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The Turning Point and what it means in Roasting

Now that I have a new roaster, I'm doing research to understand it better. This of course will result in me blogging about what I have been learning. Please weigh in and add your thoughts to the comments section.

The first aspect I have been learning about is the Turning Point.

I found a YouTube series produced by Mill City Roasters where they are breaking down every piece of the roast. The first video was explaining the Turning point. I have seen roast profiles and in general understood what the turning point is: It's a drop in temperature due to the beans being added and eventually increasing after they have all hit an equilibrium.

As an explanation, that is good enough. But what does it mean and why do we care?

The turning point helps us understand our coffee. Keeping everything the same (Drum temp and batch size by weight), we will see that different beans turn around at different times. A dense bean will absorb more heat before turning around, where a less-dense bean will turn around quickly. This is important to know because as you develop your profile, you'll want to make sure you aren't scorching the beans, or dragging out the roast.

The turning point helps us understand our beans.

It also helps us repeat-ability, which is one of the main reasons for roast profiles: development and repeat-ability. Conditions are always changing. The weather can have a much larger affect on roasting then I realized (especially for people like me with very small roasters). Measuring the turning point will allow the roaster to pull the levers of heat and airflow to keep the beans on track.

When it all boils down to flavor, it seems the turning point doesn't have a huge affect. The beans go through a drying phase and then start a chemical change. The chemical change is visible as the beans will turn from green to yellow to brown. That is where the flavor is developed. The turning point helps us ensure that we are on the same path through the chemical change stages.

I plan on running my first few roasts through the Behmor this weekend. My goal is to determine the preheat temperature and measure temp changes so I can see the turn around. Once I see it happen, it will make it real for me and I should be able to apply it...or have a lot of questions to hit google with. All the same, it will be a great learning experience.

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