Roasting Java Blawan In The Gene

Java Blawan - Roasting In The Gene one evening

This particular roast came about all as a result of an evenings visit, where Paul showed me his Java Blawan Estate and I thought, looks nice but I think it could be better, a little darker. Had a quick look at Pauls logs which also seemed to confirm this and indicate that mabye the beans had not quite got to second properly. The main lesson to learn here….you do need to use all your senses when roasting:

Smell and visual appearance of smoke are good indicators. Remember it's also about how you get to 1st and second crack and the temperatures involved. e.g. a temperature "just" enough to get the cracks at 1st, probably isn't hot enough (although thats a generalisation), because what it could do is draw out first crack so much that the beans that cracked right at the beginning of 1st enter 2nd crack whilst other beans are still in 1st crack. 1st then merges to 2nd. Plus temperatures that are on the low side, make the cracks more difficult to hear.

With smoke, at 1st you will see a steady smoke situation….not huge amounts but constantly there from 1st, however when 2nd crack starts, there is a definite and specific change to the smoke, it thickens and darkens, plus the smell changes.

Whilst at Pauls place yesterday, I looked at some Java Blawan he had roasted and it looked tad light to me, definitely not into second. A glance at the roast times/temps pretty much confirmed it. Paul decided to roast some more so we went into the garden and began the roast. The main change i made was to set a 245 temp on the gene to ensure the roast "pushed along nicely). I wanted a slightly higher roasting temperature and a longer roast, definitely about 20-30 seconds into second.

The roast progressed well and 1st crack was easily heard (Paul also commented that it was a little more vigorous and better defined than in his previous roasts). Then we got to 2nd and Paul and I differed by about 10 seconds on where we decided it had started, but this time the change in smoke quality was obvious. Again Paul commented that he had not actually got the same type and degree of smoke and the change we observed when roasting. This again made me think 2nd had not been achieved before. Interestingly a neighbor leaned over the fence and said whats that great smell….we both chorused, roasting coffee, but at that moment I was pretty sure we had got it right!

The end result was a nice Medium Dark roast, that was starting to smell good after a few hours and will no doubt have some oil spotting on the beans in around 3-4 days (Pauls previous lighter roasts had no oil spotting after4-6 days and were quite dry). I personally think the roast level we achieved will be good for the Java Blawan, but the proof will be in the tasting. Hopefully Paul will also see this and post his perspective on the roasting that evening.

Pauls thoughts below

It's all down to moving from the Hottop to the Gene Cafe which I liken to moving from an auto saloon to a Ferrari. It's all too easy to get lead-footed with the Gene so I have been under-roasting, not savagely but definitely bordering on 2nd crack and maybe not even there.

With light falling rapidly we set my Gene up in the garden and roasted the Java Blawan to a few shades darker and there was noticeably more smoke and action than my first attempts with it. You can read that across all my roasts.

There really is no substitute for this so I was surprised to see little uptake for the roastathon. this one roast last night was another notch on that education ladder and will immediately impact all of my roasting and I thought after a year with the iRoast and then Hottop that I had learned a bit. the live commentary as it were, the hands on help, the roasting indicators and then the post-roast visual clues.

There was yet another lesson in roasting, a first for me, which was only apparent due to the type of containers I use. Now without giving the game away, take a look at this (poor but good enough) picture and tell me which was my Java Blawan roast of the 3/5 and which was last night's of 7/5 and why?


The Image above is interesting because (although a little hard to see), Paul noticed that the level of roasted beans in the left hand container (the roast we did that evening) was definitely higher than his roast earlier in the weekeven though for both roasts an equal weight of beans had been used. Paul attributed this difference to a higher roast level, our explanation for this was better expansion of all the beans and roast development due to the slightly higher temperatures we used..