HomeRoast Digest


Topic: help buying a roaster!? (29 msgs / 705 lines)
1) From: Aaron Boothe
I am looking to buy a top of the line home roaster.  My hope is that one day
i will own a roasting business, but for now I am stuck in school.  I want to
buy a nice home roaster so that I can hone my skills on something as similar
to a commercial roaster as possible.  So here is the problem:  It seems that
the HotTop Drum Roaster and the Gene Cafe are the top two competitors.  The
HotTop looks sweet and has that nice cooling tray, but it seems like you
don't really have any control over the temperature besides off and on.  The
Gene Cafe has the variable temperature controls but no cooling tray, and
doesn't really look like a commercial roaster.  I understand that the HotTop
is coming out with a programmable roaster but it super expensive.  Does
anyone have any advice?  Is there maybe a better option than either one of
these?  Essentially I am looking for as close to a commercial roaster as
possible, without the size or the cost.  Of course, so is everyone.  Any
help you guys have would be awesome.  Thank you so much for your time.
Aaron B

2) From: Barry Luterman
This is a multi-part message in MIME format.
The programmable is out. Tom is evaluating it as we speak. He put a note =
on the SM site to that effect on 3/13. Wait a few days and see what he =
has to say.

3) From: Floyd Lozano
If you want something as close to an automated roaster as possible, I would
think either of those will do.  If you want something as close to, say, a
Probat, which seem to be heavily favored by microroasters, you can either
learn German and order a sample roaster from Probat directly or buy an RK
drum I spose!
-F
On 3/19/07, Barry Luterman  wrote:
<Snip>

4) From: Andy Thomas
First of all, there are as many types of commercial roasters as homeroastin=
g devices, so I doubt that buying a "nice" home roaster will necessarily gi=
ve you a better sense of commercial roasting than one you built yourself or=
 adapted from another intended use. If by commercial roaster you mean drum =
roaster, yes, most of them are, but there are commercial air roasters as we=
ll. If you are sure you will want to go with a drum roaster, my gut feeling=
 is that you would get a better understanding of all the aspects of roastin=
g by using a backyard grill fitted with an RK Drum, or, if you're handy, on=
e you built yourself.
Disclaimer:  I have no experience with commercia=
l roasters or purpose-built home roasters, so take that into consideration.=
 I've been roasting since 2000 using -- mostly -- poppers.
Andy
=
----- Original Message ----
From: Aaron Boothe =
To: homeroast
Sent: Monday, March 19, 2007 4:43:=
09 PM
Subject: +help buying a roaster!?
I am looking to buy a top of=
 the line home roaster.  My hope is that one day i will own a roasting busi=
ness, but for now I am stuck in school.  I want to buy a nice home roaster =
so that I can hone my skills on something as similar to a commercial roaste=
r as possible.  So here is the problem:  It seems that the HotTop Drum Roas=
ter and the Gene Cafe are the top two competitors.  The HotTop looks sweet =
and has that nice cooling tray, but it seems like you don't really have any=
 control over the temperature besides off and on.  The Gene Cafe has the va=
riable temperature controls but no cooling tray, and doesn't really look li=
ke a commercial roaster.  I understand that the HotTop is coming out with a=
 programmable roaster but it super expensive.  Does anyone have any advice?=
  Is there maybe a better option than either one of these?  Essentially I a=
m looking for as close to a commercial roaster as possible, without the siz=
e or the cost.  Of course, so is everyone.  Any help you
 guys have would be awesome.  Thank you so much for your time. 
Aaron =
B=
Need Mail bonding?
Go to the Yahoo! Mail Q&A=
 for great tips from Yahoo! Answers users.http://answers.yahoo.com/dir/?=link=list&sid=396546091

