Winnowing Before Roasting

I have been thinking for long now. The possibility of winnowing cocoa beans before roasting.

It has several strengths and weaknesses.

I can still use cracked, shelled and partially shelled beans. They are considered defective as they tend to burn during roast. If cracked and winnowed while unroasted, all will be of equal footing.

Whenever I sort out those defect, I am thinking it could still be used without depriving product quality. I just have to find a way.

Faster roasting times, bigger load and faster timer. I tested this once. It is indeed more efficient.

Easier pre-grinding right after roasting. Nibs are relatively hot right after roasting. There is plenty of room to finish pre-grinding before all nibs get cold. However, it never apply if let cooled before pre-grind.

Roasting further evaporates water from beans, making the nibs and shell brittle. In addition, shell separate from nibs. These two phenomenon ease the winnowing process.

Winnowing raw bean requires special equipment of unknown availability. What I mean is, commercial winnowers are designed to work with roasted beans.

Different nibs sizes may result to uneven roasting. Powdery particles burns down faster than larger chunks. Pre-sorting maybe done for more efficient result. Another necessary equipment seen here.

May saved cocoa butter resulting to more delicious product. Some butter are transferred shells when roasted. This problem is solved by removing the shells first before subjecting under heat. Saving is negligible on small scale but sure a money maker on volume production.

Marvin is the lead chocolate maker of Ben and Lyn Chocolate Inc. Has strong background in food research and development. Occasionally conducts training and lectures. Lecturer of Cocoa Foundation of the Philippines. Do coaching and consultancy services on his free time.

Acrylamide in Roasted, Fried and Baked Foods

Which cooking method is the safest in terms of health issues? Frying, roasting or baking? Maybe one is safer than the other but all of them generate a byproduct called acrylamide.

The substance was first detected in foods on April 2002. FAO and WHO joint committee, in 2010, recognized it as health concern, thereby recommended it for long thorough studies. Under study and monitoring by EFSA and US FDA. It is neurotoxic and may cause cancer. Initial studies found out it can cause cancer to animals at very high doses.

The federal limit for acrylamide is about 0.12 micrograms per 8 ounce glass of water. A six ounce serving of french fries may have up to 60 micrograms. Up to five hundred times more than set limit.

Where can it be found? In nearly all brown food stuff including coffee, bread, chips and breakfast cereals.

It is formed when food is heated to develop a dry brown surface, our favorite term golden brown. It forms at temperature 100C and above.

Commodities of concerns are starchy foods which are deep fried, roasted or baked. Boiling and steaming is safe from acrylamide formation.

via: 1, 2,

Marvin is the lead chocolate maker of Ben and Lyn Chocolate Inc. Has strong background in food research and development. Occasionally conducts training and lectures. Lecturer of Cocoa Foundation of the Philippines. Do coaching and consultancy services on his free time.

Judging Coffee Roast Degree

The longer the beans stay inside roasting machine, the more flavor it develop and the darker it get. On the contrary, the longer means the shorter time before the beloved and hard produced coffee turns to a worthless charcoal.

liberica very dark roast 2

Roasting coffee can be as simple as boiling a fresh egg and can be as complicated as cooking kare-kare for a five star hotel, a champagne or a Japanese sushi. It requires a well trained judgement skill and or a very sophisticated machine.

I think the very first basis of coffee degree of roast is the color. The roast names were derived on varying degree of darkness / lightness. The light roast, medium roast, dark roast, very dark roast and the charcoal roast in case you let the beans reached its limit. The rare flame roast is a result of complete negligence and it can burn the whole factory as well.

Time frame is a popular connotation in recipes. Simmer for 15 minutes, boil for 30 minutes. The same rule is true to coffee roasting. Roast for 15 minutes or until the desired color is reached.

The more scientific way is the time, temperature and color combination. Commercial coffee roasting machines are equipped with temperature control/sensor and a small glass window for color monitoring. Time factor is human responsibility.

