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Topic: Stir Crazy / Convection Oven users? (8 msgs / 194 lines)
1) From: Tim Wat
Hi, all:
Who here on the list is using a SC/CO roaster?  Can you provide some 
review / analysis / anecdotes on what's good, what's bad with this 
configuration, as well as some tips on how to maximize results?  Thanks!
Tim Wat

2) From: Dan Kellgren
Hi Tim - I'm a SC/CO roaster.
I use an aluminum pot over a gas burner (as opposed to a stainless) so this
information is as a result of such.  I'm told that the aluminum pot is much
less forgiving than stainless as far as holding temp, but I've only tried
aluminum (and am happy with it).
I love this method.  I have great control of the roast profile with it
because I can adjust my flame as the roast goes.
2 things are must though.  A thermometer and a way to see the beans.
My first one had the lid where 1/2 of it flips up so you could see into the
pot.  Very nice.
My second one had a nice little window.  But it quickly browns up and thus
becomes useless.  So I modified it and took out the plastic window and put
on a metal hinged lid.  Works very nice now.
Thermometer - I use an 8" candy thermometer, but WISH I had a digital (like
the one offered on SM's site) (it's on my Christmas list!).  The digital
gives you much quicker and more accurate temp readings of which direction
and speed the temp is going.
I also use a stop-watch for profiling purposes.
Biggest problem with this method - jamming.  If the blade height in the pot
is off too high or low, the beans will jam.  And of course, not all beans
are the same size (pea berries are much smaller for example).  So it can be
a real downer to be working on a roast that is jamming up on you.  The lid
to my pot is so cheap, I can just bend and push it a bit to get the right
distance, so it's not a problem for me any more, but was when I was new.
Other than that, I really love this method.  You have to like to stand there
for 5-15 minutes and hand crank away though.  It's definitely a "hands-on"
method.  But something about controlling that gives it a nice old-time feel
and WOW - great coffee!  I can easily do a quicker 7 minute roast at a high
temp or a lower temp roast that I can drag out for 14 minutes.  The control
is all up to me.
I've posted some general profiles to follow with this method (that greatly
vary from the one on SM's site).  Let me know if you need it reposted.
On 9/19/06, Tim Wat  wrote:

3) From: Don Cummings
I was very confused here for a bit.
It seems you are referring to the Whirly-pop, not an SC/TO.
The SC/TO is an entirely different species of roaster. It is a convection
oven (CO) attached to a Stir Crazy popcorn popper (SC). Also
affectionately known as the Frankentop Roaster.
As far as the SC/TO I will say that it is a very nice roaster.  Based on my
experience I will give you a couple tidbits of advice.  First, I wasn't that
thrilled with the roasts I was getting at first.  The brights seemed
unsatisfactorily muted when compared to my Whirly-pop.  Being an East
African coffee lover this was not to my liking.  To solve this problem I
began experimenting with preheating levels on the oven.  I found that I get
my best results when I go to at least 450. Even a little higher for Kenyas
and Ethiopians.
I also found that it was easier to stall the roast with the SC/TO.  Most
users will talk about the stretch between 1st and 2nd and backing off on the
temp at the end of 1st to accomplish it.  The caveat to this is that if you
cycle the heat off using the TO  thermostat (with the Sunpentown at least)
remember that a little goes a long way.  What I mean is this: On my probe I
hit 1st at 455. 1st goes to about 480.  I usually cycle the heat off for
about 10 seconds right at 480.  10 seconds only though.  The temp still
reads 480 but what happens is that there is a delay time on the temp drop
and slowly but surely that very short pause will cause the probe to drop to
about 450. Oh, I am talking about air temp here.  Generally if I wait too
long with the heat cycled off it will drop farther than I wanted. In this
case I risk a drop in bean temp and the dreaded baked bean effect.
On 9/19/06, Dan Kellgren  wrote:

4) From: Tim Wat
Don Cummings wrote:
Thanks so much.  A subsequent question - how / where do you mount the 
probe for your thermometer, and what type are you using?  I just 
purchased the K-type that SM sells, and was wondering about sliding it 
between pan and lid, trying to dangle it into the beans, drilling into 
the pan and coming up from below, etc.

5) From: Don Cummings
On 9/19/06, Tim Wat  wrote:
I use two thermometers.  The first is a probe thermometer that rides about 1
cm above the beans during the roast.  The other is the K-type that for the
time being I thread through the spacer (a 10" springform) and into the
I always use the probe since it is permanently mounted through a drilled
hole in the spacer.  This generally provides adequate temp feedback for me
to profile and track my roast.  I use the k-type for more info as to what is
happening in the bean mass but find the
information kind of redundant to the probe.  I originally bought the k-type
with the idea of drilling through the pan of the SC from underneath and
maybe mounting the meter to the side but now I know the nuances of the
machine so well that it doesn't seem worth the effort any longer.

6) From: Alison Pfeffer
  I use the SC/CO set up and love it.  I can roast 14oz. at a time  
and the entire thing cost less than $35 to build.  I haven't had a  
single problem once I got used to using it (I was using a Popcorn  
Pumper before).  I have developed a very non-scientific method and  
have achieved amazingly consistent results.  I generally roast just  
to the start of 2nd crack or 20 seconds into second crack.  We  
primarily drink Americanos at our house, so we enjoy  FC+ to light  
Vienna roast.  Here's what I do, but like I said, it's very non- 
scientific (no thermometers, variacs or whatever):
1. pre-heat roaster at 460 degrees for five minutes
2. add beans--no change in temp setting
3. hit first crack between 7-8 minutes
4. as soon as first crack ends, around 9-10 minutes, begin lifting  
lid of CO every 60 seconds for approx 3 seconds, then replace
5. hit second crack at 14-15 minutes
6. cool quickly by dumping into collander sitting on top of Jennair  
stove downdraft with box fan blowing down on beans (3-4 min.)
My CO is an older one--not digital, so the temp setting is approx.    
I use the Woz chaff ejection system (see Coffee Geek Forums for details)
By the way, we think the coffee is fabulous.

7) From: Brett Mason
You PASSED the test!
You have earned 100 CSA points for excellence,
and also 100 ZEN points for Artistic execution with superior results.
On 9/19/06, Alison Pfeffer  wrote:

8) From: Jeff Oien
Tim Wat wrote:
Here are a couple of links:http://www.coffeegeek.com/forums/coffee/homeroast/27443http://peter4jc.googlepages.com/

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