HomeRoast Digest


Topic: SC/TO vs I-Roast 2 (20 msgs / 728 lines)
1) From: Yvonne Fleck
I am relatively new to home roasting and almost brave enough to trying
experimenting a bit.  After using my oven to roast beans, I recently
graduated to an I-Roast 2.  I notice that most people making posts on this
site seem to be into the SC/TO.  Being a 'techno-weenie' I didn't feel
comfortable (or capable) of making my own SC/TO and chose the I-Roast 2.
I have two questions:
1) Is the SC/TO 'better' than the I-Roast 2?  How come I rarely hear of
anyone using it, although I understand it is a very good little personal
roaster.  Is it a 'techie' thing, i.e. you all just enjoy tinkering and
making your own roaster, or is it better?
2) I have only used the presets on the I-Roast 2 and am now thinking I would
like to program my own setting.  An earlier post (The Sweet Spot) stated
that he did 2 mins at 350 and 2 mins at 400.  Would this work with my
I-Roast 2?  Oh, and what do you do after the 2 mins at 400?
Yvonne

2) From: Don Cummings
I went to the SC/TO for two reasons, one more important than the other.  I
was looking for a slower roast method than the poppers that I was using.
The SC/TO gave me good profile controls and allow me to get a roast time
anywhere I want from as little as 10 or 11 mins up to 19 or 20 mins.
Second, the batch size of the SC/TO is nice especially for friends and
family roast day where I roast as much as 5 or  6 pounds.
(Still with that said, I think your first possible answer is closest to the
truth for most of us SC/TO users. )
On 6/28/06, Yvonne Fleck  wrote:
<Snip>
-- 
Don

3) From: Sandy Andina
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I use both.  SC/TO is better for quantity, but it's chaffier and  
cooling is trickier (have to pour between colanders). iR2 is more  
convenient, traps all the chaff and cools the beans,  but it's ltd.  
to 160gm/batch and at least 20 min. rest between batches.  I would  
use the former outdoors on the deck, were it not for the fact that  
the loooooong triple extension cord (one outlet each for SC heater,  
stirrer, and TO) can't be plugged into the ungrounded outlet near the  
door and keeps me from closing the screen door all the way (leaving  
it susceptible to my kitties bludgeoning it open--and I want to keep  
them indoor cats).  So instead, I put down foil underneath and all  
around it, bending a 4" lip up to trap most of the chaff.
On Jun 28, 2006, at 6:24 PM, Don Cummings wrote:
<Snip>
Sandy
www.sandyandina.com
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I use both.  SC/TO is better =
for quantity, but it's chaffier and cooling is trickier (have to pour =
between colanders). iR2 is more convenient, traps all the chaff and =
cools the beans,  but it's ltd. to 160gm/batch and at least 20 min. =
rest between batches.  I would use the former outdoors on the deck, =
were it not for the fact that the loooooong triple extension cord (one =
outlet each for SC heater, stirrer, and TO) can't be plugged into the =
ungrounded outlet near the door and keeps me from closing the screen =
door all the way (leaving it susceptible to my kitties bludgeoning it =
open--and I want to keep them indoor cats).  So instead, I put down =
foil underneath and all around it, bending a 4" lip up to trap most of =
the chaff.  
On Jun 28, 2006, at 6:24 PM, Don Cummings =
wrote:
I went to the SC/TO for two reasons, one more = important than the other.  I was looking for a slower roast method = than the poppers that I was using.  The SC/TO gave me good profile = controls and allow me to get a roast time anywhere I want from as little = as 10 or 11 mins up to 19 or 20 mins.   Second, = the batch size of the SC/TO is nice especially for friends and family = roast day where I roast as much as 5 or  6 pounds.   = (Still with that said, I think your first possible answer is = closest to the truth for most of us SC/TO users. )   = On 6/28/06, Yvonne Fleck <yfleck> wrote: = I am = relatively new to home roasting and almost brave enough to trying = experimenting a bit.  After using my oven to roast beans, I recently = graduated to an I-Roast 2.  I notice that most people making posts on = this site seem to be into the SC/TO.  Being a 'techno-weenie' I didn't = feel comfortable (or capable) of making my own SC/TO and chose the = I-Roast 2.   I have two questions: =   1) Is the SC/TO 'better' than the I-Roast 2?  How = come I rarely hear of anyone using it, although I understand it is a = very good little personal roaster.  Is it a 'techie' thing, i.e. you = all just enjoy tinkering and making your own roaster, or is it better? =   2) I have only used the presets on the = I-Roast 2 and am now thinking I would like to program my own setting.  = An earlier post (The Sweet Spot) stated that he did 2 mins at 350 and 2 = mins at 400.  Would this work with my I-Roast 2?  Oh, and what do = you do after the 2 mins at 400? =   Yvonne
-- Don = --Apple-Mail-1--713198112--

