So anxious to try the coffee, I roasted two batches in the black of night. With this experience I was taught a valuable lesson:
don't roast at night. Visual cues are a vital part of roasting along with the smells and sounds.
With the first batch I periodically lit up the roasting chamber with a small LED flashlight. This did not provide much help in determining the roast level. With the second batch I had my son hold the flashlight over the roasting chamber while it roasted. I was able to get a better view of the beans this way. Child labor be damned!
I did not realize that Sumatra beans are some of the hardest to roast. Now I know. When I received them I noticed they were substantially darker green than the Colombian and Ethiopian beans I ordered. My first batch was not roasted long enough and the beans were not a homogeneous color. Many beans had dark and light brown spots. I've always wondered if the grassy smell of green coffee would produce a grassy flavor if the beans were not roasted long enough. Well it sure does. The first batch had an initial tangy, grassy taste and then proceeded to be a slightly harsh, almost smoky flavor. It did not have any pleasant nuttiness or body.
The second batch was roasted longer resulting in darker beans with less color variation although still more variation than other beans. This batch did not have the grassy taste but still hit me with a unrecognizable flavor - kinda ashy, dirty, and a little smokey. Like the first batch it did not have any nuttiness or body that is prevalent in other beans.
Luckily I have lots more beans to practice with and, being spring, more daylight also.
|Sumatra - First Batch (under roasted)|
|Sumatra - Second Batch (Medium Roast)|