After trying umpteen different coffees together, I finally hit on one I really like. I've been keeping records and rating the different coffees and blends on a basic ... very basic ... scale, giving each a number 1-10 based purely on whether I like it or not. I've only one batch in the negative numbers, way over-roasted and disgusting, might have been better used as kindling chips in the fireplace. And I've had a few batches that were down in the 2-3 range. Most have been in the middle numbers, tolerable, but nothing that really grabbed me.
This latest blend, however, is stellar. 80% Sumatria Classic Mandheling, and 20% Yemen Mokha Sana'ani produces a deeply mocha coffee, not just chocolately, but deeply darkly chocolatey. I've tried this blend lightly roasted, medium / full city, quite dark, and something in between, and frankly, they're all good. The mocha flavor is most apparent in the medium roast, so that would probably be my first choice.
I am still frustrated by the inconsistencies in roasting. I assumed that once I found a good bean and darkness, I could set the roaster and walk away. But that's just not so. The exact same level of beans (from the same batch), roasted for the exact same amount of time does not always produce the exact same darkness of roast. It's maddening. I have no idea what other factors are affecting things - humidity? It has been more humid than usual here lately. And if the air conditioner kicks on in the middle of roasting, does that draw from the power needed for the roaster? I'm not tech headed enough to know if that would make a difference, or what else to pay attention to. Any advice?