PDA

View Full Version : Help! Need recommendations/advice


Stevez
05-20-2013, 07:34 AM
Hey guys; I am very new to the whole roasting business and want to jump in head first because I love good coffee. I bought a used Fresh Roast 8 and a Cappresso Burr grinder. I have purchased some green Columbian beans from Sweet Marias. The problem is I haven't liked at all what I've roasted. I have roasted a pound or so in several batches.

First, I roasted according to the directions on the Fresh Roast 8 and did a City/City plus roast (about 4 - 5 minutes per the directions). Came out caramel/darker caramel color. I let them rest a minimum of 24 hours and ground them. One issue is that I can't seem to get a fine grind on the Cappresso no matter what I do or try.

Just made another pot of coffee this morning and it was awful. Not just "not great", but awful. I like strong coffee so I put a generous amount in and it still came out weak and tasting very bland/watery.

I hear everyone say that home roasting creates the best coffee around, but I'm missing something here. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks. Steve

floydpink
05-20-2013, 09:32 AM
Could be a number of things, beginning with the temp your machine is brewing at. You won't get proper extraction without proper temp.

The Freshroast is a good roaster for small batches.

I would start by trying a different brew method like a moka pot if you want stronger coffee and don't want to spend a lot of money.

If you do decide to continue your head first journey, the Capresso grinder is unfortunately not going to take you there.

pektel
05-20-2013, 09:47 AM
Subscribed. I want to learn to roast too, just haven't really looked into it.

DO you have a french press? I got some fresh roasted beans (thanks again, shade:) ), and tried them both in my regular drip coffee maker, and in the press. The press is SO much better than the machine version of the same coffee.

Stevez
05-20-2013, 01:29 PM
Thanks. I do have a French press and will try that. Other than that I have a typical drip coffee maker.

Follow-up question. I have had decent results when I buy whole beans at the supermarket. Certainly hasn't ever been weak like this. Would the potential heat issue not show up with store bought beans?

I still think it has something to do with the grind. It doesn't look like normal ground coffee to me. I had an old cheap blade grinder that created a finer grind.

floydpink
05-21-2013, 11:06 AM
The type of beans will NOT affect the strength of the brew, just the taste.

Definitely a grinder issue, maybe the burrs regarding the coarseness.

The weakness is definitely an extraction issue.

mosesbotbol
05-21-2013, 11:47 AM
If you can grind store bought coffee and make it the same way with good results, sounds like you need to circle back on your roasting method.

Stevez
05-21-2013, 12:04 PM
If you can grind store bought coffee and make it the same way with good results, sounds like you need to circle back on your roasting method.

Sorry; I wasn't clear. I used to grind store bought whole beans using my old blade grinder. I haven't tried other beans with my new Capresso grinder, but I will. Thanks for the input regarding the extraction and grinder issues.

I let me son have my old grinder, but may need to get it back. It certainly made for a much finer grind. Steve

pektel
05-21-2013, 01:11 PM
I just bought this grinder:

http://www.brevilleusa.com/the-smart-grinder.html

My first grinder ever. Up until now, I've had to buy preground beans. This machine has impressed me, though I really have no comparison. My only gripe is you can only remove the upper section of the burr for cleaning. But for the price I got it for ($119 + $5 shipping) it's definitely worth it.

Probably not your issue, as others have stated, just thought it might be helpful since you are probably still going to be in the market for a burr grinder at some point.

floydpink
05-21-2013, 08:34 PM
If you like strong coffee, I'm guessing espresso isn't too far away in your journey.

If so, the absolute minimum grinder for the job is a Rocky, imo.

Last time I checked, they can be found for around $350 and will serve you for many many years.

Blueface
05-22-2013, 07:31 AM
If you like strong coffee, I'm guessing espresso isn't too far away in your journey.

If so, the absolute minimum grinder for the job is a Rocky, imo.

Last time I checked, they can be found for around $350 and will serve you for many many years.

I cannot rave enough about this grinder.
No regrets at all having dropped what it cost me.

On a somewhat idiotic reasoning side note, I just find it so cool that for the most part, I find that no matter what coffee shop I walk into in Miami, they have a Rancilio machine and a Rancilio grinder. It just reinforces the choice I made.

Stevez
05-22-2013, 07:35 AM
Thanks Pete and Carlos. I'll have to research this and think about it for a bit. I do love expresso so maybe. Appreciate the advice. Steve

mosesbotbol
05-22-2013, 07:57 AM
Thanks Pete and Carlos. I'll have to research this and think about it for a bit. I do love expresso so maybe. Appreciate the advice. Steve

I've had my Rocky grinder almost 15 years. I have never taken it apart and it runs awesome. To clean it, I run cup of dry rice through it then a half a cup of coffee beans.

