In order to brew high quality specialty coffee, you have to roast coffee beans by exposing them to light and heat, without having an inconsistent coffee roast.
This is in order to break down compounds in the coffee beans to give you the real taste and flavour of the coffee, and to produce a high quality brew.
But if coffee beans are roasted unevenly and inconsistently, then it can affect its flavour as well as aroma to a considerable level.
What is an inconsistent coffee roast? An inconsistent coffee roast is a process when coffee beans are roasted inconsistently, resulting in a negative impact on the flavour and aroma of your coffee, and causing a direct hit to the roaster’s profits.
In this article, we are going to help you have a better understanding on what an inconsistent coffee roast is, and how to avoid it, so you can save your time and money, and continue drinking great tasting coffee.
What are the Reasons for the Inconsistent Coffee Roast?
Coffee beans can be roasted inconsistently due to a number of reasons, these include;
- Lack of coffee bean freshness
- Poor quality coffee beans
- Too fast roasting times
- Slow roasting drum speed
- Roasting drum too hot
- Crowded roast chamber
- Retention of grounds
Let’s take a further look.
1. Lack of Freshness in Coffee Beans
The flavour of your coffee beans get affected when they are exposed to light and oxygen.
This is due to the breaking down of the compounds found in the beans as it makes the coffee grounds more porous, therefore, it can affect the taste of your coffee.
If you are using the same coffee bean grounds and getting the same odd taste for some time, then it can be because of a lack of adequate freshness in your coffee beans, or due to incorrect storage when the coffee beans are not in use.
2. Poor Quality Coffee Beans
If you are unable to roast the coffee beans evenly for some time then you should also examine the quality of your beans.
If you are buying roasted beans from a known special source then you should re-evaluate the quality of those beans, and find out if they are worth the price.
To roast your coffee beans evenly you must buy green coffee beans of the best quality.
You may not be able to roast them evenly because the coffee cherries have been picked underdeveloped or unripe.
Under or over fermentation of coffee beans can also be a reason for inconsistent roasting.
Also, uneven or rapid use of the dry roasting process can cause inconsistent roasting of coffee beans.
So, your coffee roast can also be affected if the green coffee is not prepared and cared for carefully during the process of fermentation.
3. Too Fast Roasting
Your coffee roast can be inconsistent if you are roasting coffee beans at a too fast speed.
Your speed can be considered too fast if you are getting roasts in less than 7 minutes.
Some of the top quality beans that are denser then other beans can be roasted inconsistently if you do not give them enough time to dehydrate evenly in the roaster.
The sugar in the coffee beans will be caramelised only if a considerable amount of water in them is roasted.
So when you roast them at a faster speed, then some of the beans will start caramelising, whereas others may be teaming away their water content.
Overall, a factor that causes an inconsistent coffee roast.
4. The Slow Speed of Roasting Drum
Scorched coffee beans may not affect the taste of your coffee if they are fewer in number.
However, if many of your beans are scorched then you will have to check the flaws in your process of roasting coffee beans.
It can be due to the slow speed of your roasting drum, which may result in allowing more time for the coffee beans to sit on the hot surface of the drum.
The coffee beans should be roasted through the convection method instead of the conduction method.
They will naturally burn if they will be allowed to sit on the hot surface of the drum for a longer period of time.
5. The Drum is Too Hot
Coffee beans can also be roasted unevenly if the temperature of your roasting drum is too high.
The beans will remain in touch with the very hot surface of your drum which can burn most of them.
According to research, 75% of the coffee beans should be roasted by convection and 25% by conduction but in a very hot roasting drum.
It can happen when you roast various batches of coffee beans one after the other or start roasting by charging the drum at a very high temperature.
6. Too Crowded Roast Chamber
The capacity of coffee beans that can be roasted in your roaster at a time is important.
Do not forget about this, as it can cause roasting coffee inconsistently.
You need to avoid overcrowding the roast chamber as it will not allow the coffee beans to move through the chamber properly.
In such conditions, your beans will either stick to the bottom of the roaster or on the surface of the drum.
So, all the beans will not receive the same amount of heat and will be roasted inconsistently.
7. Retention of Grounds
After grinding coffee beans most of the grinders retain some of the grounds.
These dried and stale retained coffee grounds will mix up with the beans you will grind the next day.
It will affect the taste of the first few cups of coffee due to dried and stale grounds mixed in.
How to Avoid Inconsistent Roast?
To avoid inconsistent roast let us consider the reasons discussed above one by one:
1. The Freshness of Coffee Beans
Avoid inconsistency in coffee roasts by storing coffee grounds in an airtight and light-blocking container.
Or by using re-sealable bags for this purpose.
Be sure to avoid storing for more than 2-4 days at a time in the hopper if it is not airtight.
You should also check the date of harvest before roasting coffee beans.
