So. you’ve read the books, the websites, tried to follow the information & example profiles presented, & you still can’t produce the results you’re after!
Having the awesome opportunity to regularly visit roasters & be on a different roasting machine pretty much every second day of the week, I get to see how this information translates – or not – into all the different roasting systems.
The biggest thing I see is that, no matter what you do research wise & whichever profiles you try to copy/follow, if you don’t truly understand the green beans you are roasting & how your individual roasting system/machine ‘cooks’/’roasts’ then you will never get the flavour results you are after…
And, believe me, I have seen some astonishing techniques/approaches being used as a result of roasters misunderstanding or not taking the time to understand everything about their green beans & their roasting machine!
The hard thing about trying to write about roasting is that often the research is done/developed on a different roasting machine to yours, hence why it is often hard to translate the information suggested to your individual system/machine.
As you can see in the graphs here – we have a Loring (Hot Air Convection) vs Probat (Conduction & Convection).
2 different looking profiles of the same 5kg batch size of coffee, roasted for espresso, where each machine has vastly different thermodynamic properties & temperature probe read outs.
However, the roasts between these systems can taste similar if some key event checkpoints are achieved in a similar timeframe!
Hence, this is where Pimpin’ Profiles comes into play. In previous articles – Beyond the Cooling Tray, Heat Transfer & the Anatomy of a Profile – we touched on most things to think about in order to achieve a successful roast.
Now we’re going to take a further look at & explore the thinking behind Pimpin’ Profiles where, by analyzing & manipulating the key events/checkpoints throughout the roast in line with the momentum of RoR (Rate of Rise) & RoC (Rate of Change) – degrees per minute – going into & post first crack combined with the overall parameters for the specific roast level you are wanting to achieve for a particular coffee, you can achieve a successful roast across any roasting system.
As roasters, we are in the Business of Flavour & the ENTIRE roast profile is a form of development – not just after first crack as many have thought! The second you drop your beans into the roaster, the ‘Development’ of that bean has begun!
Knowing how to unlock a specific coffee (& individual roasting system/machine) is the biggest challenge all roasters face in their day to day roasting – as well as knowing/recognizing what flavours they’re after for their customers (& themselves!).
To unlock these flavours, I then focus on achieving a key ‘event/checkpoint’ at a certain time, thus forcing me to drive the specific roasting systems’ burners accordingly in line with feedback from a particular bean, batch size etc. – which can be translated across all/any roasting systems.
When getting to know a new/unfamiliar roasting system I ALWAYS manually record first as it allows me to step back with a track record of when the key event checkpoints occurred in the roast, as well as connect with the momentum of the roast – RoR & RoC. The RoR & RoC is like your ‘speedo’. RoR/RoC is the one thing that significantly governs and helps with decisions on how to apply your heat and adjust your burners along the way based on how fast or slow you are going (or want to go) in a particular section of the roast, also in response to where you want an event/checkpoint to occur & how you are best wanting to express a particular coffee’s flavour.
There is so much value in seeing a history of your events/checkpoints & RoR/RoC on your manual profile which will then significantly help with better management of your data logger system (ie: Cropster) as well as decisions for future roasts.
Roast Profiles are also highly influenced by PROBES!!!! Probes are the feedback we rely upon to make very important roasting decisions.
There are so many different probes out there (3mm vs 6mm thick, grounded or ungrounded, J vs K) & in different positions – ideal is in the bottom of the bulk mass of where your beans are gathering in response to the direction your drum is spinning.
Because of these probe differences, I then just assign the probe read out as an event checkpoint occurs on that individual roasting system & just use it as a guide. Eg: on some roasters FC happens at 175 or 185 or 205! Knowing where FC occurs can really help in planning your roast for when & where event checkpoints should occur & how far apart they should occur as well.
So then, when ‘Pimped’, what are these ‘Magic Moments’ or Event checkpoints we need to focus on & what effect will they have on the overall flavour that we’re after?
These event checkpoints are the more measurable elements & they make up the backbone of the Roast Profile:
Charge Temp – starting temperature
Turning Point – point of equilibrium between the beans & the probe
Timing of Colour changes – Green to Yellow, Yellow to Bread, Bread to First Crack
Time & Temp of First Crack
Timing of First Crack to End Roast Time – Development Ratio
I then divide the Roast Profile into 3 key Flavour sections:
Prep – setting the base for the overall momentum of the roast: 0-6min.
Maillard – Body & Sweetness: Min. 2 minutes between Yellow to Bread
Acids & overall end flavour: Short or Long time after FC to achieve a desired end flavour
So when ‘Pimped or manipulated’, spending a certain amount of time with a certain amount of momentum RoR/RoC in a certain section of the Roast Profile, I can then see where a particular flavour is coming from – refer to picture above.
(This picture can also be found on my website www.eqmr.com.au on the articles page)
How do we know it’s right?
From tasting the results – Taste is King!! – & based on achieving various events/checkpoints in line with colour change using time & RoR/RoC as a way to quantify this.
In order to improve you must also experiment!
A great exercise & way to explore roast profiles and approaches is to use the same ‘profile routine’ with different coffees & you will then see the feedback in each section of the profile as the individual properties of the coffees react accordingly – great to do on a sample roaster or small size roaster.
In particular, you will confirm that Moisture content is valuable for confirming how much energy you need to start a roast with & Density is relevant for knowing how much energy a bean needs (or doesn’t need) to progress through first crack.
Low moisture = less energy required
High moisture = more energy required
Density is then relevant to use at First crack – a hard bean (above 70kg/hL) needs heat through first crack & a soft bean (below 70kg/hL) requires less heat.
For example if you find your RoR/RoC constantly crashing at First Crack on a hard bean it is most likely because you have taken away heat when you should not have. That crash is a sign that that hard, dense bean still needs help to progress through first crack.
If you have never bothered to look at the events/checkpoints/colour change in your roasts then, along with your Rate of Rise (RoR) & Rate of Change (RoC), I definitely encourage you to respond to this vital feedback from the beans you are roasting!
So then, when ‘Pimpin’, we can ultimately express the Flavour Profile of a coffee. Roasting is very much a craft that takes time. Once you learn how to evolve your senses & follow & trust the progression/timing of the events/checkpoints of a roast profile – which is what I live, swear & die by with my roasting, especially with unfamiliar roasting equipment & new green beans – then you will achieve roasting success!!
So now you know my secret!!!
Pimpin’ IS Easy!
Hope you all enjoyed some sweet success at The Golden Bean & Happy Pimpin’!!
Also, look out for the exciting EQMR Firestarter workshops next year to be held 2 days before MICE 2018 in collaboration with Rob Hoos!!
Anne has over 25yrs experience in the coffee industry, having spent the last 10yrs roasting in both Australia & the USA at all levels from commercial to specialty. Anne is a Certified Q Grader, Member of the SCA Roasters Guild Executive Council, Head Judge & twice winner of The Golden Bean. Now, with her company Equilibrium Master Roasters, roasters can engage Anne as a consultant to help Pimp their Profiles or attend the Awesome Monthly Roasting Course.