HomeRoast Digest


Topic: Tips for other air popper beginners (31 msgs / 847 lines)
1) From: Edward Spiegel
Hi folks,
I am a newbie and thought that I would share some experiences and tips that might benefit other newbies in the future who are searching the archives and had the same problems with the first several roasts that I did. I apologize if this message isn't terribly organized.
I am using a Toastmaster air popper purchased at Target. My first roasts were about five or six days ago. One thing that I noticed in those roasts was that the first crack tended to overlap the second crack so that it was hard to control the degree of roast.
The very first first crack outliers were anywhere from 1 minute to 1:45 into the roast. Second crack was in earnest at about 4:15.
After reading through the archives here and also searching at coffeegeek.com in their forum archives, I realized that the speed of the roast was a problem.
The results of those first batches was uneven. Some tasted great, some tasted bitter/burned. (Time helped for all of them. They were all better at 3 days than at 48 hours).
I realized that I should try a few things to see if I could slow it down a bit so that first and second crack were distinct AND so that second crack doesn't go from first outliers to full bore in 5 seconds.
The results of my experiments (ongoing) have been very encouraging -- I think that with roasts that progress so fast there are probably some chemical processes that might not get a chance to take place.
Here are the various experiments that I tried:
1) Using fewer beans to cool things down. I think a lot of beginners (like me) make the early mistake of thinking that adding more beans will make it go more slowly. But (as most of you know), you want to increase the airflow (by reducing the bean volume) to keep the initial temps down
2) Leaving the top off the popper. I have ended up putting it back on after first crack but need to do some experiments to see if I can leave it off altogether
3) Stirring the beans every 15 seconds until first crack with a wooden spoon
4) Shaking the popper a few times after first crack has finished.
I need to do some more experiments to see if any of these techniques can be left off.
Using these techniques, I got the roast time to extend from 4:30 minute average (which was resulting in Full City++) to 8 minute average for City++/Full City. In fact, the extension of the time caused me to underroast because I was afraid that by going healthily into second crack that I was going to burn the coffee. (Before using the methods above, I ended up at Vienna++ if I waited more than 5 seconds after the second cracks.
After my weekend roasts, I was wondering if it was at all possible to distinguish between first and second crack. I know from reading the archives that a lot of folks encounter that problem. So, here are my Newbie+ notes to help some absolute newbies:
1) First crack - There will be some outlier pops before first crack starts in earnest. If the temp is too hot, you will go from outliers to being in earnest in anywhere from 5 to 20 seconds. If the temp is too hot, first crack will still be going on when second crack kicks in. So, if you start getting acrid smoke and think that you are in first crack, you may want to do something to cool things off. Once the temp was under control, I found that there could be 30 seconds from when the first outlier pops to when first crack really starts with pops (like popcorn popping) going continuously). The time from 'very first pop' to end of first crack was anywhere from 1 minute to 1m30.
1a) Pause between first and second crack - With the cooler temp, there was a definite pause before second crack started. The time between end of first crack (I am calling the end when there are more than 5 seconds between pops after the peak period when the popping is close to continuous) and the very first 'crack' of second crack was anywhere from 20 seconds to 3 minutes (depending on the quantity of beans and whether I was shaking the popper periodically).
2) Second crack. With the cooler temp, there were outlier cracks to second crack before the continuous cracking started. I would agree with people that the sound is like rice krispies popping in milk. Before -- if I stopped when the second crack really got rolling -- I ended up with a very oily vienna++. The coffee did not look burned but it tasted burned (as an fyi, I LIKE dark roasts and this tasted much darker than it looked -- I suspect that when things move too fast, you get some chemical changes that don't correspond to the colors). Now, with the cooler temps, I got fully into second crack and stopped (for fear of burning the beans) and ended up with something like Full City.
I will wait a few days and see how the taste of these roasts progress and then perform more tests to see if I can get to the verge of Vienna consistently and to see if I can simplify my protocol by eliminating some of the four methods. (In particular, to see if I need to put the top back on after first crack. I put it on because it seemed like it was taking so long to get from first to second. Second started not long after I put it on -- but it might have happened regardless).
I hope this post helps someone.
--Edward

