The first roasts:

November 24, 2009

Hey guys! So last week I ordered and received an 8-pound sampler of green coffees selected by the folks at On Thursday, I loaded a cup of their “Sulawesi Tana Toraja Ke’pe” into my brand new whirley-pop for the first time and the result was a pretty darn good coffee. But…it could have been better. However this is not actually a reflection on the coffee itself but my mistakes during the roasting process. Nothing really big went wrong which, considering my culinary ability, is rather lucky, but there were some things I learned not to do:

Numero one:

First off, I was roasting on my stovetop, and I was constantly fiddling with the temperature controls because I wasn’t sure what was too hot or too cool. The end product was quite light as I hit first crack and thought I was in second already and scrambled to cool it down. Also, a lesson I learned was to refrain from opening the little door and looking into the pot as much as possible, because it produces a very uneven roast.

My first roast. Overall, not bad for a first try, but you can really see how uneven it is.

The final challenge came during cool-down. It soon became very apparent that my system (a large, cold aluminum pot) was not nearly efficient enough. It took approximately 3 minutes to cool the beans to room temperature. According to the people who know, that is much too long.

The next morning, I brewed a cup for myself and my family. Like I said above, it was pretty good. The aroma was very sweet and nutty, the unevenness only seemed to add a tad more depth, it was sweet and had a very bright fruity tone. However, it was not a balanced cup. It was lacking on the lower end, almost too sweet (once again not a problem with the beans but the roast).

Numero two:

This time I  came prepared. About an hour before roasting, I put both the pot and a pie tin in the freezer for  the cool-down phase. Then I measured out a cup and a half of the “India Organic Jasmine Estate Yellikudige”, preheated the whirley pop and tossed in the beans. Despite all the weird sounds and smells, I completely refrained from looking and relied on my other senses (well, maybe I looked once or twice, but only for a second!). I heard first crack and I bravely marched past it until a minute through second crack. Then I dumped the beans into the pan, from the pan to the tin, and carried the tin outside into the 53 degree air. They cooled in under 2 minutes. Success was finally mine! The beans were dark and oily, a fine French Roast if I do say so myself. Much more even than the last batch and much tastier.

My second batch. Gettin' better all the time. :3

The flavor was clean, complex and nutty, with definite citrus accents. The sweetness blended perfectly with the subtle acidity. Sweet Maria’s mentions floral notes which are definitely present in this cup.

Anyways, this is getting a little lengthy so, in conclusion I’ll say these first two roasts have been very instructive and I will keep you guys posted as I walk, crawl and stumble blindly through the dark on my way to coffee nirvana. Hope to see you there,



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