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What's the objective
Simply put, what are we trying to do with roasting profiles? I understand different profiles create different flavors, but what are we basically trying to do? Do we want to, as slowly as possible, increase heat until we get to first crack? Should we get the bean to a certain temp range quickly, and then slowly increase the heat? What are the basics? Or, what should we absolutely not do? Or is it a free for all and there are no guidelines?
The objective is to make what "You" think is a good cup of coffee.
If you do searches on here and the internet, you will see volumes of information on how you should roast your beans to meet that objective. Then you experiment until you find the process you think gives you the best coffee.
I think I make a very good cup of coffee, but after 15 years, I'm still experimenting.
I will also say, the first 10 of those were probably wasted because it wasn't until about five years ago I really concentrated on learning how to brew a cup of coffee. Once I figured that out, I started roasting much better coffee than that crud I used to think was coffee. I think brewing a good cup is a hellava lot harder than roasting the beans.
You may have a very approximative clue reading the rules Artisan are using in his code to evaluate a roast:

#Flavor defect estimation chart for each leg. Thanks to Jim Schulman?#http://www.home-barista.com/home-roasting/roasting-techniques-to-emphasize-coffees-origin-t3914.html#p42178
? ? ? ? #if dry phase time < 3 mins (180 seconds) or less than 26% of the total time
? ? ? ? # ?=> ShortDryingPhase
? ? ? ? #if dry phase time > 6 mins or more than 40% of the total time
? ? ? ? # ?=> LongDryingPhase
? ? ? ? #if mid phase time < 5 minutes
? ? ? ? # ?=> ShortTo1CPhase
? ? ? ? #if mid phase time > 10 minutes
? ? ? ? # ?=> LongTo1CPhase
? ? ? ? #if finish phase is less than 3 mins
? ? ? ? # ?=> ShortFinishPhase
? ? ? ? #if finish phase is over 6 minutes
? ? ? ? # ?=> LongFinishPhase
? ? ? ? #if cool phase is less than 2 mins
? ? ? ? # ?=> ShortCoolPhase
? ? ? ? #if cool phase is over 4 minutes
? ? ? ? # ?=> LongCoolPhase

Take the above with all the necessary salt grains you can... :)
All people I discussed about these rules say that 5 minutes minimum mid phase is too much, and same for 3 minutes finish.
My typical roast is 5:4:2, which is not optimal according to rules above.
I think of the process like baking cookie dough: either low and slow or fast and hot results in less than perfect, the temperature and rate of change need to match the chemical and structural changes going on, the behaviour of the moisture in the bean affects both.
( or Eggs Woodhouse if you're into the whole tontine kind of thing :)
Thank you. I guess as long as long as I get past first crack, I'm roasting coffee. I may take a more scientific approach than I have been. I'll to consistently roast the same way for several pounds. Then roast the same, but with different beans, then slowly make minor changes to the roast profile.

BenKeith, you are correct about brewing the coffee. Something as simple as grind size changes the flavor. I've been working on my pour over method


Woodhouse wrote:

What are the basics? Or, what should we absolutely not do? Or is it a free for all and there are no guidelines?

To bring the coffee from ambient room temperature up to a desired roast level as fast as possible but at the same time, allow the temperature of the interior of the bean to not lag too far behind the exterior and to never apply a temperature high enough that will damage the beans exterior layers.

The same can be said with baking bread. To much heat will cause interior to lag exterior development (doughy interior) and will potentially scorch the breads exterior crust.

Although coffee has a few more negative outcomes than bread when not allowing uniform development throughout the bean due to the hundreds of chemical compounds and reactions that must be allowed to happen sequentially and if any of them happen wrong or not at all, then the remainder of them are negatively affected.

