Coffee Class- First Crack, Second Crack and Bean Changes in the Roast

Our classroom has been closed a year, so I thought I would make a video presentation about coffee roasting bean changes through first crack and second crack.

We miss having presentations and demos in our Oakland space. And it’s been hard to get it together to find alternatives.

I cranked out this little session though, geared toward the home roaster who can’t get enough info about the changes in the coffee bean during first and second crack. Ok – it’s not that little, it’s 34 minutes!

This is a basic non-sciencey presentation to show how coffee changes in roasting, and what sounds and sights to expect.

Unfortunately the roaster is a bit noisy in the middle parts, but there is a lot of little nuggets of information in this presentation of nearly 35 minutes! Less than perfect, this video still has some good information. Please comment below!

8 Responses

  1. This man is one of the most effective teachers I’ve ever experienced, and I graduated from Cal and a Cal law school, had great profs, have attended many continuing education classes and taught a bunch of them. I know how hard it is to teach well, and your guy is superlative.

    I learned a lot about spotting changes in beans as I roast them, so I can better decide when to end each roast. Very useful and pleasant increase in my information!

    1. Thank you! There’s another page coming soon with an FAQ about First Crack etc

  2. I loved the vid, watched it a couple of times . I was just wondering why you didn’t the temperature you where roasting at, and how higher of lower temps affect the roasting process,
    Thanks again for the great video.

    1. You’re right I really didn’t peg the roasts to finish temperatures. It seems so easy to do, but once you start trying to calibrate one roaster to another it’s very tricky, and it’s only useful to speak in “ballpark” ranges. In that sense, I see first crack start at 395-405 (first sound), finish first crack at 415-20 or so, and second crack (first sound) at about 440-445. So that might help to give an idea of the finish temperatures.

  3. I ordered a sample of Polar Espresso beans and roasted about half on a stove top, coated pan. I was able to hear both “cracks” clearly. My timer was set for 15 minutes. Two days later I roasted the remainder of the batch. The beans darkened but I never heard a crack. All other conditions were the same. I assumed it was because the beans no longer held any moisture. What happened??

    1. Green coffee is quite stable so it wouldn’t have changed between the roasts. Sometimes the crack can be much more subtle if the ramping up of the heat is different. It can be much quieter. I don’t really have an answer but that’s all I can think of! How are you roasting? In an oven or?

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