4) From: Robert Adams
This is a multi-part message in MIME format.
Hi Yvonne, and welcome to the list! 
The list seems to go in cycles sometimes and a particular roasting =
method may seem to be highlighted, but stick around and the things you =
learn about these other roasters will help you w/ your iR2.
We had extensive discussions about the iR Feb.- April I think. My advice =
is to go to the archives and read up on any posts w/ "i-Roast" in the =
subject line. 
In the meantime try 350F for 3:30, 400F for 3:00, 440F for 4:30. =
Manually stop when happy with roast level. This profile should not go to =
end, I just like profiles to add up to 11:00 so I know where I'm at.
Good luck,
Bob

5) From: Steve Hay
On 6/28/06, Yvonne Fleck  wrote:
<Snip>
Is this SC/TO better? No.  Is the iRoast2 better?  no.  They are so
different they are hard to compare.  For what it is worth, I think an iRoast
is a good place to start learning.  The SC/TO seems to be a bit more of a
challenge and starting with it you may miss some subtleties that are easier
to pick up with the iRoast.  Then again if you are less concerned with
subtlety the SC/TO has a larger capacity and is cheaper.
2) I have only used the presets on the I-Roast 2 and am now thinking I would
<Snip>
Yvonne, the best way to do this is to think scientifically and  play with
some variable.  surely you've noticed something about your roasts... smell,
time, temperature, something...  Figure out a way to modulate that variable
and taste the results.  Once yo've done this look for other things you
notice.  I think the best way to do this is follow your senses and your
intuition, and apply some practical science to the problem to get where you
want to be.  This is easier done with the iRoast2  imho.
-- 
Steven Hay
hay.steve -AT- gmail.com
Barry Paradox: Consider k to be the greatest element of the set of natural
numbers whose description require maximum of 50 words: "(k+1) is a natural
number which requires more than 50 words to describe it."

6) From: Tom Bellhouse
This is a multi-part message in MIME format.
Hi Yvonne,
I'm not a techie, but I chose to get into roasting with SC/TO after =
researching alternatives, and after assessing my coffee needs.  I drink =
a lot of coffee and make pots for friends stopping by, and it seems that =
my house has become some sort of free red-neck back woods coffee bar =
since I got into roasting.
Long story short: The I-Roast would be maxed out trying to keep up with =
me.  The SC/TO is happy roasting 3/4 lbs at a batch.  I only roast about =
once a week, so two or three batches will keep me a week ahead.  That =
way my roasts rest a few days.  The "customers" here are getting =
educated, though, and are starting to want to buy what I roast, so I may =
have to step up to an RK drum and learn to roast all over again.  Ain't =
this fun ? !
Tom in GA