2) From: Brian Kamnetz
Edward,
Thank you for your tips. I recently switched from roasting unsuccessfully 
with a heatgun to roasting unsuccessfully with poppers and look forward to 
giving these tactics a try. I look forward to your updates.
Brian
At 01:11 PM 6/29/2004 -0700, you wrote:
<Snip>

3) From: Steven Van Dyke
Brian,
<Snip>
Have you tried roasting unsucessfully on a stove yet?  There are several
folks here who can probably give you tips on that. 
The ones I'd give you wouldn't help - they're how I got it working
(basically, a lot lower heat than I thought - used my SM digital thermometer
to find the burner setting for 400 - 500, plus stir a *lot*)
Enjoy!
Steve :->
http://www.svandyke.com<- my simple home page
http://www.cafeshops.com/stevespics<- my little store of Impressionist &
Special Events Photography stuff)

4) From: Brian Kamnetz
Steve,
My next steps are to (a) get a thermometer for the popper, and (b) a source 
of underneath heat for the heatgun. I've been roasting only since March or 
so, and don't roast much because I use only 1/4 cup or maybe a tad less of 
beans per day, so I have to suffer the results of a bad roast for quite 
some time. Again, though, as has often been mentioned on this list, unless 
it's underroasted a bad homeroast is much better than most other sources of 
coffee.
Thank for your tips. I don't roast in the house anymore (once was enough), 
but I suppose I should use a thermometer to set the underneath heat for 
heatgun roasting.
Brian
At 06:54 PM 6/29/2004 -0500, you wrote:
<Snip>

5) From: Edward Spiegel
At 4:58 PM -0500 6/29/04, homeroast-request wrote:
<Snip>
Hi Brian,
What problems have you had with poppers? I realized this weekend that probably a 'must' for really getting ones roasting chops down quickly is to buy a couple of pounds of super cheap beans just to see how the roast progresses towards charcoal. I would have save a lot of trouble if I had done that first.
How long is it taking you to get to the full-on first crack in the popper?
Do you get a pause between the end of first crack and the beginning of second?
What state are the beans in at five or five and a half minutes?
The batch that I did this morning (using the techniques described yesterday to slow it down) turned out great AND I don't have to worry so much about my roast being too dark. Before, a difference of 10 seconds was the difference between full city and vienna+. Now, I can get to the second crack and let it go for a while without even getting to Vienna. So, there doesn't really seem to be the danger of over-roasting that I had when I let things barrel along (one batch got to vienna in 4.5 minutes).
I'll be doing another batch in a few days and see if putting on the top mid-roast is really necessary.
--Edward

6) From: Stephen Jones
Steven VanDyke said:
(basically, a lot lower heat than I thought - used my SM digital thermometer
to find the burner setting for 400 - 500, plus stir a *lot*)
Could you tell me more about how you use the burner settings?  If you've
already sent someone/the list an email about how you roast on a stove top
and instead could send me that I'd appreciate it.
Thank you.
Stephen Jones

