(Editor’s note: The following comes from an article by Spencer Turer that appeared in the…
Coffee roasting software provider Cropster is rolling out Roasting Intelligence 4 (RI4), representing some of the biggest changes in its core roast profiling and management software to date, including a dramatically revised user interface, additional syncing with other Cropster management features, a new modulation chart, and a new algorithm for more precise rate of rise (RoR) detail.
Replacing Roasting Intelligence 3, RI4 software is being officially introduced at Europe’s largest specialty coffee trade event, World of Coffee, taking place later this month in Amsterdam. The company, which has head offices in Austria and the United States while maintaining roasting clients big and small throughout the world, has been beta testing the RI4 software for months.
“The most noticeable feature of the new Roasting Intelligence 4 is a completely new ergonomic design based on the latest user interface principles. It is a game changer and a major step forward from the industrial appliance interface you see everywhere else,” Cropster Head of Marketing and Communications Paul Bartholomew recently told Daily Coffee News via email. “We sent our head designer, whose specialty is user interface design, to a number of roasters to stand beside them as they worked. The result is a much cleaner, friendlier, workflow-based design with many more customization possibilities… The thing people notice right away is the larger curves/graph space itself making for more visible details. Along the side are also less buttons, as now people simply click on the screen to provide for intuitive, distraction free collecting of important comments like first crack, color change etc., which makes their workflow faster, more accurate and easier.”
Major features of the new UI during roasting include: Start and stop buttons at the bottom of the screen that resemble those found on popular streaming players such as YouTube; improved inputs and displays for comments or other events during the roast; improved, larger displays of roast information such as roast duration, exhaust and bean temp; and the display of feedback, comments, profile and schedule all on the main screen.
“These take the roaster to everything he/she needs to know about their roast and their green coffee,” Bartholomew said. “This means the roaster has complete information on the shop floor about every batch. Importantly, they can also make adjustments directly from there as well now from the same screen where they are working if needed.”
For RI4, Cropster has also introduced a “modulation chart,” which tracks in real-time the drying phase, first crack (Maillard reaction), and post-crack (or, development time), so that roasters can review the information during the roast and compare it post-roast. The chart can be added to or removed from the main page at a roaster’s command.
The company has also updated its algorithm for tracking rate of rise (RoR), while improving the display of that curve along side the bean temperature curve and improving consistency between different machines.
“Bottom line, this algorithm creates a more accurate, and detailed curve that is even closer to real time for roasters to use as they create new curves and track to existing ones,” Bartholomew said of the update. “Measuring this information requires a deep understanding of the variables in the signal to noise ratios across all the different types of roast machines, this new algorithm improves on that as well delivering a more consistent experience even across different roast machines.”
While RI4 will be automatically available to new Cropster clients, existing users will have the option to upgrade the software. Bartholomew said that in the event of upgrades, the company has created a process in which people can run both the old and new versions until they’re comfortable making the switch completely.
All of these changes and more featured in the RI4 release, Bartholomew said, came about based upon feedback from and observation of working roasting professionals. Said Bartholomew, “As software, data and user interface experts our focus is on breaking down people’s processes with them to get to the core of their workflow and the data they create.”