HomeRoast Digest

Topic: More Melitta Aromaroast Tricks (42 msgs / 1022 lines)
1) From: Gene Smith
All the talk about increasing airflow on poppers reminded me that there is 
room to increase max airflow on the Aromaroast, too.  In the fully open 
position, some of the openings in the baffle don't use all availble space 
for airflow.
The air openings are in the form of curved slots, so I tried using a plain 
high speed steel twist drill like a side mill on the plastic of the air 
baffle.  Worked just fine.  I extended the slots as far as their adjoining 
structural ribs, wondering if I was opening things up enough to make a 
noticeable difference.
After using a sharp 1/4" chisel and a small woodcarving knife to clean up 
the plastic bits around the holes made by the sideways-moving drill bit, I 
reassembled the roaster and plugged it in to warm up.
I had half-a-cup of Tom's Liquid Amber Blend left over so I decided to pour 
it into the Aromaroast at maximum blow, and see how much I could pour in 
before the bean bed stalled.  Normal capacity for the Aromaroast is a little 
over 1/4 cup.
Imagine my surprise when I kept pouring in beans and they refused to stall! 
I thought about adding some more beans, but I had used all the Liquid Amber 
I had on hand (damn my parsimonious ways!) and didn't want to adulterate it 
with the other beans I have on hand.
So I still don't know what the base capacity of the Aromaroast is now that 
I've increased airflow, but I've nearly doubled it and haven't reached the 
limit of its ability to loft the beans.
Further experiments are in order before I launch the Turbo Crazy roaster!
Gene Smith
riding the wild learning curve, in Houston

2) From: Ed Needham
Sooooo...Maybe it is not underpowered, but rather 'restricted' by design. 
Hmmmm.  Might have to pull my Aromaroast out and dust it off.
BTW--How did the roast turn out with the increased blow?  Did the heater 
keep up?
Ed Needham
"to absurdity and beyond!"
ed at homeroaster dot com
(include [FRIEND] somewhere in the subject line of any email correspondence)

3) From: Ken Mary
I hope you did not remove too much. The moveable baffle is designed to close
off most of the opening when moved to the roast or closed position to
achieve roasting temperature.

4) From: Gene Smith
Yeah, it did, Ed.  Roast was actually slightly shorter than normal.  My 
half-baked (half-roasted?) theory about unmodified air roasters is that you 
are always dealing with having too many beans at the start, and not enough 
beans at the finish.
Or, to put it another way, not enough airflow at the start and too much 
airflow at the finish.  This is, of course, assuming that the heater part 
can keep up with whatever added beans you can accomodate.
As you know the Melitta approaches this problem in an interesting way by 
physically controlling the airflow with two baffles - one stationary and one 
that rotates, so that when it is in the 'start' position, the two baffles 
line up and provide maximum opening for the airflow and when it is at the 
other extreme the airflow is greatly restricted - less loft, more heat as 
the beans get lighter and hotter.
The plastic is easy to modify so that you can get past the built-in 
restrictions on both ends.  And yes, I think it was restricted by design. 
My best guess would be that it was an attempt to idiot-proof the process. 
So they figured out the best settings to roast and prevented the consumer 
from having too much chance to get away from it.
But I think they screwed up by not realizing several things.
Firstly, I think it totally escaped them that people would be roasting under 
extremely varied conditions.  Again, my best guess is they assumed consumers 
would be roasting in their kitchen at an ambient temp near 70 degrees or so 
and letting their range hood deal with any smoke produced.  They may have 
even attempted to limit the amount of smoke you could produce.
Secondly, when this thing was new you may recall that there was nowhere near 
the bean selection available today.  We really have an embarrasment of 
riches in this area now, whereas I'm sure the developers of the little 
Melitta didn't even bother to dial it in for more than a few commonly 
available greens.  At that time the whole 'gourmet coffee' thing was just 
getting up steam.
Lastly, I don't think they had any idea how much variance there would be in 
the units as manufactured and either didn't compensate for it, or just 
ignored it.  I got a spare from ebay for a few bucks because it didn't have 
the chaff collector.  It appears to be virtually new, nowhere near as 
worn/used as mine, so I thought it might be a stronger unit.  When I put my 
chaff collector and thermometer on it and fired it up it didn't come 
anywhere near the temp my old one puts out - off by 20-50 degrees F.
So, your results, as they say, may vary.  I think it entirely possible that 
some heating units might be too weak to do anything with the extra airflow. 
Works well on mine, though.
Gene Smith
riding the wild learning curve, in Houston

