HomeRoast Digest

Topic: Purchase of a Hearthware i-roast. (12 msgs / 369 lines)
1) From: Hurtt, Dave
I have been roasting coffee for about a month using an airpopper.  I am =
considering purchasing a hearthware i-roast roaster.  I read an older =
Wall Street Journal article 5/23/03 which recommended the café rosto =
and said the hearthware roasted too quickly.  Any comments.
Is the i-roast 2 worth the additional $40 over the i-roast 1.  Thanks.

2) From: Aaron
Dave, I have the I roast 1 and while it can put out a roast in 8 
minutes, I have not found any terrible quality defects in the flavor.  
Now some will nit pick and insist you need 15 to 20 minutes or whatever 
but so far, the I roast has done me well.
 From what I have heard of others posting about the I roast 2, there 
seems to be problems with lower temps, ... or it's not all it's cracked 
up to be pun not intended :).
I believe you would like the I roast 1 better.   Granted if it loses 
power your 'program' goes away but it takes a minute at tops to re 
program it, it's a breeze really.
They claim it will do 6 ounces of coffee... it can but you probably will 
have better results with 5.5 ounces, as some coffee's can get a bit 
temperamental, especially if they have a lot of expansion

3) From: Woody DeCasere
For my experience i have only had the Iroast 2 and have had no problems
whatsoever, i can usually stretch the roast out to 11 minutes if i program
it right, some coffee's based on density moisture content etc, may go a bit
longer or shorter though.
I really like the programable feature, i have 6 set that i use often, so fo=
me that alone was worth the extra $40
On 5/25/06, Aaron  wrote:
"Good night, and Good Coffee"

4) From: Kit Anderson
Aaron wrote:
That kind of time is probably for drum roasters. Convection roasters 
don't take as long. 7-9 minutes is about it for an iR. I do use a variac 
to keep my voltage at 120.
BTW... My latest profile is 350, 420, 405 This drop at 
the end slows the thermal inertia to allow a longer 1st crack range. FC 
at 445 (using a TC) takes about 2:30 into the last stage. For the most 
part, the color of my beans are beautifully even. All bets are off on 
Ethiopians, though.
I have found that really big or really little beans mean 130 grams max. 
Or else you burn them. And they hate that. (I really shouldn't 
anthropomorphize coffee beans. They don't like it.)

5) From: Michael Wade
David, I'm still learning (a perpetual condition with all roasting according 
to list members) to use my iRoast2, but since I've installed a thermocouple 
things are beginning to make sense.   I bought 5 lbs of a single coffee to 
have fewer variables and have been zeroing in on what I like.  I use 130 
gram batches, for the simple reason that they fit in the size canning jars I 
use for my roasted beans, so my times may be different from others', but I 
am getting up to around 8 - 9 minutes for FC.
From what I've seen on this list you could hot rod your popper to equal 
anything an iRoast will do, and in larger batches, but unless you are a 
major automation geek you will be controlling it manually at all times.  No 
autopilot.  The iRoast gives you an autopilot, but one you have to spend 
considerable time developing programs for.
You're going to have a learning curve with any roaster.  Don't buy an iRoast 
thinking that it will vastly simplify your life.  It might, eventually, but 
not for a while.  If you do like the programming approach rather than 
mechanical/electrical chop shop kind of stuff, I would recommend the iR2 for 
the 5 program stages.  You might not need them all but they're fun to tinker 
I must confess, now that I'm getting a bit of a handle on my iR2, I'm 
finding it almost irresistable to try HG/DB, just for the fun of it.  And 
I've been looking at Poppery 1's on ebay...
Oh, God, I'm hooked, aren't I?
Michael Wade  ("Hello, my name is Michael and I'm a roastaholic...")

6) From: Josh Stevens
I started with an air popper for about a year and then bought an i-roast =
The 2 was not available at the time.  For me, it's pretty similar to the =
popper, but with chaff control, and a cool down phase.  I don't use any
custom programs because it won't remember them anyway, and I'm lazy.  If =
had a 2, I would be more likely to program it.
So if I were going to buy one today, I would buy the 2.
What others have said about batch size is true for me too. I use =
smaller than maximum batches for best results.  I don't think it's too =
Have fun with it, and let us know how it does for you.
- Josh

7) From: Aaron
Good Points Kit.
One thing to keep in mind, each I roast will be a bit different.  What 
works for yours may not quite work the same on mine, I may need to tweak 
the settings a hair here or there.
I have a standard program that I use that pretty much gives everything a 
good result.
3 minutes at 375 - 380
3 minutes at 400 - 405
1.5 to 2 minutes at 430.
Use the higher temps if the ambient temp is cooler.
I find that most times the first crack will start at the tail end of the 
second stage like 20 or 30 seconds remaining, or just barely hold out 
until the 3rd kicks in then it will roll like crazy.  It usually lasts a 
minute or so then I hit cool.
One thing to keep in mind, once first crack starts, let it roll for a 
good 45 seconds or so, that way ALL the beans got a chance to go through it.
On the smaller beans, yes very good point, they tend to expand a LOT and 
will fill up the I roast past the point where it can reliably move them 
around, and you will start burning beans on the bottom of the cooking 
chamber.  I find that 5 ounces on peaberry works nicely, and 5.5 s a 
general good number for all others. One trick you can do if the beans 
start stalling motionwise is pick the I roast up and start rotating it 
around in a circular motion to make the beans slide outwards to the 
window.. from the interior funnel... this will help move them through 
the heat tunnel, prevent the bean burn and in a case like that, help 
ensure a much more even roast.
Hope this helps.

