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Onsite Green Inventory – A balancing act

January 17, 2017

Low inventory notification based on realtime roasting data!

Managing green coffee inventory is as much art as it’s science. Maintaining the right balance of inventory to satisfy your production needs without taking up precious roastery space or putting excessive pressure on finances, can be a juggling act.

At RoastLog we’re constantly looking for even the simplest way to help our users find that balance.  From the inventory page, users get a visual cue for coffees that will likely run out within the next week (yellow highlight) or are at critical levels and need to be addressed (red).

At-a-glance – time to check onsite stock!

From there, decide if it’s time to:

  • transfer coffee from your importer or offsite warehouse
  • schedule a delivery
  • archive the coffee

This is the first of many notification tools coming from RoastLog.  More to come!


We continue to create features to help inform your business decisions.

Like what you see?  Want to see more?  Let us know

Managing all the Details – Coffee producer & contract details

November 30, 2016

Producer/Farmer & Contract details all under one roof!

Green coffee purchasing decisions can be complicated; and in many respects, it’s what sets apart the best cafes and roasteries. Now it’s possible to collect and organize all the details related to your coffees in one place.

In addition to details about bean lots, cultivation, processing and physical attributes, RoastLog now manages additional producer and contract-related information.

Screenshot of Producer & Contract details for a new bean lot.

Screen capture of Producer & Contract Details on new bean lot page.

Producer info:
  • Producer/Farmer name
  • Region
  • geocoordinates
  • elevation
Contract details:
  • pricing
  • purchase order number
  • importer
  • contract number
  • delivery/warehouse Terms
  • sample types
  • Contract terms
  • contract date
  • crop year

We’ve even made an effort to help you organize the alphabet soup of acronyms found on purchase contracts.

Here are the predefined list of delivery/warehouse terms:

Warehouse/Delivery terms

Here are the contract terms:

Contract terms

There’s even a list of different sample types:

Sample Types


We’re working hard to make RoastLog the best way to manage your green inventory. Let us know how we’re doing!

 

Roasting Progress – Looking beyond time & temperature

August 12, 2016

Understanding roasting events based on when they occur

Time and temperature of roast events, e.g., first crack, provide significant details for understanding roast development. Looking at first crack and other roasting milestones through another lens, can help shed light on how these events impact cup quality.

Within the details page for any batch of roasted coffee, one will find a slew of information – time/temperature curves, of course, and other granular detail such as batch size, bean lot details, shrinkage, cost of roasted coffee, and roasting event milestones among others.

Focusing on the list of events in the table below the chart for the moment, you’ll notice a new method for quantifying when these events occurred in relationship to overall roasting time. These events now include the “roast progress” as a percentage of total recording time.

Rather than solely relying on time and temperature for roasting events, users can evaluate when key events occur relative to the overall roast.


Something else you’d like to see?  Let us know

Measure the Roast Energy in every batch

May 31, 2016

Understanding the overall amount of energy transferred from equipment to beans

We’ve introduced a unique way of representing the amount of energy inputted into a given roast. Comparing the overall Roast Energy from one roast to the next might be a convenient metric to measure batch consistency. We also have a hunch that it may be handy for understanding milestone events by adding a dimension beyond time & temperature.

As displayed in the RoastLogger for iPad app

In the future, we hope that RoastLog users paying closer attention to the roast energy between key roasting events will be able to draw stronger links between flavor and roast profiles. For example, analyzing Roast Energy during the ‘Caramelization Phase’ (Maillard Reaction) or ‘Roast Development Phase’ (first crack –> drop) and comparing these values between roasts.


What do you think?  Useful?  Let us know

Support for blind cupping is here!

February 8, 2016

Blind cupping is now supported in RoastLog!

When initiating a cupping session, blind cupping is turned on by default. If your cupping session doesn’t require masking the identity of your coffees, display the names with a simple click of a button.

Now you see it…

Roastable names displayed

Click to display Roastable names.

Now you don’t…

Roastable name hidden by default

Cupping forms are initially configured for blind cupping.


We’re working hard to make RoastLog invaluable for running your roastery. Let us know how we’re doing!

 

RoastLog now Supports Role-based Software Permissions

January 6, 2016

Perms_Logo_Monitor

To give you complete control over your sensitive info in RoastLog, we are glad to introduce our latest feature: role-based permissions.

This feature enables the creation of customized views and the selective sharing of information while providing control over the editing, viewing, sharing, deletion and creation of specific data within RoastLog.  The best thing of all: the permissions feature is now available to our current users and a standard feature of all subscription plans.

Go ahead, enter that info

Given the proper tools, collecting business-related data is relatively straightforward.  Analyzing that data, on the other hand, is completely a different story (and potentially a topic for a future blog post).  And so, while info gathering is being made easier and more automated thanks to software like RoastLog, not everyone in your business needs the same amount of information to do their job.

Moreover, perhaps you want to restrict the information you share with some of your staff, business partners (e.g., importers or producers), or in some cases, even your clients.  This is where software permissions come in handy.