7) From: Steven Van Dyke
Stephen;
<Snip>
eter
<Snip>
<Snip>
p
<Snip>
Well, my 'stovetop' is actually a propane grill / stove I use outside (to=
avoid smoke issues).  Due to it's being one of the many with a 2-3 turn
control knob that's 'full-on' for all but about 1/8 of a turn, actual con=
trol
is tricky.
My ECRS (Emergency Coffee Roasting System) is an AromaPot - a stovetop ro=
aster
Tom used to carry but dropped in favor of the slightly cheaper and defini=
tely
easier-to-clean WhirlyPop.  Picked up the AromaPot when I ran across it
on a trip.  With the Whirly Pop you can leave your temperature sensor in
place throughout the roast, with the AromaPot I haven't found a way to do=
that yet.
I thread in the thermocouple during pre-heat.  After a test run I know ab=
out
where to set the heat - the thermometer lets me get it right.  Based in
part on Tom's stovetop roasting tips I shoot for a temperature just over
400.  Once the roaster is up to temperature I pull out the probe and dump=
in the beans.  The AromaPot's stirring instructions are actually pretty
good - six turns one way, six turns the other, then three 'flips' (preten=
d
you're flipping a pancake).  This gives pretty good agitation.  If you le=
t
the beans sit, they'll scorch.  If they stay on one side too long, that
side will scorch. Since coffee beans are generally flat on one side, they=
like to end up flat side down.  The 'flips' take care of that.
As others have said, get some "don't care" coffee for testing.  My roaste=
r
came with a pound of an OK Peruvian.
Give it a try!  All you need is a heat source, a 'container', a stirrer,
and some beans.  Anything that will give you a 400+ temperature will work=
for the heat source (Pecan Jim roasts over wood fires).  The container ca=
n
be just about anything, although I have to admire the folks who can roast=
in an open pan without major loss of beans.  Stirring is probably the mos=
t
important bit for this kind of roasting.  Heck, a drum is just a containe=
r
with the stirring pre-arranged.  Folks using frying pans / woks have repo=
rted
that they've had better results with a rolling/flipping sort of stir than=
just swirling the beans about. Heat control is fairly important, but refe=
rring
back to Pecan Jim, the main thing is just to be in the right ballpark. 
Thin-walled poppers are reportedly trickier to use since they're more lik=
ely
to develop hot spots.
Enjoy!
Steve :->http://www.cafepress.com/stevespics<- My little store of Impressionist">http://www.svandyke.com<- My simple websitehttp://www.cafepress.com/stevespics<- My little store of Impressionist
& Special Event photography

8) From: Brian Kamnetz
Hi Edward,
I have the same problems that you describe, with the results either 
underroasted, or burned and oily. I don't hear all that well, so I might 
miss second crack, but I don't recall ever, either with the heatgun or with 
the popper, having first crack stop. I have been trying to shake the popper 
to get more movement with the beans (I've been using 2/3 - 3/4 cup), but 
last time the top came off and beans went everywhere. That was at around 6 
+ mins, and the beans were burned, though not as burned as usual.
I like your suggestion of using the same kind of beans. I started with an 
8# sampler and bounced around among varieties of greens, so that cost me 
some learning, I think. Also, I have been bouncing around between methods 
(heatgun vs. popper) and also materials (different vessels for the heatgun, 
different types of poppers). I now have a Poppery 2 with a switch to the 
heating element, so I was thinking of turning the heat off now and then to 
prolong roast time, but I will try your methods first. Also, I saw a 
posting, I think from the Alchemist, recently where the author said that he 
never switched off the heat to prolong roast time, so maybe switching off 
the heat isn't the way to go anyway.
I am going to do a batch tonight and will try your methods for slowing the 
roast.. I will use about half a cup or less of greens. I haven't thought of 
stirring the beans.
I'm willing to try anything, but I was wondering why you stir until 1st 
crack, and shake the popper after first crack?
I think I may be developing a coffee-roasting anxiety, afraid both of 
underroasting and of burning the beans. What I would REALLY like is to get 
a roast like the roast I got from Tom, where the beans are uniformly brown 
and not oily. Mine have been burned to the point that I can cruch most 
beans simply by squeezing them with my fingers - And I'm not Superman, to 
say the least!
Brian
At 12:14 AM 6/30/2004 -0700, you wrote:
<Snip>