5) From: Gene Smith
Ken Mary wrote:
A friend of mine used to work with Telly Savalas before he got famous (for 
any children on the list, Telly played Kojak on TV and had many film roles 
as well).  Believe it or not, they were both guards at the UN in New York in 
the latter 1950s.
Telly had great faith in the accuracy of his own pronouncements, many of 
which he reached without benefit of actual knowledge of the topic under 
discussion.  When my friend would go do some research and discover that 
Telly was, as Gramma Smith used to say, 'talking through his hat' and would 
confront him with this information, Telly would snatch victory from the jaws 
of defeat by triumphantly pronouncing "Drove you to source!"
You drove me to source, Ken.  I just went out in the garage and pulled it 
apart for a look.  No, the opening of the slots that allow max opening at 
full airflow are entirely covered up when the little lever is pushed all the 
way to closed.  I hasten to add that I have removed the little bump in the 
plastic that prevented the baffle from being closed past a predetermined 
point, so that it now can use its full range of motion.
The nature of the baffle openings is such that it is difficult to explain 
just how they work without looking at the little devils.
The other thing I discovered by looking again is that there is *more* 
material that can be safely removed than I had previously noticed.  This 
time, however, I think I will take you cautionary advice and carefully mark 
the areas to remove, rather than just freehanding it.
Gene Smith
riding the wild learning curve, in Houston

6) From: Ed Needham
So you actually got a decent roast using a large quantity of beans in an 
Aromaroaster?  Phenomenal!

7) From: Gene Smith
Well, I just roasted some Oaxaca Esmeralda, and managed about 3/4 cup of 
greens with my staggered or sequential melange roast, ending up with a tad 
over a cup of Vienna roasted beans at the finish.  Not bad for a little old 
elderly roaster.  I think that's pretty much the limit without further mods. 
The heat is easily increased by the roasting-in-a-bucket method, so the 
limiting factor at this point is fan oomph.
It's fun to fiddle, but the possibility of squeezing another ounce of 
capacity out of the Aromaroast is beginning to pale and I'm eyeing the 
TurboCrazy toys on the other end of the bench.  I think it may be time to do 
a BIG roast (at least by Aromaroast standards).
Still...I may fiddle some more with the intention of making it my reliable 
'sample' roaster.
Gene Smith
riding the wild learning curve, in Houston

8) From: Ed Needham
I progressed to a Hearthware Precision from my modded Aromaroast.  The 
difference was pretty impressive.  But then I was bored, because I  
have to futz and fiddle to get a good roast.  The day I built a drum and 
roasted on my family grill, there was absolutely no turning back.  The 
Aromaroast, a Gourmet, and three Precisions (one broken) are all gathering 
I went to the local pub last night with three pounds of my beans.  I came 
home empty handed, and I wish I had taken one more bag.  It would have been 
gone too.  To me, that adds pleasure to homeroasting.  I also like giving 
homeroast for gifts at Christmas, and for charity auctions.  With three 
ounce batches, or even a cup at a time, it would take me all day to roast 
enough to be able to share my beans.
Ed Needham
"to absurdity and beyond!"
ed at homeroaster dot com
(include [FRIEND] somewhere in the subject line of any email correspondence)

9) From: Gary Townsend
Ed, I found a Galloping Gourmet for $14. like new, in the box,
yesterday ( my 16 year old son has his permit, so after I picked him
up from the HS, I let him drive 15 miles on the highway, 1st time. I
think my clawmarks are just starting to pop back out of the dash of my
95 Chevy PU!). I'm fabricating the ductwork today for my indoor
roaster. Picked up some 4" pipe, a 6" 250 CFM duct booster, 6-4 inch
reducers, and I'm running about 10 feet of 4 " tubing to a standard
'dryer' exhaust. Any thoughts? I was originally planning to tie into
the 8" chimney, that is now in use with a new logstove on 6" tubing,
but I felt that it was probably not the way to go (fire safety).
Dimensions, work-table (adjustable - waist high )+ poppery + chimney
(hurricane globe). 4" tubing into 6" booster fan + 4X6" reducers, more
4" tubing, a 90 deg bend, exit into 4" dryer exhaust. All metal
construction. Think I'll have enough airflow?
On Fri, 12 Nov 2004 10:16:26 -0500, Ed Needham  wrote:

