HomeRoast Digest

Topic: The Gods Must Be Stir Crazy (32 msgs / 861 lines)
1) From: Mike Womer
There's a Kohl's out here at Fry Road and I-10 west bound.
Mike Womer

2) From: Oaklandguy
After all the hemmin' and hawin', I found a Stir Crazy at Kohl's for $22
(normally $36.99).  They'd opened a new store a few weeks ago and still =
a grand opening sale going on.  Not so lucky with the Sunpentown =
oven.  Have some leads in San Fran to check out.
The weird score was a "West Bend Hot Air Corn Popper" (not a PI or a =
from Salvation Army for $4.50.  It's aqua and white, with a completely =
domed top, a completely round body, and an on/off switch!  The popping
chamber looks the same as the PII.  It's UL rated at 1200 watts/120 =
and the imprints on the bottom (do not use oil; do not immerse) are in =
English and French.  But the name on the side of the popper is in =
only.  Has anyone else seen or have one of these?
Not in the box, but doesn't look used except for a few fingerprints on =
outside.  A quick test in the store and it worked and heated up nicely.  =
sure if it'll do it for greens, but it'll get a trial run once it's =
Then found two teapots with fine wire mesh holders for loose tea.  =
if these might work for coffee too.  So bought them and will try it with =
cap of decaf tonight.  The two teapots were $11. 
Still no Moka pots, so the search will continue for those.  But I feel
darned lucky on these scores!
Roasting in a PII for a drip brew

3) From: Gregg Talton
Isn't the search fun... I scored a PII and a Pumper at local thrift
stores today.  There we're no SC or ovens... but I'll keep looking.

4) From: Randy Roy
I found a Stir Crazy with no dome or stirring rod at the local Salvation 
Army thrift store for $2.00.  Didn't need the dome, and I made a 
stirring rod out of a coat hanger.   Got the turbo oven on ebay for 
$32.00 shipped.  Looks and works like new.
Gregg Talton wrote:

5) From: Dennis Parham
Ill be in Victoria ,BC Tuesday and im gonna see if anyone has thrift 
store poppers there! hmmm... :-D
Dennis Parham
On Oct 16, 2004, at 8:51 PM, Gregg Talton wrote:

6) From: Ed Needham
I walked away from a fairly nice (used) Stir Crazy in a thrift store the 
other day for $3.
Ed Needham
"to absurdity and beyond!"
ed at homeroaster dot com

7) From: Gene Smith
Gee, Ed...if you'll just walk back and get it, I'd be happy to pay postage 
and principle to get it into position under my convection oven!  I'd even 
promise pictures!
Gene Smith
currently in possession of half-a-roaster, in Houston

8) From: Gene Smith
Umm...that should have been postage & 'principal,' of course...but the 
principle was sound.
Gene Smith
still working on his native tongue, in Houston

9) From: Ed Needham
I'll check back next week and see if it's still there.
Ed Needham
"to absurdity and beyond!"
ed at homeroaster dot com

10) From: Gene Smith
Thank you, Ed.  I'm getting a teeny bit tired of roasting a half-cup at a 
time!  When I'm mostly doing espresso based milk drinks, it's not too bad. 
But I've been using methods (including Ken Mary's excellent RadarMethod) 
that use a lot more grounds - plus, I'd like to share some with friends, as 
others on the list do.  As I'm also addicted to watching the roast develop, 
the Stir Crazy/Turbo Oven looks like the way to go!
Gene Smith
keeping an eye on his beans, in Houston

11) From: Ed Needham
If you have a Kohl's near you, they have new Stir Crazy poppers on sale for 
Ed Needham
"to absurdity and beyond!"
ed at homeroaster dot com
(include [FRIEND] somewhere in the subject line of any email correspondence)

12) From: Gene Smith
Thanks, Ed.  Unfortunately, Houston is a Kohl's-Free zone...
Gene Smith
riding the wild learning curve, in Houston

13) From: Dave Huddle
Go to  www.kohls.com and click on the store locator link.
I found 10 stores within 50 miles of Houston.
May have to stop at Kohls on the way home tonight.  There are at least
3 between the office and home.
Maybe they will have the 15% off Senior Citizen discount tomorrow!

