Everything You Need To Know About Between Batch Protocol
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Professional coffee roasters know that Between Batch Protocol is key to keeping consistent product quality. Ideally, we should start each roast with the exact same initial condition of the coffee roasting machine, to achieve an identical roast profile when roasting multiple batches. In this blog, we will learn all about the Between Batch Protocol, why is it important, and how coffee roasters use Between Batch Protocol to maintain consistency.
What is Between Batch Protocol?
Between Batch Protocol (BBP) is the process of resetting the roaster machine’s thermal energy from the end of the last batch to the start of the next batch. The aim is to arrive at the exact same initial conditions at the start of every new batch. With an efficient BBP, a coffee roaster can roast multiple consecutive batches and replicate roast curves in near perfection.
Why is Between Batch Protocol So Important?
When roasting coffee, we apply a lot of heat to the roaster machine. The majority of this heat is absorbed by the coffee beans, but some of it is also absorbed by the roaster drum. If we fail to cool down between roasts, this means the drum roaster will be hotter and hotter on each batch, making the beans roast faster and faster. This will result in inconsistent quality and altered characteristics of the roasted coffee beans.
Another problem might occur when we plan to roast in different batch sizes, as different batch sizes require a different amount of energy input. This means that a larger batch size will leave the drum roaster at a higher temperature at the end of the roast, compared to smaller batch size.
As a coffee roaster, our ultimate goal is to create consistency with our approach and end product. This is why we need to create a Between Batch Protocol that allows the roaster machine to return to the same initial thermal conditions regardless of the number of batches or the different batch sizes we roast on that day. Without a consistent BBP, we are unlikely to repeat the desired roast profile and will end up with inconsistent roasts throughout the day.
The Most Important Factor: Temperature
For the longest time, the standard cooling cycle was focused on time. After the roasted beans are dropped, the gas is turned off, then the roaster waits for a set amount of time (for example, one minute), then the coffee roaster is started again. However, if our goal is to reach the initial thermal conditions, we should focus on temperature because then the time will self-correct depending on the conditions at the end of the last roast. For example, after a large batch size, it will take longer to reach the initial temperature compared to a smaller batch size. The same goes for roasting on a hot day compared to a cold day.
Step-by-step Between Batch Protocol
So what does an efficient Between Batch Protocol look like? A step-by-step example is outlined below.
- At the end of the roast, Drop the roasted beans into the cooling tray, then close the door immediately.
- turn off the gas to reduce the thermal energy of the roaster machine.
- Let the roaster cool down to a predetermined temperature, usually about 20⁰C below the charge temperature. This is the bottom temperature, and it should take 3-4 minutes to reach this point in order to maintain consistent thermal energy inside the roasting machine.
- Once the bottom temperature is reached, turn on the gas to the low or medium setting.
- Drop the green coffee beans once the charge temperature is reached
Different roaster machines have different characteristics, different coffee beans require different approaches, and even different climates beg for certain adjustments. It is up to the coffee roasters to learn and experiment in order to come up with simple yet effective ways to achieve the same roast profile again and again.
Berto Type D Roaster is compatible with either Cropster or Artisan software, both offer solid Between Batch Protocol features. If you are interested in a roaster machine that can help you improve the consistency of your roasts, drop us a line here and we’ll be in touch!