Roasting maybe carried out by: The roaster is pre-heated to desired temperature. Measured amount of beans are loaded. Continues heat bring up the temperature again to desired level. Maintained until the specified time. Beans ejected and cooled immediately.

Or: A modification …. After the beans are loaded, the beans must reach a certain temperature for a specified time frame. A more strict rule the above.

To make things more techie, an electronic eye and chip can be installed to roasting machine. It monitor temperature, time and color. Stop the process and eject the beans when the set criteria are met.

Marvin is the lead chocolate maker of Ben and Lyn Chocolate Inc. Has strong background in food research and development. Occasionally conducts training and lectures. Lecturer of Cocoa Foundation of the Philippines. Do coaching and consultancy services on his free time.

Yet Another Specialty Coffee, The Peaberry

I discovered another coffee type few days ago. It is known around the world for a long time but I just knew it recently. It is rare, but not as rare as coffee alamid. Expensive, but not as pricey either. A completely non-controversial coffee. I mean it never undergoes extra-ordinary treatment like passing via civet anus.

It can be gathered by patiently selecting beans from a group. Patience is not needed. Really! All you need is ask someone to sort it out for you and pay extra.  Standard rate won’t work. It is so easy to say that there is no such thing from a batch.

Approximately 5% of harvest are of this type. As of date, no special interest about increasing its output. On the other hand, some merchants are raising civet cats for the purpose of alamid coffee production.

I accidentally read it on zeccupa.com (http://www.zecuppa.com/coffeeterms-bean-defects.htm). Here is their concise article.

A single rounded bean from a coffee cherry which bears one bean instead of the usual flat sided pair of beans. Also known as ‘caracol’, ‘perla’ and ‘perle’. Peaberries are frequently separated and sold as a distinct variety. Papua New Guinea and Tanzanian peaberries are good examples.

Another popular example I found on web is the 100% Kona Peaberry.

The peaberry, also known as caracol or caracoli, means snail. It is a coffee abnormality instead of variety. A single cherry should produce two beans instead. Single bean development results to rounder but smaller coffee. It roast differently and usually separated from the batch. Then roasted and sold as special coffee product.

Scientific information about peaberry are rare. Different coffee webs have common reasons why it is superior than regular: 1) Roast evenly, rounder edges allows better rolling around roasting machine. 2) Roast evenly two, higher density value allows more efficient heat transfer. and 3) It is believed, the substances intended for two beans are given to one, resulting to a better  coffee end quality.

Marvin is the lead chocolate maker of Ben and Lyn Chocolate Inc. Has strong background in food research and development. Occasionally conducts training and lectures. Lecturer of Cocoa Foundation of the Philippines. Do coaching and consultancy services on his free time.

Re-roasting The Previously Roasted Coffee

Is it possible to re-roast a previously roasted coffee? Maybe yes, if the following conditions are met!

The previously roasted coffee color is uniform. If not, then the darker color might get burnt or the lighter color might not get enough heat. The non-uniform roast will result to a non-uniform end.

In case the previously roasted beans was not uniform, the roaster or any other personnel is willing to sort it to two or more groups. The re-roasting time of each group will depend on current color and the desired end.

A veteran roaster. If the err roasted coffee beans were roasted by a newbie. Then an expert might do something to correct it.

The roast color should not be beyond the desired. Converting a dark roast to medium roast is ridiculously impossible.

The roasting machine should have a see through glass window for monitoring bean color. It allows immediate stop and eject when the desired color is achieved.

Re-roasting coffee is not recommended. It is a deviation from standard protocol which might render significant flavor difference.

The picture below was an example of re-roasted coffee. An attempt to convert light roast to dark roast. It went well with a slight perceptible deviation in overall flavor.

re-roasted coffee beans

Marvin is the lead chocolate maker of Ben and Lyn Chocolate Inc. Has strong background in food research and development. Occasionally conducts training and lectures. Lecturer of Cocoa Foundation of the Philippines. Do coaching and consultancy services on his free time.