Well worth the expense.

Blak Smyth
05-22-2013, 08:55 AM
I agree with almost everything that has been said so far. There are several possible causes for your dislike of your home roast. I have roasted some beans that were supposed to be amazing and found them terrible, had to play with the roast level 2-3 times until I found one that made great beans to my preference. While home roasting is the most pure way to get the freshest coffee, it takes practice and patience. The reason home roast is the best is because you can roast it to your personal taste and you will never find fresher beans, freshness is vital for good coffee. There is also a level of pride and satisfaction when you are responsible for more of the process. I would highly recommend trying your beans in a FP, this is the best way to taste the coffee IMO. Also Pete made a comment about brew temps, this is an important one as well and a FP would be a good way to control this if your brewer doesn't have a temp control. What tastes are you getting? Does it taste burned or flavorless? You may just be trying to roast a bean that does not fit your personal palate well, what is good to somebody else may not be good to you. I have several people in my office that drink 4 hour old prepackaged trucker coffee out of the machine in our lunch room and think it is coffee. They have tried mine and still prefer their "trucker coffee". I think they are crazy, but they are likely just conditioned to it. Now I am just rambeling, too much coffee maybe.

Also some beans are better for espresso and some for drip and FP, you may be using a bean that is better suited for a different process.

If you are making drip or FP, the grinder will not matter much. I have made plenty of great presses with a cheap blade chop grinder. If you are going to go into espresso you will need to drop several hundred dollars on a good grinder. Another option will be to get a super automatic, it will have a built in grinder. Super Autos make okay espresso, not great but okay. And they make pretty awesome cappacinos.

Blak Smyth
05-22-2013, 09:19 AM
I reread your OP and see you did play with different roast levels, it may actually be that you just do not like that bean that you selected. You will find some winners and some losers in the process. If you can break down what flavors you taste it will help us try and narrow down a cause. I would try and roast a different bean, try some other preroasted beans and compare them to a different brew process. This should really answer a lot of questions.

floydpink
05-22-2013, 10:37 AM
I cannot rave enough about this grinder.
No regrets at all having dropped what it cost me.

On a somewhat idiotic reasoning side note, I just find it so cool that for the most part, I find that no matter what coffee shop I walk into in Miami, they have a Rancilio machine and a Rancilio grinder. It just reinforces the choice I made.

Not idiotic at all Carlos.

The Rancilio brand has been around for a long time and has past the test of time in the little coffee shops in Miami and other places.

They have been around for a long time and aren't going anywhere, unlike Brasilia USA, which is now bankrupt causing me all kinds of headaches, although I believe their espresso machines to be amongst the best in the world.

Another common appliance I always see in Miami is the machine that slices and squeezes the whole oranges and makes the BEST orange juice.

I wonder if there is room on my counter for one....:hn

Blueface
05-22-2013, 11:18 AM
Another common appliance I always see in Miami is the machine that slices and squeezes the whole oranges and makes the BEST orange juice.

I wonder if there is room on my counter for one....:hn

:r
You have no idea how many times I have considered one.

floydpink
05-22-2013, 11:22 AM
Maybe we can split one, buy a panini press, and open a little cafe.....

Blueface
05-22-2013, 11:24 AM
Maybe we can split one, buy a panini press, and open a little cafe.....

Cheapest one for a somewhat compact version is $3,500.
Very expensive glass of juice.:r
http://www.amazon.com/Cecilware-JX15MC-Compact-Manual-Machine/dp/B0085XRVE2/ref=sr_1_85?ie=UTF8&qid=1369239876&sr=8-85&keywords=orange+juicer+machine

floydpink
05-22-2013, 11:40 AM
I'm lucky in that I have a citrus packing plant a mile from my house and I buy my juice there weekly and am spoiled.

Plus, I bet cleaning that thing is a real pain.

Sorry to get off track from the original topic.

pektel
05-22-2013, 01:26 PM
If you like strong coffee, I'm guessing espresso isn't too far away in your journey.

If so, the absolute minimum grinder for the job is a Rocky, imo.

Last time I checked, they can be found for around $350 and will serve you for many many years.

Haven't tried the espresso grind in the Breville yet. Not saying I don't believe you, because I'm a novice and have really limited experience with grinders. Just have to take out the old espresso machine to give it a shot.