7) From: David Schooley
Yvonne,
I have an iRoast. It is all I have ever used. As I see it, the main  
drawback of the iRoast is that it is hard for me to hear the cracks,  
although I am getting better at it over time. While it would be nice  
to have larger batches on occasion, the small batch size means that I  
waste less coffee when I mess up. The small batches also make it  
easier to experiment with different profiles and degrees of roast. It  
requires a bit of planning to make sure I always have roasted coffee  
available, but I am getting better at that too.
I have only used the built-in profiles for two roasts. After trying  
12 or so profiles, I have settled on one and am experimenting with  
another. Here are a couple of things I have learned:
1. Keep the weight of the beans consistent. I use 150 grams whenever  
I am experimenting.
2. Determine how the inlet temperature corresponds to the programmed  
temperature for every temperature you program into the machine. You  
are flying blind if you do not do this. Once you get the temperature  
relationships figured out, you can use the curves Tom provides in the  
Sweet Maria's iRoast 2 review as a starting point.
Here is the "slow" profile I am currently using. It hits first crack  
at around 6 or 7 minutes and seems to hit second somewhere around 11  
minutes. My experimental profile speeds this up a bit. The first  
number is the programmed temperature, and the number in parentheses  
is the temperature read by the machine after the temperature settles  
to a constant value. I log the temperatures at 15 second intervals.
4 min @ 360 (365) degrees F
3 min @ 370 (380) [376-383] degrees F
3 min @ 400 (408) degrees F
5 min @ 415 (423)  degrees F (Stop the roast manually when appropriate.
This profile may be a bit slow, but it seems to work. My experimental  
profile shortens the first 7 minutes to five and finishes at 400  
degrees, which makes it look a lot like the lower-heat warmup profile  
Tom describes in the Sweet Maria's review. First crack for the  
experimental profile starts shortly after 5 minutes. The bean  
temperatures for the two profiles, when measured via a thermocouple  
inserted into the roasting chamber, are nearly equal at 9 minutes  
into the roast.
Regarding the inlet temperature vs. the programmed temperature:
1. Programming 365 degrees gets me into the 376-383 degree range for  
the inlet temperature.
2. 415 and 430 degree programmed temperatures both result in a 423  
degree inlet temperature. I do not have good data for temperatures  
higher than that.
3. I suspect there is a usable temperature somewhere between 383 and  
408 degrees. I have not tried to find it.
On Jun 28, 2006, at 5:59 PM, Yvonne Fleck wrote:
<Snip>

8) From: Walter R. Basil
If you are fairly new to the list, then it would seem that "everyone"  
is into the SC/TO. A few months ago, the I-Roasts were the topic.  
Then it was building your own drum roasters using a Skilcraft pen and  
a lighter, and some micro-beans (yes, I exaggerate). And then  
sometimes, it focuses on the actual coffee and coffee machines.
As to which is better, is purely up to you and what you want. I've  
got a SC and a TO, but have no desire to join their powers and create  
Super Roaster (shape of - a popcorn popper!...). Whatever you choose  
to go with (could it even be both?) I'm sure you you'll enjoy most of  
the coffee you roast.
Good luck, and have fun!
Walt
--
Walter R Basil
www.basilweb.net
On Wed, 28 Jun 2006 15:59:47, "Yvonne Fleck"  wrote:
<Snip>

9) From: Steve Hay
On 6/29/06, Walter R. Basil  wrote:
<Snip>
This is a strange phenomenon.  I've noticed that this seems to be almost
some kind of tide or current that can't be easily fought either.  If the
craze is iRoast, a post on SC/TOs will often have very little activity, but
then later a similar question will get a flurry of posts..  Very strange,
must be something to do with human interaction and whatnot.
As for the SC/TO, you should go for it! :)  Join us in the addition to fancy
new toys!
-- 
Steven Hay
hay.steve -AT- gmail.com
Barry Paradox: Consider k to be the greatest element of the set of natural
numbers whose description require maximum of 50 words: "(k+1) is a natural
number which requires more than 50 words to describe it."

10) From: Yvonne Fleck
Wow - thanks everyone for the great advice - especially you, Michael.  You
really went all-out to answer my question.
Yvonne
On 7/6/06, Michael Wade  wrote:
<Snip>

11) From: Don Cummings
On 6/29/06, Walter R. Basil  wrote:
<Snip>
You might be onto something.  Not with a regular lighter obviously, but with
one of those little torches. Maybe promote the pencil holder to roasting
drum. I'll bet I could rig the motor in the pencil sharpener to rotate it.
A desktop drum roaster!
Now I am excited.  I will be going back to an office job in August after
years of working out of the house. This solves the problem of how to roast
at work.
Now how to vent from my cubicle?
Is it just tobacco smoke people have a problem with or do you think they'll
be unreasonable about coffee roasting smoke as well?  Maybe one of those
personal Smokeeter ashtrays.
-- 
<Snip>