5) From: jim gundlach
Aaron,
    I would not rely on any of the home roasters to be a key tool for  
any business that played any role in keeping body and soul together.   
For the money that goes into the better home roasters you can get a  
good BBQ grill and a Ron Kyle drum with a durable motor.  It would be  
some work but you could roast a hundred pounds a day for years with  
one.  As for honing your skills nothing does that better than  
roasting in a wok.  When it is over a gas fire you see very much what  
a drum does to the beans.  When it is used with a good heat gun, you  
see what an air roaster does.  Combine the two sources of heat and  
you get real control.
      Pecan Jim
P.S.  The wok needs to be at least as thick as a nickel and the heat  
gun really needs to be 1500 watts
On Mar 19, 2007, at 6:43 PM, Aaron Boothe wrote:
<Snip>

6) From: jim gundlach
I should have said with the wok you get to see, hear, and smell what  
is happening with the beans.
      Pecan Jim
On Mar 19, 2007, at 8:59 PM, jim gundlach wrote:
<Snip>

7) From: Brett Mason
Aaron, I am with Jim on this.  I don't believe you need to know about
roasters - you need to know about how beans roast.  Get in touch with the
bean - understand the bean - Hey, BE THE BEAN!
Seriously, you need to be very familiar with the process, how the bean
roasts and how the tastes are best developed.  This should serve you far
better once you acquire a commercial roaster, because then you can actually
use the thing effectively.  This of course is far more strategic than the
mediocre roasts you can buy in my town - because the roaster is actually the
person running the show, and the device is merely his tool.
Brett
  RWA
On 3/19/07, jim gundlach  wrote:
<Snip>
-- 
Cheers,
Bretthttp://homeroast.freeservers.com

8) From: Eddie Dove
Precisely.  Well stated.
Eddie
On 3/19/07, Brett Mason  wrote:
<Snip>

9) From: Aaron Boothe
I appreciate all of your input.  I have been roasting on a heavily modified
poppery for a while now, but hearing all of the feedback brought me to my
senses.  I do not need to spend tons of money on an expensive home roaster.
I need an intimate knowledge of the bean.  I have been developing roast
profiles for beans, and they are no where near the quality of Paradise
Roasters or Terroir.  When I get close to what they are doing, then I will
rethink purchasing something expensive.  Thank you guys very much for your
input.  I'll let you know when I make it to Coffee Review.
Aaron

10) From: Brett Mason
Get a wok!  At the very least you'll have a new means of roasting
vegetables....
Brett
On 3/19/07, Aaron Boothe  wrote:
<Snip>
-- 
Cheers,
Bretthttp://homeroast.freeservers.com

11) From: raymanowen
So, what do you really want, Aaron?
If it's repeatable good coffee roasts you're after, on a scale of micro
commercial and with commercial longevity, you couldn't beat the RK Drum in a
gas BBQ.
If you want Pushbuttons and don't mind being saddled with a very expensive
and delicate toy, the "Programmable" Hottop may be for you. You push one of
their buttons and get one of their roast profiles. It's their profile, and
you can push some buttons to modify- "program-" it.
To start any commercial venture, assume that your weakest link bottleneck
will break or malfunction at the worst possible time. To avoid going
directly out of business with a flourish of customer contempt broadcast on
the internet, Duplicate your essential equipment.
Also see the archives where Jeffrey Pawlan  developed a
laboratory grade computer controlled roaster ("CCR") which you may see at:
With $90 programmable calculators and free cell phones, some folks
questioned dedicating a laptop computer to this pre-eminent roasting
solution. Their great loss!
Cheers -RayO, aka Opa!
"...the great enemy of truth is very often not the lie--deliberate,
contrived and dishonest--but the myth--persistent, persuasive--of our
forebears. We enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of
thought."* - -**John F. *Kennedy*, Yale, 6-11-1962*
On 3/19/07, Aaron Boothe < ratbertadb> wrote:
<Snip>
-- 
"When the theme hits the bass, I dance the Jig!" - -Virgil Fox at the Mighty
Wichita (ex- NYC Paramount) WurliTzer- 1976

