Today we have a special guest post from celebrated industry expert, Rocky Rhodes. We are fortunate to have him as a partner in our roaster education efforts at Diedrich. I hope you enjoy this insight from Rocky on his best advice for coffee roasting.
I have been asked several times, “What is the single most important piece of advice you would give a new roaster?” The answer is easy but the practice may not be: always have a plan before you start roasting.
On the surface this seems easy enough.
Your plan, however, should be more than, “make green into brown.” It should involve having a purpose for your roast and an expected result.
An example might be: Roast 5 ARRIVAL samples to a cupping standard for evaluation tomorrow morning. Now you know what you are roasting, why you are doing it and an expected outcome of Agtron 58 whole bean of 58 +/- 1 in 8-12 minutes. This is a simple, well thought out example.
Others plans might be a little more complicated. Here are some plans you might want to consider. You can take these as a starting point for your roasting and make them as detailed as you want.
|Roast Guatemala as a blend component highlighting balance.||Use a standard S curve arriving at Agtron 55 in 14 minutes.|
|Find the best profile for a Panama Geisha COE lot without wasting too much coffee.||Use 4 predefined roast curves to arrive at Agtron 60 in 13 minutes. Use 500grams each roast.|
|Compare a pre roast blend to a post roast blend of the ‘house’ coffee to see flavor differences and perhaps increase efficiency in roast times.||A) Roast each component individually to highlight the specific attributes and then blend. B) Do a roast of all components together. C) Cup results.|
|Try to reduce roast cycle times.||Roast common coffees reducing time in 1 minute increments arriving at the same color until cupping results go outside specifications.|
|Find the best profile for my new lot.||Start with the best profile for the old lot and make incremental changes to time and color until best result is found.|
If you have been roasting for a while you probably have a set of ‘common’ profiles you use. If not, build some thereby creating a small library of starting profiles. This will save many hours and lots of coffee in the future while making your outcomes more precise and consistent.
A good plan well executed saves time, money, and frustration while increasing quality and consistency.