A. The Art of Coffee Roasting
Coffee roasting really is simply an art form. Nothing is more true of this than when you roast on the RK. The reason for this is that you don't have any computer controls or any automation to roast for you. With this form of roasting, you will become a true expert of the trade very quickly as we roast entirely with sights, smells, sounds, temperatures and times. What I will document here is what works for us and what seems to work really well for most of our customers. Undoubtedly there will be someone who will say that roasting should be done this way or that and you'll get better roasts if you do this or that.
That is simply the beauty of coffee roasting. Every coffee roasts differently, has an ideal roast temperature, and even a roast time. The quality of the coffee you choose will determine the ultimate perfection of a coffee. Conversely, you can ruin a near perfect green coffee by roasting it incorrectly.
A Colombian coffee may have an optimum roast at Full City and a particular Salvadoran coffee may not be too great at Full City, but begins to really shine at Full City +.
So if you truly wish to master the art of coffee roasting, then you really should study each individual coffee that you buy, and understand to what degree the coffee should be roasted in order to achieve maximum flavor in that given coffee. Tom Owen at Sweetmarias.com has a database of coffees and what their ideal roast should be and should serve as an excellent reference as to what you should try for on your roasts.
I, personally, have only scratched the surface in obtaining excellence in coffee roasting. And will always be learning. I once had a conversation with someone whom I consider an expert in coffee and he told me that even after 20 years, he is still learning new things about coffee every day...
I suppose I have a long way to go.