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Topic: Maiden voyage comeing.....any advice appreciated (12 msgs / 308 lines)
1) From: Diablo
I got 5# of beans that I thought would make good learner beans.  Sumatra
Classic Mandheling -5 lbs .  I read the Tom's notes and I thought these would
be "OK" to start out with.  I'll be pan roasting as I haven't found a good
popper, and all the variac stuff is putting me off just a bit.  Not that bad,
but I want to have decent control as early as possible and feel like I'm doing
the beans some justice.  Not dogging the popper AT ALL.  I just know I'm a good
cook and like I'll have better control this way.  I know the popper is suposed
to be superior, but if I can nail that 200^ in 9 minutes ability I think I'm
golden.  The beans should be waiting for me at home today.  Been missing my UPS
guy but I got that handled now.  Any comments or suggestiongs welcome.  
Here are some basic plans I have to run with at the moment;
Get an oven Thermometer
Get a good pan with high sides and cast iron
Make dry runs a bunch of times to get the pan to 200^ in 9 mins.
Digital scale for proper measureing
Getting a camp type stove that burns LPG, this way I'll have good reproduceable
results since I have an electric range at the moment.
First question is will I have to adjust the heat after loading the beans?  As
in higher to get the beans to the proper temp, 400^ range as I recall.  Or will
the temp build up to that high on it's own with the thermal mass of the beans? 
Planning on a small batch to start, what would you all recomend?
Any comments welcome and thanks in advance.

2) From: Tom Bellhouse
A suggestion on the basis of my limited experience:  Build an SC/TO, put
the lower element on a separate switch, and go by eye and ear (and
roughly by time.)  Or add a pyrometer for added information.  Roasts
coffee well.
My only pan-roasting experience wasn't positive, but of course I tried
it in the kitchen without a vent, not knowing about chaff and smoke.
One-trial learning. ;<)
Tom in GA

3) From: Brett Mason
Here's a couple thoughts...
Start with 8 oz, on high, and stir gently most the way through.
Watch out for scorching of the beans...
When they get to a brown color, turn down the heat to a med-high, and
keep going...
You'll be hearing the pops and snaps.
Don't let any beans stay in one place for more than a minute - and
don't scorch the beans.
Don't let the melange (many roast levels) get to you, the colors will
even out as the roast completes...
And, don't scorch the beans...
There's seven thoughts...
  And I am not sure what the thermometer is for - I watch the color on
the outside of mine.
  And, be sure to not scorch the beans...
On 5/10/06, Diablo  wrote:
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Brett Mason

4) From: Brett Mason
And do it with full ventilation - like outside on a side burner of your BBQ=
Or wear a gas mask and enjoy the aromas indoors...  Actually, Peter
Barnes (old list member) used to roast indoors and loved the smell.
My wife doesn't so much...
On 5/10/06, Brett Mason  wrote:
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Brett Mason

5) From: Diablo
That was one of the reasons for getting that camp type stove.  So I have
portability.  The oven thermometer is suposed to be used to watch the temp
climb to 200^ in 9 minutes.  From an article I read it stated reaching 200^ in
9minutes gives you the proper ramping temps and subsequent roasting temp.  That
was the reason for part of questions on playing with the flame.  But I'm
starting to think that the temp doesn't stop climing, just that the build up of
heat has been regulated to the extent that you have control in a roasting-heat
range.  I believe that is the reason for dialing in that 9 minute mark.  You
won't scorch or bake at that point.  Someone has played with watching the temps
enough to establish that kind of baseline for a cast iron pan.  I think I
should be ok.  Having a hard time settling on a good enough pan.  
--- Brett Mason  wrote:

6) From: raymanowen
Please don't use your "Sumatra Classic Mandheling -5 lbs " for practice!!
These are some of my favorites in the whole world.
Instead, you might purchase some greens somewhere else to serve the purpose
of learning.
For now, use your popper and a level 1/4 c of beans. The popper will be
quick and in 5-6 m, you'll be done roasting.
Let them start the 1st crack, and once that gets going dump them out of the
popper onto a cold cookie sheet. Roll them around a bit to get the roast
stopped/ or pour between a couple of colanders in a fan breeze to cool
things down.
Don't worry the temperatures, just roast a batch or two and get the feel of
it. The cracks and the appearance of the beans are absolute indicators-
along with the resulting flavor! Getting repeatable temperatures can be a
Cheers -RayO, aka Opa!
Got Grinder?

7) From: Brian Kamnetz
A quarter cup of greens (actually 1/3 cup) was a good starting amount
at 6500 feet in New Mexico and might work for you. Here in South
Carolina 2/3 or 3/4 cup (actually, 114 grams) hits first in about 6
mins. If your roast stalls when you are using 1/4 cup of greens, try
again with more beans, say, half a cup. A larger mass of beans =
faster roast.
Good luck,
On 5/11/06, raymanowen  wrote:

8) From: Diablo
I ended up getting a popper, poplite, 1440 watts.  Get's the job done in 4:30. 
Too fast.  It's like a crap shoot.  But I have a feeling I can find a good spot
and get a good ambient temp, then after that the timeing should settle down to
where I can hit a sweet spot.  
The first roast was fast fast fast and nearly had charcoal.  Nearly, was close
enough though, it was still crap.:)  
With 3/4 cup I get a bit of uneven roast.  If I take it down to say 1/2 cup
doesn't the roast go faster?  That was one of the reasons for going with 3/4
In any case I'll be getting a good scale soon.  After that I'm getting a real
roaster.  Thanks for all the help, I'm haveing great french press coffee. 
Awesome aromas of chocolate and carmel.  Very sublime.  Me loves coffee. 
--- Brian Kamnetz  wrote:

9) From: Don Cummings
On 5/15/06, Diablo  wrote:
Actually it works the other way around. Counterintuitive (on the surface) I
know but the less bean mass the less heat retention.

10) From: Diablo
Thanks dude.  I'll work on it.  
--- Don Cummings  wrote:

11) From: Tom Ogren
Don's right on about the bean mass behavior. More bean mass=more heat
buildup & less airflow=faster roast. You could try connecting your roaste=
through a 100ft. extension cord to reduce the electrical current reaching
the popper. I recently did this and it has effectively tacked on a couple
minutes to my roasts, which has made a real difference. If I had gotten a
cheaper quality ext. cord, the roasts would likely be even longer due to
more loss of current, but I will have other "normal" uses for the cord, so =
wanted decent quality. I would give my right arm for a variac in order to
create beautiful roast curves...to become a serious roaster...I just can't
justify the cost (right now) I have shopped variacs on the web though and
SM's model really looks to be the best deal out there.
On 5/15/06, Diablo  wrote:

12) From: Diablo
I am now at 10mins+ on my roast times!  Thanks for the tips guys.  Lots more
cord and smaller batch totally did the trick.  
The fresh roasted beans smell almost buttery when I open the jar.  
--- Tom Ogren  wrote:

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