5 Minute Answers to Your Coffee Questions, Ep2 (Podcast Ep. 28)

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

Sweet Maria’s: 5 Minute Answers to Your Coffee Questions, Ep2

Here are the coffee questions I try to answer in the first Episode 2

The 4 Questions:

  1. Where did the Blueberry 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 process) 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
  2. 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 extraction. Could you clear up this confusion? Thanks. -VS  (And also answering this too: Any difference in resting period for beans roasted using a air popper vs drum like Behmor 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
  3. Does Sumatra 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
  4. What if All The Coffee Doesn’t Crack? I’ve been roasting your beans exclusively for over 14 years. đŸ€“. 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 crack. 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! : 

  1. Do you ever dabble in liberica or eugeniodes? Is there even a market for these “oddities”? -ChompChomp
  2. 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 chaff and cooling the beans. Any suggestions? -Pyrabot
  3. 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 sweetness. -Dgrooms
Eugenioides coffee variety in Kenya
Coffea Eugenioides Kenya – Martin Ngare and James Minai at Coffee Research Gardens

Some Resource links related to this video!

Determining the degree of roast!

Sumatra Deforestation And Sumatra Coffee Culture

Find your next Blueberry in Coffee!

Podcast Version Of This Episode, (Podcast Episode 28):

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14 Responses

  1. 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?

    1. 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.

  2. 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?

    1. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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! 🙂

    1. 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

  5. Thank-you for the info! I won’t sweat the beans being shipped in the winter. Thanks again for all the good info! 🙂

  6. 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.

    1. Hey Ron,

      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!

      Dan

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