As others have found and I agree with, the trusty 4-4-4 is where to start experimenting. 4 min to where green is turning to yellowish brown (try to go in with enough heat to cause an initially higher rate of rise sloping down to meet a rate of rise that allows the next 4 min to follow on target), another 4 to get to beginning of 1st crack, and while slowing down development while approaching first crack and during it, take anywhere from 1.5 to 4 min getting from start of first crack to desired roast level. This is the most difficult part of the roast to accomplish but needs to be done with precision as any change in this part of the curve can drastically alter the cup.

Top tier greens will give you remarkable cup quality with this profile. Less than top tier (most green coffee) will require you to play around with variations of the three segments to coax it to your satisfaction.

1/2 lb and 1 lb drum, Siemens Sirocco fluidbed, presspot, chemex, cajun biggin brewer from the backwoods of Louisiana
@Allen How do you rate 'top tier' ? If I'm paying in the range $5.00 - $7.00 per lb is it certainly _not_ top tier ? Tks.
The #9 in this auction, Huehetenango San Antonio de Esquipulas y?:

was been sold for $25 the kg, and this is average tier :)
My Spin on Coffee Roasting Profiles

Do we really have to cup and develop a profile for every 5 pound batch of beans we buy to get a good roast?

Most of us amateur roasters buy beans at different times and different varietals from different farms. Some of the inconsistencies we face buying beans, even from the same farm, is that farm region has different enviromental seasonal changes each year, different aged plants, usually a mix of varietals, varying processing environments, crops at different altitudes and harvested over different times during their harvest season. All these varying from one batch and shipment to the next.

Then our roasters have consistency issues like thermocouples and placement, bean temp, environment temp, air flow, drum speed, roasting temperture, size of roast and roast times. All this besides the different types of roasters and roasting. I assume that these all vary somewhat in the way and timing you roast from batch to batch.

I've come to the conclusion that no batch of beans is the same, no roaster the same, no grinder grinds the same, no water the same, following the roasting profile is not exactly the same every time, no consistency in brewing and taste buds are not the same every day.

After considering all these inconsistencies, IMO the art and science of roasting has too many variables from one batch to the next to deal with a different profile each time.

As an amateur roaster, I started by studying several expert's award winning roasting profiles and have found there is a common thread to most of their profiles. Dry time (200F - 300F) about 4 minutes, Maillard time to first crack about 4+ minutes, development time is more or less around 3 minutes.

So just like my washing machine, dryer and dishwasher that have many different cycle options, I always use "normal" when using them. Same for roasting coffee. I use the same profile for all my beans (http://www.bobboo...et/ROR.htm).

I know that many experts might disagree, but I think most are fooling themselves that every bean needs a different profile to get excellent results or maybe even near perfect results. I do understand that you must have good beans to start with.

After roasting several years and having many people doing blind cupping for me scores of times, I have found that EVEN the same roasted batch will give a wide range of cupping results from different people.

I have even given people 2 seperate bags of coffee from the same batch and they gave me different cupping results for each bag! All these differences could be on what type of car the person drives, barometric pressure, weather forecast, moon cycle, local baseball score and sun spot activity. Needless to say, my experience is: "It's a crap shoot" and the only thing that really matters is, "Does the coffee taste good!"

The only basic thing I vary with the roasting profile is the development time to get different roasts from light to city++ and the drying time because I buy my beans directly from a farm in Nicaragua where they only harvest during last of December to spring, so if my beans are getting older I shorten the drying time up a little.

90% of my roasts use the same profile listed here are pulled at the beginning of second crack. I always have excellent results from all who taste my coffee.

That's the fun of being an amateur roaster! Trying different beans, methods and profiles for your roaster to get the best roast possible. The most important and best profile is the profile that will produce a coffee that "tastes good" to you and your friends.

Take my spin for what it's worth as I'm only a novice roaster and still have a lot to learn! I would appreciate any comments positive or negative.



chaff wrote:

@Allen How do you rate 'top tier' ? If I'm paying in the range $5.00 - $7.00 per lb is it certainly _not_ top tier ? Tks.