12) From: Vicki Smith
As a newish roaster (mebbe 40 roasts all told)I'm finding this 
fascinating,too.
It's probably a personality/learning style quirk, but my approach so 
far,has been different. I'm not claiming that there are any advantages 
to my way of doing this--just saying that so far, it seems to work for 
me and it is a good fit for my personality and general mindset.
I have read about a number of different profiles, and I have three, so 
far, programmed into my IR2. I don't make any effort to accurately 
measure the temperature, beyond pressing roast and looking a the numbers 
the machine provides. My working assumption is that while the 
information I get that way does not reflect the temperature in the bean 
mass, as long as it is fairly accurate/consistent in what it does 
measure, batch-to-batch, it provides enough information for me.
I pay an enormous amount of attention to sensory information: sounds, 
smells, bean appearance, when I see chaff, and smoke. Although I 
document all of that, mostly I just really pay attention and learn in a 
sorta passive and open way so some of this starts to feel almost 
intuitive in much the same way I have developed other hands on skills 
that are artistic, crafty, or culinary ( :) ).
If I had to produce absolutely consistent roasts, batch to batch, 
because I was in the business of selling coffee, or if I were attempting 
to arrive at some sort of ultimate truth about how beans roast, this 
wouldn't work. It also doesn't provide anything that would be vaguely 
useful if tomorrow I went out and built an SC/TO, but it seems to be 
very helpful as I continue to use my own machine.
I seem to document my process well enough so that if I obtain what seems 
to be, by my lights, a "sweet spot" with a particular bean, I can repeat 
it. I also seem to be able to learn enough to transfer my cumulative 
knowledge to the task of roasting an unfamiliar bean.
Six months from now, I may find I have changed perspectives and that I 
too use a thermocouple and other more rigorous learning tools and 
methods, but for now, and for me, this way of approaching home roasting 
seems to work.
Vicki

13) From:
<Snip>
Hi, Yvonne.
Sorry, this is a late response, but I am just catching up to my SM E-mail.  This is my first post to this mailing list.  I have been using the i-Roast 2 since March and strongly suggest creating your own profiles.  I don't know anything about the profile list above, but it doesn't sounds like something that would produce anything desireable (to me at least).  The i-Roast 2 is sensitive to ambient temperatures; the profile below is good for a 450 roast in 75 degrees F ambient temperature.  Any lower than 73 or so and you should increase the last two stages of the profile by 5 or 10 degrees, depending on how much cooler it is outside.
I also strongly recommend installing a temperature probe in your i-Roast 2 so you have a better idea of the bean temperature.  You can use a flashlight while roasting to get an idea of the roast level (I did this until I installed the temperature probe and now I roast to temperature).  I drilled a hole in the chaff collector the exact size of the probe, so it is a tight fit.  It works very well.  Others run a bead probe between the roaster and the roast chamber up through the bottom into the bean mass (non-destructive installation).  
Personally, for espresso blend roasting, I like to use all 15 available minutes of the i-Roast 2s program time.  The monkey blend that I roasted using this profile turned out very smooth.
My latest programmed profile is this:
Stage 1 - 0:00 - 7:00   - 320F
Stage 2 - 7:00 - 9:45   - 330F
Stage 3 - 9:45 - 14:00  - 350F
Stage 4 - 14:00 - 15:00 - 365F
The measured temperatures at the end of each stage were:
Stage 1 - 0:00 - 7:00   - 399F
Stage 2 - 7:00 - 9:45   - 414F
Stage 3 - 9:45 - 14:00  - 439F
Stage 4 - 14:00 - 15:00 - 446 & 450F
If you don't already know, the measured in-the-bean mass temperature will exceed the programmed temperature by somewhere in the neighborhood of 20-25%.  So, a programmed time of 365F will eventually hit 450F measured in the bean mass.
I hope this helps.
Ryan

