Aug 232010

DSC 0345-10-08-23-0106

This is what’s left of my 3rd attempt at roasting coffee in my new SR500 air roaster that I got from Sweet Maria’s. I had never tried roasting coffee before. Now I have an idea of what roasters mean when they talk about “first crack” and “second crack.”

For my first batch, last Wednesday evening, I followed the manufacturer’s instructions exactly. The beans ended up a bit on the burnt side and oily on the outside. Whoever said you can’t get dark roasts with an air roaster? You can with this one. The instructions said to wait at least 3 hours before grinding and brewing, so I waited about 3 hours and 4 minutes. It was good, but there was a strange, burnt aftertaste that shouldn’t have been there. Surprisingly to me (though perhaps not to anyone else) that batch got better after it aged a day or so. But it’s all gone now.

I shortened the roasting time for the 2nd batch, and it ended up too light and too uneven. It’s drinkable, but not a favorite. Myra asked what the funny taste was. I haven’t offered her a 2nd cup.

She says I got it right on the 3rd batch (above). I got it by increasing fan speed and cutting the roast time not so much as for the previous batch. But as can be seen, it’s not as even a roast as it ought to be. Some beans are too light in color, and some are perhaps too dark.

Tom at Sweet Maria’s suggests that with the SR500 one should roast smaller batches to get more even roasts. Using the manufacturer’s measure, each batch is a litle more than a quarter-pound. If Tom is right that a 90 gram batch is about right, that means I can divide each one-pound bag of green beans into five equal portions.

At one time I wondered if I really wanted a roaster that couldn’t do more than 1/4 pound at a time, but now I’m glad I got the one I did. If I did bigger batches, it would take me too many days to drink them up and I wouldn’t have the fresh roasted beans which are the whole point of roasting one’s own. 90 gram batches ought to be about right for our household.

I got the 8-pound sampler with the roaster. My first experiments have been on the coffee labelled “Rwanda Gkongoro Nyarusiza”. The cup I had this afternoon had a bit of fruity taste to it. I went back to read Tom’s label on the bag: “…restrained acidity, sweet citrus, rose, tea-like flavors, floral brightness, medium body, dried orange peel.” Well, I can’t make all those specific tastes, but it did have a pleasantly surprising fruitiness that I hadn’t noticed on previous cups, or even on any other coffee.