HomeRoast Digest


Topic: Dedicated consumer appliance roasters. Was Death of an iRoast2 (10 msgs / 305 lines)
1) From: Douglas Strait
This is a multi-part message in MIME format.
I have the impression that the total number of people that subscribe to =
this list is relatively small. Despite this, I am struck by the =
impression that hardly a week goes by without a post about a dedicated =
consumer roasting appliance with a significant problem or failure. =
Heat+beans: how hard can that be? I posted a query just a few weeks ago =
asking if *anyone* had ever actually worn out a P1 or original Wear-ever =
Pumper. The only responses I got were along the lines of Les' =
testamonial below. What is it with these appliances? It doesn't seem =
like it would be that hard to get it right. 
Doug, who will be sticking with his vintage poppers for the foreseeable =
future.

2) From: miKe mcKoffee
This is a multi-part message in MIME format.
When something breaks it's common to get posted. OTH how often do you see a
post out of the blue like "just thought I say my HotTop/Caffe' Rosto/Fresh
Roast etc. is still working fine 2 years after I bought it"? So actual rates
of failure likely appear worse than what they are in reality. OTH stuff does
seemingly break prematurely all too often! Cost cutting at the expense of
quality does seem all to often the norm. But then, there could be reasons
why small commercial sample roasters last virtually forever but cost many
many times the price of home appliance roasters yet don't roast much bigger
batches. In reality it seems it 'taint as cheap as people think it is to
build an appliance that will easily and reliably hold up to the demands of
roasting coffee.
 
Kona Konnaisseur miKe mcKoffee 
URL to Rosto mods, FrankenFormer, some recipes etc: http://mdmint.home.comcast.net/coffee/Rosto_mod.htm
Ultimately 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.  
From: homeroast-admin
[mailto:homeroast-admin] On Behalf Of Douglas Strait
Sent: Saturday, September 30, 2006 4:29 PM
I have the impression that the total number of people that subscribe to this
list is relatively small. Despite this, I am struck by the impression that
hardly a week goes by without a post about a dedicated consumer roasting
appliance with a significant problem or failure. Heat+beans: how hard can
that be? I posted a query just a few weeks ago asking if *anyone* had ever
actually worn out a P1 or original Wear-ever Pumper. The only responses I
got were along the lines of Les' testamonial below. What is it with these
appliances? It doesn't seem like it would be that hard to get it right. 
Doug, who will be sticking with his vintage poppers for the foreseeable
future.

3) From: Les
Doug,
You are spot on with your assessment!  I did a rant about 2 years ago and
then made the decision I wouldn't talk about it anymore.  I have a Poppery1
and a Wearever 1400.  I also had a Hearthware product.  When I took the hood
off all three, it was easy to see why the first two keep on running and
running and running.
Les
On 9/30/06, Douglas Strait  wrote:
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4) From: jim gundlach
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On Sep 30, 2006, at 6:28 PM, Douglas Strait wrote:
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Doug,
     This has been one of my most enduring impressions from the  
list.  This has been one of the reasons I have stuck to roasting with  
such things as a wok on wood or gas fires, Androck over the fire  
popcorn poppers over pecan wood fires, and HG/wok.  In addition I  
much prefer to be in control of the roasting.  I started with a hot  
air popcorn popper many years ago but I doubt if I will ever go back  
to them.
     Pecan Jim
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On Sep 30, =
2006, at 6:28 PM, Douglas Strait wrote:
I am struck by the impression that hardly a week goes by = without a post about a dedicated consumer roasting appliance with a = significant problem or failure. Heat+beans: how hard can that = be? Doug,  =  This has been one of my most enduring impressions from the list.  = This has been one of the reasons I have stuck to roasting with such = things as a wok on wood or gas fires, Androck over the fire popcorn = poppers over pecan wood fires, and HG/wok.  In addition I much prefer = to be in control of the roasting.  I started with a hot air popcorn = popper many years ago but I doubt if I will ever go back to = them.
   =  Pecan Jim= --Apple-Mail-4-967990661--

5) From: Brett Mason
My Revereware skillet has yet to blow a circuit, although sometimes it runs
out of propane.  $18 and a 3 minute car trip seems to remedy this on any day
that K-Mart is open...
Brett
On 9/30/06, Douglas Strait  wrote:
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-- 
Cheers,
Bretthttp://homeroast.freeservers.com

