Under-roasted coffee, anyone?

Well, I learned a few things from my last roast:
One, is under-roasted coffee tastes bad.
Also, I learned it’s easy to get ahead of one’s self and dream about coffee roasting and start saying, “Yes, I’ll roast my own beans, and then I’ll have the coffee house, and the open mic night, and the delivery service, and the…” and forget that there’s a lot to learn about coffee roasting.
I roasted a 1/2 pound of Indonesia. I suspected something was wrong when I emptied the beans and noticed an inconsistent look to the beans. I realized the beans were not the same size and the smaller ones looked roasted while the larger ones looked underroasted.

I waited until this morning to let the beans rest before sampling a cup. The first thing I noticed was an intense floral smell, followed by a sour taste. I’ve never tasted coffee so sour. I’ve had bad coffee, greasy spoon coffee, gas station coffee, radio station coffee, church coffee.

Was the coffee ruined? You bet! Was the coffee wasted? No way, because I learned some valuable lesson is this failure. I personally hate failures, but I was reminded that these are teaching moments:

It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline?…For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.

Hebrews 12:7, 11

By the way, no pun intended on the Hebrews (He-brews, get it?)

Anyway, here’s what a bad batch of underroasted Indonesian tastes like:

  • Aroma: Strong flowery, earthy and citrus smell, almost smells more like strong tea than coffee. 
  • Acidity: Sour like a lemon or a bad orange. Seriously, this makes your mouth pucker.
  • Body: Light, almost unnoticable toward the back of the mouth.
  • Taste: Very bright, sour, citrusy-orange bite, tangy, rancid, no hint of caramel or roast flavor. You might think you were drinking raw beans if not for the color. Definitely tastes under-roasted, like it needed just another minute or two to caramelize the flavors. Punches you in the mouth, like undercooked pasta – it looks cooked, you take it in your mouth, and bam, you realize the dish is ruined because it’s premature, it wasn’t cooked all the way through. 

At the end of the cup, I thought, “I want to spit it out it’s so bad. Undrinkable. Pass me the Folger’s, please!”

So my plan is to go back to roasting quarter pounds only until I get the feel for the roaster and roast levels down. Tonight I might roast another batch of Indonesian at a longer roast to compare.