14) From: Vicki Smith
Hi Ryan--With all the talk about how the manufacturer has locked in 350 
as a beginning temperature for 3 minutes, regardless of what we might 
put in there ourselves, I wonder if after the first three minutes, the 
machine tries to ramp down to the temp you have set?
I also seem to remember reading (though I am not sure if it is actually 
true) that differences of less than about 20 degrees in our IR2 aren't 
very effective.
I know you're getting great roasts using this profile, but I'd love to 
know how that sort of stuff might impact what you are seeing in terms of 
temperatures. Do you happen to have a three minutes in temp reading?
vicki
diab0lus wrote:
<Snip>

15) From:
<Snip>
It is hard to say since 320 is the programmed temp for the first 7 minutes in this profile.
<Snip>
I think this is probably true.  I have lowered my profile temperatures compared to when I was roasting about 35 degrees cooler outsider
<Snip>
I have the temperature documented for every 15 seconds of the roast.  3 minutes in I measured 329F.
Ryan
<Snip>

16) From: Michael Wade
Hi Ryan,
Maybe you saw that I didn't have any luck at all with your 15 minute 
profile.
Do you watch the indicated (LCD readout) temperature at all during your 
roasts?
If you do, do you experience the default program of 350F indicated for the 
first 2-3 minutes overriding the 320F program on your machine?  Does the 
indicated temperature then drop back down to your programmed temp?  Mine 
sure didn't.
I think I could probably get my machine to produce something like your 
profile, but I'd have to experiment with the temperature points..  It was 
mostly a test to see how differently the machines respond. (A lot!)  It was 
fun to try it, but I probably won't go any further with it.  My hat is off 
to you espresso guys for the amount of work you go to for your beverage; I'm 
strictly a brewed coffee guy.  C+ or FC, grind, french press and I'm outta 
here...
Michael Wade

17) From: miKe mcKoffee
<Snip>
<Snip>
You'd be surprised how quick and convenient espresso brewing method really
is, not to mention the cup. Never make the mistake of visiting my house.
You'd have in your hand in much less time than it takes to boil water for a
Press pot your choice of 4 or 5 always rest ready different SO usually C+ to
FC for a smooth, rich, crema creamy Americano cup with deeper body than
Press and brighter palate dance than drip or Vac. That quickly, seriously. 
Kona Konnaisseur miKe mcKoffee
URL to Rosto mods, FrankenFormer, some recipes etc:http://mdmint.home.comcast.net/coffee/Rosto_mod.htmUltimately the quest for Koffee Nirvana is a solitary path. To know I must
first not know. And in knowing know I know not. Each Personal enlightenment
found exploring the many divergent foot steps of Those who have gone before.

18) From: Michael Wade
MiKe,
It's the combination of the learning curve (when I read about 10ths of 
clicks on the grinder... according to the humidity, temperature and the moss 
on the trees, or whatever) and the not-inconsiderable capital outlay that 
scare the bejeezuz out of me...
Besides, I'm totally obsessed now, I can't imagine getting in even deeper!
By the way, I enjoyed the picture of you guys; looked like some renegade 
Highlander honor guard for Tom.
Michael

19) From: David Schooley
Mike,
Until early last year, the only coffee-making device I had in the  
house was my Isomac Tea. Then came the French presses, and later the  
ibriks. The pour-over filters came along when I started home  
roasting, followed by the Technivorm, and now the Cona that is  
supposed to arrive on Friday [1]. I think you get the picture.
Anyway, it sounds like you run just about everything through your  
espresso machine, so I have a couple of questions...
1. Have you found any coffees that do not work well as an espresso  
derivative, even as an Americano[2]?
2. Even after being rested for a few days, my home roasts seem to  
bloom a lot more than commercial roasts, even the really fresh stuff  
from Intelligentsia [2]. Do you find that to be a problem in your  
machine? The SM Liquid Amber I have roasted really blasts through the  
portafilter. I have a batch waiting that I allowed to rest for 8  
days, so I am going to give it another go this evening.
[1] The is a story behind each item. I won't bore people with the  
details, except that the TV wins hands down for the best combination  
of quality coffee, convenience, and quantity. Part of my morning  
routine is to brew up a liter to take to work. I have a short  
commute, so the coffee is still fresh when I arrive at the office.
[2] Given my location, an Intelligentsia order is roasted the day  
after I place the order and delivered a day later The blends I can  
get from them are not something I can create in my kitchen.
On Jul 3, 2006, at 1:03 AM, miKe mcKoffee wrote:
<Snip>

