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Topic: Delurking ... (24 msgs / 579 lines)
1) From: Patrick R. Sklenar
Hello folks. 
I've been lurking since mid December with the goals of 1) learning 
whether I really want to try roasting or not and 2) try and figure out 
just what is involved in doing so.  I thoroughly enjoy drinking my 
coffee.  I brew it several different ways depending on the time I have 
available and what I'm interested in at the time::
    + commercial BUNN VP-17-1 drip brewer (b-day gift from my folks)
    + Gaggia Baby espresso (bought 2nd hand)
    + Cory 8 cup stove top vacuum brewer
    + Chemex 8 cup pour-over
    + Bialetti 6 cup Moka & 2 cup Brikka stove top brewers
Since I'm delurking as opposed to unsubscribing from the list, you can 
safely assume I've decided to give roasting a try. :)
I have a Toastmaster model 1148X breadmaker en route ($9.99 on eBay plus 
$15 S&H) ... there was nothing available in any of the five local thrift 
stores. :(  I have an eBay search set up to watch for inexpensive 
Turbo-Oven deals.  For now I have a 1000 watt heat gun in the basement.  
I have one pound each of eight different greens sitting on the kitchen 
table (SM "Double Sampler" deal).
I need a thermometer to help monitor the bean mass temp ... what should 
I be looking for?  Would a candy thermometer give the temp range 
needed?  O do I need something different?  I also need to pick up a mesh 
colander and fan for cooling.  Anything else I should have on hand to 
get started?
I'm going the BM/HG (BM/TO) route because I go thru a pound of coffee 
per week *just* with the thermos of drip I take into work every morning, 
typically have time to do the roasting only on the weekends and 
therefore I want to be able to roast up to a pound at a time.  Will I 
still be able to roast smaller batches with a setup like this?  For 
instance, I'll be surprised if I go thru a half pound of espresso per 
week unless I have company over, so ... :)
Of the eight different coffees in the sampler pack ... how on earth do I 
figure out what to experiment on first?  I've never tried any of them 
before. :o  Oh, and does anyone have a spreadsheet or form they'd be 
willing to share for recording roasting notes (so i can figure out 
what's important to track and the like)?
    o Brazil Fazenda Boa Sorte Natural Bourbon
    o Indonesia Flores Sasandu Dry-Process
    o Mexico Organic Nayarit Terruno
    o Nicaragua Matagelpa Pacamara Peaberry
    o Panama Lot 12686
    o Peru Norte Especial
    o Sumatra Classic Mandheling
    o Timor FTO Maubesse
Thanks for everything you all have taught me over the past three months 
and for everything you are yet to teach me! :)

2) From: Brett Mason
The Panama, Peru and Nicaragua are the most "middle of the road"
coffees you mentioned.  Start from there.  Be sure to look on
SweetMaria's and understand how Tom recommends you roast a given bean.
 Then go and do likewise, and take some notes..
This should give you a baseline, and will help you tune your technique
before you venture further into the other excellent coffees you
On 3/11/07, Patrick R. Sklenar  wrote:

3) From: Larry Johnson
I wouldn't worry about the thermometer at this point. Read the description
Tom gives for the roast stages
http://www.sweetmarias.com/roasting-VisualGuideV2.htmland go with sight, sound, and smell as your guide to how your roast is
progressing. This works very well for me, using the bread machine / heat gun
roast method. I have yet to use a thermometer and I think I'm doing pretty
good. Of course, I like most everything roasted just barely into first crack
(FC+), so it's pretty easy.
On 3/11/07, Patrick R. Sklenar  wrote:
Larry J
"It is well to remember that the entire universe, with one trifling
exception, is composed of others."
  - John Andrew Holmes

4) From: Ed Needham
Didn't you mean 'second crack'?

5) From: Floyd Lozano
i agree with ignoring the thermometer.  you don't have enough hands anyway,
and you should focus on learning the sights and sounds and smells.  for
starting coffees, i'm going to suggest you use the cheapest (anything above
goo goo muck, that's not a good starter).  Don't go and heat gun a Kona to
charcoal, $16 is an expenive lesson!  Actually, the best coffee to start
with is a cheaper coffee that does well at a wide range of roasts, because
you are almost certainly going to miss the first couple times!  (at least, I
did, and still do)
As to batch size, I am usually roasting 1/2 lb or 1lb depending on my tastes
that week (i loves me some variety) but I found, when using those samplers,
that I had lots of 'small lots' left over (first roaster was the Fresh Roast
8, 65-80 gram batch size.  So a couple weeks back i had a 'leftover roast'
day.  Rather than random blend and pray, I roasted lots as small as 30g with
the heat gun in a small mesh sieve over the dogbowl.  I was actually bummed
by how good they came out, since some of those small leftover lots were
coffees that are no longer available =/
Lastly, I think the sampler lots are good for fun but the reviews are going
to be your best bet for picking a coffee you like.  You will come to trust
Tom's descriptions (and feedback from the palates on this forum) to the
point that you'll think nothing of buying a 5#er of a coffee based on his
narrative alone! (at least I have)  In some cases this will serve you well
as coffees he highly recommends have a way of um... vanishing.  Fast!
Enjoy your new obsession.  From here on out you'll rarely find a coffee
better tasting than the one at the end of your heat gun.  I am thrilled by
the longer days and warmer weather (more roasting!)
On 3/11/07, Dan Bollinger  wrote:

