I am afraid I am not that sophisticated about it. Until I know that I am hooked on this roasting stuff--I am at it now for a few months--I don't want to put a lot of money into equipment. So i replaced my broken candy thermometer with another candy thermometer. It was also a matter of time; I could not wait for an on line order and wasn't willing to put in the money for an overnight delivery. Actually, the candy thermometer seems to work pretty well. It is a long glass shaft with the thermometer within that responds to a metal ball at its tip. It cost $2.97. I am roasting about 100 grams at a time, which means that beans are approximately 20% up the side of the popper; but when they begin to expand with the heat they are up quite a bit more. That means I can hold the thermometer through the roast and pretty well keep it from touching the metal of the popper, but always within the beans. I actually tried a 12.99 digital thermometer from Target, but as soon as I touched
metal of the popper the temperature went beyond the capacity of the thermometer and i could no longer get a reading. but perhaps I didn't give it enough of a chance. I think I am doing OK in terms of measuring the heat of the bean because sometimes, after I have turned off the motor of the popper to keep the beans from over heating, and then turned the motor on once again, the temperature continues to fall. I expect that even though the heat is on once again the beans themselves have not begun to heat up again. there are, of course at least a couple of drawbacks to doing it this way. First of all, I must keep the hood of the popper off if I am going to watch the temperature at all times. That means that on regular coffee the chafe is getting all over my kitchen (but this is why we have brooms, no?) Second, the capacity of the thermometer is only 400 degrees. At least, 400 degrees is the last marking. I am actually probably letting the heat increase to around 425 or 4
the reading goes beyond the last marker. Third, I expect that the thermometer does not respond very quickly and I am actually roasting at a range of temperatures, between 350 and 400 degrees in the first 8 or 9 minutes of the roast (once the temperature has gone up from 0) and then from 375 to probably around 430 degrees. I get to my version of full city to full city + with decaf in 14 or 15 minutes and to full city with regular coffee in about 13 to 14 minutes. another bad thing, by the way, is that on the list we have said that color does not matter as much in determining the level of the roast as the smell and sound. But since you turn off the popper and the beans do not become as externally active (there is less snapping and no jumping around when the motor is off) i feel less sure about what point I am at in the roast. I am really judging the extent of the roast a lot by color and time. One thing is sure, my coffee has been tasting very good; and I guess i should
attribute it to using the thermometer. I think I am getting this roasting thing pretty good now.
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