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Roasting for More Body
MichaelK
Hello all. I've been roasting with a #5 BBQ drum roaster for a little while now. It has a 60 RPM motor. I have been selling 1 pound bags to people at work for some time now and most people love the coffee! But now, I have landed a small business account and a potential second but not without getting constructive criticism. The complaint I get is that the coffee tastes too light or too weak. I am roasting to FC+ to Light Vienna too! Even after adding more grinds and even going finer, the coffee does taste a little weak for some reason. When I drink from a drip pot at home, my coffee tastes excellent. When it brews 12 cups at a time in a BUNN commercial drip pot, in about 3 minutes which I find very fast, the coffee just does not taste nearly as rich.

I want to know where I could be going wrong. I do not want my coffee to taste weak. I also don't want my business account to use an excessive amount of beans to achieve the right flavor and body that many average Joe coffee drinkers want.

There are a variety of factors that could be my issue. I will break down my process and what I use:

-I am big on Centrals. The coffee I have been roasting is a Wet-Process Nicaraguan roasted to FC+ to Light Vienna. Here is my basic roast profile:

4lbs in a 5 pound drum, 60 RPM motor:

1C- 13:00
End of 1C- 15:00
2C- 16:00
End- 16:45 or after it just gets rolling rapidly

With this I get a relatively brighter coffee even at a darker level, but not a big body. I quickly cool the beans after on a sieve that sits on top of an upside down fan.

Could it be that Centrals usually have more acidity and a milder body?

Could I achieve more body by roasting a little lighter, perhaps just a few snaps of 2nd crack?

Should I try a different coffee all together, perhaps a Brazilian pulp natural or dry process, or maybe a Sumatran?

Is there something about my roast profile that gives the coffee less body? My long time hitting 1C would lead me to believe that the coffee would be less bright.

Should I extend the time before 1st and 2nd crack?

I usually let the coffee rest 3 days or so before I drink. Should I wait longer?

It could be a variety of reasons. Nevertheless, this roast profile gets me a very even roast that it why I stick with it. Even so, I feel like I've had enough people tell me the coffee is weak and that it is user (roaster) error and not the coffee beans. I personally prefer a brighter, crisp tasting coffee. I hit 1C in my 1# batches at around 10min but that seems like something that I exclusively like. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
 
ginny
Hi:

remember it is all personal taste. if buyers are saying it is too weak etc you may need to give your buyers use guides, how much they need to use to produce a respectable cup form any given bean.

you say you like yours - add how you brew and how much you suggest they use on the label. make sure you know how they are brewing before you grind for them.

where do you get yours beans, no mention of where you get them, how old they are, how you store them...

you may need to find out what your buyers like, give them different beans to allow them to find a fit for themselves. make up some 1/4 - 1/2 pound bags for sale of different coffees.

there are so many issues here and not one answer. i's a crap shoot in the beginning.

get a great bean that has mass appeal like the Maysore Nuggets and roast up some for your customers. it's a great bean that can take a variety of roasts.

your not doing anything wrong, you simply need to remember that most folks drink garbage and are not used to coffee that has a real taste to it.

good luck,

ginny


party
 
MichaelK
Thanks for the feedback, Ginny. I get Nicaraguan Matagalpa beans off of EBay. Literally called "My Pappas Coffee." They come in thick plastic bags. Screen size 17/18 grown at around 1200-1400 meters. I keep the beans in the garage in relatively cool weather, maybe too cold? I live in NJ. I think its a great middle of the road coffee that roasts well at a darker level.

You are definitely right about the misconceptions people have about coffee. It's a bit annoying but when trying to conduct business, I have to please the person who is paying me and also trying to make money off of my product. I am in a bind right now because I don't want to take away from the craft of roasting a great cup of coffee. There is no fun in over roasting a quality coffee. But, I guess I have to conform to the misconceptions a bit if I want to have a successful business. I'm not happy about it, but it is what it is.

By the way, I bought a used commercial burr grinder for my customers store and tested out different grinds and strength levels with the owner until she liked it. Thing is, we got up to a little over 120 grams of relatively fine ground coffee for 12 cups and now she's concerned that she's using too much coffee. Perhaps I'm not doing anything wrong.