User_permissions_shortcut

When less is more (efficient)

One of the hallmarks of good business software is providing users with visibility to information in a format that is easy to understand.  In a perfect world, the system would display exactly what someone needs to do their job effectively, and nothing more.  As the saying goes, “more isn’t necessarily better”.  A clean, intuitive user interface, leads to greater efficiency and less frustration for the user.  The option to display/hide particular info within the software is a means to this end.

Choose what they see

Then there are times when it’s simply necessary to limit information – surely the case when it comes to your sales and financial data as well as details about your products and suppliers.  Coffee data management has its own unique set of requirements ranging from growing region, bean cultivation, and processing methods to the ICO number, lot info, purchase prices, and blend recipes – just to name a few.  While this type of data is important for managing your business, it’s probably not critical to day-to-day operations.  Now, Admin-level users in RoastLog can decide what info makes sense to share and then apply customized permissions for each individual user.

Permission_Examples

We’re excited to announce role-based permissions for information creation, editing, viewing, sharing and deletion.  You can now confidently provide business partners and team members visibility to exactly what they need.  Hope you enjoy this feature as much as we enjoyed designing it.

 

Heating Rates – Rising Interest from Coffee Roasters

November 24, 2015

There is no denying that the science and experimentation of coffee roasting are alive and well within the industry these days.  The tinkering and optimizing remind me so much of the so-called maker movement. One of the most heralded terms being batted around these days is heating rate, or rate-of-rise as it’s commonly referred.

What’s in a name…

Whether you prefer to call it the rate-of-rise/R-o-R/RoR, or our preference: the heating rate, understanding how quickly the temperature of the coffee beans rises and falls during roasting is arguably as useful if not more than recording bean temp by itself.  Who would have guessed a little bit of simple high school calculus could be such a game changer?  So, with all the attention it seems to be getting these days, we thought it was worth exploring this key RoastLog feature.

Much of the buzz around heating rate is being generated by members of the roasting community. In fact, it’s difficult to attend a specialty coffee conference, Roasters Guild retreat or coffee roasting event without it coming up in discussion – and for good reason, as it’s proven its worth as an invaluable tool for guiding roast profile development and understanding the unique characteristics of one’s own roasting equipment.

Logging heating rate:  A perfect complement to recording air and bean temp

Understanding heating rate, merits some talk of tracking enviro air temp in addition to bean temperature on drum roasters. A few years back, we hosted a guest blog post about how the interplay between bean and air temp provided insights into the thermal dynamics of roasting equipment and helped roasters anticipate how quickly heat applied to the drum will translate to the beans.

When we introduced our first 4-input data bridge we were finally able to equip our users with the logging device needed to simultaneously record both bean and air temps.  Since the air in the drum is much more responsive to changes in airflow and gas pressure, the environmental air temp in the drum is a bellwether for heat transferring from the system into the beans.

Adding in the heating rate/RoR completes the air temp/bean temp/heating rate trifecta, allowing roasters the ability to get realtime feedback on their flame adjustments and to see how rapidly bean temp changes during roasting.

animated-roasting

Heating rate as recorded in the iPad app.

It’s worth reiterating that RoastLog users have the ability to visualize this information while actually roasting which, in turn, makes this info actionable.  As a result, roasters gain yet another tool in the effort to get consistency and quality from their roasting operations.

The value of monitoring heating rate

Knowledgable folks like Morten Münchow espouse the benefits of tracking the rate of temperature change when performing roast profile analysis and while dialing in roast profiles. In fact, one of the clearest explanations I’ve seen for heating rate/RoR – and the value of tracking it during roasting – is on Münchow’s blog at Coffee-Mind.com.  However, he’s not alone amongst the evangelists.  Profile analysis and development have become staples during coffee roaster trainings. Numerous coffee courses including, but not limited to, Coffee International, Boot Coffee Consulting and regular offerings from the Roaster’s Guild cover the topic. One need not go much further than Scott Rao’s book, The Coffee Roaster’s Companion, for what amounts to a clinical dissection of heating rate and it’s impact on roast development – one the main pillars of Rao’s Three Commandments of Roasting.

https://coffee-mind.com/roast-profile-analysis/

Tangential lines representing heating rate at points along the profile. Courtesy Morten Münchow, http://coffee-mind.com

Coffee roasters are increasingly using these types of tools to better understand and anticipate the progression of their roasts.  With these tools comes control, clarity and a way to measure what previously was observed empirically. A perfect example is how heating rate informs roasters on how/when to adjust the application of heat to avoid pitfalls such as stalling and scorching.  These were events that, not very long ago, were things that a roaster was more likely to sense than measure.

More insight translates to better control and the ability to optimize the energy going into the roast.

In turn, a new generation of roasters is emerging – many who are honing their skills and mastering a craft in an incredibly short period of time. We’re generating a vast body of knowledge around roasting that is systematically raising the bar on coffee quality.  We’re just happy that we get to be a part of this movement.

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