Tuesday, February 10, 2009

One Small Step for Home Roasting, One Big Step for Taste

I haven't tried every home roasting method available (I haven't yet roasted on a backyard grill or a camp fire or built my own home roaster) but I have tried a number of different roasting methods in my NYC apartment and my favorite roaster continues to be the iRoast. I like this roaster because of it provides a lot of control over the roast. I can input a curve, I can adjust on the fly and I can easily see, hear and smell the beans so I can keep track of their progression. (It's also extremly easy to use, so perhaps I like it because I'm a lazy roaster.)

But the one aspect of the iRoast I've never been happy with is the lack of depth in many of my final roasts. I often get excited over new beans only to taste the roast a day later and find it a little flat. I try different roasting times and curves and I'm not always able to correct the problem.

Lately though I've tried something new and have been pretty successful. I roast the same bean twice, using the same curve but push one of the roasts a little further -- not much, just 30 to 60 seconds more. Then I blend both batches together and voila: I get a deeper, more complex cup. I did this most recently with some Papua New Guinea that I purchased at the Roasting Plant and I've been enjoying the beans all week.

For those not into home roasting this probably sounds really boring. For those who are experienced roasters, this might sound all a bit silly. But for any other amateur roasters out there, I'd be curious to know if you've experimented along these lines.


  1. From my experience, I concur. I've only been using a FreshRoast+8 myself, but the small batch sizes have allowed me a lot of room for experimenting.. I've sometimes roasted the same bean at varying degrees and done side-by-side cuppings, and one thing led to another (as sometimes happens with cuppings), and I have blended some of the leftover beans in a few cases. Having that blend of two slightly different roasts of the same bean can definitely add missing depth to a taste profile, especially when a fancy-pants commercial roaster isn't monetarily feasible (or it just wont fit anywhere).

    So I say, rock on with the "single origin blend." If that is what brings out the best in that bean, you almost have no choice.


  2. Thanks Keith. Glad to know I"m not alone in the single origin blend club. Great blog by the way.