10) From: Oaklandguy
Ed is so right about sharing the beans.  Being able to share the fruits
of my labor (insanity?) has been one of my goals with homeroasting.
It's hard to do in poppers (but I love my poppers), unless you don't
have to work.  Since getting the SC/TO setup, it's easier to roast
larger batches, try blends, then share the tastier ones with friends.
It's really something when someone gets fresh roasted for the first
I still use the poppers for small batches to roast, blend, and taste
before doing a big roast in the SC/TO.  Working on a "Holiday Blend" now
for gifts (along with homemade mincemeat pie).
Roastin in an SC/TO
For drip and moka brews

11) From: Gary Townsend
Brent, hi, what are you mixing up for the holidays? I'm going to do a
50/50  Kenyan/Guat mix for the drippers. I'm looking at a harar/ ???
blend for the cappo/ espresso people. I'm still trying to fix my
indoor ventilation problems...Logstove is begging me for fuel,
fireplace insert is too! I'm off to split some logs! ( my day off,
On Fri, 12 Nov 2004 08:38:38 -0800, Oaklandguy  wrote:

12) From: Peter Schmidt
Brent, as a fellow SC/CO roaster, I'm curious about the size your typical
roast, and your max so far.  My full pounders get a little uneven, and 12oz.
is just about perfect.
I've been having fun w/ blends too.  Yesterday was a great 70/30 blend of
the Harar Horse, and Kenya Kugamoini.  Today was a 60/40 Peru and Kenya.  My
Harvest Blend, which will be renamed the Holiday Blend for Christmas gifts
is 40/40/20, CRLM, Sumatra Mandheling and Harar FTO.
As if there wasn't a steep enough learning curve the way it was, now us
crazies are going to blend!
peter schmidt/ m'waukee

13) From: Oaklandguy
Peter, it's just like being back in chem lab.  But without the pesky
teacher/professor to keep you from blowing things up.  A little slice of
heaven!  :)
I've never done a full pound in the SC/TO.  12oz. works for me for most
beans.  If the beans are larger or have more moisture, I usually bring
it down to 10-11oz.  For some reason, the roasts of those beans get
uneven for me at 12 oz.  Last night, roasted some Iskandar and did this
in 11oz. Batches.  Got a nice slow, even roast.  Man, it has a great but
unusual flavor.  Definitely needs blending.  Tried it this a.m. as a
50/50 with Huila decaf.  Better but still not quite right.  Maybe with
some Sidamo?
I like the sound of your Harvest Blend blend.  Do you follow Tom's
roasting guidelines for those beans or use your own profile?  I'm still
piddling around with mine, but might adopt yours if you don't mind?
Roastin in an SC/TO
For drip and moka brews

14) From: Oaklandguy
Gary - Heck, it sounds like you've got a lot going on - hungry stoves,
choppin wood and blending coffee!  :)
I'm still messing around with my holiday blend.  The Kenyan/Guat sounds
like a good choice.  Which varieties?  I was thinking of Harrar, a
little Huila decaf for body, and then another bean (maybe a 50/10/40
blend?).  Haven't decided on the last bean.  Roasted some Iskandar last
night, but I don't think that'll cut it.  Peter Schmidt's recipe for his
Harvest Blend sounds good, so I may give that a shot (with his OK).
I'm just roasting for drippers, tho (and a proud dripper myself!), so
can't help about cappo/espresso blends.  
Roastin in an SC/TO
For drip and moka brews