6) From: Dan Bollinger
Patrick,  Welcome to our favorite hobby!  The sampler is fun and it is exciting 
to taste great beans from around the world. The problem is there is so little to 
learn on before you use up a certain bean.  I suggest you buy yourself 2-5 
pounds of Costa Rica Tarrazu la Minita. It is the most moderate of the great 
beans at S-M.  Medium body, flavor, acid, etc.  It is a good one to learn and 
experiment with.  Dan

7) From: jim gundlach
      I've been roasting several years now and still haven't used a  
thermometer.  Using just the 1000 watt heatgun you can roast a  
quarter to half a pound at a time if you want.  I would want more  
heat before going above a half.  I regularly roast a little over a  
pound with a 1500 watt heatgun only.
       Pecan Jim
On Mar 11, 2007, at 6:05 PM, Patrick R. Sklenar wrote:

8) From: Vicki Smith
Some folks report that some models of the Toastmaster throw the beans 
out if you use a smallish amount of beans. I'm with Jim though on the 
issue of the wattage of the HG and the amount you can roast. I know 
Carole has had success with a 1200 watt HG. With my 1500, I routinely 
roast well over a pound in my Sunbeam. My HG/bread machine FAQ has a 
link to the instructions (with Carole's pictures) for dealing with the 
thermostat in the bread machine, should that be an issue.http://coffee.crone.com/roasting/faq.htmvicki
jim gundlach wrote:

9) From: Larry Johnson
Oops. Yes, I meant 2nd crack. Pardon the brain cramp.
On 3/11/07, Ed Needham  wrote:
Larry J
"It is well to remember that the entire universe, with one trifling
exception, is composed of others."
  - John Andrew Holmes

10) From: Patrick R. Sklenar
Thanks for the welcomes and the replies!  Based on what I've seen so 
far, I think I understand that ...
    * Of the samples I received, the Peru, Panama and Nicaragua would be
      best for starting with.
    * Follow Tom's notes (I've saved the reviews from SM to text files
      for each for future reference) when I go to start roasting.
    * Don't worry about the actual temp at this point, pay attention to
      color, sound and smell.
    * Once I have an idea what I like, but a 5# lot and start
      concentrating on learning how to judge the different levels of
      roasts ... will be easier to understand the time/heat
      relationships if I stick with a given bean while learning to
      reduce variables (one recommendation for "Costa Rica Tarrazu la
      Minita" as a learning bean)
    * Due to 1000w HG, I may want to keep my roasts to 1/2 pound or so
      until I learn better.  Question - is that 1/2 pound green or
      roasted?  If the latter, how do I determine how much green will
      yield a given amount of roasted beans?
    * I need to watch out for my (hopefully soon to be delivered) bread
      maker tossing beans right on out with smaller batches.

11) From: Larry Johnson
On 3/12/07, Patrick R. Sklenar  wisely asked:
Question - is that 1/2 pound green or roasted?  If the latter, how do I
determine how much green will yield a given amount of roasted beans?
The poster was referring to the weight of the green beans. Your heat gun may
have trouble getting the bean temp up fast enough with more than that. I
have a 1200 W HG, and I have trouble getting there, myself, with a pound of
beans. And yes, you may have to watch out that your bread machine flings
them out. I have that problem when I try to do 1/2 lb. You and I both need
bigger guns.
As for how to predict how much roasted coffee you'll windup with, it does
depend on the bean and how much moisture it's holding, and probably somewhat
to do with how dark you roast (not sure about that last one). This weekend I
roasted 16 oz of green Kona Purple Mountain and had 13.5 oz of FC+ roasted
coffee at the end, as measured by a less than perfect scale, mind you. So,
about 16% reduction in weight. YMMV, obviously.
On 3/12/07, Patrick R. Sklenar  wrote:
Larry J
If this is coffee, please bring me some tea; but if this is tea, please
bring me some coffee.
  - Abraham Lincoln

