Let's talk about Profiles

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Postby ChrisSchooley » Mon Apr 26, 2010 1:09 am

So, we do do a Profile Roasting Lab and we talk about flavor profiles in relation to roast profiles. The exercise in the lab is to do 2 roasts of the same coffee, chart them and cup them and then determine based on our documentation and findings on the cupping table what roast profile we would like to impose on that coffee in order to achieve a desired flavor profile.

Does anyone have any other exercises along these lines that you use to help determine what roast profile you want to give to a new coffee in your line up?
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Postby N3Roaster » Mon Apr 26, 2010 7:53 am

Our SOP for every lot of coffee that comes in is to do at least one batch (two is pretty common, more if we need to) and pull several samples, hopefully in a range of too light to too dark, documenting where each sample was pulled, and cup all of those (typically 9–12 samples per batch). Where more than one batch is done, it's usually different airflow adjustments, but based on what we find in the cupping we might change up how much time is spent in various temperature ranges as well (speeding up or slowing down different parts of the roast) and pull samples from a narrower range. Samples are generally pulled at a rate of about 1 per 10 seconds, a bit faster on the narrower ranges, a bit slower on the wider ones. (This is one of those areas where having the measurements logged automatically really helps since I just have to hit the space bar to annotate the log "Sample 1", "Sample 2", &c. Otherwise you'll need either a second person to hit that sampling rate or considerably more manual dexterity than I can manage. With manual logging, 3 samples per minute is still easy enough, 4 can be done with practice if you don't need any heat adjustments while you're doing that.) Once we've identified the sample we want to go with, we'll look up the profile that sample came from to duplicate that up to the point the sample was pulled and do some tasting to make sure that what appeared in the cupping is real.

The advantages of this approach are that I end up with a very good idea of what the coffee is and can be reasonably confident that I'm getting the best I can out of the coffee. There's also documentation that I can look to if, for example, I run out of whatever coffee I'm using for an origin non-specific coffee like French Roast and need to switch to something else (I'll have made a note in the cupping records if I found something that might work well for that purpose and that record will also identify the batch and sample number so I can try to duplicate that). It's also helpful for discussions with the local home roasters who might want to do things a bit differently from what I like. There's a bit of a marketing aspect there as well since people will see me pulling samples or cupping the coffees and it gives us an opportunity to tell interested people about how we approach roasting.

The disadvantage is that this is a pretty time consuming method. If you let the samples rest before cupping and tasting it can take 3–7 days from the time a coffee comes in to when I can put it out for sale.
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Postby BeanGuru » Fri May 21, 2010 4:37 pm

N3Roaster wrote:Samples are generally pulled at a rate of about 1 per 10 seconds, a bit faster on the narrower ranges, a bit slower on the wider ones. (This is one of those areas where having the measurements logged automatically really helps since I just have to hit the space bar to annotate the log "Sample 1", "Sample 2", &c. Otherwise you'll need either a second person to hit that sampling rate or considerably more manual dexterity than I can manage.


1. Are you talking about pulling the sample stick or actually dumping a seconds worth of beans into the cooling tray?
2. Hitting the space bar to indicate sample n, again can you elaborate? Do you have a software package that you are using to track the roast in real-time?

I always wanted to be able to dump say 60-100 grams @ nnn f temp say 4 or 5 times between too light and too dark @ 3 degree intervals. I just haven't figured out how to cool the samples fast enough and get them out before the next sample...
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Postby N3Roaster » Fri May 21, 2010 6:06 pm

1) I'm using the sample trowel. Four or five pulls gets me enough beans to cup and have some beans left over for color comparison. Unfortunately, once I open the front of the roaster I can't get it fully closed until the drum is empty since there are beans stuck in the way. I'd love to something that could pull the samples in a more controlled fashion (sample trowel with a motorized screw to draw the beans up when I want them?), but this works. I drop the beans into glass cups and shake them into the air to cool them off. Since it takes a while for a full production batch to cool in the cooling bin, the longer cooling time of this method doesn't seem to be a problem. Another option that I've seen other places use are mesh bottomed bins (usually hand made), sometimes hacking together some plastic tubing to have a shop vac draw air over the samples to cool them.