9) From: David Chaffin
Dear Popper Beginners:
I consider myself a fairly consistent air popper roaster, after about a 
year of experience and learning, including several months of  SEVERE 
learning curve. I must admit that my worst roast was better than almost any 
commercial coffee I have had since getting serious about coffee in 1972. 
Here is my experience, for what it's worth:
I currently use one of my 1500 watt Poppery poppers, modified so the switch 
controls only the heat. I use a vegetable can to extend the roasting 
chamber height, cut down to fit under the plastic diverter hood. I have 
fallen into a program that extends my roast time to between 12.5 and 14 
minutes, depending on ambient temperature in the garage. I have a 12" 
Eastman turkey fryer thermometer through the removable tray in the top that 
reads about 35-45 degrees hotter than apparent bean temperature when about 
an inch above the bottom of the roast chamber, inside the flowing bean bed. 
I roast 5 oz. of greens at a time, yielding about 4 oz. roasted.
I don't consult the thermometer much any more; time and technique, along 
with smell, sight and sound, do most of my analysis.
 From "Flame on" until about 2:30, I kind of let it rip; Thermo temp will 
reach about 350f -375f. At that point, I start turning off the heat at 
regular intervals--usually 2 seconds (although sometimes I go 2.5-3 sec., 
and I can't tell you why except for a feeling I get) at each 10 second mark 
on the clock. This has the heat on for 48 out of every 60 seconds.
I continue until about 6:00, when it is usually around 400f on the thermo. 
At 6:00, I pretty much give the popper its head, only turning off the heat 
for a second or two every 15. At anywhere from 6:30 to 7:30, first crack 
starts, lasting 20-45 seconds, with the thermo at about 450.
After 15 seconds or so into first, I begin to cycle the heat off again, 
much as between 2:30 and 6:00. I continue to cycle the heat on and off, 
keeping the thermo around 435-450f. Around 11:30 to 12:00, I give her the 
heat again, listening for second crack and smelling for that "sweet spot." 
I check bean color, and pay CAREFUL attention at this critical stage. I 
almost always hear second come in, usually around 13:00, and depending on 
the bean, stop it at some point shortly after. If the last part of this 
"profile" happens too quickly, I start seeing divots blowing off the beans, 
and shut down the heat, letting the fan cool the beans in about 4 minutes. 
Even if I get a lot of divots before I shut it down, my roast is nice and 
dark but never too dark and never shows oil on the surface, although once 
in a while, after a couple of days of rest, I might see the faintest 
shimmer of oil on some beans.
For the future, I might consider a variac to get more air flow for a bigger 
batch. As soon as I figure out what to do with the chaff, I will forego the 
plastic hood, which I use to divert most of the chaff into a vessel; and I 
will definitely see if stripping the plastic off will help air flow once I 
fix the chaff thing.
Good luck, and stay at it. Buy beans in bigger quantities for the better 
price, and you will also get to "know" the beans better each time you roast 
the same one a few times.
Dave
Roasting carefully, in small batches, about 13 hours north by car of 
Emeryville, CA

10) From: Edward Spiegel
At 6:35 PM -0500 6/30/04, Brian wrote:
<Snip>
That was true for me until I tried the techniques that I mentioned. I spent a couple of days searching all the various bulletin boards related to coffee roasting and realized that there generally should be a distinct pause. Since I wasn't getting one, I realized that probably meant that too much heat was going into the beans so that first and second crack were pretty much always overlapping.
Brian wrote:
<Snip>
If you have been using that much in an air popper (I use toastmaster but also have a poppery ii), that is too much. The result is that the beans get too hot (since they restrict the airflow). At first glance, that sounds counter-intuitive but restricting airflow causes the heat to build up. I would use a bit less than 1/2 a cup.
Brian wrote:
<Snip>
This was a tip I saw on a home roasting site and made sense when I thought about it. At first, the beans are quite dense and not moving much. As a result, you get both uneven heat distribution AND a build up of heat because the beans aren't moving much. Stirring the beans ensures that they move around and get heated evenly and it prevents the heat from building up. Once the beans get well into first crack, the air will move them around sufficiently to prevent heat build up.
If they aren't moving well at this point, use fewer beans the next time.
Brian wrote:
<Snip>
Don't worry. You'll get it nailed. You sound like you are in the same boat that I was until I realized that I needed to get the roast slowed down. I would suggest -- until nailing the roast you like:
1) Use the same beans and equipment for all your experiments until you get a few batches in a row that approach your goal. My suggestion (biased because it is working for me) is to stick with the air popper.
2) Keep a log as you roast with the times to first and second crack and the total time. If you have a roast that doesn't go well, post your numbers and maybe they will give a clue as to what was. I turn on a timer as soon as I turn on the popper and log the following: time to the very first pop, time where the first crack gets going for real (less than five seconds between pops), time that the first pop dies down, time that second crack starts, total roasting time. I also log: the roast goal and the roast result. For example, I will enter Full City+ as the goal and as the result what I actually got.
3) Make sure that you have plenty of light so that you can see into the popper well. Once things are slowed down a little (my aim was to get roasts into the six to eight minute range), you can use the appearance more than when the roast moves at lightning pace.  Before, if the roast looked Full City, it was Vienna by the time that the beans got out of the popper into the collander.
4) Make sure to get the cooling started immediately. I just got Ken David's book out of the library and he stresses this -- especially for methods that roast quickly. He actually recommends a light (one second) misting of water as soon as you get the beans into the collander to get the cooling started. The water will evaporate almost immediately taking a fair amount of heat with it. He claims that it improves the taste noticeably. I haven't tried this as I am trying to keep things simple and have been happy with my last few results.
5) Another thing to pay close attention to is how the smell of the roast progresses. Pay particular attention to the sweetness of the smoke. To my nose, there are three distinct phases of smoke that seem to roughly correspond to first crack, second crack and French Roast stage (which is darker than I want). The first is odor bloom. Then there is a more intense smoky smell and then there is an acrid smell just past Vienna. I haven't gone all the way to really burning the roast because I didn't buy (stupid me) any cheap-o beans.
Before slowing it down, I always got a darker roast than what I was aiming for. In the first few batches after using the new techniques (because I was still worried about over-roasting) I underroasted slightly (but always ended up with something quite tasty -- just not as dark as I was aiming for). The nice thing about slowing it down is that you have plenty of time once second crack starts before it gets to Vienna.
I hope that all helped and didn't sound too intimidating.
--Edward