12) From: Carole Zatz
The 1200 W HG is definitely marginal. I end up running it only on the
High setting. I have roasted up to a pound but it really does take too
long to get into first crack. 'Course it was below zero F at the time.
I'm waiting to see how it works in warmer weather to see if I
absolutely have to replace it. Until then I'm keeping the batch sizes
lower  around 12 oz or less. If you have trouble with it tossing out
with 8 oz, try to up it to 12 oz. I don't know how cold it is where
you are and that can have quite an impact on the roasting times. So
I'd sure give the 1000 W gun that you have a try. You'll need to keep
the nozzle very close to the beans and I like to keep moving it around
as well. What I'm trying to do is get the general temperature of the
container and beans up as quickly as possible. Then when the first
crack is going well, I'll move the gun further from the beans to try
to extend the time that the first crack takes to finish and the second
crack to start. The bread machine and heat gun approach is really
forgiving and as you said, just trust your eyes and ears.

13) From: Brian Kamnetz
A while back Justin gave me some very useful information on how to estimate
the BTUs of a heat gun. It helped me to understand the power of my Master
Appliance 751B Heat Gun; 120 V; 1740 W; 14.5; 23 CFM; 3000 FPM; 1.2 in.;
Universal; 3.7 lbs.
"The total BTU's is exactly dependent on the wattage (normally about
equal to the amps x the volts).  The suitability for roasting depends
on both the wattage AND the air temp produced.  You can use a 1200
watt hair dryer all day long and never get to first crack.
'AT 14.5 amp and 110 volts, your heat gun runs close to 1600 watts,
mine is 1000 watts or so. Thus, with 1100 degrees and 1600 watts, I
can believe that you could roast a pound in about the same time as I
do a half pound."
On 3/12/07, Patrick R. Sklenar  wrote:

14) From: Brian Kamnetz
Incidentally, at 14.5 amps, the Master Appliance 751B requires quite a
robust circuit. When I roasted at a friend's house last summer it kicked out
the breaker a couple times. I have never had that problem on a 15-amp
circuit at home, however.
On 3/12/07, Brian Kamnetz  wrote:

15) From: Brian Kamnetz
On 3/12/07, Carole Zatz  wrote:
I roasted a couple batches with my 14.5 amp Master's Appliance 751B heat gun
in Wisconsin around Christmas. (We also were running a tangled 100-ft
extension cord, which didn't help.) The colder ambient temps made a big

16) From: Carole Zatz
On 3/12/07, Brian Kamnetz  wrote:
That's interesting. One of the reason I hoped that the one I got would
be okay (the 1200watt Milwaukee) is that it said it had 4100 BTU's and
the dual heat selections were 750F and 1000F. It has 10 amps and 1200
watts. That sounded hot enough to roast coffee in a bread machine. It
has been a struggle in this cold weather, tho.

17) From: Dan Mouer
This is a multi-part message in MIME format.
You forgot to mention that your friend's 1000-gallon hot tub was on the =
same circuit.
Dan M

18) From: Carole Zatz
On 3/12/07, Brian Kamnetz  wrote:
Last week it was in the teens and very (over 30mph gusts) windy. I
ended up closing the lid as far as it would go with the heat gun
nearly touching the beans and then holding a pot holder over the
slightly open front (as best as I could). It took nearly 10 minutes to
hit first crack. Once it hit first crack it seemed to run on course. I
think it's really the initial heating up where the extra oomph somes
into play.
It was an emergency  I was going to run out of Monkey Blend soon and
I know it needs some rest. I had some this morning and the end result
has tasted pretty good. So it was well worth being miserable for 15
minutes or so. My dog thought I was crazy.

19) From: Floyd Lozano
I think I read this suggested by someone else, as I don't think I thought o=
it on my own, but during the cold weather here (20 F or less) I roast in my
hugh jass grill with the burners on low to medium to up the ambient air and
dog bowl temp a bit and that makes roasting possible with my heat gun.
Without it, it was a slow bake.
On 3/12/07, Carole Zatz  wrote:

20) From: raymanowen
"...at 14.5 amps, the Master Appliance 751B requires quite a robust circuit.
When I roasted at a friend's house last summer it kicked out the breaker a
couple times. I have never had that problem on a 15-amp circuit at home,
Your friend's 15amp circuit breaker has probably tripped and protected the
circuit many times, or there is more load on the circuit than just an
additional electric clock. Did anybody notice what else shut off when it
tripped out, or was he just familiar with resetting this breaker?
When a cb has tripped several times due to overload, or just a few times on
hard shorts, it will trip subsequently at lower current levels. This is by
design and gives increased protection. It's a lot better than the converse.
Cheers -RayO, aka Opa!
On 3/12/07, Brian Kamnetz  wrote:
"When the theme hits the bass, I dance the Jig!" - -Virgil Fox at the Mighty
Wichita (ex- NYC Paramount) WurliTzer- 1976