2) Yes, a few years ago I wrote a data logging application called Typica. There's a link to that in the advertising section of the board. The way I have this set up, a window on the computer has at the top, a set of indicators showing temperature measurements from the thermocouples and how long the current batch has been running. Below that I have a set of buttons for starting and stopping the logging and making annotations to the log for airflow and samples. Below that is a table and a graph of the roasting data, updated as the batch progresses. I have my computer set up to allow keyboard control of user interface elements, so I can tab and backtab among the buttons and press the space bar to activate them. I find this to be a little bit easier than making sure the cursor is over the button I want to click and clicking the button normally (but that also works). Here's a screenshot:

http://www.randomfield.com/programs/typica/screenshots/window.png

The "New Sample" button will take the most recent measurement and annotate it as "Sample 1", "Sample 2" and so on. On the production roaster I'm getting new measurements from two thermocouples twice per second. At the sample roaster there's only one thermocouple and I get four measurements per second, logged and displayed as the batch runs. I can also load a previously logged batch to use as a target profile to compare against, as seen in the above screenshot.
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Postby BeanGuru » Mon May 24, 2010 7:34 am

OK, then how do you keep the temp in the drum rising normally? are you closing the vent slowly to compensate for the drop door being open?

I'm either going to have to grow some extra limbs or hire an octopus...
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Postby N3Roaster » Mon May 24, 2010 8:39 am

Drop door isn't open, just the little hole where the sample trowel goes, and only when I'm pulling the samples. Only two hands needed.
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Postby BeanGuru » Mon May 24, 2010 11:31 am

Ahhh, that must be a heck of a sample trowel... By the time I could pull enough to sample, the temp would be wrong and the time well past the next sample...

As you know, it's quite hectic when between 415 and 435.

I think we're already doing what we can.
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Postby N3Roaster » Mon May 24, 2010 12:36 pm

It's the normal sample trowel that comes with a Diedrich IR-12 roaster. Each pull gets about 7g of beans. There are certainly roasters where this wouldn't work at all. On my sample roaster I'd be lucky to pull 7 beans at once from the trowel and there are some others where the size of the trowel is fine but the positioning isn't very good. For these machines I really wish someone would come up with something better. I'm thinking, a tube sized to fit the roaster in question with a screw inside attached to a little motor. Push a switch to start the motor and beans start falling out of the top of the tube ready to catch in a sample cup. Maybe have that switch something that's triggered when the cup is in position and give it a cool name like Bean Tap. It wouldn't be something to keep in the roaster all the time, but it would be a neat little accessory if it existed.
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Postby AndrewT » Tue May 25, 2010 9:12 am

When we do roast profile cupping we try to isolate one specific variable. Like how quickly the coffee turns around at the beginning of the roast, how quickly/slowly we achieve gold and first crack, higher and lower air temps during first or at discharge etc. This is taken into consideration along with rate of heating during each phase of roasting(in 30sec or 1min increments) drop temp, time and %loss. Obviously we are not cupping each variable with each coffee that comes in our doors but we do try to look at a variable and discuss it monthly. One month we might want to see how an increased rate of heating verses a slower rate of heating from green to gold effects the taste profile of the coffee. Since we record gold, first and drop time and temp (bean and exhaust) we can also make observations on all of our production roasts.
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Postby N3Roaster » Mon Jan 23, 2012 1:03 pm

Resurrecting an old topic here as we can see above that sometimes I'm not that great at explaining what I do to develop roast profiles. I recently put together a video covering this and thought it might be of interest here. There's a lot that's sort of glossed over in it (covering everything in depth would require a longer video than I wanted to make).

http://youtu.be/sct2FWVkmDw
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