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Topic: Roasting at high altitude (11 msgs / 272 lines)
1) From: Betsy Brown
Hi, everyone,
I am new to the list and have been reading your posts for the past  
couple of weeks. I have two questions, one regarding which roaster  
would be best at 7200 feet and the second is regarding the HotTop.  
Does it really have a high risk of fire or is that risk operator  
dependent?
I have a Fresh Roast and have been roasting for 2 years with decent  
results, while living in Seattle at sea level. My husband and I  
recently moved to Santa Fe for his work and we are living at 7200  
feet.  My roasting time plummeted from about 6 1/2 minutes for a Full  
City + roast to 4 minutes!   It's much harder to control and I  
haven't been as happy with the results. You add in the fact that  
there is a dearth of good fresh roasted coffee here compared to  
Seattle (where I worked near Vivace -just about the best coffee I've  
ever had- and could easily pick up great fresh coffee beans there  
when time didn't allow roasting or I had need for larger volumes) so  
I want to do larger roast batches.
Now that we have sold our house in Seattle, I can afford either a Hot  
Top or Gene Roast.  From what I've read in the archives, it seems a  
drum roaster might work better at altitude. But on CoffeeGeek I read  
reviews about the Hot Top being a fire risk.  SInce I don't like to  
roast my coffee past the second roast and I am already vigilant about  
cleaning out chaff, is fire less of a risk?
Thanks for all your advice.
Betsy

2) From: Marionoumi
<Snip>
Operator dependant....   yes, i think so. I have had my hottop for over =
a
year now, doing maybe a hundred roasts or so and NEVER came to the point
where it might light up or so. True, it needs attendance, especially =
with
coffees that might produce more chaff as a condition depending on its =
built.
The heating devices are built at 9 o'clock next to the drum, chaff =
ideally
is being collected at the bottom. The problem appears with coffee that
produce more chaff which then might accumulate at the walls...  At =
times, i
can see a an ignition of chaff particles in the chamber but it never
happened to be a fire or so. However, I think it is a less a problem if =
you
clean out the chaff after every roast, especially when roasting a coffee
producing a lot of chaff.
There is a point that makes me interested in the Gene roaster ---
temperature and profile control. It's not possible to have any control =
over
the hottop unless it doesn't get enough electricity which is often the =
case
with mine (need variac for that but that is a local problem).
mario

3) From: Bob Brashear
Betsy Brown wrote:
<Snip>
Hi Betsy, welcome to the list.
I'm a Hottop user near Minneapolis. Not quite as high up there as you 
are. There is a chaff fire probability with any roaster. Some more than 
others. I've used the Hottop for a little over two months. I've put 
about 60 lbs of coffee through it. No fires (yet). When it is in 
operation, I do not leave it. I have a fire extinguisher next to the 
roasting complex. I clean it out after every two or three roasts using a 
small vacuum cleaner, depending on the coffee. I'll do it immediately 
after a coffee that produces a lot of chaff.
 From what you say, you shouldn't have problems, but remain vigilante. 
Stick by the machine when in use. Besides, the viewport give a nice view 
of the beans changing and the chaff flares and bombs can be quite 
entertaining.
Have fun.
Bob

4) From: Barry Luterman
Using Hottop for over a year. There is no problem with chaff fire if after 
every fourth roast you remove the drum and do a thorough cleaning. This 
cleaning takes about 5 minutes and is no big deal.

5) From: Mike Chester
I roast with my Hottop in the garage next to my compressor, so after every 
roast, I remove the chaff tray and the fill cover and blow air through the 
Hottop.  This blows out any chaff not in the tray and that is the only 
cleaning I need to do.  It also cools it down faster for back to back 
roasts.
Mike Chester

6) From: Eddie Dove
Betsy,
Welcome to the Sweet Maria's Homeroast Mailing list!
I do not have a Hottop so I cannot answer any questions about that roaster,
but I do have a Gene Cafe and would be more than glad to answer any
questions you may have about it.
Respectfully,
Eddie
On 10/29/06, Betsy Brown  wrote:
<Snip>