11) From: Verdova Bishop
Here's my 2 cents on the subject of using an Air Popper and distinguishing
whether the beans are in the first or second crack stage.
I've observed that all, or mostly all, of the chaff is blown off by the end
of first crack.  Ergo, when you hear cracks after all of the chaff is blown
off, the beans are into second crack.  This is the point that I go into
action by turning on my stop watch, follow Tom & Maria's advice about City,
Full City, etc., and keep an eye on the color and my nose on the smell.
Since I'm not cursed with a super-tasting tongue, and my only gauge for bad
coffee is commercial coffee, I'm rarely disappointed with my results and
life is good.
Verdova

12) From: Jared Andersson
"I have the same problems that you describe, with the results either 
under roasted, or burned and oily. I don't hear all that well, so I 
might 
miss second crack, but I don't recall ever, either with the heat gun or 
with 
the popper, having first crack stop. I have been trying to shake the 
popper 
to get more movement with the beans (I've been using 2/3 - 3/4 cup)"
 
 Brian, 
I think you are on the right track to reduce your air popper roast from the 2/3 to 3/4 cup size.  I have found that about 110 grams (a heaping half cup) is about the perfect amount for most of my air roasters to get the beans moving right away and not have to mess with  them.  I don't have to shake or stir to get an even start to the roast with about 110 grams.  I have also noticed that more coffee than this seems to stress out my air poppers.  One of my WBII poppers now makes a bad sound after experimenting with more coffee.  I am willing to bet that using more than about 110 grams is partly why some poppers on the list have died early.  About the blurring of the cracks I think this is one of the inherent problems with air poppers, they can ramp up temp very fast.  I live in relatively new home and the power from my sockets is strong enough to both blur the cracks and to make burnt divited coffee in as little as 6 or 7 minutes.  I am amazed at how much time difference there 
 is in
 the same popper roasting at different locations.  Since I have become a thrift store junky and have a bunch of different poppers on hand I prefer my cave man variac method to stretch out the roast.   I got little response for my simpleton technique from the list the first time I described it.  In blind tastings including one popper roasting versus cave man variac roasting by friends, family, coworkers and myself  all picked the caveman variac as a significantly better cup of coffee.  I use the cave man variac technique mostly because I am still to chicken to pull apart one of my roasters and PID it or what ever those other sickos do to their roasters. (the sicko comment was a joke for anyone taking my humor too serious) The cave man variac consists of me waiting until the first crack is ending or over in one air popper .  Then I dump the coffee into another room temperature air popper to finish the roast.  This gives a relatively rapid progress into the first crack and stret
 ches out
 the first to second crack.  Air poppers heat up so fast that I doubt the beans actually cool during the transfer and they are always moving so they are not baking or burning on the bottom of a stopped hot air popper.  In terms of your heat gun technique I totally encourage you to use whatever is in your garage or kitchen to create a new type of roasting that fits your tastes.  Good luck.  Jared
Do You Yahoo!?
Tired of spam?  Yahoo! Mail has the best spam protection around http://mail.yahoo.com

