I do my best to answer your coffee questions within 5 minutes. It’s not easy!
Episode 1 brought in a lot of comments, and new questions. Thanks for all the responses, and please scroll down to the Comments section at the end of this article to ask any new questions, or to add any thoughts to the ones I try to answer in Episode 2
Here are the coffee questions I try to answer in the first Episode 2
The 4 Questions:
- Where did the BlueberryBlueberry flavors in coffee take different forms. Dried blueberry was something we first encountered in natural Harar coffee from Ethiopia. It seemed to be most potent in fresh... ...more go? When I first got into good coffee, I noticed many ethiopian/african coffees had a strong and well defined blueberry note, which I have not seen in a while – is that a seasonal thing? I have tried several african DPs (dry processDry process coffee is a method for taking the fruit from the tree to an exportable green bean. The whole intact coffee cherry is dried in the sun... ...more) and while good they don’t hit that same flavor that got me into good coffee. Do coffees have a different character from year to year, and in looking for that same blueberry note am I just chasing nostalgia? – Jack
- All About Coffee Gas! Is “blooming” a real and necessary step for pour over and other similar techniques? It may be necessary, but the reason usually offered seems bogus. Ostensibly, it is to let the CO2 escape. But what CO2 needed to escape would have escaped after roasting and grinding. And even if there is some left, the solubility of CO2 in hot water is low, so it would evolve any way as the coffee is brewed. The more plausible reason to wait after the first little shot of water hits the coffee is perhaps to wet the grounds evenly by letting capillary forces spread the water across the pile of grounds and form a uniform wet mass instead of dry and wet patches, and to not let leakage paths develop for the water to flow directly through without much extractionRefers to the process of infusing coffee with hot water. Hot water releases or "extracts" the flavor from the roasted, ground coffee. The term is used mostly with... ...more. Could you clear up this confusion? Thanks. -VS (And also answering this too: Any difference in restingEither the resting of parchment coffee after drying, or for the home roaster, post-roast resting.: Resting might refer to "reposo", the time after drying the parchment coffee, when... ...more period for beans roasted using a air popper vs drum like BehmorA popular electric drum roaster designed for home use, with variable batch sizes (from 1/4 pound to 1 pound) and a smoke-reduction system. It has been modified and... ...more vs commercial roaster? From my experience with beans from local roasters, they tend to taste better about a week post roast, and stays pretty stable for another 3 weeks. -Pictour Foods
- Does SumatraIndonesians are available as a unique wet-hulled or dry-hulled (washed) coffees. Giling Basah is the name for the wet-hulling process in Bahasa language, and will have more body... ...more Coffee Destroy Forest Land? Is sumatran coffee still leading to loss of tiger habitat or can i start drinking it again cause its my favorite? – Sadie Mae
- What if All The Coffee Doesn’t CrackAn audible popping sound heard during roasting. In coffee, one refers to "first crack" and "second crack," which come from two different classes of chemical reactions.: An audible... ...more? I’ve been roasting your beans exclusively for over 14 years. ?. I never feel comfortable with determining FC or FC+. I’ve used your pictures but it’s so different when actually doing it. After blowing through 2 roasters, I now just do an air popper. I take my beans out at the end of first crackFirst crack in one of two distinct heat-induced pyrolytic reactions in coffee. It is distinguished by a cracking or popping sound in the coffee, and occurs between 390... ...more. Otherwise, a bunch of beans haven’t gone through crack and I was under the impression that they need to crack in order to be optimal. Or is it okay to have some uncracked? Seems like a newb question for someone that has done this for so dang long. I really can’t believe I haven’t figured this out, yet. – Forest
Bonus 5 Minute Round! :
- Do you ever dabble in libericaCoffea Liberica is a distinct Species in the Genus Coffea : Coffea Liberica is a distinct Species in the Genus Coffea originating in Liberia, West Africa. It is... ...more or eugeniodes? Is there even a market for these “oddities”? -ChompChomp
- Nasty Cooling: I have been roasting with a WB Popper II since ’97. I’ve been cooling my beans in the same wire colander the whole time and wife says it’s nasty. I am looking for a good quality affordable sieve for sifting the chaffChaff is paper-like skin that comes off the coffee in the roasting process. Chaff from roasting is part of the innermost skin (the silverskin) of the coffee fruit... ...more and cooling the beans. Any suggestions? -Pyrabot
- Flat Taste from Behmor: What’s the diagnosis for a flat-tasting roast from a pre-heated Behmor? The roasted beans look uniform and all completed 1st crack or beyond, but the cup profile has no real depth or sweetnessSweetness is an important positive quality in fine coffees, and is one of five basic tastes: Sour, Sweet, Salty, Bitter, Savory (Umami). In coffee, sweetness is a highly... ...more. -Dgrooms
Some Resource links related to this video!
Determining the degree of roastDegree of Roast simply means the roast level of a coffee, how dark it has been roasted.: Degree of Roast simply means the roast level of a coffee,... ...more!
- Visual Guide to Degree of Roast
- Download our Roasted Coffee Chart Card
- Make your Own Roast Color Sample Set
- Roasted Coffee Comparison – Surface and Ground Coffee
Sumatra Deforestation And Sumatra Coffee Culture
- WWF Paper on Sumatra Deforestation
- Eyes on the Forest Project Indonesia
- 2019 Sumatra Aceh Travels
- Some Things I Have Learned About Gayo Coffee
Find your next Blueberry in Coffee!
- Interactive coffee flavor wheel – a very cool resource!