7) From: Brian Kamnetz
Hi Betsy,
I had the opposite experience - or maybe I should say the same experiene in
the opposite order. I begain roasting just up the road from you an hour, in
Las Vegas, NM. In the dry, thin air at 6500 feet, I couldn't roast more than
half a cup of greens at a time in a Poppery II because the roast would go to
fast. I then moved to South Carolina, about sea level and very humid, and
had to load as many greens as the popper would hold in order to get the
roast completed. So I agree, fluid bath (hot air) probably isn't the way to
go.
Have you considered an RK drum? It might be the answer if you have a place
to roast that is sheltered from the wind.
Brian
On 10/29/06, Betsy Brown  wrote:
<Snip>

8) From: Bill Morgan
FWIW, when visiting Santa Fe I really used to enjoy the coffees from
Ohori's.  Now that was many years before I found homeroasting and
learned about real coffee, but it's worth a try.
Good Luck,
Bill
On 10/29/06, Betsy Brown  wrote:
<Snip>

9) From: Bill Morgan
Now that I think about it, that might have been a coffee shop next to
Ohori's.  Oops.
On 10/31/06, Bill Morgan  wrote:
<Snip>

10) From: Curt Garner
Hi Betsy from a long time lurker and fellow New Mexican.
I just got a Hottop about six weeks ago and love it. Used an IR1 for
almost 2 years prior. I have put a boatload of coffee through the
Hottop, and the beans taste great. (Which might also have something to
do with the new Mazzer Mini that I got about the same time.)
Cracks are super easy to hear, and the cooling system works well. The
only thing is there is some chaff left around the beans when they
dump, and I walk the beans outside and swirl them around over a fan to
blow off the last of the chaff.
No problems with anything resembling a fire. I have a hard time
imagining that if you empty the chaff tray after each roast and do the
5 minute clean every 4 roasts. But that wouldn't keep someone from
failing to do the maintenance and creating a hazard.
I'm in Rio Rancho and find that my roasts are taking about 18 to 21
minutes depending on the bean to get to C+. First crack starts at
between 15 and 17 minutes.
Curt Garner
curt.garner
Hi, everyone,
I am new to the list and have been reading your posts for the past
couple of weeks. I have two questions, one regarding which roaster
would be best at 7200 feet and the second is regarding the HotTop.
Does it really have a high risk of fire or is that risk operator
dependent?
I have a Fresh Roast and have been roasting for 2 years with decent
results, while living in Seattle at sea level. My husband and I
recently moved to Santa Fe for his work and we are living at 7200
feet.  My roasting time plummeted from about 6 1/2 minutes for a Full
City + roast to 4 minutes!   It's much harder to control and I
haven't been as happy with the results. You add in the fact that
there is a dearth of good fresh roasted coffee here compared to
Seattle (where I worked near Vivace -just about the best coffee I've
ever had- and could easily pick up great fresh coffee beans there
when time didn't allow roasting or I had need for larger volumes) so
I want to do larger roast batches.
Now that we have sold our house in Seattle, I can afford either a Hot
Top or Gene Roast.  From what I've read in the archives, it seems a
drum roaster might work better at altitude. But on CoffeeGeek I read
reviews about the Hot Top being a fire risk.  SInce I don't like to
roast my coffee past the second roast and I am already vigilant about
cleaning out chaff, is fire less of a risk?
Thanks for all your advice.
Betsy

11) From: Betsy Brown
Thanks to all the help that folks gave me regarding high altitude  
roasting and the Hot Top risk of fire.
Now that Curt, who is just down the hill a couple thousand feet,  has  
weighed in with his experience with a Hot Top; I think I may go ahead  
and give it a try. I am not too worried about fire, because I'll  
clean the chaff and watch the roast closely.
I like the idea of the Hot top right now because it's starting to get  
pretty chilly here, especially at night and I'd rather roast indoors.
I am looking forward to some more complex roasts.
Thanks!
Betsy


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