12) From:
I guess Aaron your choices are:
Gene Cafe
Hot Top with Digital panel
new Hot Top when it comes out or get the upgrade board for the newest Hot Top and buy an analog one now!
Eddie has the Gene Cafe and I must say that he has used it as a workhorse since he has had it and loves it. I have not tried it yet, I love my Hot Top. I have not done a lot of profiling but after reading a few things Eddie has said I may get the digital panel for my HT and start.
ginny
I am sure there are other, more expensive ones out there that folks will tell you about. What is your budget today?
---- Aaron Boothe  wrote: 
<Snip>

13) From:
Aaron:
I keep forgetting about the RK drum, GREAT way to roast. I use it a the Phoenix Public Market when I get there on saturdays to put on a roast-o-show.
ginny
---- jim gundlach  wrote: 
<Snip>

14) From: Les
Aaron,
I have been roasting for over 22 years.  I have roasted on a Probat, a
Dietrich, a Sivetz and a couple of off brand commercial roasters.  In the
homeroast area, I have used modified poppers, heatgun/dogbowl, Hottop,
Hearthware Precision, Androck over fire, and an RK drum.  I have done head
to head comparisons with my RK drum and Tom's custom roasted beans from his
Probat.  I ordered the same beans and roasted on the same day that Tom
roasted.  I have done this three times.  On two of the roasts, I matched his
roast as perfectly as I think possible.  Using my wife as a blind tester,
she said that she couldn't tell one from the other.  On the other bean she
liked my roast better, it was a slightly lighter roast.  Personally, if you
want to go into commercial roasting, I would say experience is the key.
Knowing what the bean is doing at what stage no matter what the roaster
does.  The big myth is that commercial roasters have ultimate control.  They
are big and you have to be thinking 5 minutes ahead all of the time or you
will miss your transition points.  If you really want to experience a
commercial roaster, you are going to have to spend the $4500 for a small
Dietrich.  What amazed me was the first time I roasted on a commercial
roaster, I used a Probat and my roast turned out perfect!  I had guidance
from an experienced roaster as I took it through the paces, but the stages
were not dissimilar from other roasters.  The only think my RK is missing is
the ability to pull a sample as it is roasting.  However, with experience, I
am only surprised one in about 30 roasts as to the darkness of my beans.  I
roasted a pound last night and the only surprise in the roast was it was a
washed bean with more chaff than I expected.  I was going for a city plus
roast and that is  what I got.  My recommendation is to try as many roast
methods as possible, but learn one well.  Three homeroasters that I admire
and enjoy their roasts as much as mine all roast on different machines with
excellent results, Mike McKoffee on his Rosto; Plain Mike on his Ubber
Popper; and Alchemist John on his Electric drum.  That said, my guess is
that within three roasts on my RK, all three of these guys would be roasting
great coffee because.......they know how to roast.  Don't put so much
emphasis on the machine!  Use the computer between your ears.
Les
(I am done rambling!)
On 3/19/07, Aaron Boothe  wrote:
<Snip>

15) From:
well said Les.
ginny
---- Les  wrote: 
<Snip>

16) From: Aaron Boothe
Les,
Thank you so much for the advice.  That is exactly what I was begging to
realize.  It is good to hear it from someone who has roasted on several
commercial roaster though.  I think that my next investment will probably be
the RK.  The poppery I am using is really awesome becuase I do get to
experience the bean the whole way though, and I have complete control over
temperatures.  The only down side to it is batch size and that I would like
to roast on a drum roaster.  The RK however seems to be perfect for my next
upgrade.  Any recommendations on grills to use or on modifaction websites?
Thank you very much for your wisdom.
Aaron
PS-Do you work for a roasting company?