20) From: Michael Wade
This is a multi-part message in MIME format.
Yvonne:
There are several things about the iRoast that make it challenging to =
program.  I don't want to be discouraging in the least, just pass on =
some things that I learned the hard way that were very confusing during =
the early part of my l learning curve (which I am still climbing).
The consensus seems to be that the machines do not perform identically, =
so that one person's profle may not work well at all for someone else.  =
Jeremey DeFranco was roasting in 2 iR2's at one point and reported that =
there were significant differences between them.  Tom's own iR tip sheet =
reports that you will see indicated temps about 50F lower that what you =
program, but the later model machines seem to hold the programmed temps =
within 5 degrees.  Did they fix the temperature or did they "fix" the =
reading?
The temperature reading you get when you press the roast button is a =
derived temperature, in my machine about 70F lower than the actual inlet =
air temperature as measured with a thermocouple.  So when you program =
400F and the machine settles down at 400 (or 405 as mine does), the =
actual air temp coming into the chamber is around 470F.  I think they =
may be trying to approximate roast chamber temperature, but who knows?
If you like to get control of things (who doesn't) and achieve =
repeatable results, the one piece of advice I would give you above all =
others would be to purchase a thermocouple from Sweet Marias and install =
it in your roast chamber so that you are reading a representative =
temperature of the bean mass.  (representative because even slight =
differences in placement will give you slightly different readings.  The =
important thing is to establish your own baseline.)
Customer service at Hearthware has confirmed to me that there is a =
default override built in to "dry the beans" until the machine reaches =
something like 360 degrees or 3 minutes, specifics are fuzzy, but the =
override definitely exists.  If you try to program a profile that starts =
at 320 for two minutes (for example), you are going to get 350.  If you =
try to program 400 for the first 2 minutes you are going to get 350, =
etc.  I have programmed 400F for 5 minutes and watched the temperature =
level off at 350 for anywhere from 1:50 to 2:30 before the fan speed =
drops and the temperature increases to the programmed temp, so either =
the machine isn't even consistent in it's own default behavior or there =
is yet another factor involved.  
I fiddled around with the timing of the first two stages quite a bit, =
trying 2:00 + 3:00, 3:00 + 2:00, and finally just =
5:00 and found that they all wound up at almost exactly the same end =
point as measured by my thermocouple, just on the edge of 1st crack.  So =
to keep things simple that's what I'm using now for my first stage. =
(5:00)
I played around with pushing hard through first crack, then lowering the =
temperature to "stretch" the time between 1st and 2nd, but found that I =
was getting a lot of bitterness from high first crack temperatures like =
450 - 460, and then lowering the temperature too much was stalling the =
roast and giving me baked flavors, so lately I've adopted more of a =
gradually rising temperature profile and I'm liking the results much =
more.  This is the direction I'm exploring at the moment.
Current program is: 
5:00 (to the edge of 1st, sometimes a pop or two)
1:30 or 2:00 (to get first going)
2:00 (to finish 1st) (I think, I can't hear it, but it tastes good)
2:00 (really a slow cooldown to make sure that the beans are roasted =
all the way through.  With fast profiles I also had a lot of trouble =
with sour roasts, the theory being that the beans weren't fully roasted =
all the way through.  I nearly always hit cool during this stage.  If I =
want more brightness I might hit cool after only 30 seconds)
2:00 (to push into 2nd, if you like that sort of thing.  I never =
use it. I don't do espresso, and I don't like dark roasts much, Puro =
Scuro being a delightful exception)
So currently I am roasting about 9:30 to 12:00 total time and liking the =
promise shown by the results.  I prefer C+ roasts, lots of brightness =
and origin tastes.  None of this may be directly applicable for you as =
your tastes may be completely different, but it's hard-won information =
and I hope it helps shorten your quest for your own "perfect roast".
Michael Wade


HomeRoast Digest