6 Batches, 5 long waits, an annoying breadmaker and rosetta coloured glasses?

Had some solid breakthroughs with the home roasting setup last night, the most telling one being the installation and calibration of a k-type thermocouple into the pan of my breadmaker. I had drilled the hole for the thermocouple a few weeks ago, intending to calibrate it in order to take the bean temp, rather than air temp by essentially burying the probe into the base of the pan where the beans would always cover it. Having  neglected to do this for 2 frustrating roasting sessions in which I accurately measured the temperature of the air blasting from my paint-strippingly hot heat gun, I decided to finally get it right. After bending the probe to sit beneath the surface of the beans, and positioning it out of reach of the bread kneader, it started to yield almost predictable results. but alas, not entirely predictable. Every so often there was a spike in temp of up to 40 deg C above the curve, then a corresponding drop, back to the progression of temperature I was expecting in the pan. A few head scratching moments later, I decided to relocate the probe to the other side of the pan, which is slightly shadowed in terms of where the heat gun shines it’s heat. The results were much, much better.

Getting accurate temp readouts is so, so flipping handy and just quietly, I am inordinately excited to get my nerd on and plot some time vs temp stuff, oh the graphs, OH THE GRAPHS…

This gratifying breakthrough however has spurred me into more seriously looking at my breadmaker setup. Whilst I find selecting the “dough cycle” to stir my coffee to be mildly humorous, my particular machine has a quirky charm of its own; it wont run (AT ALL)  if the unit is 40 deg C or over, and as you can imagine, 180 is out of the question. So every batch begins with a ten minute wait for the residual heat to disperse before I can start.   So I’m considering chucking the breadmaker, keeping the pan and driving the stirrer with an electric screwdriver, or similar low rpm motor. I’ve also got plans to refine my cooling system which consists of me holding a vacuum cleaner underneath a colander and stirring the coffee with a wooden spoon. Effective but very tedious.

I’d like to take a poll today too, it’s inspired by a mate of mine who is, frankly, a bloody genius and has taught me a great deal about a great many things. Hanging around his coffee lab and discussing various things, he mentioned his strong dislike of latte art. As you can see from some of my photo’s I’m not all together adverse to the concept, but I thought his argument made a lot of sense; people pre-judge coffee based on its appearance, its natural and obvious, and frankly a pretty reliable indicator of the basic skills of the barista, but with so many places these days focusing on latte art as their main presentation tool, the benchmark is changing, and perhaps we need to close our eyes a bit more to appreciate what we are being served.  So, my question is this: If you were served a coffee without ANY latte art (literally brown milk colored on top) would you take it seriously? Now to put a finer point on what we are talking about here I’ll also stipulate that the coffee in question appears to be well textured, and neatly poured.

Are we seeing latte art adorned coffee through rosetta coloured glasses? Or is this a fair call to make?

Cheers,

Nic

p.s. sorry no pics today, camera was on the charge and I’m WAY past drinking more coffee today, I’ll make it up next time!

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