15) From: Gary Townsend
I do 1 -2 #'s a week for drip, another # of so for cappos/espresso. I
used to unintentionally melange (or mangle) roasts & blend them
without realizing it.Nowdays, I do 4ea 4oz roasts in 4 different
air-poppers, and cool + blend them together. I roast Kenyans to City
+, City ++, Full City, FC ++, occasionally French Roast (wasn't paying
attention) then mixed together = really great.
The Guat's, I keep down to a City, no more than City +, then blend
together. I store 1/2 # of the mixed Guat + mixed Kenyan in seperate
jars, the other # is blended , then stored in a big Mason Jar. I can
drink 'Just Guat' or Kenyan to compare with the blend, sometimes I
decide 3 days after the roast, to 'Kick It Up a Notch', like Emeril
says, and add more Kenyan, or tone it down for my wife, who likes the
Guats better. ( I like them both, just differently...like kids...)
I like Americano's, thanks to the other people on this list who
introduced me to that truly full flavored coffee technique, BTW.
This weekend I'll change gears to Harrar, & ??? who knows...thats the
beauty of homeroasting...trying different beans all the time. I think
that I'll roast up a # of  the El Salvador CoE #19 ! And my Rocky,
from Sweet Maria's (ss, doserless) is arriving today! Where the heck
is that UPS truck? I'm tracking the truck on another browser!
On Fri, 12 Nov 2004 09:18:11 -0800, Oaklandguy  wrote:

16) From: Ed Needham
I think the duct fan is probably critical with so long a length of ducting. 
The roaster fan likely wouldn't have the ooommph to push it all through.
You going to post pics when it's finished?
Ed Needham
"to absurdity and beyond!"
ed at homeroaster dot com
(include [FRIEND] somewhere in the subject line of any email correspondence)

17) From: Gary Townsend
Sure will, I even snapped a few before & afters! ( this is my priority, today!)
1 of my thoughts was to link up a 6 inch tube, duct booster (6"), 6"
to 4" reducer, then 4" tubing to the ceiling, 4" elbow, more tubing to
exhaust (dryer type). Do you see the 6-4' reducer as a bottleneck? I
would think that 250 CFM would be enough to keep the smoke created by
the roasting at bay...just picked up a Galloping Gourmet for $14. at a
thrift shop, like new...TARGET has Stir Crazy's for $30, so it's only
a matter of time !
On Sat, 13 Nov 2004 01:55:31 -0500, Ed Needham  wrote:

18) From: Peter Schmidt
Gary, unless you have a Target right close and like paying sales tax, Amazon
has the SC's for $29.99- free shipping, no sales tax.  I have a Target on my
usual route, but like stuff sitting at my back door and don't like fighting
the 'Folgers Sniffers' in the stores........
Just my 2.....
Peter Schmidt

19) From: Gary Townsend
There's a TARGET in Manhattan, KS about 25 miles from here, I was
planning on going up there this weekend, but if my college student
gets hungry, she'll 'stop by', & I'll have her pick one up on her way
'home', for me, no big deal...she'll call first.
On Sat, 13 Nov 2004 08:58:10 -0600, Peter Schmidt  wrot=
ribes) go tohttp://sweetmarias.com/maillistinfo.html#personalsettings<Snip>

20) From: David B. Westebbe
 I'm fabricating 
Your draw will be related to the vertical height of the chimney, the
diameter of the pipe, and the difference in temperature between the
inside and the outside of the chimney. Other factors will include how
many different directions you go in (turns cut efficiency), and other
Depending on other factors, you might not need the duct booster.
But give it all a try.  I have an extra dryer vent in the cellar, and
I'm thinking of using it to roast indoors.

21) From: David B. Westebbe
If it is a proper length  chimney, and the air inside is warm all the
way up, it will draw all by itself.

22) From: John Blumel
On Nov 13, 2004, at 11:39am, David B. Westebbe wrote:
It could even draw too strongly.
John Blumel

23) From: Gary Townsend
I was thinking of adding a dimmer switch to the motor, after I see how
well it works. I'm off to home Depot & Sears, replacing the kitchen
stove today, I need to swing by TARGET & pick up a Stir Crazy, anyway
;-), and get another 4 feet of 4" pipe.
On Sat, 13 Nov 2004 11:58:43 -0500, John Blumel

24) From: John Blumel
On Nov 13, 2004, at 4:13pm, Gary Townsend wrote:
I doubt that too strong a draft would be a problem. I lost track of 
what sort of 'roaster' we were talking about and was thinking in terms 
of a drum with the exhaust hooked directly to it.
John Blumel

25) From: Gary Townsend
Drum roast, heck I don't think so either! Air Poppers, & hopefully, my
NEW GGSC, just picked it up from TARGET (SC), going out to run the
vent, right now!
On Sat, 13 Nov 2004 16:22:55 -0500, John Blumel

