Adjusting Profiles Based on Taste


A question asked by @Kvangels to describe how to adjust a profile based on taste

I’ll begin with the sample profile I made called “Sum Man 5.17142” it’s my (usually) first profile I use on a new bean. Found here:Profiles for immediate use
If the bag recommends a roast level I will roast in that range, rather, I like to start paying attention in that range. Looking, taking a smell, pen in hand ready to take notes. I’ll roast it usually to the end of that range, unless there is nothing then I keep going. While the roast is going I am looking to compare that roast to generally every roast I’ve ever done (mentally) thinking where does this bean fall into that range. Is the color lighter? Does it look more even, or less? How’s the texture, how do the beans look spinning, are they higher on the wall? Sounds, and of course, smells.
Once I taste the coffee, since this profile is not most likely the god profile for it. The taste will generally be less powerful and the body thinner. But the flavor, if any is usually there, fairly distinct. I’m sipping the cup from hot to cold, taking my time and not really paying attention to it. Personally, if I just drink the coffee casually and slowly if a taste note comes up, it will bring my attention to it. I find search and concentrating, trying to “find” a flavor leaves me debating internally what is that taste. Like if I make a meal, if I fuss to much it is usually over seasoned and terrible but if I relax, don’t force it. The oyster opens itself, so to say. Disclaimer: do whatever you want.

Briefly, because I don’t have much in solid evidence/advice. When I am adjusting a made profile for a specific bean, I adjust similarly to how Rob Hoos suggests in his book. Where I differ is if the flavor is too brown or malty, I assume I lost too much moisture or am spending too much time before first crack. If I am doing my usual lower temp profiles, I judge a lot of the momentum based on the sound and vigor of the crack. That style of profile seems to like a hard crack. I seem to rarely get a sour coffee a) because I do V60 and aeropress (read: very diluted), b) in this roaster with this low of bean mass, anything over 7min seems like it is a long development time. I theorize once I start playing in shorter/hotter profiles I’ll find the sour bombs. c) I rarely (never) buy green sour bombs :slight_smile:.
I’ll take a profile hotter or have a faster ROR if the crack is weak or bean structure is too tough. For Ethiopians i find 15F-18F/min is the sweet spot and so far the range for all coffees I’ve done is 12F-25F/min for Marshal Etheo shaped profiles.

To be continued…


Interesting read. Thanks for taking time to type it up. I’ve been a lot more utilitarian with my coffee roasting lately–time for note-taking and study is falling by the wayside to other priorities. But it’s something I want to pick back up soon.

Something I tried a while back that I should have taken better notes on–intentionally altering a good profile for the sake of learning. In other words once you’ve arrived at the profile you (currently) intend to keep using, make one that decreases (or increases) the fan speed throughout. Then vice-versa. Same goes for increasing or lowering a temperature point during yellow (or pale, 1st crack, development, etc). The intent is to alter the profile you enjoy with a known change to determine what that particular change introduced to the coffee.

Something I struggle with overall is smell. I’ve never really had a strong sense of smell, and usually I can’t discern any smells during roasting other than coffee. That doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy what I roast–far from it. But my refinement process weighs heavy on what is in the cup, rather than what I see or hear during roasting.