I did it. I don't have a scale yet, but I had a one pound sample bag of Sumatra Mandheling Gayo
and decided to take it for a test drive. I did a dry run to burn off all the residue from my factory fresh roaster, and then started in on a 1/4# batch. It ran a little cool and a little short, because after 10:50 I was just getting into what I'm now sure was my 1st crack. (The beans have two cracks during roast time, they give an audible cue to where the beans are in the roast. The crack is caused by the change in moisture content), but I wasn't really sure what was going on and the cycle was wrapping up, so I just let it. The beans were lighter than I usually think of Sumatra as being, but I was so excited I ground it up and served it, french press style, to my husband and two housemates.
Benny took the cup and kept to himself about his opinions, but Carrie, John and I had fun reading into the different flavors. Right on top was a buttery chocolate earthy flavor, there was just a hint of cinnamon and barely a touch of fruit (John suggest pomegranate) and then it finished out with a sour acidity and a hint of pepper. Eww
. It was great until that sour hit me. I puzzled about what could have caused it, and figured that the roast must have been too light, maybe a cinnamon roast. There was also a good deal of chaff still on the beans.
Encouraged by the good flavors I did
get out of the beans, I tried again in the afternoon. This time I told the machine that my 1/4# batch was a 1/2# to get the heat up a little higher and tried a different roast cycle. I head the scattered couple of first cracks, then a silence and a smattering of rapid cracks like popcorn. I had a hard time telling if it was first crack or second crack because they happened so close together, but the smoke billowing out of the machine told me it was time to quit the roast and start cooling at 8:50. I wondered if I had burnt the beans, but as it cooled the smoke gave way to a bit of aroma that gave me hope. 10 minutes of cool down is a long time to wonder if you were successful or not.
Just looking at the beans got me all giddy, they were a deep brown with an oily surface, maybe a Vienna or French roast. A little darker than I had hoped for, but still beautiful. I ground up a smaller batch (most of the first press got dumped because of the sour notes) and did a two cup press poured for Carrie, John and I. I can't tell you how great it is to have a few extra sets of coffee loving taste buds around to pander my wares to! Again, it was heavy with earth and chocolate tones, but it was full-bodied, smooth, and almost creamy, with a peppery finish. The sour tones must have been from the greenness of the beans, because the darker roast completely took them out.
I'd like to try it again with a roast just under where I got it today. The darker roast took out the more subtle nuances of cinnamon and pomegranate, and I think roasting a hair or two lighter could possibly bring those back. The darker roast from today though would make excellent straight espresso, but might be a little 'dirty' for milk based drinks.
Anyways, I had fun playing today!
Labels: Cinnamon, First Roast, Sumatra, Vienna