8) From: Wendy Sarrett
I just got one and there is a learning curve.  First of all, they dealt 
with several issues between the iroast-1 and iroast-2 including the fact 
that programs are now saved when you unplug the unit and (from what I'm 
told) and a problem with the top not locking on well was also fixed.   
Personally, I would advise if you decide to go with an iroast, spend the 
extra $$ for the iroast-2.  The feature of being able to save profiles 
is worth it even without the other bug fixes. You have to be careful 
about the amount of beans used and the settings.   The max is roughly 
150-170g (5.3-6oz), roughly two 1/2 cup scoops.  However, some beans, 
such as peaberry, are more dense and you should limit them to 120-130g.  
I put too many in the other day and ended up with so much smoke my 
monitored smoke alarm went off.   Pre-set one only wants 75g or it will 
be too dark but pre-set two is also rather dark.  However by programming 
your profile you can get very nice results.  It is also a decent price, 
<  $200 shipped.
Good luck!
Hurtt, Dave wrote:

9) From: Jerry Procopio
I have had an iRoast1 for 2 years and it was my primary method of 
roasting for about a year.  I always used a variac to maintain voltage 
at 120.  The only problems I ever had were when trying to roast decaf 
beans.  The iRoast1 is chaff dependent (I assume the iRoast2 is also) 
and I found that I had to block one of the exhaust screens in order 
retain enough heat in the roast chamber to complete a roast.  Once I did 
this, I had no problems reaching at least FC with decaf.  I never had 
any problems reaching FC or darker with regular beans.  I always weighed 
my beans and started with exactly 5.3 ounces.  This also allows to get 
exactly 3 roasts per pound of greens, so I never varied from this amount.
Each iRoast seems to have it's own personality, some run colder or 
hotter than others, but from what I have read on this list, I think the 
improvements in the iRoast2 would be worth $40.
My 2˘
RK Drum roasting in Chesapeake, VA
Hurtt, Dave wrote:

10) From: Larry English
I've been roasting with an iRoast2 since January, upgrading from a
FreshRoast+8.  I've found the "save-your-programs" feature to be worth ever=
penny.  I have 5 programs set up but primarily use 3 of them (regular,
decaf, Vienna).  I'll occassionally add a modified version for particular
beans - e.g. the Brazil Brauna Peaberry or the Sumatra Aged - that don't
like the main profiles.  In almost all cases I get roast times between 11
and 14 minutes.
External ambient temperatures can really affect the roast profile with this=
or any, air roaster.  With the warmer weather we're having now, I roast
outside, in temps from 65F to 85F, and have to adjust the roast times, and
sometimes the profile itself, to accomodate the air temp.  Actually, it's
sort of a wind-chill thing - a breeze will cool the roaster somewhat.  For
example, I have to ramp up more with decafs when it is cooler and/or breezy
outside.  So the extra programs really do come in handy, and frankly,
entering a set of programs can be error-prone so I'd hate to have to do tha=
every time I haul the roaster out to the "roasting station".  I do wish I
could check the program after entering it - maybe iRoast3 will do that, if
it ever happens.

11) From: Dave Wolcott
I just jumped on to this list serve, but have been roasting with the iRoast1
for over a year now.  Very insightful info by everyone, thanks!
I have been using the following combination:
50% Columbian, 25% Yemen Mocha, 25% Malabar
Roast Profile:
350 - 2min, 390 - 3min, 450 - 4:15-4:30
I have tried to minimize the variables by creating a baseline which I can
use for other blends, conditions etc.  This blend seems to be pretty decent
but every time I start changing blends the profile changes and I don't have
the time or patience to figure out if it's a bad blend or curve?!  I have
been roasting in my basement which has a fan to handle the smoke and keeps
the ambient temp consistent between 60-70deg.
Can anyone recommend some other decent profiles & espresso blends??
On 5/27/06, Larry English  wrote:

12) From: Mike Sieweke
Sorry this is late...
I can't recommend an espresso blend, but I can make your life with
the iRoast easier.  The iRoast is limited to 350 degrees for the
first 3 minutes, so your roast profile is the same as this:
390 - 5 min, 450 - 4:15-4:30
With this profile you get an "extra" cycle at 350 degrees for the
first 3 minutes, without the extra effort in programming.
My iRoast runs very hot.  At a 385 degree setting, it peaks out
around 440 F or higher.  At a 390 degree setting it peaks around
465 F or higher.  There is a distinct step between 385 and 390
because the iRoast can use only high fan mode below 390.
I use a thermocouple in the bean bed to verify the temperatures.
Here's a link with more info on the iRoast:http://www.coffeegeek.com/files/242/
I find myself using one of these two roasts most of the time:
385 - 10 min, 410 - 5 min (usually stopping around 10 min)
385 -  6 min, 390 - 5 min (usually stopping around 8 min)
I usually stop before second crack, or up to 15 seconds into second.
I've been experimenting with lighter roasts, since a dark roast
tends to mute the blueberry in Harar Horse.
On Jun 1, 2006, at 10:43 AM, Dave Wolcott wrote:

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