Failing hard Failing fast and leaving smoldering nuggets of doom behind
I open the roaster some smoke pours out, my research said to expect smoke; “this is fine”, exactly why I am in the garage instead of kitchen. A minute passes, thermometer reports good internal temperature, smoke still bellowing out, open the roaster only to be met with clouds of annihilation, and a smell that scorches my nostrils.
At this point the garage is at capacity with smoke, dump the roaster and find that no, I don’t have coffee beans I have little burnt nuggets of doom. Alright lets iterate on this I think it must have been the time, even though I was already at two thirds the time that research and tutorials told me. Start the process again, and a slightly better result less annihilation but still destruction.
How did this happen? I did weeks of research and planning, I had the timetables mapped out, I had the temperature zones plotted, thermal loads and drop temps, my process was exactly how I read from multiple sources. How did I fail so completely and quickly(within 4 minutes)? I wanted coffee and instead I have a charred desecration.
What can I learn then from the process? There has to be something to get out of this mess, I don’t want to just throw it all away and let it be a complete forfeiture. Many people talk about learning from failures or failing fast fail forward, sure one can fail and move on but if you don’t look back at what went wrong and what failed or why it failed, then no matter the iterations, if the foundational element was flawed then the results will be as well. My suspicion of a root cause was the heating source, I was never going to roast the beans because I was simply scorching them, regardless what my roasting air temperatures were saying, the roasting surface was substantially higher.
I had tried a process that was completely new to me, may as well finish and give myself a post mortem on how horribly it all went wrong, even after two showers and 2 hours later all I can smell is burnt coffee. Many speak of how failures are good for us but failures are only good if we are willing to take the time and understand the failure, understand the problem and sometimes be willing to admit that it was wholly screwed up from the get go. I had the timetable and the temperature zones mapped, I knew how long the roast was supposed to take, even after I changed that thought. I looked at the variables and found the one variable that I had not accounted for and something that may cause the scorch. That fundamental variable should be changed next time, don’t use such a large burner! Then we can try again, or in my case wait for my air popper to try an entirely different roasting process maybe by then I can get the smell of destroyed coffee out of my garage.