13) From: Brian Kamnetz
David,
Thanks for sharing your experience. I'm happy to see the part about 
switching the heat off and on. Somehow, since I got a popper with a switch 
to the heat, I can't help myself and switch it off sometimes during the 
roast. I like the systematic way that you describe, as opposed to the "by 
guess and by golly" approach I've used so far.
brian
At 05:32 PM 6/30/2004 -0700, you wrote:
<Snip>

14) From: Brian Kamnetz
Edward,
Thank you for your additional comments. I roasted last night, Sumatra 
Mandheling Gr. 1 dry-processed Lot, using your suggestions. I started with 
the top off the Poppery 2 and stirred with a wooden spoon at 15 sec 
intervals, stirring for 4-5 seconds each time. I didn't intend to stir for 
that long, but that's how long I noticed that it took to stir 2-3 times 
around, lifting the beans each time around. I noted the times at first 
crack outlier, etc, but didn't write them down and forgot them, but I was 
pretty sure I was into second crack at around 9 minutes and stopped the 
roast about 9 min 10 secs. I switched the heat off and let the popper fan 
continue, and the beans cooled within 3 mins. I think I followed in your 
footsteps quite accurately in that the batch was underroasted. I was 
worried that this might be so; after cooling the odor of the beans, while 
quite pleasant, was faint, and in that past that has been an indication of 
underroasting, and the cup I brewed this morning was all but undrinkable. 
But, all in all, I consider last night's roast to be a huge step in the 
right direction in that it stretched the time of the roast. The biggest 
improvement probably was due to reducing the size of the roast from 2/3 - 
3/4 cup to half a cup, though I think the stirring with the broad wooden 
spoon slows the roast considerably as well. The smaller batch size suits my 
needs better because I use only a quarter cup or a bit less of roasted 
beans per day. In addition, roasting smaller batches will allow me to 
garner experience more rapidly, due to roasting more frequently.
Thanks again for your very clearly laid out tips.
Brian
At 05:38 PM 6/30/2004 -0700, you wrote:
<Snip>

15) From: Brian Kamnetz
Jared,
I LOVE your cave-man variac idea. I need to refine Edward's methods, 
though, to the point that I have an understanding of first crack/second crack.
Brian
At 07:46 PM 6/30/2004 -0700, you wrote:
<Snip>

16) From: Brian Kamnetz
At 12:57 PM 6/30/2004 -0500, you wrote:
<Snip>
I was looking at a couple propane stoves, the kind that use the little 
(approximately 1 quart) canisters. If that is what you use, how many roasts 
do you get out of one canister? (I had a table-top gas grill that ran on 
the propane canisters, and I couldn't get them to seal up, so by the time I 
wanted to use one for the second time it was apt to be empy.)
Thanks,
brian

