreciated.
Keep ‘‘em high and tight.
 

Billy Banana

New member
Aug 27, 2022
9
1
EU
I hear you. I think what you need is for someone to help you out/show you a couple of roasts. I mean to physically be there by your side. Perhaps someone from here would be so kind to do that if there’s someone near you. I don’t think you should carry on by yourself cause it seems like your are not far from giving up - and that would be a shame.
 
Last edited:

addertooth

Member
May 30, 2022
63
9
Arizona
The beans progress as they hit certain target temperatures.

What I suspect is your rate of temperature rise is too slow, and it is baking the moisture out of the beans. Once that moisture is driven out, there is no steam forming inside the beans to make them "pop".

The first step is to partially DRY the beans. At the TEMPERATURE of 160 °C (320 °F) they typically turn FULL YELLOW. You want to hit this target temperature (measuring the beans, and not the pot) in about 5 to 6 minutes ideally. You can hit it sooner, but hopefully not less that 4 minutes.

The next things you may notice the seam in the beans will start to widen, and they begin to grow in size.

FIRST CRACK TEMPERATURE
At approximately 196 °C (385 °F), the coffee will produce a cracking sound. We refer to this point as the ‘first crack’, marking the beginnings of a lighter roast. At the first crack, a large amount of the coffee’s moisture has been evaporated, and the beans will increase in size. The first crack is a great indicator when you are replicating a certain profile. You typically will see smoke released during first crack. You likely want to hit this point somewhere in the 8 to 11 minute mark. You can hit it a bit sooner without penalty.

Development Time.
After first crack is heard, you normally will want to continue the roast an additional 20 percent of time. i.e. if first crack happened at 10 minutes, you will want to continue roasting until the 12-13 minute mark.

If you are going after a "medium roast", you can stop here, and cool the beans.

If you want a dark roast, then you continue.

SECOND CRACK TEMPERATURE
After the first one and some more roasting time, a second one, logically called the ‘second crack’, will follow. The temperature in the roaster has now risen to 224 °C (435f). This second sound will appear after finishing a light, normal, or dark roast. Most of the roasters prefer this type of beans, but you can decide to continue roasting and wait for the second one to produce an Italian or French roast. Now, the structure of the bean begins to break down. They become dark and they look shinier because of the oils that will appear.

Beyond this, is what we call the "house fire" stage. If you roast the beans too far, they can catch fire.

Some hints.... you will want to pre-heat your pan/pot before you add your beans. Might I suggest about 350 degrees F. Then add the beans. Use your laser thermometer more. You want the temperature of your beans to be constantly rising throughout the roast. You will want to target about 25 degrees F per minute early on, and after first crack, at a slower rate of about 10 degrees per minute. Remember, it is the BEANS you are measuring the temperature change on, and not the pot/pan.

Best of luck.
Footnote: I don't roast in a pan, so these instructions are derived from a drum-like roaster. If anyone who pan roasts their beans sees errors, please correct it. I won't be offended.
 
Last edited:

Billy Banana

New member
Aug 27, 2022
9
1
EU
Here’s video that might help you out. It’s absolutely brilliant, and you can learn a lot about the basics of roasting coffee in 34 minutes. The first minute is quite strange and perhaps a bit off-putting but stick to it and you won’t regret it lol :) .

 

Birdman

New member
Nov 22, 2022
8
1
Maryland
Sometimes its just really hard to hear the first crack, depending on the beans. Other times and other beans, you can hear it from another room.
I don't roast in a pot, so I can't give you better details, but keep at it and you'll get the hang of it.
 
OP
M

Mommyjeans

New member
Aug 28, 2022
2
1
Texas
  • Thread Starter
  • Thread starter
  • #6
The beans progress as they hit certain target temperatures.

What I suspect is your rate of temperature rise is too slow, and it is baking the moisture out of the beans. Once that moisture is driven out, there is no steam forming inside the beans to make them "pop".

The first step is to partially DRY the beans. At the TEMPERATURE of 160 °C (320 °F) they typically turn FULL YELLOW. You want to hit this target temperature (measuring the beans, and not the pot) in about 5 to 6 minutes ideally. You can hit it sooner, but hopefully not less that 4 minutes.

The next things you may notice the seam in the beans will start to widen, and they begin to grow in size.

FIRST CRACK TEMPERATURE
At approximately 196 °C (385 °F), the coffee will produce a cracking sound. We refer to this point as the ‘first crack’, marking the beginnings of a lighter roast. At the first crack, a large amount of the coffee’s moisture has been evaporated, and the beans will increase in size. The first crack is a great indicator when you are replicating a certain profile. You typically will see smoke released during first crack. You likely want to hit this point somewhere in the 8 to 11 minute mark. You can hit it a bit sooner without penalty.

Development Time.
After first crack is heard, you normally will want to continue the roast an additional 20 percent of time. i.e. if first crack happened at 10 minutes, you will want to continue roasting until the 12-13 minute mark.

If you are going after a "medium roast", you can stop here, and cool the beans.

If you want a dark roast, then you continue.

SECOND CRACK TEMPERATURE
After the first one and some more roasting time, a second one, logically called the ‘second crack’, will follow. The temperature in the roaster has now risen to 224 °C (435f). This second sound will appear after finishing a light, normal, or dark roast. Most of the roasters prefer this type of beans, but you can decide to continue roasting and wait for the second one to produce an Italian or French roast. Now, the structure of the bean begins to break down. They become dark and they look shinier because of the oils that will appear.

Beyond this, is what we call the "house fire" stage. If you roast the beans too far, they can catch fire.

Some hints.... you will want to pre-heat your pan/pot before you add your beans. Might I suggest about 350 degrees F. Then add the beans. Use your laser thermometer more. You want the temperature of your beans to be constantly rising throughout the roast. You will want to target about 25 degrees F per minute early on, and after first crack, at a slower rate of about 10 degrees per minute. Remember, it is the BEANS you are measuring the temperature change on, and not the pot/pan.

Best of luck.
Footnote: I don't roast in a pan, so these instructions are derived from a drum-like roaster. If anyone who pan roasts their beans sees errors, please correct it. I won't be offended.
Great advice. Thank you for sharing.
 
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