August 19, 2019
The Bourbon cultivar is widely planted in Burundi, touted as an inherently sweet cultivar type. It also thrives when planted in high altitude zones. This leads to slower maturation for the plant and a denser coffee bean as a result that's forgiving in the roaster. These two factors make Burundi coffee a fantastic bean to turn to when starting your foray into roasting.
But to pass Burundi coffees off as simply "easy to roast" would be doing them a disservice. They're also some of the more complex coffees we offer, with flavor profiles that are delicate and tout a multitude of top notes and acidity. When roasted dark, they yield immense body and bittersweetness, both ideal for chocolatey espresso. And it's for these reasons that they tend to be a "go-to" green bean for me when looking for a versatile coffee that I plan to have around for a while.
With this in mind, I attempted to roast our coffee, Burundi Kayanza Dusangirijambo Coop, to opposite ends of the roast spectrum. I hoped to capture the spiced sweetness and acidity we know Dusangirijambo is capable of producing when roasted light, and also balanced bittersweet sweetness and roast tone at darker roast levels.
Minute by minute roast progression for the lighter City+ roast
Roast #1 City+
For my light roast I stuck to what is my general approach in the Behmor; manual mode, 100% power (P5), fast drum speed (if you don't know what I mean by "manual mode", you can read more about it here) On my machine, 325F is where I hit the dreaded over temp error stopping the roast prematurely. If I don't change my heat input, a 150 gram roast will hit 325 well before the start of 1st Crack (about 7 min in), so it's imperative that I fluctuate heat settings to avoid this. For me, this means dropping the heat setting to P3 (50%) when the chamber temperature reaches 315F.
From there, I basically toggle the heat input between P4 (75%) and P5 trying to stay above 300F but not hitting 325F! It can be a delicate dance, but you get pretty good at keeping roast progression steady with a little practice.
This roast hit 1st Crack at 8:40 seconds in, hitting the cool button 1:40 seconds after the the first audible snaps. I open the door while cooling to aid in stopping the roast process and cool the batch faster. Weight loss was 14%, a little darker than I'd hoped for but a solid City+.
The cup showed a nice tangy acidic impression that cut through dark sugary sweetness. The initial hot coffee has toffee and caramel sweetness that cools to a nice buttery caramel popcorn flavor. A high level of sweetness from front to back, and accented by cinnamon and clove spices. I'm impressed by the level of acidity despite the Behmor's slightly long cooling times. It takes the form of sweet lemon once the coffee is a drinkable temperature and really structures the cup flavors.
This is a good starting point for this coffee, adjusting for +/- bittersweetness and chocolatey roast tones(of which this coffee can produce plenty!). For those who prefer to use the pre-program modes, try starting with the 1 LB setting for 1/2 LB of coffee or less, and P1 (full power). There should be a noticeable decline in snaps with this coffee marking the end of 1st crack, at which time you can cool the roast (roughly 1 - 1:20 after the beginning of 1st crack)
Outline of my second, Full City roast verging on 2nd snaps
Roast #2 Full City
I planned to slow the roast down sooner for my darker roast by dialing back the heat when reaching a temp much closer to 300F, extending the latter leg of the roast profile. Seemed like the Behmor knew my plan and did it for me! I'm not exactly sure why, but my 2nd pass was about 20F behind roast #1 most of the way through, even though I employed the same roast parameters out of the gate.
However, it's worth noting that the rate of rise was faster. I did pre-heat the roaster before each batch for 40 seconds on P5 before loading the grid drum with coffee, so there's a chance this inconsistency comes from lag time on loading the drum and starting the actual roast.
In the end, 1st crack occurred at 9:50 seconds into the roast and I let it coast for 3 full minutes before cooling. There were a couple of 2nd crack snaps in the drum at the beginning of the cooling phase, but opening the front door did a pretty good job of cutting the roast short.
This is one of those coffees that shows much bigger fruited flavors when roasted dark. A juicy blueberry flavor comes through at this roast level, a nice fruited contrast to dominant bittersweetness. It's a chocolate bomb for sure, roast tones playing off a sweet undercurrent of raw sugar-type flavors, teasing out notes of dark cacao bar, semi-sweet chocolate chips, and nibs.
Makes a killer espresso too. The fruited tones are more than just a 'hint' in this context, berry juice and high % cacao bar notes are distilled down to a thick shot packed full of flavor.
*check out Burundi Kayanza Dusangirijambo Coop
*check out the Behmor 1600AB Plus