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Using your nose
Airhan
I recently got some Ethiopian Nekisse from Ninety Plus, courtesy of a roaster in Denver. It was a truly outstanding coffee, probably the best I've had from my roaster. It was also the easiest to roast, just get to FC in 8-9 minutes and go slow after that until you smell blueberries, the cut the heat and start cooling.
I've tried this with other coffees, and other than smelling hay/bread early in the roast I can't use smell to determine when to end a roast, there are just no noticeable smells after FC (I'm also using a fluid bed, which isn't as nose-friendly as a trier on a drum).

The simplicity of roasting this coffee, and the delicious results in the cup make me think that this should be possible with every coffee... is it?
Aaron
"Grind it like it did you some great injustice!"D.L.Clark
Koffee Kosmo
Apart from coffee roasting aroma that will be different with most beans
You will notice at the first and second crack time - dissipating smoke that acompanies each crack stage
KK
I home roast and I like it. Designer of the KKTO
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coffeebeforebed
It would seem to me that using smell to roast would require quite a bit of experience with a particular coffee. The smells during a roast certainly differ between most coffees I roast, but I do not roast the same coffee often enough to really gauge the roasting stage by only smell.
Koffee Kosmo

Quote

coffeebeforebed wrote:

It would seem to me that using smell to roast would require quite a bit of experience with a particular coffee. The smells during a roast certainly differ between most coffees I roast, but I do not roast the same coffee often enough to really gauge the roasting stage by only smell.


That's why most experienced and home roasters alike tend to follow profiles of heat and time to the desired roast depth

KK
I home roast and I like it. Designer of the KKTO
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Bezzera Strega, Mazzer Robur Grinder, Pullman Tamper Convex,
(KKTO) Turbo Oven Home Roaster.
brennn
After I read Airhan's post, I roasted a BrazilianCarmo de Minas Peaberry, followed by a Brunidi Kirimiro Teka. These two coffees are completely different, and there definitely was a difference in their smells before I decided to drop the roast.

The Burundi, especially, was no longer smelling like toasting bread, but I was starting to get some fruity aromas. I definitely did not smell this with the Brazilian (probably because they're typically nuttier than the Africans).
ginny

Quote

The Burundi, especially, was no longer smelling like toasting bread, but I was starting to get some fruity aromas.


love my Burundi's...

the nose know's for sure...

-g
JackH
I can smell the bread smell at yellow change to a sour, vinegar smell and then to a sweeter, caramel smell after 1C is almost done on most of the coffee I roast.

I am not always very good at stopping the roast at the perfect time, but it seems to turn out good enough for me.
---Jack

KKTO Roaster.
Airhan
Thank's for the replies everyone! I'm going to do a few roasts tomorrow and pay as close attention as I can to smells around FC and just use intuition to end the roast, and maybe do a roast by the numbers and see if there are any differences.

Also +1 to ginny and brennn for liking the burundis
Aaron
"Grind it like it did you some great injustice!"D.L.Clark
David

Quote

Airhan wrote:

I recently got some Ethiopian Nekisse ... roast
until you smell blueberries, the cut the heat and start cooling.

I've tried this with other coffees, and other than smelling hay/bread early in the roast I can't use smell to determine when to end a roast, there are just no noticeable smells after FC (I'm also using a fluid bed, which isn't as nose-friendly as a trier on a drum).


Yes, indeed, about the blueberries as the cut off point on Nekisse and similarly either the blueberries or other intense fruits is the signal on many other Ethiopians as well. This is often right after 1C completes and well before 2C. The fruit flavors are acidic, so the roast will not be as sweet as a darker roast. It's a great taste. but it can twist your tongue off as an SO espresso.

The smells after 1C are indeed different from one bean origin to another, and sometimes between batches from the same origin.
However, the smell to pay attention to, regardless of bean, is the change from a mellow smell to a bitter acrid smell. This comes as 2C approaches, around the same time that the smoke gets bluer and more intense. The mellow smell is sort of like a campfire with wood from a nice fruit tree. Then, imagine that some joker drops a newspaper onto your fire. When that ignites, yuck! That's the change of smell that I am talking about. It comes from the cellulose in the bean structure starting to burn. It's easier to detect with a drum roaster, but it 's still there with the fluid bed. You may just have to get a bigger snootful or back away from the roaster to where the exhaust smoke isn't moving as fast, or downwind a few yards. That bitter smell continues from that point on, on past CharBucks and all the way to Kingsford charcoal and dreaded 3rd Crack. ;^)
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