[Homeroast] Newb roaster...Bad Beans?

kevin creason ckevinj at gmail.com
Tue May 24 12:12:58 CDT 2011

Throw that Amazon crap into the mulch or compost pile and order a
sampler pack from our mail-list hosts, coffee educators, and all
around awesome people, Sweet Marias.
I've tried a few different suppliers over the years and gave up-- SM
is the best of the best of the best. I can't go back anymore.
The further benefit is then you have people on this list roasting the
same bean and they can give you specifics to help you find the sweet

/*“ I am looking for a lot of men who have an infinite capacity to not
know what can't be done. ” -- Henry Ford  */

On Mon, May 23, 2011 at 3:23 PM, Loomis, Darren (DCR)
<Darren.Loomis at dcr.virginia.gov> wrote:
> I have just joined the list and am an absolute newb to roasting coffee.
> While helping my parents move I came across a hot air popper (west bend
> poppery ii) and I recalled reading/hearing somewhere that hot air
> poppers can be used to roast coffee. I took it, hopped on Amazon and
> immediately ordered a 5lb bag of a green house blend from a coffee
> retailer that has a large presence on Amazon.
> I just want to interject here that I am not a coffee connoisseur (read
> snob).  I recall having had great cups of coffee in the past but I
> continued drinking coffee from the big, red can every morning because it
> is convenient and is what I am used to.  I own a french press and a
> filtercone because when I lived in Richmond, VA I was near a roaster and
> could get fresh coffee easily.  I moved, there was no nearby roaster
> and it became more convenient to go back to the can. I do consider
> myself a food snob so I know what I like, what tastes good to me and the
> characteristics of quality food (vs. poor quality or spoiled). And I
> wouldn't mind becoming a coffee snob because... I like things that taste
> good!
> Anyhow, I order my coffee and then hopped on the internet to do my
> research on home roasting and coffee in general. Turns out that one
> should do their coffee research before ordering coffee.  I had never
> heard of Sweet Maria's and have been amazed by all of the great
> information available in their site.  To me, last week my coffee
> knowledge was knowing I liked the house blend at the Richmond roaster
> and that Folger's was an easy way to caffeinate myself during my commute
> to work. the Sweet Maria's website and coffee library is an amazing
> resource. One specific thing I learned is that blends can be used to
> unload poor quality coffee.
> Coffee shows up, I roast...screw it up (under-roasted) grind it anyway,
> brew it, taste it, and promptly toss it.  Next I watch Tom's video, the
> other video showing the roasting, hearing the cracks.  Roast again,
> grind brew taste and toss. wash, rinse repeat. many times
> I'm pretty sure I'm roasting correctly now.  I've tried roasts through
> Full City and rest periods of up to 36 hours and the coffee is still
> undrinkable.  I'm using a FP, grinding with a Kyocera hand grinder.  Got
> the right temp water. Water is filtered (filter 1 month old) I haven't
> tried everything yet (such as a full french roast).  I'm gonna try my
> filtercone and I'm going to further reduce extraction times on my FP but
> I'm pretty convinced that at this point the beans I have are of terrible
> quality.  I've picked through a handful of the beans and have found
> rocks, insect damage, cherries, black beans, broken beans etc. I have a
> UV light and I have even found a few beans with a bright fluorescence
> that I can only assume is a mold.  I think these beans where swept up
> off the sorting room floor.
> All that being said, shouldn't there still be a taste of coffee?  I mean
> low quality beans still get used commercially. As I type this it has
> been 10 hours since my last attempt at brewing a cup so the flavor
> profile isn't clear in my head but the brew is bitter, maybe some
> astringency, a touch of gym sock and a back end that may be musty.  I'll
> have to try it again and write down my immediate impressions.
> I don't know what green coffee is supposed to smell like.  This bag
> smells like hay.  My suspicion is that green coffee shouldn't smell like
> hay, that a hay smell means there is (or was) too much moisture.  What
> does green coffee smell like? I've tried popping a few of the roasted
> beans in my mouth to get a feel for the flavor and they don't even taste
> like coffee. Am I mistaken in thinking that a roasted coffee bean should
> taste like coffee?
> I am in Suffolk, Virginia (USA) are there any experienced home roasters
> near by who may want to try some of these beans?  It is entirely
> possible that I totally suck at roasting and brewing coffee.  Or maybe
> this is a difficult coffee to get right. I just ordered a sampler from
> SM so hopefully by this time next week I'll know the answer.
> If you read this far, thanks.  I'd appreciate any comments or advice.
> Darren
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