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
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
--Apple-Mail-1--713198112 Content-Transfer-Encoding: 7bit Content-Type: text/plain; charset -ASCII; delsp=yes; format=flowed 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 --Apple-Mail-1--713198112 Content-Transfer-Encoding: quoted-printable Content-Type: text/html; charset O-8859-1 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:
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
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."
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
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>
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>
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."
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>
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>
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
<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
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>
<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>
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
<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.
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
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 . 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. 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 . 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.  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.  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>
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