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Using Sound to Determine Degree of Roast

Audio cues are very important in determining degree of roast; it is a good indication of the chemical changes happening internally in the coffee bean. Learning to determine the difference between first crack and second crack is important.

As you listen to the clips posted below - notice that wet process coffees tend to have more time between first and second crack; dry process coffees have a more drawn out first crack and first can seem to run right into second. A drum roast is a longer overall roast time, so the time between first and second crack in longer; in an air roast, the whole process is more condensed, so the time between the cracks is more tighter.

Each coffee is unique, but hopefully these audio samples will give you an idea of what to listen for as you roast your own coffee.

The Sounds of First and Second Crack

Behmor  roaster  (wet processed coffee) First crack Second crack From first to second crack
Behmor  roaster  (dry processed coffee) First crack Second crack From first to second crack
Hot air popcorn popper (wet processed coffee) First crack Second crack
Hot air popcorn popper (dry processed coffee) First crack Second crack

  1. Ron Scudder
    May 17, 2018
    Hugely helpful!! Now the only question is when to start timing - as soon as the very first snap occurs, or when things get popping faster. Seems like a good two minutes between those times.
    1. Maria Troy
      May 21, 2018
      HI Ron - Thanks for your comment. Generally you start timing once the snapping is rolling. But different beans will behave differently - sometimes where the snap/crack is drawn out and sometimes very condensed. That will come with experience - but to start you might start timing once there have been 3 to 5 snaps close together. Hope that is helpful -Maria
  2. Ron Scudder
    May 26, 2018
    That's great - very helpful. That's about what I've been doing, and getting pretty consistent results. I've never had better coffee!
  3. Gary Mansperger
    August 10, 2018
    Do you remember the amount of beans and the Behmor settings? (i.e. 8OZ, B,P2, etc)?
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