14) From: Gene Smith
Thanks, Mike!  I had no idea...  Obviously their marketing ain't working.
Hey, I just went online and it says there's a store at Westheimer & 
Kirkwood.  Are there 2 of them in Houston?  And they aren't showing the Stir 
Crazy as being on sale.
Gene Smith
riding the wild learning curve, in Houston

15) From: Gene Smith
Hmm...  What's their definition of Senior Citizen, Dave?  I see by their 
locations that they are sort of 'extreme suburban' in the Houston 
area...nothing that doesn't involve a serious hike for me.  And, again, the 
Stir Crazy is not listed in their current sales circular...at least, not 
Gene Smith
riding the wild learning curve, in Houston

16) From: Gregg Reno
That figures - I just ordered my SC from Amazon 2 days ago!  I also
ordered the SUNPENTOWN SO-2000 from Newegg.  They only charge $4.99
for shipping.  Other places like Amazon have the Supentown, but they
list a $20 shipping surcharge to the US.  What's up with that?
Can't wait to try the new roaster with larger batches.  Roasting in
the popper every 2 to 3 days is getting a little old.
On Tue, 19 Oct 2004 08:28:25 -0500, Gene Smith  wrote:
- Gregg Reno

17) From: Dave Huddle
I think it's 62.  They usually run the Sr. discount one Wed/month.
Usually advertise it in their newspaper flier on Tuesday.  Sadly - no
flier in the paper today.
It's 15% off everything - including 'sale' stuff.
Sometimes my wife, who is much younger and MUCH better looking than I
am, makes me go shopping with her on Sr. day.

18) From: Oaklandguy
When I got my SC on Saturday, it wasn't listed as a special either.  It was
a new store, and it seemed they were still in the midst of their "grand
opening".  It was marked down $10 on the aisle and then marked down another
10% at the register.  The clerk said it was "on sale".  There were only 3
left when I bought mine.
Wouldn't hurt to call one of the stores, make sure they're in stock, and if
they're on sale.  If the stores are too far away, maybe one of your coffee
list neighbors in Houston could pick one up for you and meet you over a cup
of home roasted?
Roastin' in a PII for a drip brew

19) From: Mike Womer
I'd be more than happy to. I drive past the Kohl's out here twice a day
on my round trip to/from the old salt mine. The store is located right at the epicenter of the 
Katy Freeway rebuild project, and could be seriously unfun for a down-towner to get to.
Mike Womer

20) From: Justin Marquez
Mike - There is a Kohl's on Barker-Cypress Road, just north of FM 529,
if I recall correctly.  That may be easier to get to, but more out of
the way for you. It is about 7 miles north of I-10. Kohl's has
probably got a website where you could verify that it is still open
there, or locate other more convenient locations.
I think the nearest Kohl's to me is in Dallas area!  (Yah, we are in
de boonies!)
Safe Journeys and Sweet Music
Justin Marquez (Snyder, TX)http://www.justinandlinda.comOn Tue, 19 Oct 2004 07:17:29 -0700 (PDT), Mike Womer

21) From: Gene Smith
Thanks, Mike...I really appreciate your generous offer.
However, I checked with the store, but they are not specifically on sale 
here.  They fall under a general, buy one - get one half-priced appliance 
sale.  Regular price is forty dollars, so that means I could get two for 
sixty, and maybe look for someone else to take one off my hands...but I 
think I'm going to just keep haunting thrift stores, and maybe that one Ed 
found is still there!
Again, thanks!
Gene Smith
still looking to go Stir Crazy, in Houston

22) From: Marc Joseph
Well my Supentown CO and SC both arrived yesterday from different 
sources and I did my first roast. I roasted about 3/4 of a pound of 
Costa Rican Tarrazu and  used the equipment stock right out of the box. 
First crack came in about 5 minutes followed by the loudest second crack 
I ever heard with the roast ending at eleven minutes (I've been using a 
HWP and could never hear second very well.) The roast kind of got away 
from me at end and it wound up with a French roast. I tried some this 
morning after a twelve hour rest and it was just too thin and 
flavorless. If it doesn't improve by a day or so, my neighbors and 
co-workers will be treated to something that's still better than they 
are used too. I plan to disconnect the heating element in the SC as 
Dennis suggested before my next roast in order to get better control.