17) From: Edward Spiegel
At 2:39 PM -0600 7/01/04, Brian Kamnetz wrote:
<Snip>
I agree. The mods sound very cool.
I think that it is a great idea though to get things under control (where possible) without the mods as I think they lead to a better understanding of the process (and then adding the mods once the basic technique is under control). I am really pleased with the results that I have gotten as a result of removing the popper cap and stirring till the first crack. Once the basics are under control, I can see the mods helping refine even the process even more, but you will be amazed at how much can be accomplished with lower tech methods.
I am drinking a Bolivian Organic that I roasted this morning and am very pleased. The complexity of the flavors is much improved versus what I got when it was taking 4 1/2 minutes to get to Full City+. I can't wait to see what it tastes like tomorrow. With the quick roasts I was getting before, the flavor was nice but one dimensional.
Here is an update on my results. One thing: I don't need to put the popper top back on after first crack. It gets into second just fine without the top on. (The only drawback is that the chaff goes everywhere (which is ok since I am doing it in my garage and can vacuum for 10 seconds when I am done)
If I stir up until first crack, I can do a full 1/2 cup without a problem. I get a distinct pause between the last first crack stragglers and the first second crack stragglers (anywhere from 15 seconds to 45 seconds depending on the coffee it seems).
I think that an occasional stir or shake after first crack may be useful with some beans since it appears that in some cases the beans that are on the bottom tend to stay there unless they get a little help. I haven't thoroughly tested it, but an occaional stir or shake between first and second certainly don't hurt.
My roasting times are now generally seven to eight minutes to Full City without a single batch going too far. My next test will be with some Brazil to get them to Vienna.
I also have tried Ken Davis' suggestion of giving a quick mist (one second pulse) of water when the beans first get dumped into the collander. This definitely sped up cooling which I think is helping to keep the beans from cooking too much after being dumped.
Brian, if it is any helpful, here are my notes from this morning's Bolivian roast (organic cenaproc).
Machine: Toastaster
Ambient temp: 68 F
Time to first crack: (very first 'pop' at 2:45) starts in earnest at 3:15 or so and lasted until 4:45 (with a few stragglers sounding until 5:15)
Time to second crack: (very first crackle at 6:12) starts for real at 6:30
Total time: 7 minutes (second crack was still going strong)
Goal: Full City+
Result: Full City
TIP: I don't know if other folks do this, but I am finding that putting a bean in my mouth after the roast has cooled and chewing on it is giving me a lot of information about how the roast turned out.
The next time that I roast this bean (in a few days), I will definitely aim to get a bit farther -- just short of Vienna.
I also roasted some Yemen Ismaili (Hirazi) this morning and will be trying it in a couple of days. Can't wait. It smells very yummy.
Anyway, I hope that some other beginners will find this helpful.
-Edward

18) From: Brian Kamnetz
At 02:39 PM 7/1/2004 -0700, you wrote:
<Snip>
Edward,
When I was roasting last night, at something like 5 minutes I started 
losing some beans from the popper and had to put the hurricane lamp chimney 
on. I was wondering what you are doing to keep the beans in the popper when 
you shake after first crack.
Thank you for your very useful posts.
brian

19) From: Edward Spiegel
At 3:56 PM -0600 7/01/04, Brian Kamnetz wrote:
<Snip>
I didn't have any trouble with beans hopping out with the Bolivian, but with the Yemeni that I did there were a few trying to get out. I minimized it by tipping the popper ever so slightly back. I probably ended up losing 10 or 15 beans.
What volume of beans did you put in the popper?
--Edward

20) From: Brian Kamnetz
Hi Edward,
I used a level half-cup measure of greens. I suppose I wouldn't have lost 
many, but when the first beans left the popper I put on the hurricane lamp 
chimney. Maybe a short can would do the trick.
When you mention losing only a few beans, are you including shaking the 
popper at the conclusion of first crack? When you shake your popper, do you 
pick it up and shake it, or rock it back and forth while leaving it on the 
surface?
Brian
At 03:28 PM 7/1/2004 -0700, you wrote:
<Snip>

21) From: Edward Spiegel
At 5:27 PM -0600 7/01/04, Brian Kamnetz wrote:
<Snip>
At this stage, I would recommend less than 1/2 cup (but more than a third). It will give you more of a buffer. You can then go back to 1/2 cup when things are under control. It really helped me to do a few with less than 1/2 cup because the temps were more under control.
<Snip>
I did a gentle but firm shake. You can just give it a stir instead if you are afraid of losing beans. Make sure that the stirring motion lifts the beans a little bit to give chance for the beans on the bottom to move up. I wouldn't use an extender until getting things down without it because anything that you put in there will keep the heat in, and your problem (like mine) is too keep things from overheating.
Just use a little bit less coffee and I think you will find that you don't lose more than a few beans.
At least that is the case for me,
Edward