21) From: Justin Marquez
On 3/13/07, raymanowen  wrote:
"It's not a BUG, it's a FEATURE!"
Safe Journeys and Sweet Music
Justin Marquez (CYPRESS, TX)

22) From: raymanowen
Patrick, you're paying a total of about $25 to get a $30 machine.
Here's an online write-up I found of the machine:
"Toastmaster 1148X
The description of the 1148X is similar to the one we wrote for the TBR-15.
It is a very cheap machine (at only $30 it is unbeatable, in terms of
price). It makes a horizontal 2 pound loaves, has a timer function and 8
different programs. It is simpler than the TBR-15 in terms of functions and
has only the absolute necessary functions. Our conclusions are the same as
for the TBR15. It is up to your strategy, but we do not recommend this mode=
[For bread making]. It is not build to last." [Emphasis mine]
Remember, a bread loaf bakes at around 325 - 350F. Coffee roasts
approximately 100 hotter but more quickly.
I hope this particular bread machine doesn't become problematic and sour yo=
on home roasting. If you ever need any replacement parts, a heat gun and a
stainless steel salad or mixer bowl should suffice.
You really should be able to acquire nice bread machines for under ten
dollars a pop at the thrift stores. You'll find them for sure, if not today
then next week or next month. Keep on the watch.
You might leave calling cards if they will contact you when they spot any
coffee roasting or grinding paraphernalia. Or, try Craigslist.
Cheers -RayO, aka Opa!
If one bread machine is good, Two bread machines are better...

23) From: Patrick R. Sklenar
    Thank you for your reply.  I visited five different thrift shops (2 
Goodwill, 2 Salvation Army, 1 independent) weekly during January & 
February before turning to eBay.  On there, most units had S&H of $20+ 
and or they often were being bid up to $15 or more plus that S&H ... 
finding one for $10 plus $15 S&H ... even compared to what it would have 
cost new ($30 plus S&H) ... I don't think I got ripped off. 
    Was sitting on the porch when I got home this evening.  Looks in 
immaculate condition.  The bread pan and mixing arm are thick, heavy 
aluminum.  The machine body is metal (although the lid seems to be 
plastic with a metal & glass liner).  it *feels* substantial to me.  but 
only time and actual use will tell whether it'll server or not. :)
    I'm looking at this as a fairly inexpensive way (since I already 
have the heat gun) to see if i can do this.  And if I do and want to 
continue ... I fully expect it won't be too long before I end up 
stripping this down to use the motor plus a better mixing bowl plus a 
turbo-oven top like some of the ones I've seen on some of the members blogs.
    Again, thank you!

24) From: raymanowen
If it looks good to you, you're half way there. I'm not familiar with your
machine, but they usually have a "Dough" cycle that only runs the paddle to
knead the green coffee beans while roasting.
Vicki Smith has done an excellent job of compiling information for Bread
machine roasters and wannabe's like me. She says: "My bread machine/heat gun
FAQ is athttp://www.coffeecrone.com/roasting/faq.htm"
Others have posted suggestions for bypassing all the machine controls and
using the machine exclusively as a hard wired roast container and agitator.
Just remember, the motor is a PSC type, and develops heat as it is run- more
so with no load or very light loads. Is there any way you could remove the
bottom cover and replace it with screen wire and a muffin fan or small
blower aimed at the motor?
I think many must have been purchased because it "Makes a Great Gift." Many
of those Great Gifts were on the shelves of a couple of thrift stores I made
the mistake of "shopping" when I was Without Money Problems. Two Pristine
brand spankin' new machines, NIB for $7ea about the end of January.
I had just invested $50 in motion lotion for my little gas hog Bronco! That
hurt. What's more important, dodging Brain Donors out for their First Solo
Driving Experience in the snow and ice, or roasting coffee, I ask you?
I could have written an illustrated book about SUV's trying to drive upside
down in the ditch. Welcome to 2007 in Denver town.
Cheers -RayO, aka Opa!
On 3/13/07, Patrick R. Sklenar  wrote:
"When the theme hits the bass, I dance the Jig!" - -Virgil Fox at the Mighty
Wichita (ex- NYC Paramount) WurliTzer- 1976

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