HomeRoast Digest

Topic: The word from Hearthware--do I keep this thing? (9 msgs / 222 lines)
1) From: Bill Doman
In my continuing decaf frustration, I talked to Linda at Hearthware
again.  The first thing she told me is that they don't roast decaf
there, cause none of them wants to drink it.  My personal opinion is
that they don't roast much of anything, or they woulda resolved some
of the control issues.
She had two suggestions--the first was that I should try taking out
the chaff collector ring.  The theory here is that the top screen
would get a little more obstructed and since the decaf has "a little"
chaff and residue this would obstruct the screen more quickly and
result in higher temps.  No joy, here are the results:
400 for 3:00 never exceeded 336 on-board temp reading; 435 for 4:00
never went above 342; 475 for 8:00 minutes after 2:00 was still
reading no higher than 342.  At that point I put on an oven glove and
pressed a hotpad onto the top and quickly saw temps rise to 420;
unfortunately, trying to operate the stupid buttons that won't stay
set to read temps, I hit the time a microsecond before the temp button
and started a cool cycle...  Another barely roasted batch of
Her second suggestion was to do a 15 minute roast all set at, say,
465.  I'm pretty sure, given that if I set up a third stage of 485 for
8:00 minutes which never exceeds reported temp of 385-400, this is
unlikely to give me more than a City roast at best, and a pretty
flat-tasting one at that.
When I've tried heavily obstructing the chaff collector from the start
by leaving the collector uncleaned after roasting a batch of
caffeinated beans, temps pretty much mirror what I get with decaf
(except for running HOTTER during the warmup), but agitation is
greatly reduced resulting in a very uneven roast.  As in, from
unroasted to charred.  Partial obstruction lets the first stage and
even 1/2 or so of the second fairly well mirror caf results, but the
max observed is around 365 vs. 445 with caf.  
Has anyone found a way to actually get a decent variety of roast
doneness with the I-Roast on decafs?  I have to decide pretty quick
whether to keep it or send it back and watch here to see if there's a
version 2.0 that resolves the decaf issues.  I can live with all the
other issues and love it for caffeinated beans, but if it don't do
decaf I'm better off returning it and either waiting for Hearthware to
fix it or saving my pennies for a HotTop.

2) From: miKe mcKoffee
Don't have an I-Roast solution. But, you can see a split wired "Frankie"
dual voltage controlled Rosto do any size batch from 1oz to 8oz any bean
regular or decaf about any manual profile you want at the PNWGII tomorrow!
Want a fast roasted 6min dark French? No problem. How 'bout a silky smooth
16min lighter roast just touching 2nd Kenya, you got it. The I-Roast sounded
promising when I first heard about it way back when, I highly doubt I'd be
satisfied with it's limitations. Then again, I haven't played with one so
who knows!
Kona Konnaisseur miKe mcKoffee
URL to Rosto mods, FrankenFormer etc.http://mdmint.home.comcast.net/coffee/Rosto_mod.htm

3) From: Kevin Pompei
I haven't had any trouble doing decafs.  I've done about 10 decaf roasts so
far.  If I use the pre-sets they'll head straight to French in just about 6
minutes.  I've found using Tom's slower warm-up profile I'm able to get good
City+ to Full City roasts. 
Clearly your I-roast is different than mine.  Every tweak I do to mine
(whether decaf or regular) is to keep it from getting too dark.  In fact,
that's been my only real complaint so far.  (Except for the lack of a memory
save feature.)

4) From: Tom & Maria - Sweet Maria's Coffee
I did have trouble and did two things - used a chaff collector that 
was a little obstructed with chaff froma  previous roast, and cut 
down the batch size a little. A 1/2 batch  ( I used 1/2 cup) was too 
fast and too dark actually.
BTW - I am so busy that a few things in that prototype review that 
REALLY need revising have not been attended to... one is that the 
onboard temp numbers are much lower with the production unit, rarely 
getting above 385 and often quite lower. THe whole lack of 
correlation between the onboard readout and either bean temp or input 
air temp is, well, a pisser! Theres no other way to say it, sorry. 
But my i-roasts have behaved consistently so when I check and get a 
reading of say 355, I know where I am at in my roast programming. 
WHat I need to do is to revise my chart with the comparison of the 
programmed temp vs. the onboard temp vs a probed bean temp. I have 
just not had the time in the last 3 hectic weeks. I am sorry about 
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
                   "Great coffee comes from tiny roasters"
            Sweet Maria's Home Coffee Roasting  -  Tom & Maria
                      http://www.sweetmarias.com                Thomspon Owen george

5) From: Bill Doman
I'll try the smaller batch size. I have two problems with leaving chaff in
the collector: first, it's too variable; second, I roast a lot more decaf
than caffeinated and am a little concerned about leaving  chaff there
BTW, my new base not only *is* hotter, but shows indicated temps much higher
(when blocked with chaff or foil or when roasting caf). I'm seeing 430-450
indicated with 485 programmed.  So you might want to try a few more units
before changing the review. 
One other irritation is that I have to roast almost entirely by sight and
smell as I've only actually heard one single first crack in a dozen or so
roasts. The fan is too noisy to hear enough to get any input at all-at least
from my rock and shooting impaired ears. 

6) From: Bill Doman
Wanna trade?

7) From: Bill Doman
I didn't feel bad enough about being stuck in hot, humid Central Texas and
not Oregon, right??? 

8) From: Kevin Pompei
That's interesting about the temp differences.  Mine never goes above about
375.  Sometimes mine shows almost 100 degree difference between the bean
temperature and the displayed temperature.  I wonder if this explains the
difference why mine roasts a lot darker than yours.
(This mostly seems to occur when the displayed temperature is in the low
300's.  It will show something like 310, and the TC will show around 400.)
I agree that sometimes the cracks are a little hard to hear (at least
compared to a popper), but they are WAY easier to hear in the I-Roast
compared to my Z&D where I almost never hear any cracks.

9) From: Gene Smith
Humid?  The Hill Country humid?  Jeez...you do need to come down to
Houston - for contrast, if nothing else.
Gene Smith
riding the wild learning curve, in Houston

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