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Topic: TurboCrazy Recent Observations (2 msgs / 115 lines)
1) From: Phil Ferrante-Roseberry
Thanks, Martin, for your great post just now about HG/DB 
observations. I've been roasting TurboCrazy for just a couple months, 
and so the holiday season gave me the opportunity to really put it, 
and myself to the test. I roasted a bit over 10 lbs for gifts, and I 
now have a much better feel for TurboCrazy. Here's what I picked up 
along the way:
My setup:
StirCrazy with the heater disabled. Splice connectors added to fatten 
the stirring rods.
Supentown Turbo Oven, set to around 400 throughout the roast.
springform pan to elevate the oven.
large binder-clip on the lip of the stir-crazy creating a slit 
through which chaff escapes.
all the above sitting inside a cardboard box (about 6 inches high) to 
catch chaff.
For cooling, I've jerry-rigged a setup that involves a small fan 
(ripped out of something I found at a thrift store) mounted inside 
the plastic bucket from a 30 lb container of cat litter. (I knew 
those cats would be good for something!) Round hole cut in the top 
cover so that a colander sits in it, and venting holes cut near the 
bottom for air-flow. Air is pulled down through the beans and out the 
bottom. The neighbors laugh when they see me pouring coffee beans 
into a bucket of cat litter, but it cools the beans in well under 2 
minutes.
Best accessory I've not seen mentioned anywhere: When you take the 
turbo-oven off at the end of the roast, you need to put it down 
somewhere... but how do you put down an exposed 400 degree heating 
element? A wok-ring costs about $2 and does the job perfectly... 
holding the turbo-oven without letting the element touch the floor. 
It looks like this and can be found in any Chinatown. http://www.wokshop.com/HTML/products/accessories/access_wokring.htmlOptimal Batch Size. for my setup, I've found that 12-14 oz produced 
great results averaging 12-13 minutes to get into 2nd crack. In one 
roast I pushed it as far as 18 oz. That roast took 16 minutes and I 
think came out fine, but it feels like the beans get better motion 
with the smaller batches. My rule of thumb is that if I can catch 
glimpses of the stirring rod as it sweeps under the beans, it must 
not be over-loaded.
Best beans for this method: I roasted a number of types, including 
wet and dry processed, peaberrys, decafs.  Everything did well, but 
the peaberrys really seemed to move easily and roast evenly. My guess 
is that since they're rounder than 'normal' beans, they get rolled 
rather than pushed around.
I did multiple back-to-back roasts with no problem, at one point 
running through a 5 lb bag of greens in a sitting. Having the roaster 
good and hot knocked about a minute off the roasting time. I noticed 
that after had been running for a while and was really hot, the 
stirring rod would reverse direction more frequently, but that never 
exceeded more than once per minute or so, and so I didn't worry about 
it.
Problems and things I want to work on...: On a few roasts, 1st and 
2nd crack came too darn close to each other, and I'd like to find a 
way to slow things down between them. I *think* this may have 
happened on the bigger roasts, but I'm really not sure.Can I put a 
variac on the turbo-oven, even with it's thermostat? One other option 
I'm playing with involves a fan. With all the wet weather in CA, I've 
been roasting in my communities' workshop, and venting out a window 
by having a window-fan sitting next to the box. I'm now running the 
fan at low for most of the roast, but kicking it up to high between 
1st and 2nd crack. This not only pulls more hot air away from the 
roaster, but it also increases the load, which perhaps drops the 
voltage on the oven a bit. Thoughts?
Best of all, none of my neighbors complained about the clouds of 
smoke and smell that enveloped their houses. Maybe that's because I 
kept giving them lots of coffee!
Phil

2) From: Brent - SC/TO Roasting
Thanks for the great info, Phil.  I have the exact same set up (except
for the cooling setup) and get the same results.
The short period between 1st and 2nd frustrated me, too.  Now, I drop
the TO thermostat 1 or 2 clicks after about 30 seconds into 1st crack.
1st keeps going but it adds about another 45-60 seconds to the time
between 1st and 2nd.  
I've also noticed that the larger the batch of beans, the longer that
1st crack seems to last (presumably because of the greater number of
beans).  Unlike roasting with poppers, it seems that larger batches in
the SC/TO do not roast any faster.  So, I load the SC with beans, start
the arms turning and add beans until I can still see the bottom of the
SC and/or the arms at least once or twice during a turn.  Then I throw
the TO on, set it for 400 and let 'er rip.
For my taste, starting at 300 and slowly ramping up seemed to bake the
beans more than roast them.  A couple of times, the final coffee had no
flavor.  But setting it at 400 seems to keep the beans roasting.
My "holder" for the hot TO is just an over-sized clay pot.  It's
something that I've had around for several years, so don't know about
price on those.
Brent
Roasting in an SC/TO
For drip, moka, and presspot brew
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