My week at roasting school was amazing. Classes ran from 8:30 to 5:30 every day. We roasted on several small roasters but spent most of the week on a 5 kilo Probat and a slightly smaller Diedrich. The class was an interesting collection of people with most starting their own boutique roasters.
Classes covered the complete cycle from grading and storing green beans, roasting on various roasters, cupping to green bean purchasing.
One thing that struck me all week was the importance of the bean temperature. To this I bought an Omega HH506RA datalogger and two K-Type probes and added it to my HotTop. In this photo just the bean probe is installed. I will add the drum probe next.
I will post the details of the installation and results later
May 3-7, 2010 I am off to Waterbury Vermont to attend a five day coffee roasting school at Coffee Lab International School of Coffee. I am looking forward to five days of focusing on roasting.
While I have been roasting for a while, I am self taught. There are many books available and the web is a great resource, spending 5 days covering theory and practical on roasters ranging from a small sample roaster like mine to commercial units.
I’ll be driving the 680 km route to Waterbury. The trip is up the 401 to Cornwall, across the top on NY and down Vermont. That will be the shortest driving vacation in years.
I bought a new coffee roaster on the weekend. This is a prosumer level home roaster. It can roast 450 gram (1/2 pound) per roast and is a computer controlled drum roaster.
While it is simple to do the first roast, there is a real learning curve to this unit. You can vary fan speed and temperature by time. The basic automatic program just slams on the heater and turns the fan on full as it enters first crack.
I have made a few roasts using their technique and looking forward to tasting them this afternoon.
One challenge is smoke. While my smaller roaster was fine under the range hood, this unit just puts out too much smoke for that. I placed it beside an open window with a fan between the exhaust and the window. Perfect. I turn on the fan at the same time as the internal fan turns on. Even as the roasted coffee was ejected in this picture, all of the smoke was pushed out of the window. A cheap and simple solution. In the summer I can see just roasting outside but as we are coming up on winter, I needed a kitchen solution.
I modified my roasting log and am going to modify the plotting program to follow not only the temperature but the heater and fan settings on the same graph. This should be interesting.
Tonight I set about an experiment in coffee roasting. I am making a series of roasts, same beans, same weight per batch, only the time will vary. I am using the Caffe Rosto CR-100 roaster and each batch is exactly 140 grams of Brazilian Santos 2/3 MTGB green beans.
I am also recording the final temperature of the beans with a Mastercraft Digital Temperature Reader (Product #57-4554-4). This measures the infrared signature of the beans through the glass lid. After each batch I am cleaning the roaster as well as the glass lid. I wait 30 minutes between each roast to let the roaster cool as per the manufacturers instruction. The roasted beans will breathe for 12 hours before the cupping.
My goals are to:
Try different roasts to see what I prefer
Measure the changes
Tomorrow I am doing a cupping session to try them.
Result: So far we have tried the 8 and 7 minute batches. I made coffee with 25 g of the 8 minute. As the 8 minute roast is past second crack, the beans showed spots of oil on the surface. The body was very bold. The 7 minute I put in 30 grams and while not nearly as bold we found the favours so wonderful. In the previous batch of Santos we found the coffee very dry. I shall see with the 6 minute is that is the result or was it that I ground and made the coffee within minutes of the roast ending.
Recently I bought a Froth Au Lait for making milk froth for my coffee. I have been using a Braun hand-blender with success but was intrigued by this unit. The idea is that you put 1/2 to 1 1/2 cups of cold milk in the unit and press start. In three minutes the milk is heated and whipped to a stiff froth. I must admit my wife and I are really getting used to these wonderful drinks with freshly ground home roasted coffee, made with a French Press and a generous mound of froth on top.
If I had any criticism it is that the marks for milk level are on the back. I am getting used to looking in from the top. Also you have to clean the unit with a wash cloth after each use. The milk forms a residue on the heating unit. It is easy to keep clean if you just do it after every use.
We are turning our kitchen into a regular cafe.
Update: (Sept 23, 09) I bought a small cleaning brush from Kitchen Stuff Plus. It works really well cleaning off the milk residue.