23) From: petzul
Ed Needham wrote:
Thanks Ed, I may het one if I get to Phoenix or Las Vegas.

24) From: Steven Van Dyke
Even if you don't add a switch to your Stir Crazy you can still get good
roasts.  Just watch it as it heads toward second crack and have a fairly
agressive bean cooler standing by.  A somewhat messy but cheap one is one of
those 'mesh' storage baskets you can get at the stores like Bed, Bath &
Beyond sitting on a small fan on High.  Stir with a spoon at the start - you
can use your hands after a minute or so.  Not only will this get the beans
nicely cooled quite quickly, it *will* remove pretty much all the chaff (so
it's best done outside).
Steve :->

25) From: Marc Joseph
Last night I disconnected the heater and capped the wires so I can add a 
switch later if want to. The roast still got a little darker than I was 
aiming for, but I'm getting to know at what point I need to stop the 
heat, at the first sound of second crack.
I'm dumping the beans on an aluminum foil baking pan and aiming a small 
fan on them for cooling which is pretty effective, they are cool in 
about 3-4 minutes.
Steven Van Dyke wrote:

26) From: MMore
Does anyone ever dump the beans into a colander and put them into the  fridge 
or freezer for a couple of minutes?  Or is this too quick a cool  down?
Michael A. Roaster of Vienna,  Va.

27) From: Oaklandguy
There's been a lot of discussion about the SC/TO setup.  I can't find
any info on what temps to start the convection oven at.  Maybe there's
only an on/off switch?  I hope to get mine this weekend and roast a
batch or two.  Do you vary the CO temps during the roast?  Or just set
it and forget it?
Roastin' in a PII for a drip brew (for now anyway)

28) From: Marc Joseph
There is a tempature control like an oven, but it think the heating 
element is either on or off and it cuts off at the set temp. I've been 
starting at 390, but I thought the roast was a little fast. I'm going to 
try a spacer next time. Someone posted either here or on Coffee Geek a 
picture where they inserted the rim of a springform (cheesecake) pan.
Peter Schmidt posted the following rely that answers your question:
 hello fellow fanatics....
this may ramble, but should suffice.....  the 6qt. and 8qt. SC have the 
identical base.   the SC stirring arms work o.k. as they are, especially 
for 1 cup, or half pound roasts.  for 2 cup or one pound plus they will 
work better with some mods.  i cut a half inch dowel, 3/4" long and 
drilled a hole in the center.  these will ride on the end of the arms.  
the improvement was noticeable, but only marginal.  there are some other 
ideas and mods on Coffee Geek.
 the SC should have the heating element switched for more control.  the 
thermostat in the SC keeps the element heating until 530F, and cuts it 
off until it cools to 350F.  with a stock SC you will have a hard time 
adjusting the heat with only the CO control.  you'll have two heaters 
doing two different things, and i.e., after 1st you want to cool things 
down a bit to stretch the time until 2nd.  if the SC element is kicking 
in, 2nd will sneak up pretty fast.  this is more of a problem with a 
small roast than a big one.  way more control if you can switch the SC 
element off and on.
which brings me to another thought.......  the times and temps that i've 
settled on are a rough guideline.  i don't use a thermometer, other than 
an infrared unit to check the bean temp occasionaly.  that's how i found 
out the thermostat's settings.  my CO is a Decosonic, and my temp dial 
is marked off in Celsius.  doesn't matter, they're just a reference 
point.  as far as i know there's not much difference in the brands of 
the CO's.  Dennis' find on the Sunpentown for a new unit is IMO the way 
to go.
you'll have to adjust these times and temps to your settings and batch 
sizes. i typically do half pound roasts, and i'll do four in a row.  
that lasts a week.  and for friends/customers, i'll do half pounds for 
them too, to get them an idea of which origins they like.  so here's 
what i do.... remember the temps are the settings on my CO dial, not the 
measured temp of the air or beans.
0:00-3:00  SC element is off, CO at 302F
3:00-6:00  SC element is off, CO at 392F,  these settings give the beans 
a chance to be uniformly heated and be heated through and through.  i 
have started simply setting CO at 392F for 5min.  IMO the roast will be 
more even if you reach a plateau of temp and uniformity before pushing 
for 1st.
at 6:00 SC element goes on for one min., CO goes to 428F
1st crack will start around 7:00, and last for 90sec. to 2min.
as 1st starts to slow, the CO gets dropped down to 392F, and if it looks 
like there's too much heat built up (and that's easy to let happen- 1st 
can run right into 2nd, esp. w/ a smaller roast) you can lift the CO for 
10 or 15 seconds.
when 1st is officially over, SC stays off, temp stays between 392F and 
428F for 3 or 4 min. depending on the level you're aiming for.
you'll learn what settings will get you into 2nd.  if a Full City + or 
beyond is what you're planning, you can run the CO all the way up and 
just wait, and if you need the heat from the SC, flip that on again.
your roast will be less complicated if you simply disconnect the SC 
element, and set the CO all the way up and use that as the only 
control.  being a "putzer" i like the ability to control both units 
seperately, but it can be easy to add too much heat.
i use a shop vac/ colander/ bucket to cool.  works great to cool, and 
then suck up any chaff.  and it's all downstairs with the smoke 
exhausted up the chimney.
any feedback or questions, i'll be happy to help, on or off list!
roasting in the shade in milwaukee,     peter schmidt
Oaklandguy wrote:

29) From: Oaklandguy
Thanks, Marc.  I appreciate your time and help.
I remember Peter's post but guess I deleted it from my archive.

30) From: peter z
Yesterday I tasted the coffee that I reroasted with my P1 after the 
failure of my used CO.
DO NOT TRY THIS AT HOME! Not that it is dangerous or anything, it is 
just a waste of time. Think folgers coffee roasted to burnt by star$.
Anyway, I found that the limit switch had failed, so the main coil did 
not heat. Quickly I ran some wire across this switch, plugged it in and 
it now gets hot again.
I have not yet tried  another pound of coffee in the unit, still gun shy 
I guess. Welll, I have NEVER roasted coffee that came out so awful!
It really is not too bad roasting with a P1, and 162 grams at a time is 
ok. It is sort of a meditative thing. The half hour or so it takes just 
seems to go somewhere, and the coffee is just great.
Soon I will try my electric frypan convection oven thing again. This 
time I will heat it up to about 400 before I add any beans. Maybe this 
will help also.
Toughing out a rainy day, here in Lake Havasu City.

31) From: Justin Marquez
After HG/DB roasting, I cool them by pouring the beans back and forth
between a wire mesh strainer (which is what holds the beans during the
roast) and a loaf pan for a couple of minutes, then I put the loaf pan
w/beans into the freezer for a couple more minutes.  After 2-3 minutes
in the freezer, the beans are warm but not uncomfortable to the touch.
 (Anything over about 120 Deg F will feel uncomfortable to most folks
after bare skin contact for a little while.)  The first part (pouring
back and forth) takes care of most the remaining chaff, too.
Safe Journeys and Sweet Music
Justin Marquez (Snyder, TX)http://www.justinandlinda.comOn Wed, 20 Oct 2004 10:23:35 EDT, mmore  wrote:

32) From: Craig Shields
I bought one of those small Oxo salad spinners (I think it's the
herb/berry size).  I put the beans in, pump the button a few times,
and let it spin.  After about 10 seconds, I open the top to let the
steam out and repeat.
On Thu, 21 Oct 2004 09:56:04 -0500, Justin Marquez  wrote:

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