I gave another potential buyer a bunch of samples all at FC+. Ethiopian Yirgacheffe, the Nicaraguan and Brazilian Carmo de Minas. He said they were all too light and not dark enough. Personally, FC+ is probably too dark for these. What's the point of roasting these good beans at that level?! Might as well give them burnt low quality coffee then. No fun.
 
jkoll42
As G said above, you are typically dealing with people who are used to stale over-roasted coffee so going from that to a clean central american bean is a big difference. That being said I have never had anyone try my coffee and have their comment be 'that has no body' Usually it's 'that actually tastes good'

Although I don't think your roast profile or the bean is the main problem, I will offer a quick tip on that. Your profile seems long especially to 1C. As a general rule (and this is very general) 1C @ 8 min, 2C or roast finish @ 12. I also personally would not take a clean central into 2C.

You said that it tastes good at home so it can't be anything major with your roast. The Bunn machines are good brewers (assuming they are working correctly) so I doubt it's the brewer. The 3 minute time seems low though - I think a Bunn cycle from switch on to brew done was more like 7 or 8 min. That leaves two variables. Grind/quantity of coffee and WATER! As far as coffee I would be at about 90g +/- assuming the grind is dialed in. I'm guessing water - water quality can truly make or break coffee.
-Jon
Honey badger 1k, Bunn LPG-2E, Technivorm, Cimbali Max Hybrid, Vibiemme Double Domo V3
 
MichaelK
Thanks Jkoll. I thought the same thing about how much coffee. I did around 95 grams first for 12 cups and it tasted weak! The thing is, with a commercial brewer, they are designed to brew very quickly for selling purposes. The waterline also has a filter! I think the speed of the brew has a lot to do with it.

I also agree with you about Centrals. But for some reason, this specific coffee I use tastes unbelievable when taken into 2C. I've tried pulling right before 2C and it's just not the same.

Regarding my profile, I thought 8min to 1C was too quick because of how much coffee I am roasting. Many of the things I have read about BBQ drum roasting suggests holding off on 1C.

It may very well be the preference of these two people I am dealing with. The way I see it, if they want to use more grinds because that is what they prefer, well, then that's not really my problem, right?

I have had unbelievable feedback from many people. Some have told me that all other coffees have been ruined for them since having mine! Great to hear that. But for a select few, who I believe are avid Starbucks drinkers, they find it "not strong enough."
 
Ringo
When you roast dark you burn out body. To get a good dark roast with good body you need to start with a really good high grown bean. I like the Brazil and Summatras also when roasting dark because they will give you a really nice chocolate but not much acid. So try some high end coffee from Sweet Maria's or possible a blend with Sumatra for the dark roast flavor with some lighter roast central for the acid and body. I believe good Centrals make a very good dark roast but low quality Centrals will make a thin watery coffee.
All you need in life is ignorance and confidence, and then success is sure. Mark Twain
 
jkoll42
If they want to use more grinds that just means you sell them more coffee ThumbsUp

It sounds like you know your beans and roast and the Bunn machine is a good one. I'm not a drum guy so go with your instinct on profile. Since even you felt like it tasted weak I don't think that it is customer preference. I'm still gonna say either the brewer has a problem or it's the water. Do yourself a favor and bring a pitcher of water from your home to do a brew - that would eliminate one variable. If it still tastes weak with a trusted water, it's the brewer,
-Jon
Honey badger 1k, Bunn LPG-2E, Technivorm, Cimbali Max Hybrid, Vibiemme Double Domo V3
 
MichaelK
Thanks Ringo. It seems the flavor profile most are accustomed to are Brazilians, consider they export more coffee than anyone else in the world. Maybe I am going a little too dark and killing the body of the coffee. I'll try pulling just after I hear a pop in 2C instead of it rolling. The thing that's tough is trying to figure out what people mean when the say "dark." That often means they want more coffee to water ratio as opposed to a dark roast. Who knows.

You think it would be smart to try to get to 1C at 8min roasting 4 pounds at a time and maybe pull at around 12min?
 
ginny
Michael:

perhaps you should give a small class on roasting and cupping for your potential customers.

make them more aware of roasting for flavor and taste.

most have no idea as I said before.

everyone thinks dark roast equals espresso or better coffee or bitter coffee and they simply do not know.

your job as a roaster is to teach them.


ginny


it's the bean too,

get a variety.
Edited by ginny on 11/17/2013 10:07 AM
 
allenb

Quote

jkoll42 wrote:

Your profile seems long especially to 1C. As a general rule (and this is very general) 1C @ 8 min, 2C or roast finish @ 12. I also personally would not take a clean central into 2C.

The 3 minute time seems low though - I think a Bunn cycle from switch on to brew done was more like 7 or 8 min.


In my experience with drum roasters in doing more than 1/2 lb batches, I would not want to push it faster then 9 minutes to 1C but this is definitely roaster specific depending on heat transfer and quality of agitation. Some drums will tip/scorch going any faster.