6) From: Larry English
Doug et al,
  If you're happy with poppers, skillets, woks, or whatever, that's very
nice.  My temperament is such that I don't get consistency with methods of
that ilk, so I try the dedicated consumer roasting appliances in the hope
that I can get somewhat repeatable results without having to establish the
necessary manual dexterity required for the former methods.
  A couple of the responses to my message are on the right track, though, in
that I think it is not easy, i.e. not inexpensive, to create electronics
that can withstand the rigors of regular coffee roasting, specifically the
heat of the nearby chambers.  Perhaps a roaster that moves the controls away
from the roasting chamber would handle that problem.  But a major problem is
simply that the market for these machines isn't very large and can't support
many false starts by entrepreneurs.  Someone (Aaron, I think) claims that
the iRoast1 is superior to iRoast2 with regard to reliability, and that is
consistent with the first comment in this paragraph.  I was hoping that the
stored profile capability of the iR2 would work out - didn't, at least for
me.
  I'll probably move to the Gene Cafe - but that's another new (in this
country, anyway) dedicated consumer roasting appliance, and an expensive one
at that.  Sure hope it holds up.
  In the meantime, I'm back to my FreshRoast Plus-8 dedicated consumer
roasting appliance (it roasts coffee, not consumers, of course, unlike my
defunct iR2) which lets me control the roast by twisting a knob - takes all
night to roast half a pound and roasts way too fast, but it's quiet, I can
hear the cracks, and my wife and I both enjoy the results.
  G'nite ...
Larry
  P.S.  Ray has suggested I lift the hood and check the wiring - I'll do
that but am skeptical.
On 9/30/06, Douglas Strait  wrote:
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7) From: raymanowen
Troubleshooting consists of testing, inspecting and eliminating possible
causes of errant operation. You might think the problem cause will be in the
last place you look. With these intermittent duty light use consumer
appliances, when you find one fault and eliminate the cause, keep checking.
From the moment you first turned it On, every part started going downhill.
Some parts are failing faster than others. Find and fix the one then look
for the next incipient malfunction and correct that too. Keeps you roasting
rather than stopping for conversation with machines.
I am quite happy with my popper- I got a Stir Crazy 8. 35# of Nubraska
popcorn from a concession supplier. The Stir Crazy turns out gobs of Kettle
Corn. A "Continental Dinner" might include coffee and some Kettle Corn or
Irish Soda Bread. All three need to be fresh, but then they're unbeatable
diet foods.
Cheers -RayO, aka Opa!
Got Grinder?
On 9/30/06, Larry English  wrote:
<Snip>
-- 
"When the theme hits the bass, I dance the Jig!" - -Virgil Fox at the Mighty
Wichita (ex- NYC Paramount) WurliTzer- 1976

8) From: Douglas Strait
Larry,
You may be right about cost of *creation*.  By and large society
allocates resourses based upon economics. If you have limited
engineering resources you apply the best to products that may sell in
the millions [think iPod] rather than a niche item that may sell in
the thousands if you are lucky. That said, I can say as an electrical
engineer that designing electronics that reliably operate in the
environment of a coffee roaster is far from rocket science. The
roaster enviroment is actually pretty benign compared to some
equipment. In the case of air roasters, you already have a blower
system in place that can be used to cool wherever the electronics is
located. Once designed, the production cost of reliable electronics is
negligible compared to the typical appliance list price even at
production volumes in the low 1000's.
Doug

9) From: Michael Wascher
Doug,
True to a point.
Much of the engineering work expended on consumer items is spent on cost
reduction. When you sell millions you can expend a few man years of effort
to save $1 a unit. Many years ago I met a mechanical engineer whose first
job was working on a commercial aircraft. He spent 2 years designing the
latch on the restroom doors. He'd meet the weight, performance & safety
specs, and they'd tell him to shave a few more grams of weight off of it. A
few grams translated into a huge fuel savings over decades of service life.
So, for items such as home coffee roasters, you do a single pass design
using wide design margins. Then build it low volume at higher cost. Fewer
design/test cycles so it is possible that you'd have a few glitches that
make it to the consumer.
--MikeW
On 10/1/06, Douglas Strait  wrote:
<Snip>
-- 
"Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored."
  - Aldous Huxley

10) From: Douglas Strait
Alchemist John wrote:
I have a memory of a triangle "rule" in marketing/business.  A
product can have 2 of 3 options;  Low price, high quality, high
complexity.  Obviously consumers want all three, ...
Actually, John, I can think of many instances where complexity is a 
negative attribute. I once returned a digital watch because it was 
simply too complicated to operate; and I have a degree in engineering!
I have several PID controllers but found that I do not like the user 
interface for an application such as a coffee roaster. My PID 
controllers are instead employed in applications such as my vegetable 
dryer, sweet potato curing enclosure, and for maintaining seedbed 
temperature when starting sweet potato slips for Spring planting.  I 
suppose that it may be that because I was among the last generation of 
slide rule engineers that I prefer control via turning the knobs of 
analog controls rather than the incessant button pushing of digital 
controllers with seemingly endless menus.
Doug


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