For the last couple of years the coffee has been getting roasted in the RK Drum due to the volume of coffee that gets roasted on a weekly basis. However, I recently had surgery on my ankle, which makes using the RK Drum impossible. As a result, there is a shortage of fresh coffee – unacceptable!
There was finally a break in the weather and it has cooled down considerably; there is no desire to suffer in the heat and perspire whilst in a cast. Given that it was in he mid 60's, my darling wife retrieved the Gene Cafe and placed in the spot on my workbench that she had cleared. The varietals were selected, batches were weighed and utensils were placed such that everything was within reach including a strategically positioned coffee roaster box that would serve as an ottoman for the encapsulated ankle.
After reviewing some roasting logs that were recorded a couple years ago, a profile was decided upon for the Mexico Oaxaca that had just arrived courtesy of a fellow home coffee roaster; thanks, Bill! Which profile was chosen? None. A new profile was was decided upon in hopes of making the most of those precursors to exquisite elixir.
All the while the Gene Cafe was being put through it's paces on a dry run since it hadn't really been used in a couple of years. Just as in the past the Gene Cafe was up to maximum temperature in just under five minutes and it executed the cooling cycle flawlessly. Time to roast!
After a preheat to 300ºF, the first 227 gram batch of Mexico Oaxaca was placed into the roaster. After a bit, the aroma of fresh-baked bread wafted through the workshop – delightful! After another few minutes, a spicy fragrance demanded the attention of the olfactory – amazing! Just as first crack arrived, the heat was dialed back. As the roast progressed toward the predetermined Full City, the spice was accompanied by dark chocolate. Right on queue the cooling cycle was initiated and when completed yielded a very nice Full City roast. Set up for the another batch of Mexico Oaxaca, hit the same marks and was reminded of just how consistent the Gene Cafe is. An Ethiopian varietal was placed into the roaster for its journey to a light City / City+ roast and again a new profile was chosen to accentuate the fruited notes. Upon reaching the precipice of 1st crack there was an overwhelming aroma of a freshly opened Orange Pekoe tea bag and a freshly cut Meyer lemon – wow! As the roast progressed through 1st crack there was a cornucopia of fruited and floral aromas emitted with the most notable being apricot. A post roast bean munch with my son confirmed the apricot.
Now I remember why I loved roasting with the Gene Cafe! With this roaster one has variable control of the roast throughout the entire roasting process and all of the great feedback available to the individual that is roasting:
1. Sight – one can see the beans whilst they roast, but I trust this
sensory input the least.
2. Sound – it might take some time to become familiar with the roaster,
but 1st and 2nd crack can definitely be heard.
3. Aromas – the aromas (and smoke) are vented through the port of the
chaff collector; aromas make for excellent feedback during
the roasting process.
These are also some of the reasons why I think the Gene Cafe is such a great roaster on which to learn roasting. And, the Mexico Oaxaca has been excellent two days in a row!