Great question and not easy to answer. Spending large sums of $ doesn't ensure it will be top tier. I've had many coffees I would judge to be top tier by my definition and was selling for $7/LB. These coffees cupped extremely well regardless of whether I followed a careful 12 minute profile or if doing a sloppy 8 minute roast. They were remarkable coffees and didn't care that much about how you roasted them. On the other hand, I've purchased coffees costing $45/Lb with glowing reviews that would only produce a "nice" cup if you experimented for hours to find a profile it was happy with. I've never found price to be a very good indicator except when going below a certain price point I was pretty certain to find a below par cup no matter how much profile tweaking I did.

1/2 lb and 1 lb drum, Siemens Sirocco fluidbed, presspot, chemex, cajun biggin brewer from the backwoods of Louisiana
I'm re-assured, thanks. I'll keep aiming somewhere between sweepings and stratospheric.
Most of us are buying average to below average green, no matter how we try to fool ourselves.

That said, roasting to get a drinkable cup of coffee is not all that hard if you pay attention.

I log each roast and I find that they all start to look about the same, or within a set range parameter.

As long as I stay "within the window" my coffee will be drinkable and I will be satisfied

Mick - "Drinking in life one cup at a time"
"I'd rather be roasting coffee"

Roaster 1: San Franciscan SF-1
Roaster 2: Hottop B-2K+
Roaster 3: 2 kilo Chinese drum
Grinders: Mazzer Major - Forte BG (x3)
Pour over: Hario - Bee House - Chemex - Kalita - Bodum
Drip: Bunn CWTF15-1 & CW15-TC (commercials)
Espresso: Pasquini Livia 90 auto
Vacuum: Cona - Bodum
Press: Frieling - Bodum Colombia
But also general public should be aware and not fool themselves that big coffee brands are using top beans in their roasts...
Italians for instance, are renowned in our community for the low quality of the beans used in their miscella's.
Randy G


Woodhouse wrote:

Thank you. I guess as long as long as I get past first crack, I'm roasting coffee.

The folks at Mill City Roasters - link to the online "Roaster School" said something like, 'If the boss asks me what I learned roasting today, and I could not answer with some knowledge I gained from the roasting session, they should fire me.'

A Roast is not so much as about the end of the journey, but the roads taken to get there. You can have two roasts that look exactly the same with one being delicious and the other's only claim that you were able to expectorate the entire mouthful into the sink while keeping your shoes unsoiled.

That journey, the roads taken, is the profile. A good example are two city roasts; one done in a controllable roaster for about ten to twelve minutes, and the same roast level done in a basic air roaster like a popper or Hearthware Precision, finished in five to six minutes.

The Mill City Roaster School (linked above) is an excellent resource to learn about roasting and a very good start to learning about profiles. Maybe less valuable to home roasters is Scott Rao's "The Coffee Roasters Companion." I improved my roasts using his thoughts, but when I bought the book I had just over 15 years experience in home roasting.
Edited by Randy G on 04/13/2018 10:06 AM

Life's too short to drink bad coffee.


renatoa wrote:

But also general public should be aware and not fool themselves that big coffee brands are using top beans in their roasts...

This is fact and I'm glad you mentioned it. Roasters, whether it be the local roastery down the street that consistently brews up stellar coffee or any of the on-line roasters/green sellers who sell excellent roasted coffee, are not using coffee you see selling to us for $25-$50/Lb. They are sourcing (for the most part) the same grade of green we are paying $6-$8/Lb for.

A roastery I used to visit often in Boulder Colorado who pulled off stellar roasts consistently and had the best brewed coffee I've ever had, bought greens from Royal Coffee of the same grade. Only a tiny fraction of their offerings were rare geishas or other high priced special varietals. The difference in the cup between the two were noticeable but were nowhere matching expectation when considering the price difference. Many times, higher prices are primarily a result of supply/demand and not priced in proportion to cup quality.