22) From: Edward Spiegel
At 10:35 AM -0600 7/01/04, Brian Kamnetz wrote:
<Snip>
Sounds like progress.  Now that things are slowed down, you should be able to use the appearance of the beans as a nice indicator and let them go a bit longer  -- until they gloss up a little but are not oily.
You might also want to dump the beans out immediately rather than leave them in the popper with the air on. They will cool faster that way which seems to be a good thing.
Keep us posted.
Best,
Edward

23) From: Steven Van Dyke
Let's see, I know I've done at least 4 coffee roasts plus some steaks on one
cannister.  Don't forget to *remove* the cannister from the grill/stove
between uses - as you found out, it's far too easy for a stove's knob to get
bumped and/or for there to be some other leak in the system.
Enjoy!
Steve :->
http://www.svandyke.com<- my simple home page
http://www.cafeshops.com/stevespics<- my little store of Impressionist &
Special Events Photography stuff)

24) From: AlChemist John
I want to interject that I really don't like stirring my beans and using 
the heater switch  when I roast.  I used to and moved away from it.  I just 
does not feel right to me and leads to frustration and irreproducible 
results.  I much prefer loading the roaster with what it can move and 
allowing a "natural profile".  A few things I do use to control the roast 
are a tilt on the roaster (1-2" in the back at the beginning) in lieu of 
stirring, slowly bringing it upright over the roast and a 12 gauge cord for 
more power to the fan, hence more air flow and a slower ramp.  Removing the 
lower plates also will increase air flow and help regulate the roast speed.
Sometime around 09:35 AM 7/1/2004, Brian Kamnetz typed:
<Snip>
--
John Nanci 
AlChemist at large
Zen Roasting , Blending & Espresso pulling by Gestalthttp://www.dreamsandbones.net/blog/http://www.chocolatealchemy.com/

25) From: AlChemist John
Not Edward, but I use an extension built out of a soup can, and a metal 
funnel on top of that to deflect "jumpers" back in.
Sometime around 02:56 PM 7/1/2004, Brian Kamnetz typed:
<Snip>
--
John Nanci 
AlChemist at large
Zen Roasting , Blending & Espresso pulling by Gestalthttp://www.dreamsandbones.net/blog/http://www.chocolatealchemy.com/

26) From: Brian Kamnetz
At 05:54 AM 7/2/2004 -0700, you wrote:
<Snip>
John,
Do you mean that you plug the unmodified popper into the 12-ga cord? Or 
have you modified your popper so that you have one power line to the heater 
and another to the fan?
Thanks,
brian

27) From: AlChemist John
Neither.  I replaced the little 16 gauge two wire power cord with a 12 
gauge grounded 3 wire cord.  Seems to allow the fan to draw more current 
under load and give better air flow.
Sometime around 10:18 AM 7/2/2004, Brian Kamnetz typed:
<Snip>
--
John Nanci 
AlChemist at large
Zen Roasting , Blending & Espresso pulling by Gestalthttp://www.dreamsandbones.net/blog/http://www.chocolatealchemy.com/

28) From: Gene Smith
<Snip>
Hmm...Mr. Neverthrowsanythingaway here has a box full of big beefy
powercords saved from various dead machinery...don't know if Mr. Aromaroast
would greatly benefit from a cable transplant, but it sure wouldn't do him
any harm...
Gene Smith
riding the wild learning curve, in Houston

29) From: AlChemist John
Please try it and report back.  I am curious
Sometime around 07:42 PM 7/2/2004, Gene Smith typed:
<Snip>
--
John Nanci 
AlChemist at large
Zen Roasting , Blending & Espresso pulling by Gestalthttp://www.dreamsandbones.net/blog/http://www.chocolatealchemy.com/

30) From: Gene Smith
<Snip>
Right after posting, I went and had a look at the Aromaroast's cord, John,
and it appears to be heavier than the usual zipcord or lamp cord.  I'm not
experienced enough to be able to estimate gauge at a glance, but I may see
if I can visually match it at, say, Home Depot, to get an idea if any
improvement is likely from changing it.
Gene Smith
riding the wild learning curve, in Houston

31) From: jeff
Gene-
the gauge and other cord info are printed/ embossed in the cord in tiny 
little letters. my poppery I's are all 16 gauge cords.
-jeff
Gene Smith wrote:
<Snip>


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