On the commercial 12 cup or 2 liter airpot brewer. In the past I had to set up commercial accounts and dial in the brewers. These typically had a 2 1/2 to 3 minute time for water flow into the tank and no more than another 1 1/2 minutes for the tank siphon to end and remaining drip from funnel. The larger shuttle brewers would take a little longer. Obviously with the advent of the pulse brew technology you can now go much longer since you're not stuck with one flow rate.

One thing that will give the impression of weak coffee is if there is too much time spent between 1st crack and end of roast which can sometimes cause the flattening/baked stale tea effect. While the solids count is where it's supposed to be the mouthfeel and overall body is missing.

Allen
1/2 lb and 1 lb drum, Siemens Sirocco fluidbed, presspot, chemex, cajun biggin brewer from the backwoods of Louisiana
 
allenb
On the issue of the brews coming out weak, I'm remembering something that happened with a couple of accounts that caused us to alter how we handled them. For what ever reason, their water supply caused any coffee less than a few days out of the roaster to outgas much worse than other accounts and would severely under extract due to excessive foaming. We ended up holding their coffee for several days before delivery and some of them had to grind hours before brewing to give the coffee enough time to outgas prior to brewing. This made a huge improvement in extraction but caused a lot more work to maintain the accounts.

Allen
1/2 lb and 1 lb drum, Siemens Sirocco fluidbed, presspot, chemex, cajun biggin brewer from the backwoods of Louisiana
 
MichaelK
Thanks for the feedback, Allen.

I think that I am having the same issue. First off, I may be roasting too long after 1C and I get to a rolling 2C. I am also getting the beans to the account only 3 days after the roast. I did explain to the account that more resting of the beans can solve the problem and I may have to roast earlier in the week. The tricky part is anticipating the order. I will be calling on Wednesdays to get the order and will roast on Wednesdays and deliver the coffee on Saturdays. Not to mention, this is my first business account! I have to work out the kinks in my workflow.

I always do 4 pound finished roasts in a 5# drum. I preheat the drum and put in the beans after the grill reads 500F. It then drops to around 460F and I get back up to around 520F by 4-5min and I keep it there till around 10min and then ramp up the heat to around 570F until 1C. These were my rough times of the batch that tasted a bit weak. By the way, consistency with a BBQ drum roaster is pretty difficult:

1C- 13:40
End 1C- 16:00
2C- 17:00
End- 17:40 after rolling 2C

I think maybe to long to 1C and a little to long into 2C.
I had much better results with this other profile, same process:

1C- 13:00
End 1C- 15:00
2C- 16:00
End- 16:30 after rolling 2C

Since dialing in to my roasting process, I've learned that waiting a little longer to get to 1C and getting into a somewhat rolling 2C gets me the most even roasts. The times I get to 1C under 10 minutes, I always get uneven roasts.

You think going a little quicker might get me better roasts? What are your thoughts on doing this:

1C- 12:00
End 1C- 14:00
2C- 15:00
End- 15:10 after just a few pops of 2C, not rolling

All feedback is appreciated, thanks in advance.

-Mike
 
John Despres
Mike,

Are you prepared to roast some compost fodder? How fast can you get to first crack? Crank the heat and try to hit 1st by, say, 6:00. Don't worry about the finish, although you can certainly try, but that's not the point of the exercise.

Once that's known, profiles can be written to speed up your time to first.

And I'm in agreement about 2nd. You lose body once you're past the first few snaps.

Have fun!

JD
Respect the bean.
John Despres
Fresh Roast 8, Gene Cafe, JYTT 1k, Quest M3, Mazzer Mini, Technivorm, various size presses and many more brewers.
 
MichaelK
Thanks John.

I actually do not have an issue getting to 1C faster and have a lot of control over getting to target times. The next time I roast I am going to shoot for hitting 1C at around 11-12 min and pulling at around 14-15 min. Perhaps I'll pull it after the first snap of 2C. I can't have a rolling 2C anymore. I should know better not to do that. Any suggestions for a basic roast profile to shoot for?

-Mike
 
John Despres
Hi Mike

No, not really. I'm still learning my drum roaster and I'm more stumped by grill roasting than anything else. I've never used gas, so that's new to me as well.

Wish I could help more. I making my way as well...