17) From: Gary Townsend
Aaron Boothe wrote:
  I think that my next investment will probably be the RK.  The poppery I am
using is really awesome becuase I do get to experience the bean the whole
way though, and I have complete control over temperatures.  The only down
side to it is batch size and that I would like to roast on a drum roaster.
The RK however seems to be perfect for my next upgrade.  Any recommendations
on grills to use or on modifaction websites?  Thank you very much for your
wisdom.
Aaron,
I've been roasting on average 2#'s a week in tweaked out 1250W Pumpers, or a
tricked out P1 that Doug Strait modded, and I find the control on the P1 is
perfect. I also have been itching to make the move to a complete RK drum
setup. But I realized that unless I started selling my home roast, I really
could not justify (self admit, I am very thrifty) it for just 2 #'s a week.
I have been sharing my thermos of home roast at my new job site, and people
are 'suggesting' that I 'supply' them, so now I'm feeling the need to finish
my BBQ drum setup, and keep them at bay ;-)
If you have not visited Ron's site, here you go: RK
DrumsAll your questions have already been
answered, grasshopper !
Gary
-- 
An intellectual is a man who takes more words than necessary to tell more
than he knows.
Dwight D. Eisenhower

18) From: John Moody
This is a multi-part message in MIME format.
Re: sampling an RK.
I’m real close to getting an RK Drum.
Is there any reason we could not weld a pipe, ~1 inch diameter onto one end
and draw a sample from it?
The pipe could be supported on rollers. The inner square tube would need to
be cut back to allow sampler access, and connected to the pipe with spiders,
or something like that.
For some stupid reason, I need to modify everything…
John

19) From:
I think you would still need to stop the roaster to take a sample or at min=
imum slow it down to "open" the magic door for a sample. 
John, you can modify anything. 
Get a can, run a pencil through it, spin it forever and find that better mo=
use trap.
I am sure you could put a small spout at one end of the drum that you could=
 open and have a few beans drop through but I am not sure if it would give =
you what you are actually looking for since you would still need to ramp ba=
ck up for your heat or stop on a dime is it really practical?
I wish I had some glass on my RK. I tried it once but got some questionable=
, though not sold as such, glass.
lots of luck and go for the drum if you want a larger amount. Clearly you w=
ill learn.
RKDrums.com
ginny
---- John Moody  wrote: 
<Snip>
nd
<Snip>
to
<Snip>
rs,
<Snip>
s
<Snip>

20) From: John Moody
I was thinking that the beans would drop off the mixing vanes and into =
the sampler; one that is inserted into the open pipe, while the drum is =
spinning inside the grill.  Is that not feasible?
John

21) From: Floyd Lozano
I'm not mechanically inclined soit's difficult for me to imagine what the
inside of a probat actually looks like, but if i had to, i would guess it
looks a lot like a dryer inside, with a level drum that has no end on one
side, with a tryer hole built into what would be the door.  Ths would allow
you to postion the thing near where the beans are falling as they rotate
around (not so much rotate as tumble) and you wouldn't have to stop the drum
from moving to try the beans.
On 3/20/07, John Moody  wrote:
<Snip>

22) From: RK
I hate to chime in on these threads as I build and sell the drum, so I find 
that it is not real ethical for me to do so.
But on occasion I can't help but chime in on certain threads. Let me start 
by saying this.
John it is possible to weld a 1" pipe on the non motor end of the RK Drum, 
but you would have to support that end in roller bearings for smooth 
rotation and locate the drum closer to the end of the grill rather then in 
the middle of the grill, which may present some problems, but maybe not. I 
would not go longer then 6" maybe 8" at the most for the bean theif, and it 
would slide inside pipe into the drum to gather some beans but rpm's being 
50 would lead to the possibility of the tyer hang up or catch on the inside 
of the pipe, beleive me I have thought hard about how to do this, and find 
that is more trouble then its worth. It can be done but the benefits would 
be small because it takes many quick samples near the end of the roast to 
hit it correctly and with the RK Drum you would have to learn to stop short 
of target in order to stop the drum, open the door and dump the beans.
As Les and many other RK Drum owers and Ed Needham (using his own designed 
drum) will attest, that with practice, learning to go by sound, smell and 
time, makes it easy to get a  really good roast using these senses.
RK