Also remember, the lack of freshness of coffee beans can be avoided by grinding the beans just before brewing, as it will maintain the freshness of the coffee grounds.
2. Quality of Coffee Beans
You should buy coffee beans from a trusted source to be sure to get the best quality coffee beans. In this process, you should avoid the careless producers of green coffee.
Take time and do your research as it will pay off.
3. Fast Speed of Roasting
The problem caused by the fast speed of roasting beans can be avoided by using an electric roaster.
You can control the high speed of the electric roaster by using an extension cord to roast your beans evenly.
4. The Slow Speed of Drum
In some coffee bean roasting machines the speed of the drum can be controlled by pressing a button.
You can use such easily manageable machines to avoid inconsistent roasting of coffee beans.
5. Too High Temperature of Drum
Inconsistent coffee roasts can be avoided by lowering the temperature of the drum either by programming it or preheating it at a lower temperature.
Also provide a gap of approx 10 minutes between each batch when roasting several batches of coffee beans.
It will help your drum to adjust its temperature with the environmental temperature.
6. Too Crowded Hopper
The problem caused by the overcrowded hopper of a coffee bean roaster can be resolved by reducing the number of beans by half or so.
You can roast your beans consistently by reducing their amount and maintaining the temperature of your roasting drum instead of overloading it.
7. Retention of Grounds
The problem caused by the grounds retained by the grinder can be avoided.
Throwing away some of the initial coffee grounds while grinding coffee beans on the next day is a good start.
It will allow you to get fresh coffee grounds instead of mixed with dried and stale grounds.
It is recommended to throw away the initial grounds even if you are using the grinder after 5 hours.
Does Inconsistent Coffee Roast Affect Flavour?
Yes, inconsistent coffee roast can affect the overall flavour of your coffee. The taste of your coffee completely depends on how you have roasted the coffee beans.
“When coffee is roasted consistently, baristas and other consumers know what they’re dealing with and can trust they’ll get the same cup every time. Inconsistent batches can’t be sold, so they’re a direct hit to the roaster’s profits”.Zach Latimore, perfectdailygrind.com
The process of roasting coffee beans requires a lot of focus as you have to apply consistent heat throughout.
You may have to use the equipment used by the professional roasters.
Or at least use high quality tools and accessories if you are roasting your coffee beans at your home.
However, sometimes even professional roasters cannot control the quality of their roasted beans, besides, we are all only human.
Therefore, there are chances that you may not get coffee beans of the same quality every time if you are buying them from a nearby store.
In fact, the content of sugar and protein in the coffee beans can vary widely depending upon the level of consistency of their roast and brands.
The problem in roasting coffee beans inconsistently can also be experienced by the coffee roasters working in industrial setups.
So, if you are unable to roast coffee consistently then don’t get yourself worried.
See it as an opportunity in finding ways to improve.
How to Fix Inconsistent Coffee Roast?
If you have inconsistently roasted coffee beans at your home, then you can either find a good substitute for your equipment or experiment to find a new recipe.
Therefore, you can avoid spoiling the unique flavours and aromas of the coffee beans, as well as prevent weak coffee.
If it is due to the lower quality of coffee beans then you try another type of coffee.
Or try the same beans of a different batch.
Again, you may need to give yourself some room for trial and error.
But before trying any of these options, keep in mind that the taste of anything is a personal matter.
However, if you are not satisfied with your roaster or coffee beans then you should consider making changes.
Inconsistent Roast F.A.Q’s
A: As coffee roasts get darker, they lose the origin flavours of the beans and take on more flavour from the roasting process.
The body of the coffee gets heavier, until the second crack, where the body again thins. Lighter roasts have more acidity than darker roasts.
A: Keep in mind that for the roasting process to be successful, the beans must be heated to temperatures between 370 degrees F to 540 degrees F.
When you roast, be sure the beans remain in constant motion so none of them become scorched.
A: Coffee roasting is a complex process that involves the careful application of heat to green coffee in an effort to transform the basic stuff of life contained within each seed – sugars, proteins, acids, etc – into delightful aromas of roasted nuts, malts, chocolate, fruit, berries, flowers and more.
A: Quite simply, larger beans will roast at a different rate to the smaller ones so mixed sizes can lead to inconsistent flavour and an inconsistent coffee roast.
Conclusion: What is an inconsistent coffee roast
Overall, achieving consistency in coffee bean roasting can be quite difficult.
If you are new to specialty coffee then you are certainly going to come across inconsistent coffee roast.
Therefore, whether you are a roaster, or just someone who loves buying and brewing coffee, it is important to know what inconsistent coffee roast is and how to avoid it.
This article has given you a better understanding of the many variables to consider.
We hope you can achieve coffee roast consistency time and time again, as well as saving your precious time and money.
If you enjoyed this article, read more like this by checking out our Specialty Coffee Beginners Guides.