Stevez
05-22-2013, 02:32 PM
Thanks again for all the advice. Interesting that I had some Starbucks dark roast beans and ground them this morning fresh and made a pot of coffee. It was just like when I used my roasted beans. Just very weak and tasteless; Like with mine, no bad taste per se. Anyway, I am going to continue to play with it and even get my old blade grinder back and try that. I never had this problem using Starbucks or any other bean when I used my blade grinder. Thanks again. Steve

forgop
05-22-2013, 02:39 PM
I always roast until the start of 2nd crack rather than a lighter roast. I've also noted that I've tended to prefer coffees from Africa compared to South American beans. The result has been bolder flavors rather than boring flavors IMO. Try roasting into 2nd crack with a nice Ethopian Yirgacheffe and see how you like it.

Mr B
05-22-2013, 05:19 PM
Some very good responses here. A couple of things I took from your original post. You mentioned that you like strong coffee. You will want to take your roasts up near Full City+ (into 2nd crack). City / City+ will not cut it for you at first. You may (like many others including myself) learn to love the somewhat lighter roast levels, however if you are used to the Dark / Burnt flavors of Starbucks and others like that, then you will want to be at least 10+ seconds into 2nd crack minimum.
Also, just adding more coffee to the Brew (unless you are not putting in enough to begin with) will not make it stronger. It will just make it worse IMO. Perhaps adding to any additional bitterness.
Most directions for French Press's say to steep 4-5 minutes. I prefer up near 6 minutes myself.
City & City+, depending on the bean can sometimes have a green or grassy flavor note. Some people enjoy this. Every bean is different. Some do well in that range, others shine at the darker levels.
Personally I think the Colombian coffee's are mostly in the "good" range. I have only had 1 Wow me. I tend to like Colombians in the FC to FC+ range. I think they also need more rest than others. I like them to rest for about 3-4 days.

Make sure you are leaving your bag or jar partially open for the first 12 hours to de-gas.

For me, home roasting has been like cigars, I dont like to have the same one day after day. I usually roast (4) 1/4 lb batches of different beans and that should last me the week.

I have come to realize, which beans I like in the C+ range and which ones I like up in the FC+ range and in-between. I do not go beyond FC+. I believe you lose too much of the characteristics of the fruit above this range.
Some beans do well at multi-levels. Some do well when blended at different roast levels too.
I get something different every time I order, and I have come to enjoy many different regions of coffee.
Some of my favorites right now are:
Bolivia Organic, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Ethiopia Yirga Cheffe, Papua New Guinea, Java Sunda, and Rwanda.
Keep at it. No one prefects it the first few times they roast, that's for sure.
Good Luck
B

Mr B
05-22-2013, 05:24 PM
Another thing to try is one of Sweet Maria's 4 or 8 lb samplers. I got a free 8 lb sampler with my Behmor roaster. There were a few countries in there that I would have never ordered on my own, but found them to be very good and have continued to order within that region.

Stevez
05-22-2013, 07:09 PM
Wow. Thanks guys for all the incredible advice. I really appreciate it and I am going to roast some more tomorrow. I do have a couple of types of Ethiopian blends I bought from Sweet Marias. I have been roasting Columbian mostly so far, but will try one of the Ethiopian's. Also, I am definitely going to try the French Press and see how that tastes. Again, thanks for the help. Steve

floydpink
05-23-2013, 10:06 AM
I've been hooked on CCM Coffee's house blend2 for a while now.

They're a great company out of Tampa and that particular blend roasts great into second crack and I've really dialed into it.

The blend is Colombian and Brazilian which seem to roast better to my preference of darker.

Personally, I've never had luck with the Yirgas and long given up on them.

Some people love them, but I never found the taste of lemon to my liking and seem to gravitate to Central and South American blends, but that's what makes us all different.

I probably need to venture out a bit more

forgop
05-23-2013, 10:32 AM
Personally, I've really been liking a Ethopian Sidamo Natural I got off of the GCBC board awhile back. Tasting notes I read mentioned "blueberry waffles" and it describes it perfectly. :tu

Mr B
05-23-2013, 10:41 AM
The Blueberry notes are my favorite form the Ethiopians (Yirga's) also. Right now I have been enjoying the Ethiopian Gr1 D.P. Yirga Kochere from Sweet Maria's. Like Chocolate covered blueberries with a lite note of strawberries.

ashtonlady
05-24-2013, 09:39 AM
Ethiopian needs a city roast or a city +. I am also a Ethiopian fan, but I found that it took me a while to get it dialed in.