Podcast Version Of This Episode, (Podcast Episode 28):
Or listen on AppleAn acid that adds to favorable perceptions of cup quality; malic acid often adds apple-like acidity, and perhaps other taste aspects recalling apples. Malic acid is yet another... ...more podcasts
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Hi there Tom. I love these question answer sessions, thanks for doing these. I have not seen any aged coffees in a long time on your website. I think I was lucky enough to get them twice, once an aged Java and the other was an aged Sumatra. It seems like these were a long time ago, I loved them. What are the chances you’ll get more of these in again in the future?
Hi Steve – As chance would have it we have an Aged Sumatra coming up very soon, actually. It is scheduled to be on the site in middle of November so stay tuned.
How do I get my subscription re started with my new credit card number?
That is a real stumper! I don’t know but you can call our office or email [email protected] and Lana will let you know the answer!
Hi Tom – I have a question about diagnosing what might have gone wrong with a roast. I recently roasted a 10 g. batch Guatemala Xinabajul Antonio Castillo to a City+ (@ 2 min after start of FC). I am mindful of your comments about the final look of the roast is only where you ended up and doesn’t explain how you got there. Nevertheless, I am wondering if there are clues in the tasting. I brewed the coffee as a pour over. The initial taste of the coffee was semi-sweet and semi-bright, but the finish was harsh; almost like the flavor you can get from chewing a roasted Full City bean. I’ve roasted this coffee before and don’t remember experiencing that finish. So my question is: Assuming this flavor profile is “wrong” (at least to me), is it possible to tell what went wrong on the roast based on that tasting experience? For example, did it get to FC to quickly? Or perhaps too slowly? Does that flavor indicate that I cut too much heat after FC or maybe should have maintained max heat?
How did you roast this Elbert? I think maybe you mean 100 grams, so an air roaster? Would you describe that taste you don’t like as ashy? In my tasting I sometimes oppose a good roast taste, like a roasted hazelnut lets say, to an ashy roast taste. Both have a bittering element but ashy has this charred aspect … sometimes it’s as bad as cigarette ashtray. Anywya just trying to understand what might be wrong… since you liked it the first time around.
A comment on “nostalgia” (blueberry)- I experienced the unusual perfume of old 100% kona over 20 years ago. I dispute the theory that this was just my initial taste of something new that left such a lasting impression; I am certain that this unique flavor profile has disappeared from the kona belt. A few years ago, I tasted it from a small farm, but a year later that farm no longer reproduced this unique flavor profile. The farmer says methods haven’t changed. The old kona bouquet was unlike anything I’ve tasted in the world. Sadly, it’s gone. Maybe “vog” impacted the coffee belt, maybe climate change, maybe too many new growers diluted the original strain. At any rate, I refused to believe it was just a memory/initial impression.
Yes things do indeed change over time!
Thank you so much for this little series. Informative, entertaining and distracting. 🙂
Mr. Owen: I live in Colorado and ordered some green coffee last week. It is currently shipping to me via UPS Ground, so the beans will be spending several nights in freezing temperatures aboard the UPS trailer. I have never considered if this will be harmful to my roasted product. Do you think that the shipping process and temperatures are something to be concerned with in the future? Should I try to time my shipments so that the shipping temperatures the beans will be exposed to won’t be extreme, either freezing or too hot? I don’t relish spending so much extra money for expedited shipping, but do you think the coffee quality suffer such that I would be better off doing so? Please provide any insight you may have on consideration of shipping the green beans from Oakland to wherever we happen to live. I roast with a Behmor 1600+ and have been getting some excellent results lately after a few years of experimentation. BTW I love the information and effort you all put into the Sweet Marias business. Thank-you for helping us all become better roasters and ultimately, happier people because we are drinking much better coffee! 🙂
Thanks for your comment! From my experience living in a colder climate (Chicago for 3 years) was more focused on a package left out on a doorstep for hours. It didn’t seem like things froze in transit so much, maybe because of the thermal mass of all the contents of a large truck? I don’t know … In any case, I worry most about green coffee and heat. In particular, high humidity or super arid climates really ruin green coffee if it’s not kept in a barrier packaging or some kind of climate control. Direct sun is not good too! But as far as cold, many people actually freeze green coffee on purpose for long term storage, and my tests on freezing vacuum packed green coffee for 18 months resulted in a better cup than coffee stored in a dark cool place. George Howell has been freezing coffee for many years now. The author of the book Coffee and Water has some good thoughts on it too. I am not a proponent of freezing coffee for storage, because there is always a new arrival of good green coffee to explore, and newer arrivals will be better really. Anyway here’s an interview on this (about half way down the article): https://www.thelittleblackcoffeecup.com/journal/cryogenics
Thank-you for the info! I won’t sweat the beans being shipped in the winter. Thanks again for all the good info! 🙂
I am roasting with the Behmor 2000AB. I am a beginner roaster. I use the P1 function until I know better. I don’t use the “Cool” function based on a video that I saw on your website. “The cooler way to cool”. I am finding ALOT of chaff after grinding. Every variety of bean that I have roasted to date has chaff only noticeable AFTER grinding. I am going to try the Behmor cooling function today and see if there is a difference.
Thanks for your comment. Any chaff in the roast would be visible before grinding since it’s attached to the outside of the bean. I too experience a bit of chaff in my Behmor roasts, but for most wet-process coffees, it’s not so much that it effects the cup. I give the drum a good shake after roasting to remove what I can, pour into a bag, chaff and all. If it seems like there’s still too much chaff, you could pour your roast into a bowl or colander and try winnowing the chaff away by blowing on it while agitating the coffee (I usually shake it up and down to lift the coffee a bit).
I don’t think cooling outside of the Behmor will make any difference, other than perhaps set you up to winnow the chaff.
Hope this helps!