HomeRoast Digest


Topic: My First Roast - Burning Down the House (65 lines)
1) From: Thom Mackris
Sorry ... I couldn't resist the Talking Heads reference.
I have certainly confirmed that any roasting I do will be at my friend's
house.  This Poppery II popper makes a ton of smoke!  I am stunned that
anyone could roast indoors and be surprised that their smoke alarm triggers!
Granted, the smaller roasters may put out a bit less smoke and perhaps they
roast a bit more slowly, but this would seem to still be *way* above the
threshold of a smoke detector from my previous experience of how easily they
trigger ... even when roasting under a range hood.
My first bean order is in transit from Tom, but the act of placing it got me
to chomping at the bit.  I picked up a half pound of aged Sumatran green
beans from a local roaster here in Boulder.  I figured I'd ruin someone
else's beans while waiting for my stash from Tom ... good practice for me, I
figured.  Well, I took the Poppery out to the garage, thinking that my
asthmatic wife wouldn't even know that I was doing this.  I've waxed skis
out there with no complaint from her.  After hearing everyone's
descriptions, I thought that roasting out there would be just fine.  WRONG!
About 4 minutes into the roast, when the beans were between light and medium
city, the smoke really picked up.  This event was definitely a source of
great marital stress for both of us & *physical* stress for my wife.  I felt
like an absolute creep.  Having to take two inhalers and 3 different pills
in order to breathe is no fun and I will not even consider building a
complex venting system to roast on the premises.  We're talking about a girl
who's respiratory system has become so challenged (since living in
Sacramento for 4 years), that she complains when the neighbors are
barbecuing outdoors.  It would not be kind of me to continue, and so my
original plan to roast offsite will have to be put into effect.  My wife is
too tolerant of my other excesses for me to abuse her health with my
obsessions.  C'est la vie.
Notes on my first roast:
I took the Poppery II, a large strainer and a chopstick into the garage.
The chopstick was for in case I needed to stir the beans, which I didn't.
I put the Poppery II inside a cardboard box that was perhaps 18" square (the
garage temperature was probably 45 degrees).  I plugged the machine in &
poured the beans in up to the line.  At first, they swirled very vigorously
but the swirling slowed down as I poured in more beans & the bean level
approached the line.  The first crack occurred at about 2.5 minutes & then
there was silence (other than the sound of moving beans) for another minute
or so.  At 3.5 minutes, there were more frequent cracks, but nothing like
the rapid rate of popping one hears when popping corn.
Things quieted down for another couple of minutes, and then at about 6 to
6.5 minutes (I'm guessing) the second crack was being hinted at.  This was
hard to tell, because the fan in the Poppery II was quite loud.  There never
was a rapid second crack.  I stopped the roast at 8 minutes & poured the
beans into a large screen strainer and swirled them around continuously - as
one would move an omlet around in an omlet pan.  At the same time, I opened
the garage doors :-(
The roast looks like a full city, with just a hint of oil on the beans.  A
couple of the beans are not as dark as their brothers & sisters.  Tonight,
I'll grind some up and give them a try.
Cheers,
Thom - a hopeful roaster.
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