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! :) pat----
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 listed... Brett RWA On 3/11/07, Patrick R. Sklenar wrote: <Snip> -- Cheers, Bretthttp://homeroast.freeservers.com
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: <Snip> -- Larry J "It is well to remember that the entire universe, with one trifling exception, is composed of others." - John Andrew Holmes
Didn't you mean 'second crack'?
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!) -F On 3/11/07, Dan Bollinger wrote: <Snip>
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 <Snip>
Pat, 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: <Snip>
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: <Snip>
Oops. Yes, I meant 2nd crack. Pardon the brain cramp. On 3/11/07, Ed Needham wrote: <Snip> -- Larry J "It is well to remember that the entire universe, with one trifling exception, is composed of others." - John Andrew Holmes
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. Thanks, pat----
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: <Snip> -- Larry J If this is coffee, please bring me some tea; but if this is tea, please bring me some coffee. - Abraham Lincoln
<Snip> may <Snip> of <Snip> d <Snip> 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. Enjoy!
Pat, 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." Brian On 3/12/07, Patrick R. Sklenar wrote: <Snip>
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. Brian On 3/12/07, Brian Kamnetz wrote: <Snip>
On 3/12/07, Carole Zatz wrote: <Snip> 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 difference. Brian
On 3/12/07, Brian Kamnetz wrote: <Snip> 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.
This is a multi-part message in MIME format. Brian, You forgot to mention that your friend's 1000-gallon hot tub was on the = same circuit. Dan M
On 3/12/07, Brian Kamnetz wrote: <Snip> gun <Snip> 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.
I think I read this suggested by someone else, as I don't think I thought o= f 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. -F On 3/12/07, Carole Zatz wrote: <Snip> t <Snip>
"...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." 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: <Snip> -- "When the theme hits the bass, I dance the Jig!" - -Virgil Fox at the Mighty Wichita (ex- NYC Paramount) WurliTzer- 1976
On 3/13/07, raymanowen wrote: <Snip> "It's not a BUG, it's a FEATURE!" Safe Journeys and Sweet Music Justin Marquez (CYPRESS, TX)
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= l [For bread making]. It is not build to last." [Emphasis mine] Remember, a bread loaf bakes at around 325° - 350°F. Coffee roasts approximately 100° hotter but more quickly. I hope this particular bread machine doesn't become problematic and sour yo= u 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...
Ray, 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! pat----
Patrick, 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: <Snip> -- "When the theme hits the bass, I dance the Jig!" - -Virgil Fox at the Mighty Wichita (ex- NYC Paramount) WurliTzer- 1976