[Homeroast] Finished roast color coding relevance > Is it just me?

Ryan M. Ward silvercro_magnon at hotmail.com
Sun Mar 7 10:06:00 CST 2010


"John, some people just like to attempt to reduce an art to a science. Roasting an agricultural crop is an art."

Respectfully, I could turn your statement around and have it be just as valid. Some people like to attempt to reduce a science to an art.

The coffee roasting process, fundamentally, is a product of the laws of Physics and Chemistry. Certain parameters are fed into some mathematical function and a certain end result is spit out. Now what makes this issue hard is that the number of parameters is extremely large and overwhelming. These parameters not only include ambient temperature, internal temperature fluctuations within the roaster, humidity, time roasting, etc... They also include properties intrinsic to the bean itself: mass, volume, surface area, internal pH of the bean, caffine content, structural integrity of the bean mass, etc... (Have I missed anything?) 

Taking an artistic approach to roasting, you cannot escape the basic science involved here. You still have a target roasting profile in mind, and end goal so to speak. You still have an approximate sense of what parameters are involved in getting you there. This is all very scientific to me, even though there is a strong artistic element involved. 

Now, what is a good cup of coffee? What is the ideal roast? Science cannot answer that, this is the art. But roasting is just as much science as art of not more, I do propose. IMHAPO

-- 
Ryan M. Ward

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> Date: Sun, 7 Mar 2010 09:19:32 -0600
> From: rich-mail at octoxol.com
> To: homeroast at lists.sweetmariascoffee.com
> Subject: Re: [Homeroast] Finished roast color coding relevance > Is it just me?
> 
> John, some people just like to attempt to reduce an art to a science. 
> Roasting an agricultural crop is an art.
> 
> John A C Despres wrote:
> > This discussion is just the reason I brought the naming issue up in another
> > thread a couple weeks ago.
> > 
> > These labels we're discussing seem to be pretty much the only way to
> > communicate with one another. We could come up with a new labeling system,
> > but what would it be? And when discussing home roasting with your friend in
> > New Zealand, how do you describe your roast to her?
> > 
> > We already have a fairly good method of communication that many of us are
> > able to use; some not, however. I cannot measure bean mass temp, so that
> > language is foreign.
> > 
> > But - I can tell you when the beans yellowed, when they hit first crack,
> > when they hit second crack, when the oils gushed forth like a Texas crude
> > strike and when they burst into flame. When a particular occurrence takes
> > place, we have a reasonably good idea what the bean temp may be, IE 1st
> > crack occurs at about 400F. Occurs at about 400F. About... Maybe 390F. Maybe
> > 405F. In a world of absolutes, I wonder if home coffee roasting should
> > simply be recognized as an exception.
> > 
> > Dark brown, light brown, black, oily, Agtron 72, City +, Taste the coffee,
> > tell me it's good if you like it.
> > 
> > It is my understanding the big guys cannot match coffee roasts on a day to
> > day basis so they roast it and stale it for some time, months, I read
> > somewhere, in order that every can tastes the same... Dunno if it's true,
> > but it does seem to be a good equalizer. But is Stumptown or Intellagentsia
> > doing that? No, they're probably using those tools that have been discussed
> > here. Probably not on every batch and maybe quite seldom. I am sure of this,
> > though, they taste the coffee and make the final decision from there.
> > 
> > If you told me your roast hit yellow at 2:36 and 1st crack started at 3:49
> > and you pulled the roast at 5:55, with no adjustments, I'd say, given the
> > speed, you could be close to 2nd crack at the end of that roast. Let's call
> > this roast Full City - no hint of second crack.
> > 
> > Based on time information I can make a decent guess. Now let's put the beans
> > against a color chart or photos and we see it does look to be Full City. Now
> > let's grind some beans, and lay just a few whole beans on the grind... Hmmm,
> > really dark beans, rather light grind...Is it still Full City? Is there such
> > thing as too much information? Too little? Yes, and yes.
> > 
> > Each one of us has more information available than we may realize. Why limit
> > our discussion to the color of the beans? Add time, add temperature to that
> > discussion.
> > 
> > Roast the coffee and taste the coffee. That's all that matters. Tell us what
> > you taste.
> > 
> > And have fun.
> > 
> > John
> > 
> > 
> > On Sun, Mar 7, 2010 at 5:02 AM, Yakster <yakster at gmail.com> wrote:
> > 
> >> I gave up 20 Khz years ago... I used to be bothered by the 15 KHz
> >> horizontal oscillators driving CRTs, but now I don't hear 'em.
> >>
> >> -Chris
> >>
> >> On 3/7/10, raymanowen at gmail.com <raymanowen at gmail.com> wrote:
> >>> It is not a requirement of this list that each person parrot the
> >> politically
> >>> correct palaver as stated by anyone else in the whole world. What's the
> >>> advantage in that?
> >>>
> >>> The implication of:
> >>> "What do you mean some validity?"
> >>> miKe just tried to [convince] you that in the commercial coffee world...
> >>> Implies the art of roasting goes so far and no further; personal
> >> advancement
> >>> ceases to exist.
> >>>
> >>> *WHAT* in Blazes does this list have to do with the commercial coffee
> >> world?
> >>> NOTHING, and miKe, of all people is the antithesis of Big Coffee.
> >>>
> >>> What is it about miKe that makes you think that his hobby or enterprise
> >> is
> >>> based on the archaic and bearded Agtron tile inadequacies, or any other
> >>> facet of the commercial coffee world? Isn't that what primarily drove us
> >> all
> >>> to roasting and brewing for ourselves?
> >>>
> >>> The Commercial Coffee World- home of Foulgers, and the hazmat blends of
> >> *$.
> >>> Since FC roasted coffee is not a primary color perceived by the human
> >> eye,
> >>> it can't be directly quantified. The credulity required to standardize on
> >> a
> >>> quality rendered differently by the rods and cones in every human retina
> >> is
> >>> on the same page as "Human hearing is from 20hz - 20Khz "
> >>>
> >>> The Cosar and Macbeth densitometers can resolve Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and
> >>> Black colors for critical graphics work, and can be found online for far
> >>> less than their original prices. In the 3-D mode, they could read coffee
> >>> beans, and 8000K super high intensity LED's could replace the
> >> incandescent
> >>> light sources.
> >>>
> >>> In the roaster control loop, a cheap densitometer or colorimeter would
> >> allow
> >>> a roast degree to be set to a specific number.
> >>>
> >>> Cheers and Mabuhay -RayO, aka Opa!
> >>> --
> >>> Persist in old ways; expect different results - suborn Insanity...
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