Friday, February 19, 2010

City? City+? Full City?

Here are some questions that warrant discussion.

What do you label your degree of roast? How do you know? When do they occur?

There are several different lists of when a certain degree of roast is reached and they don’t match.

Sweet Maria’s list is as follows also with pictures as reference:
City + roast at 435°F, about 25 seconds after end of 1st crack
Full City roast at 444°F about 25 seconds after 1st ends
Full City + at 454°F about 1:50 after 1st ends

The HRO List has these divisions without temperatures but pictures as reference.
Cinnamon roast just after 1st crack
New England Roast
American Roast
City Roast
Full City Roast just after 2nd crack

Kenneth Davids has this list in his book Home Coffee Roasting
Cinnamon roast below 400°F
New England at 400°F
American at 400-415°F
City at 415-435°F
Full City at435-445°F

And also from Sweet Maria’s, this list at the bottom of the page
George Steinert's Degree of Roast/Temperature chart:

Early yellow at 327°F
1st Crack Begins at 401°F
1st Crack Under Way at 415°F
City Roast at 426°F
City+ at 435 °F
Full City 446 °F
Full City+ 454 °F
Vienna (Light French) 465 °F

Here’s yet another site with variances: (This one is interesting with lots of nice, seemingly accurate descriptions)

My concern is communication amongst us home coffee roasters. My Full City + may be your Full City. Yet your Full City may come after 2nd crack and my Full City is before 2nd is remotely near.

Which labeling system do you use? Is there yet another guide you go by? How can we better communicate our roasts to one another?

Some of us are able to determine bean temperature while others know the drum temperature only. Stating the temperature of when your roast ended is of great importance to some while it means nothing to me as there’s no way for me to know.

All of this occurred to me this afternoon while chatting with the owner of a USRC. He knows as much as possible about his roasts, while I know exhaust temperature and time. Of course, these are both usable factors; I can base roasts on the information and then measure the bean temperature with an IR thermometer immediately upon pulling the drum. That could be great post roast information like recording the weight loss; there’s no way I can know it before the roast ends in my Gene CafĂ©.

So, what do we call our roasts? How and why?