JD
Respect the bean.
John Despres
Fresh Roast 8, Gene Cafe, JYTT 1k, Quest M3, Mazzer Mini, Technivorm, various size presses and many more brewers.
 
allenb
Mike, to give you some control I would suggest adding PID control to your burner to be able to run profiles on your environment temperature. Tamarian has done this very successfully with his gas fired roaster using a Fuji PID controller outputting to a driver board to control a proportional solenoid. The Fuji PXR controller with 4-20 milliamp output and feature to allow switching the ramp/soak profile on or off is around $200. The proportional solenoid valve is around $80.00 and the interface driver board is between $125 and $150.00. With this you could consistently repeat ET profiles and datalog your roasts. Well, the feature for allowing datalogging with RS232 to your computer would add a little $ onto the Fuji controller.

If you decide to pursue this we can help you with selection and implementation.

For some reading on Tamarians gas fluidbed build

http://forum.home...rowstart=0

His build also includes a TC4 for safety controls but you can see the proportional valve and driver board being driven by a Fuji controller.

Allen
1/2 lb and 1 lb drum, Siemens Sirocco fluidbed, presspot, chemex, cajun biggin brewer from the backwoods of Louisiana
 
jkoll42

Quote

allenb wrote:

Quote

jkoll42 wrote:

Your profile seems long especially to 1C. As a general rule (and this is very general) 1C @ 8 min, 2C or roast finish @ 12. I also personally would not take a clean central into 2C.

The 3 minute time seems low though - I think a Bunn cycle from switch on to brew done was more like 7 or 8 min.


In my experience with drum roasters in doing more than 1/2 lb batches, I would not want to push it faster then 9 minutes to 1C but this is definitely roaster specific depending on heat transfer and quality of agitation. Some drums will tip/scorch going any faster.

On the commercial 12 cup or 2 liter airpot brewer. In the past I had to set up commercial accounts and dial in the brewers. These typically had a 2 1/2 to 3 minute time for water flow into the tank and no more than another 1 1/2 minutes for the tank siphon to end and remaining drip from funnel. The larger shuttle brewers would take a little longer. Obviously with the advent of the pulse brew technology you can now go much longer since you're not stuck with one flow rate.

One thing that will give the impression of weak coffee is if there is too much time spent between 1st crack and end of roast which can sometimes cause the flattening/baked stale tea effect. While the solids count is where it's supposed to be the mouthfeel and overall body is missing.

Allen


Hope I didn't muck up the troubleshooting - I really should not have commented on the profile when my specialty is not larger capacity drums. I still feel like it isn't the roast profile though since in his brewer at his facility it tastes good, but at that one particular client they complain it's thin.
-Jon
Honey badger 1k, Bunn LPG-2E, Technivorm, Cimbali Max Hybrid, Vibiemme Double Domo V3
 
allenb
No worries Jon. My comments are from the drum's I've been exposed to but to be honest, I've got no experience with BBQ drum roasting so I could be giving bad advice here with saying to not go faster than 9 min to 1C.

It would be nice if any of our members with experience with these roasters to pitch in.

Len, do you have any tips in using the BBQ drums?

Allen
1/2 lb and 1 lb drum, Siemens Sirocco fluidbed, presspot, chemex, cajun biggin brewer from the backwoods of Louisiana
 
MichaelK
Hey everyone. Thanks again for all the suggestions. I will be testing out different roast profiles getting to 1C a little quicker with just a snap in 2C before pulling. I will test it out with my customer's commercial BUNN machine that brews in 12 cups in like 3 minutes which is really fast, in my opinion. I will let everyone know how it goes.

I personally think I am going too dark but that is only to meet the demand. I also think common misconceptions of a "dark" coffee and a "strong" coffee confuses people. People think a "strong" coffee is one that is dark roasted. I tell them that is incorrect and that strong coffee means more ground coffee to water and that lighter coffee has more body. The big issue here is making my customer understand that if that's how she wants it, she needs to use more coffee and that is less economical for a business in their eyes. The thing that is perplexing is that my drip machine at home brews a completely different brew in the commercial machine. My drip pot at home makes the same product taste much better and I think its because it's a much slower brew.

I just hope I figure it out quickly so that my business account owner doesn't get upset. Back to the drawing board!

Thanks again,
Mike
 
allenb
Mike, in my experience with commercial accounts the norm was around 3.5 oz for a 12 cup glass pot Bunn brewer but we had some due to water issues that required 4+ ounces to get the strength where it needed to be. Since you've already tried going finer grind, you're only other option that I can think of is to utilize a pulse brew and extend contact time.

Allen
1/2 lb and 1 lb drum, Siemens Sirocco fluidbed, presspot, chemex, cajun biggin brewer from the backwoods of Louisiana
 
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