I purchased the Hottop (digital) from our gracious host in late August.
Since then, I've put 45 pounds of coffee through it (12 varieties).
My typical setup is to put the max amount of time on the machine and let
er rip. Depending on the roast required, I use a combination of time,
smell, sound and very little sight. That surprised me. I thought I would
rely on sight. I mostly look for smoke production. Using those combos, I
have nailed most of the roasts. I still like to sit and watch the beans
change through the process. And yes, I sit by the machine whenever it is on.
Some patterns I have noticed are a definite pause between cracks and
first crack begins usually at 385 deg F. A lot of stuff I've read says
there may be little pause between cracks. Haven't encountered that yet.
The good stuff starts to happen with around 5 minutes left and it does
so with consistency. I've had to add time once (60 seconds) to a roast.
I roast in my kitchen. Smoke production is present, though from the
reviews I expected noxious clouds. I do use the exhaust fan occasionally
at the Full City and above stages. I don't go there very often. All
agree that the house smells wonderful.
Word is out that I roast coffee and people are ordering from me. The
fencing club that my son is a member of is ordering pounds per week. I
am starting to sked get-togethers and people are excited.
This is fun. Wish I had found you people a lot earlier.
The Hottop is a good machine. I've had one minor problem that Tara
Kollos and others helped out with.