1/2 lb and 1 lb drum, Siemens Sirocco fluidbed, presspot, chemex, cajun biggin brewer from the backwoods of Louisiana
I obviously am an outlier. I am at 300? F about 5:30, first crack about 8:30-9:00, and finish 1:30-1:40 after the start of first crack.
I generally do not like coffee close to second crack or further.

RYOR (Roast your own roast)
Backwoods Roaster
"I wish I could taste as well as I wish I could roast."

As Abraham Lincoln said "Do not trust everything you read on the internet".
Thank you all for the comments and conversation. Randy G, I'm just getting into the Roaster School online.

I have a Behmor. I can't get the right temperatures to pull off the 4-4-4. What I have done, with decent success, is this: I preheat the roaster to 220. I roast a 1/2 pound of beans on the 1 pound manual setting. Once preheated, I add my beans and press P3. As the timer count downs, I press P4 at the 15:00 minute mark, and then P5 at the 13:30 mark. I keep it at P5 until first crack. I then switch between P5 and P3 and try to maintain the 1C temp for 1:15 minutes. Then I hit P5 and let it go for another 30 seconds and cool.

I just did a batch tonight following this method with a mix of Peruvian, Brazilian, and Guatemalan beans. Once they were cool I picked through them and removed any which were too light or ugly. I'll brew them in a few days.
Welcome to roasting Woodhouse. I can second the Mill City Roaster school videos are amazing if you have time to listen to them. Very long and detailed. Although the advice listed in here is a hundred times more concise and you'll get results you'll love with them in a fraction of the time BBQ grill

I am early in this stage, and have done extremely fast and hot roasts, and verrrrry long roasts (20+ minutes) and can say a couple of "overall observations".

1) It's really really fun. Never lose sight of that. Like, it's reallllllyyy fun to taste those beans you roasted yourself and analyze your next roast tweaks.
2) Different greens taste vastly different. Buy lots of small bags to play with from different areas. You can for sure ruin a bean by over-roasting/under-roasting, etc, but the beans basic taste will remain similar wither you roast it barely past 1st crack or past 2nd. Some origins I don't "love" regardless of how I roast them, and others are amazing (to me) however I roast them (well, almost however)
3) Don't be afraid to experiment. Roast "too" light on purpose; See what a really dark roast tastes like. Brew a cup right after you roast it without letting it rest, and then taste it again when it is rested and see what has changed (spoiler, I often really like the un-rested taste). It all adds up to your knowledge base.

4) Don't forget while analyzing the taste, to enjoy it all. There are very few coffees that I truly don't like. I try to analyze and enjoy the differences, not "strive for the perfect roast" to the point where I am always looking for faults. Sure, perfect your roasting craft, but the fun is in the journey not the destination coffee drink
I brewed the Peruvian, Brazilian, Guatemalan blend this morning and it was my best to date. Some Mexican high grown beans showed up today. I'm going to try to replicate the same roast profile on those and see how they turn out
Post back the results, would love to hear. I roasted an Ethiopian Sidamo yesterday and ran it a little darker than I normally do. It still fell within the "dark with interest" category, but want to run a few more batches and draw out the roast time a little bit towards the end and see how that tastes.
ThomasCee, I will. I roasted 1/2 a pound of the Mexican High Grown this evening. I tried it right after the roast, which I have never done before, and it needs to rest. I'll report back in a couple of days.
ThomasCee, I roasted the Mexican High Grown beans. They were way too gassy right after the roast. I let them sit two days, and they still tasted gassy. I brewed them this morning, six days after roasting, and it is the best coffee I've had yet. I can finally taste the chocolatey/nutty/caramel type of flavor. I roasted them a little darker than I had planned; there is just a slight amount of oil on the beans.

Absolutely fantastic!
Suuuuper fun! I have not tried any beans from Mexico. I will have to get some of those. Interesting that it was 6 days till you liked the taste.
Nice deal.
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