26) From: Dennis Parham
did ya get the SC from Target?? kewl! you'll Love it! its an easy 
setup!  i just roasted 1/2lb JBM  !! smells good so far!  but i used my 
modded poppery I   so not to roast up TOO much of my bounty! hehe
Dennis Parham
On Nov 13, 2004, at 8:56 PM, Gary Townsend wrote:

27) From: Gary Townsend
Just a little update on indoor venting. The 6" 250 CFM duct fan worked
great for about an hour, then stopped spinning. Maybe it's defective,
but for $25. it's going back to Home Depot, maybe even upgrading to
the 8" model. I measured my pipe (4") and from vent to hood, distance
was less than 8 feet, with only 1ea 90 degree bend. I thought that I
might have to 'regulate' the fan, but so far, thats not the case. I
used 2 standard 6" to 4" reducers to mount the fan inline. I'm
thinking that I should mount the fan closer to the vent, maybe the
heat from roasting caused it to fail. I didn't think this was an
issue, as they promote the fans to boost heat & A/C air. But in my
case, mounting it farther away from the actual roasting booth won't be
a problem. It did manage to hold up alright during 2ea 12oz roasts
with the GG/SC, then died when I was using my Poppery 1. Hmmm...back
to the drawing board. Any thoughts on this are appreciated, as my
sweet wife is pretty tolerant of most things, except for any type of
smoke. (We don't smoke cig's either :-), once in a while I'll light up
a cigar, if it's a good one, OUTSIDE!!! ;-*)
On Sat, 13 Nov 2004 21:05:31 -0600, Dennis Parham  wrote:

28) From: Ken Mary
I thought overload at first, but then the 4" duct should be enough of a
restriction. If you have a direct connection to the roaster with no dilution
air for cooling, then you may have roasted the motor. Put a thermometer
through a hole in the duct just upstream from the fan. The 8" fan will let
you use more dilution air for cooler running.

29) From: Gary Townsend
Ken, I had left a space of about 18" above the top of my Poppery 1,
with a hurricane  glass chimney installed, and I have an adjustable
work table for a base, as I planned on locating a used range hood to
finish off the roasting station. I think that if a clothes dryer can
operate with a 4" duct, then a roasting duct should be fine, also.
I think that I'll move the duct booster as far away from the roasting
station as possible, and try it again. Thanks, I'll include a
thermometer right next to the fan motor (intake) and find out if that
might be a problem. Good idea!
On Tue, 16 Nov 2004 12:06:41 -0500, Ken Mary  wrote:

30) From: David B. Westebbe
It sure could, but unless the chimney is attached to the roaster using a
tight fitting, it would just draw air in from the sides.
I used to use my fireplace chimney for winter roasting.  It drew well
enough that the chaff would go right up the chimney.

31) From: Gary Townsend
David, I was going that route, initially, using the chimney with the
logstove that I installed recently. Then, in the fireplace instruction
manual, (some of us actually read them ;-o ) which stated pretty much,
keep this chimney seperate from all other devices, or you'll burn your
house down! So, I decided to seperate the roasting station, & my
approach is very similar to running a bathroom vent, or a clothes
dryer type exhaust. The vent is mounted on the side of the house, I'm
just not going to chop a hole in my roof, and the total length is
about 8 feet, from the roasting station to the exhaust. I killed the
1st duct fan, too close to the heat, so I'm moving the next one right
next to the exhaust, and running a switch down to the roasting
station. I'm using 4" standard pipe, and the current duct fan is a 6"
model, with 6" to 4" reducers, rated @ 250 CFM.
Am I missing something here? I'm shopping for a range hood this
weekend, and I have an adjustable work bench to roast on, and once i
finalize everything, I 'll put a dedicated roasting bench together.
I'd like to use my GGSC setup, along with air-popper's.
So, are you saying that I should disregard the woodstoves 'safety'
instructions (not like I've never broken a few rules, before ;-), but
i don't want to burn down my house, either. So, I've decided to err on
the safe side, and go with a semi-temporary (that's easily reversable)
set-up, until I can move my setup away from the house and build a
'shed' for my lawn-tractor (plumbed with water, electric :-) and a
really sweet 'work' bench...ok...ok..it's going to be a roasting shed,
but to get the funding, from my better half, it's a 'garden' shed, for
On Thu, 18 Nov 2004 10:04:15 -0500, David B. Westebbe

32) From: Tom Ulmer
A range hood has an exhaust fan, work-space light , and a down-draft flap.
If you can get one mounted and ducted within acceptable elegance...

