Decaf Roasting Tip…
If you’ve got to roast decaffeinated coffee [not for yourself, right? it’s for somebody else, sure!] you’ve probably learned that it roasts altogether different than a typical green coffee. Decaffeinated beans look half-roasted to begin with, so there’s no way to judge by color. Decaf smells altogether different as it roasts [read, it stinks] so you can’t rely on the usual aroma cues. Finally, it’s a but sluggish in terms of pyrolysis — first crack can sound more like a typical second. And, insult upon injury, all the while that batch of decaf is roasting just a bit more quickly than regular coffee would. What’s a roaster to do?

Try this: simply add a few regular coffee beans to the batch. The caffeine content of three or four regular beans is inconsequential in the cup [you’ll still end up with coffee that’s better than 97% caffeine free] and these non-decaf beans prove exceptionally useful visual cues — they really stand out in a roaster full of decaf beans. When they don’t stand out anymore you know you’re very close to a completed roast. At that point, when your decaf begins to smell like just any ol’ coffee, quench the roast… it’s done.

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