HomeRoast Digest


Topic: Next Step Roasting & Brewing (13 msgs / 638 lines)
1) From: Gary
OK I'm a lurker.  Now I feel better having confessed.
Here's my situation: I would like to take my coffee experience to the next
level and need advice.  I'm guessing there are quite a few that have similar
questions.
Background
Equipment: Hot air popcorn roaster & digital scale, Zass 169 DG grinder,
French press pretty much exclusively as my wife does not drink coffee and
since I don't do my nails, I guess we're even. I have a drip maker that I
use for company. Been roasting for about 2 years, drinking for about 35.
Beans: Stash is about 20#, don't keep more than that as I only drink one
press a day except weekends, probably consume about a lb/week and don't want
to keep green beans more than 1 year.
Preferences: Like coffee black. I have not found a Sweet Marias bean that I
dislike yet although the aged Sumatra Lintong was interesting.  Not much
experience with the Island beans. No experience with espresso other than
Charbucks and that was bad, and given the oohs and aahs about the crema,
etc. I would like to try some. Looks like a huge investment in equipment to
get to that level.
Location: Atlanta, GA area
I have been reading about the longer roast times with some equipment and the
additional body that gives to the coffee.  My roast times are usually 5 to 8
minutes depending on the bean and degree of roast.  Anything past 8 minutes
is usually burnt. I try to roast a couple of times per week and keep a brief
log on the roast wt. and time.
If I want to improve my roasts, what equipment would you recommend?  I do
not need to roast a pound at a time, so large roasters are not needed. The
new I-Roast looks interesting cause you can program a profile.  Feed back
seems to be that it is difficult to hear 2nd crack and a lot of roasts seem
to want to stop at or just into 2nd crack. It seems that bean temperature is
a good thing to know to correlate with roast and predict the finish point.
What equipment is needed for that and how do you fit it up on the roasters?
If not the I-roast, what other equipment would you suggest.
I have access to a heat gun and I could steal my dogs dinner bowl to try a
HGDB method.  I'm not sure if that will be more predictable and consistent.
I'm willing to try it.
I have modified my popper to allow the heat unit to be switched off
independent of the fan. Toggling the switch during roast will prolong the
roast but it is very difficult to repeat the profile consistently.  The
pre-programmed profile on the I-roast seems to take care of that issue.
If I want to improve my brewing, it looks like the Vac-brewer would be the
next step.  Is there something in between my press and a vac?  I see Tom's
comments on the differences in the type of cups from each method.
Oh, one other thing: I do have limited means, doesn't everyone?  So I am
trying to be selective in the upgrades.  Also, father's day is coming and
it's always good to identify a suggestion;)
I did place an order last night for the Panama Carmen based upon the rave on
the forum and some Bolivian to use in an iced coffee.  Last time I waited
too long on a recommended product and they were gone when I ordered.
Sorry for the length of this post and I hope this generates some feedback as
everyone is on the learning curve somewhere and may want to move forward.
Thanks for your input!
Gary

2) From: Alchemist John
Welcome Gary,
You sound  a bit like me in your preferences.  Seeing that similarity and 
running with it, I would recommend staying away from the I-roast.  Some 
people like it, but the temperature differential really annoys me.  I would 
stay with the popper (if you like the size, which one is it BTW) and modify 
it further for better control.  The easiest control is to split wire it 
(easy and lots of info how here) and use a variac.  Costs less than an 
I-roast.  As for espresso, with the limited budget, look around at some of 
the Gaggias.  It is what I have and enjoy.
At 09:17 5/14/2005 -0400, you wrote:
<Snip>
John Nanci
AlChemist at large
Zen Roasting , Blending & Espresso pulling by Gestalthttp://www.chocolatealchemy.com/

