• Environmental Temperature
  • Author avatar
    Erik Johnson
  • EnvironmentEnvironmental Temperature

Environmental Temperature

When roasting it is easy to get consumed with the Bean Temperature. It is the readout that seems to draw the most attention. The use of data logging software, more specifically the Rate of Rise, I think adds to the fixation on Bean Temp.

The problem with the Bean Temp is twofold.

First, it isn't the actual temperature of the bean. The temperature shown is a combination of the exterior of the beans and the air in that part of the drum. It might sound like I'm splitting hairs here. I am.

Second, and this is the larger problem, the Bean Temp is the result, or the consequence, of what has happened in the roaster. It is not the cause. To try to make roasting decisions singularly based off of the Bean Temp will result much frustration. It is akin to driving a boat according to the wake. To control anything that is moving in time, your success is directly correlated with your ability to look into the future. Hence the creation and use of the Rate of Rise.

My problem with the Rate of Rise being used as the base of decisions is that it is still information based on the Bean Temp; based upon the wake. It's an equation that tells you where you will be in one minute based upon where you have been. It is a helpful tool, but in my opinion it is secondary.

The primary element that determines the actual temperature of your beans is the environment. By controlling the environment, you control the Rate of Rise and the Bean Temp. The opposite is not true. The Environmental Temperature in the First Thing.

The Environmental Temperature is what I find to be the most helpful information to control a roast. It allows you to steer a roast exactly where you want it to go - whether you are creating a profile, or duplicating a profile in production.

When I build my profiles around the Environmental Temp I will also use the Bean Temp and the Rate of Rise. First I decide what I want to have happen in the roast - when do I want to have the bean yellow, hit First Crack, and a range for my final Bean Temp and time. Then It's just some simple math to figure out what Rate of Rise I need for different phases of the roast. Needless to say, these are guidelines for myself. I'm not rigid about these numbers. If I have a goal in mind, I use the Rate of Rise and the Bean Temp to help me reach my goal. But ultimately, how I control the roast is the Environmental Temp.

And the Environmental Temperature probe is independent from roast logging software. You don't need the software to get the benefits of the Environment Temp.

In my experience, I gained so much more control and understanding of a roast by using an Environmental Temperature that I highly recommend installing one on your roaster.

  • Author avatar
    Erik Johnson
  • EnvironmentEnvironmental Temperature