33) From: Tim TenClay
On Thu, 18 Nov 2004 11:56:13 -0500, Tom Ulmer  wrote:
I don't have a fancy get-up for my roasting, but, I have come to the
conclusion that the perfect winter-time roasting facility is my
bathtub.  I recommend it to anyone with limited options....
By evening it's completely dried out after the morning showers.  It
has a handy exhaust system to prevent setting off smoke alarms (the
fan in the bathroom) and an ingenious chaff collection/removal system
(the drain).  The ambient temperature is carefully controlled between
about 68 and 71 degrees, and although it doesn't allow for much move
space, me and my toastmaster fit quite comfortably :-)
Grace and Peace,
Rev. Tim TenClay
Dunningville Reformed Church (www.dunningville.org)
Knots & More Tatting Supplies (www.knotsandmore.com) NATA #253

34) From: Gary Townsend
Tom, right in line with what I was thinking, ( I was thinking of
'replacing' the one in our kitchen with a nicer one, for my wife, you
see, and re-using it in my shop, you know? But it's the ductless type,
I may replace that one,anyway. ( "NO smoking in the house" my wifes
words...I'm just trying to comply!
On Thu, 18 Nov 2004 11:56:13 -0500, Tom Ulmer  wrote:

35) From: Brett Mason
Tim - 
I agree on the bathtub - but please don't drop the Hot Air Popper in -
the shock can kill you...
On Thu, 18 Nov 2004 12:11:15 -0500, Tim TenClay  wrote:
Brett Mason
   _(( )_  Please don't spill the coffee!

36) From: David B. Westebbe
Sounds like that would work great.
I think that it depends a lot on how much chaff you produce.  It has
very little mass, so unless you roast pounds at a time, I can't imagine
any problems.  But PLEASE don't take my word for it.  My chimney used to
draw exceptionally well.

37) From: David B. Westebbe
I tried that a couple of times.  I ended up stinking up the house and
setting off all the smoke detectors.

38) From: Gary Townsend
If I tried roasting in my wife's shrine to Martha Stewart, I'd need a
preacher to read me my last rites!
On Thu, 18 Nov 2004 12:11:15 -0500, Tim TenClay  wrote:

39) From: Gene Smith
Are you allowed to use it, Gary...or do you just go out behind a tree?  My 
Italian grandmother used to restrict her husband to one chair in the living 
room - he wasn't allowed to sit anywhere else.  And when she could finally 
afford to have the living room carpet replaced, she carved the leftovers 
into carpet-sample-sized squares and made a little trail from the kitchen to 
the bathroom/bedroom area, so that the main traffic never laid a foot on the 
new carpet.
Gene Smith
riding the wild learning curve, in Houston

40) From: Gary Townsend
That's how I feel, sometimes, Gene! Take shoes off at the door, I have
my lazyboy ( I share with the cat, she get's it when I'm not there),
'the boys' have our own bathroom. Can't say that theres a trail of
rugs over the carpet, but she's always shopping around in those dang
catalogs...hehehe :-). BTW, she bought us a Rocky, last week...so,
it's not all that bad! I do have my shop & garage to break things in,
W/O feeling guilty, usually it's 'well, at least it's paid for'
On Thu, 18 Nov 2004 12:05:53 -0600, Gene Smith  wrote:

41) From: John Blumel
On Nov 18, 2004, at 12:49pm, Gary Townsend wrote:
Has she installed bars on the windows and started wearing striped 
John Blumel

42) From: Gary Townsend
You know, I started cracking jokes...at the time...she (my wife)
really defended Martha. She missed her calling in life, instead of
banking, she should have been a defense lawyer! I'm no match for her
when she get's all wound up, I admit it !
Lately, (since the arrival of our little Rocky) she's been making the
morning coffee. And she get's up 1/2 hour before I do, Mon - Fri.
Automated coffee, once again, all it took was a little patience, and
On Thu, 18 Nov 2004 13:34:08 -0500, John Blumel

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