3) From: Michael Dhabolt
I would second the suggestion from Alchemist John.  The variac that
Tom offers on the site is a cadillac, and well worth what he is asking
for it.  If you feel that it is a bit more than you want to spend, try
eBay - there are always a bunch up for auction.  Go for a 15 amp
minimum (my big one is a 20 amp). While going thru the eBay listings
you'll become familiar with the major variac brands, stay with one of
those makes.  If I remember correctly I got mine for about $20, they
are heavy so if possible look for something as local as possible and
save a few bucks on shipping.
I'd like to repeat - the variac that Sweet Marias offers is a
Cadillac.  It is plenty big, it has a volt meter (really helps when
you are trying to do repeatable profiles), and it has a really nifty
fire engine red paint job - just crying for a few pin stripes or a
flame job.  Another thing about getting a variac is even if you move
away from the popper, you'll probably want a variac for any other
electric heat method of roasting anyway.
Mike "livin' life at 138 volts" (just plain)
On 5/14/05, Alchemist John  wrote:
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4) From: miKe mcKoffee
I also agree that a split wired dual boost variable voltage controlled air 
popcorn popper, or Fresh Roast, or Caffe' Rosto can and do out perform the 
I-Roast hands down. The only commerical home roasting appliance I know of 
that does a really good job unmod'd and that I'd recommend is the HotTop. 
When the I-Roast was first being talked about before it's release, I was 
excited about it's possibilities. After someone got a copy of the 
pre-release manual for it and I say "how" it implemented it's limited 3 
stage profiling I "intuitively" knew it couldn't come close to achieving 
what I already had. Jim Schulman, a Virtuoso using a dual variable boost 
voltage controlled FR, decided to get a I-Roast to compare. His testing 
comfirmed what I already surmised to be true. The I-Roast was/is a good idea 
with a poor design implementation in a number of ways IMO.
Don't get me wrong, a "stock" I-Roast is more flexible than a "stock" FR or 
Caffe' Rosto or air popcorn popper. An I-Roast is a half way decent roaster 
within it's limitations.
One point on the very small analog volt meter built in variacs like the one 
Tom sells. I disagree on it's value other than for "general" voltages, it's 
really not very accurate.
Kona Konnaisseur miKe mcKoffee
URL to Rosto mods, FrankenFormer, some recipes etc.http://mdmint.home.comcast.net/coffee/Rosto_mod.htmFrom: "Michael Dhabolt" 
Sent: Saturday, May 14, 2005 9:11 AM
I would second the suggestion from Alchemist John.  The variac that
Tom offers on the site is a cadillac, and well worth what he is asking
for it.  If you feel that it is a bit more than you want to spend, try
eBay - there are always a bunch up for auction.  Go for a 15 amp
minimum (my big one is a 20 amp). While going thru the eBay listings
you'll become familiar with the major variac brands, stay with one of
those makes.  If I remember correctly I got mine for about $20, they
are heavy so if possible look for something as local as possible and
save a few bucks on shipping.
I'd like to repeat - the variac that Sweet Marias offers is a
Cadillac.  It is plenty big, it has a volt meter (really helps when
you are trying to do repeatable profiles), and it has a really nifty
fire engine red paint job - just crying for a few pin stripes or a
flame job.  Another thing about getting a variac is even if you move
away from the popper, you'll probably want a variac for any other
electric heat method of roasting anyway.
Mike "livin' life at 138 volts" (just plain)
On 5/14/05, Alchemist John  wrote:
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5) From: Michael Dhabolt
I have to agree with miKe
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I do believe however that for the 'non-techie' it is a place to start
and gives enough feedback to the roaster to push him (her) toward
using it in combination with the scale to start establishing
repeatable profile settings.
Mike (just plain)
On 5/14/05, miKe mcKoffee  wrote:
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6) From: Gary
Hi Mikes!
Checked Ebay and what's there is over priced.
Probably get one of Tom's once he has them back in stock.
I appreciate the wisdom in the posts.
I'm gonna need some help on this one though.
I'll need some specifics regarding mods, and how to's etc.
I've got no problem being a teckie if I can get a little guidance.
I do own a couple of soldering pencils but I am not an electrical engineer.
I am currently roasting with a Poppery II and have a couple of spares.
Appreciate your encouragement and help.
Gary

7) From: Brett Mason
Hi Gary,
Start with a long extension cord - maybe 50-75' and your roasts will
go up to about 9-13 minutes.  That alone may begin to give you some
more control, and start to the next level.  Many people already own
extension cords....  ok I'l stop jabbing on that one.
Next, take a sample bean, and roast it three different loads.  One to
where you currently go, one about 1.0 minute longer, and the other 2
minutes longer.  Cool the beans and rest about a day.  Then do some
comparison grind & brews, some amateur cupping, and learn some of the
nuances...
Wish you much success.  We'll all come over and taste your results...
Brett
On 5/14/05, Gary  wrote:
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-- 
Regards,
Brett Mason
 HomeRoast
      __]_
   _(( )_  Please don't spill the coffee!

8) From: Gary
Thanks Brett,
I gotta 100 footer and will use that.
I have to do a batch Tuesday night so I'll do three or four and run some
comparisons.
I'm all for the KISS principle and it would be great if the extension cord
does the trick.
I'll let you know!
Taste test is at 7:00 you'll have to plan your drive accordingly.
Gary

9) From: Michael Dhabolt
Gary
What gauge is the 100' extension cord??  This technique relies on line
loses (current - - heat), it is a trick that has been and is being
used successfully.  Do, however be careful especially the first few
times, to keep track of how warm the extension cord gets.  The popper
does in fact draw fairly substantial current and with a light enough
gauge cord it can melt, short and cause general mahem.  The recent
spate of long (light gauge) 18 and 20 gauge extension cords that I see
at hardware stores requires me to present you with this caution.  The
trick does require some heat loss through the cord so a real heavy (10
or 12 gauge) would probably not facilitate the process.  Just be aware
and keep track.
Mike (just plain)
On 5/15/05, Gary  wrote:
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10) From: HeatGunRoast heatgunroast
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Say no more.  Use your stock brain, no mods needed.  (Split say what?)
Martin

11) From: Brett Mason
My heavy-duty orange heavy-duty 75' extension cord does a fine job of
delaying roasts.  I am not enough of a scientist to know how many
fathoms the cord has, or whether it is rated for a certain number of
nautical miles per second squared.  I didn't burn down the house yet,
and my roasts are 9-13 minutes in a popper....
My guess is your guesses are over-inflated... Mad Science...
Regards,
Brett
  ...and use a Zass when you're done resting...
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12) From: Gary
It's an older orange medium duty.  I don't use the cheap light gage cords.
I hooked it up tonight and roasted Columbian Huila LaFlorencia.
First two roasts with no cord and 70g loads roasted to 5:00m, both into 2nd
crack
3rd, 4th & 5th roasts, long cord and 60g loads as popper would not spin the
70g load. Roast time 7:00m Could not be sure if it got to 2nd crack.  didn't
here and beans didn't look like 2nd crack.
6th roast, long cord 60g 6:00m
7th roast, long cord 60g, 4m 30s, might be a little green.
Resting tonight and I will try one batch in morning and then do a taste test
of all on Friday.
I think I will need a Variac to push the fan speed up so I can roast larger
batches.  I have separated the fan and heater and have a 600 watt dimmer
hooked up to the fan.  With the long cord the voltage drop to the fan is too
much.
Ain't this fun!
Gary

13) From: Brett Mason
Good job - you got the idea - now you need a shorter extension cord...
Brett
On 5/17/05, Gary  wrote:
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Regards,
Brett Mason
 HomeRoast
      __]_
   _(( )_  Please don't spill the coffee!


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