November 12, 2019
After a string of Behmor Roast profile blog posts in which I focus on lighter, faster roasting (see Ethiopia, Burundi, Rwanda) I was happy to have the opportunity to roast a coffee for espresso. I tend to take a much slower roast approach for espresso, pulling back heat in order to extend the roast profile, trading acidic impression for a more developed bittersweetness. Outfitted with manual heat controls that can be dialed back in 25% increments (P5=100%, P4=75%, and so on), the Behmor 1600+ is completely capable of such a task.
This particular FTO Peru lot from Don Rigoberto is a dense coffee that withstands high heat, an easy choice for single origin ("SO") espresso. I've roasted it on the Quest M3s and found that extending the time between just before 1st C to finish pulled out a balance of sweetness and chocolate roast tones - two fundamental characteristics for a tasty, dark-roasted espresso.
I settled on 200g for my roast batch size, partly to slow roast progression. But also, dialing in my espresso grinder usually means blowing a couple shots (sometimes more!), and I wanted to be sure I had coffee leftover to enjoy!
Starting with full power (P5/100%), my rate of rise moved steadily upward for the first several minutes but then slowed down more than I'd hoped right around 7 minutes. I dropped the temp a little too early, and at P3/50%, perhaps a bit too much. Nevertheless, the roast didn't seem to stall out, even though the plummeting temperature readings over the next 3 minutes might lead you to believe otherwise.
We've covered this in other posts, but the Behmor temperature readings are misleading if you don't understand their function. The "B" reading doesn't represent actual "bean temp" like you might see in a production roaster, or on either of our Quest M3s or Bullet R1 roasters. It's stated clearly in the A/B Temperature Reading FAQ that you should expect temperature readings to differ from one machine to the next and that the thermistor numbers are most useful to "illustrate the rise and fall for [roast] patterns only".
Viewing the chamber temperature sensor reading by hitting the "B" button in manual mode
The Behmor doesn't have a sensor that touches the actual bean mass. but rather, the sensor placement reads the temperature at the back right wall of the roasting chamber and is affected by factors such as bean mass and airflow for example. Next time you roast in manual mode, watch the temperature progression slow down considerably when the fan kicks in part way through the roast (at 7:30 when roasting with the 1LB setting - which also helps explain my slowdown shortly after the 7 minute mark!).
I know I'm getting a bit off topic here, but I think it helps to keep in mind that these roasting blog posts are less about replicating my roasts, and more about informing your expectations for how the different coffees handle in the Behmor and how they might taste given a general set of roasting parameters.
So how does it taste?
This particular Peru makes such an chocolatey espresso shot. Bittersweet flavors are the first cup characteristics I pick up on at this roast level, a sturdy construct of lightly sweetened chocolate and bittering roast tones, a dusting of cinnamon powder in the finish. Espresso cools quickly, and by the second sip sweet nut tones come into view and I'm left relishing creamy flavors of macadamia nuts dripping with dark chocolate. The flavors will no doubt hold up to steamed milk and the silky body of my ristretto shots should keep the milk afloat as a stout would lager in a "Black and Tan".
When it's all said and done, what started as a less than ideal roast ended with an espresso shot that exceeded my expectations. It just goes to show you that starting off with a good ingredients does a lot to set you up for success.
Check out our full review of Peru FTO Utcubamba Don Rigoberto on Sweet Maria's and Coffee Shrub