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Topic: Hot Top Questions (7 msgs / 202 lines)
1) From: Tim TenClay
Thank you to all who helped me decide between the Gene Cafe and the
Hot Top -- I ended up choosing the Hot Top for 2 reasons: It looked
like more of a horse (i.e. might last longer) and someone said that it
tended to cut out the bright notes (my wife and I prefer that).
I do have a couple of questions though:
1)  How often do you really pull the drum out and clean it?
     I just did that for the first time (after my 5th roast) and
wondered if it actually has to be done that often.
2)  The front piece that comes off (with the brass screw and the
observation window) seems to get chaff caught around the window
(between the window and the metal...does that make sense?)  Is there a
way of stopping that?
     It's not a huge deal - doesn't effect the roast, just a little
annoying and it takes the removal of four little screws to get it open
enough to clean it.
In any case...I love it!  I'm still trying to figure out where I'm
roasting and how to do it with the least amoung of smoke in the house
(my wife isn't so fond of it house ALWAYS smelling like roasting
coffee)..I may have to break down and buy a hood.... oh well.
Grace and Peace,
The content of this e-mail may be private or of confidential nature.
Do not forward without permission of the original author.
Rev. Tim TenClay, IAPC, NATA #253
Dunningville Reformed Church (www.dunningville.org)
Personal Blog:http://www.tenclay.org/blog

2) From: Barry Luterman
I do mine every fourth roast. The drum seldom needs any thing done to it. 
Sometimes a bean gets lodged in it . However, I have to take the 4 screws 
out to clean the chaff from the chamber anyway.At that time I wash the 
inside of the glass. Machine should be cleaned of chaff after 4 roasts to 
avoid chaff fires. Not everyone removes the screws. Some people just take 
off the glass piece wash it out and blow compressed air through the port 
that the unfrosted beans are placed in the machine. No matter how you do it. 
Empty chaff tray after each roast and clean chaff from body after every 
fourth roast. Also don't let you Christmas tree dry out. It can lead to same 
disaster as not cleaning the chaff from the Hottop

3) From: MichaelB
I roast about once a week, a two hour session with four half pound roasts.
After every roast I empty the chaff tray. After every session (next day) I
take out the drum and poke around inside. There are usually a few wedged in
beans and burnt particles that need to be forced out of the drum. Also it's
easier to vacuum out all the chaff and clean the insides of the machine with
the drum out. Every two sessions I soak the glass front plate and the the
top chute cover in a bowl with cafiza powder and hot water. In a half hour,
with no scrubbing, they come out spotless.
I've never seen more than the occasional flake of chaff in the front so
don't know why you are getting an excessive amount, especially if you clean
up the chaff between roasts. In any case, you only need to remove the glass
front with the one knob in the center to get to most of the chaff between
roasts. I take this off every time as soon as the beans are ejected, then
take out the chaff tray and the chute top, and blow a small fan towards the
opening between roasts. That way, when the bean cooling cycle is done, the
hottop is ready for the next roast with almost no additional time to reach
start temperature.
I roast right next to a window. Before each session I install a standard
window exhaust fan, It stays at low setting through most of the roast, then
gets turned to high when the smoke gets thicker. It doesn't eliminate all
the roasting smell but it does remove all the objectionable smoke. If you
could install a hood that exhausted to the outside that might be better. But
I'm in no hurry to do this because the fan solution works so well.
Happy roasting...
On 12/4/06, Tim TenClay  wrote:

4) From:
I missed this question!!
drum, drum...
Now if Albert was here, know he is here, he would be agast!! I have heve taken out the drum from/of my hottop. 
I clean the glass every 1/2 dozen roasts depending on the view. I like to see my beans roast. I pull the chaff try, use a mini shop vac on the inside of drum each AND EVERY roast to clean any latent material buildup and change rear filter ? not really counted.
I run the HT every 4th or so roast blank, empty of beans which seems to keep any odd chaff away. I have never had any build up of chaff on the glass rim, inside. 
I do tend to roast to a full, darker roast which may or may not have a darn thing to do with chaff. Some beans a just chaffy stinkers.
You have made a great choice withg the HT.
Enjoy and roast the #30 longer...
---- Tim TenClay  wrote: 

5) From: raymanowen
If you have a fireplace with a nearby electric outlet, that's all the hood
you need, Tim.
Two ways to get the flue draft started once you open the damper-
   - Computer power supplies are self-contained with a real brat of a
   cooling fan. Set the power supply in the fireplace with the fan's air blast
   aimed up the flue. It's a switching supply so you'd need a dummy load on the
   12v or 5v for sure. You can probably get one free if you ask the right
   - Run- a mini charcoal grille in the fireplace and it'll start a
New home construction in Denver 'burbs all have forced Radon extraction
vents. You might scrounge around and find some of the hardware for an
unobtrusive fume hood.
The possibilities multiply if you have a patio or some kind of shelter
outside. Just Ray's song Stang.
Cheers -RayO, aka Opa!
"When the theme hits the bass, I dance the Jig!" - -Virgil Fox at the Mighty
Wichita (ex- NYC Paramount) WurliTzer- 1976

6) From: Zara Haimo
Every roast I empty the chaff tray.
After each roasting session, I take off the cover with the glass window and
handwash the glass in the sink with regular dish detergent.  I sometimes
also wash off the chaff tray, the cooling tray, and the bean chute cover at
the same time.
Every few roasts, I shake out any chaff that might be in the drum area.
First I take off the chaff tray, the cooling tray, the bean chute cover, and
the two side grills or they would fall off.  Then I take off the cover with
the glass window, turn the whole machine so the open end faces down, and
give it a good shake so any loose beans and chaff tumble out.
Every 3-4 months, I take the drum out and brush/vacuum inside for any
remaining chaff.  Taking the drum out and putting it back takes 2 minutes
even for a tool-challenged klutz like me.
I always roast outdoors because it doesn't get very cold here in paradise,
but I sometimes have to plan my roasts around the winter rains to make sure
I don't run out of beans when we have a series of back to back winter
storms.  If I couldn't roast outside, I'd try under the stove hood or
possibly in the fireplace to minimize smoke in the house.

7) From: Frank Coster
I use a can of compressed air and a shop vac to clean between roasts and 
then disassemble every 8-10 roasts. Be sure to use a flashlight after each 
roast to check the drum for stuck beans as they will burn the next time and 
effect the flavor.
Frank Coster
Coral Mustang Wines

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