23) From: Les
Aaron,
The answer to your PS is a qualified "No."  I do have a wholesale account
for Thor Tampers with Sweet Marias.  I don't want to ruin my hobby by going
commercial at this point in my life.  Through my tampers I have had the
change to hang out at some very interesting places, including some roasters
who have let me play with their machines.
Les
On 3/20/07, Aaron Boothe  wrote:
<Snip>

24) From: Eddie Dove
Ron,
I really appreciate it when you chime in on these threads; I see no ethical
or integrity dilemmas.  Who better to comment than the gentleman that
manufactures them.  Thank you for doing so!
Aaron B,
I must say that I agree with Ron, Les, Brett and others that learning to
roast (smell, sound, temperature, time, etc.) is of the utmost importance
and I am learning just as fast as I can.  I do not count myself amongst the
veteran roastmasters as detailed by Les and Ron.  I do however mull and
assimilate the gold nuggets of information they freely share (and when I
call them out specifically, thanks miKe) and challenge myself to learn and
get better.  I sincerely believe that this is the reason that I (and others
like Kevin and Jeremy, whose coffees I have cupped from their Gene Cafes)
have learned how to produce roasts from my Gene Cafe that at least reflect
the cupping notes of others.  I find now that I determine the roast profile
based on the bean and the results I wish to achieve with that bean.  If the
first batch doesn't come out just they way I wanted, maybe first crack was
soft and protracted or the time between 1st and 2nd crack was too short, I
almost instinctively make changes to the profile.  I am still learning ...
I really appreciate this list, the sponsors (Tom & Maria) and all of the
people on it.  It was Justin and Sandy, a few moons ago, that gave me the
information I needed to competently roast decaf coffee.  I have two
customers that buy only decaf and one of which is my wife's best friend
since high school!  She has rosacea and can only drink decaf; she also
bought a Presto Scandinavian from me (at cost) and went out and bought a
grinder so that I would roast coffee for her.  The other customer was a
tough convert.  Thanks again Sandy and Justin!
Like anything else, if I understand the process of getting to the goal, I
can adapt to the tool(s) I have at my disposal.
Hope this helpful ...
Eddie
-- 
Docendo Discimus
My Home Coffee Roasting Blog and Profiles for the Gene Cafehttp://themeyers.org/HomeRoast/On 3/20/07, RK  wrote:">http://southcoastcoffeeroaster.blogspot.com/Sweet Maria's List - Searchable Archiveshttp://themeyers.org/HomeRoast/On 3/20/07, RK  wrote:
<Snip>

25) From:
Ron:
I agree totally with Eddie. Your comments are great to have. You make a fabulous drum, who better to comment?
regards,
ginny
I have number 33
---- Eddie Dove  wrote: 
<Snip>

26) From: John Moody
I agree as well.  
We now know that it _can_ be done, and we were given a perfectly logical =
reason why we don't need it. That is, a bean thief in the RK Drum.
John

27) From: Les
I bought my son-in-law some of Tom's roasted beans. There is a real
education in reading his roasting notes found in that section.  I would have
never seen them if I hadn't decided to include a pound of roasted beans with
an areopress to my son-in-law for his birthday.
Les
On 3/21/07, John Moody  wrote:
<Snip>

28) From: RK
Thanks Ginny, and Eddie for the kind words and occasionaly I will post on 
the subject of the RK Drum and roasting with but there are quite a few RK 
Drum owners on the list and the question usally gets answered without my 
help. I am always available to help just email me.
RK
rnkyle

29) From:
Ron:
You have a great product. You are always there for your RK Drum owners, thank you!!
I know you feel funny about tooting (sp) your own horn but we need your input. You designed it, you built it so we gotta ask you now and then some questions. I think it is important that you feed these discussions with your comments.
You are way too gracious Ron (Eddie don't start!)
I know you are a very busy, thanks for responding.
warmest regards,
ginny
---- RK  wrote: 
<Snip>


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