HomeRoast Digest

Topic: HG/DB Roast Size and HG Stand (17 msgs / 476 lines)
1) From: mirrera
Now that I've been churning out some good beans for the last couple of months, I'm ready to make it better/stronger/faster.  I roast with a Master 751B 1740 Watt gun, putting the dog bowl on the grill, where the raised hood helps to deflect some of the wind.
I've been roasting 1/2# batches, so far, but my inability to roast often enough has sometimes led to just-in-time bean production, where the beans may rest only overnight before being used.  When this is the case, I tend to go through the 1/2# before it's really had a chance to go through the whole rest cycle.
So, since I can't roast 5 times a week, much as I'd like to, I figure a bigger batch size would work.  The bowl that I use is pretty big (32 oz, maybe), so the 1/2# is never a problem when stirring.  This past batch, I threw a whole pound of Sumatra Classic Mandheling in there, and though the roast took longer -- 1st at 12:20, 2nd at 16:45, dump at 17:30 -- I was able to complete it without any discernible baked flavor.  I'd say that this is the limit of the gun, at least with the dog bowl, ambient temps in Boston, and wind.
What kind of batch sizes do the rest of you HG/DBers out there use?  Is 1# pushing it, do you think?  I don't know that I can swing the bread machine, simply because it takes up too much space, and the wife doesn't need to have any more fits (or, more to the point, the object of those fits do not need to be my 'hobbies', and therefore, by the Transitive Property of Women's Hysterics, me).
The other question that I have is regarding holding/suspending the gun.  I'd read that someone used a hair dryer stand for their gun.  I ordered one, and as soon as I opened it, I knew it was trouble.  I don't know what kind of HG the other person had, but I knew mine would melt through this plastic-clipped little stand.  So, I tried it anyway, of course, and, sure 'nuff, it melted into uselessness.  I've seen some of the other tri-pod/spring setups that some use, but I'm kind of hoping for a table-top (or grill-top) solution.
Anybody have any other gadgets that they use to suspend the gun?  Or should I just suck it up and build up the arm muscles a bit?

2) From: John Moody
Try lighting the grill for supplemental heat.

3) From: David Brown
OK, I'm new to all of this but what exactly is the benefit of spend a  
bunch of bucks on heat guns and pop corn poppers? Is it just the  
handy man thrill of things? I bought an i-Roast and really can not  
imagine life getting any better. I roast about a 1/4 pound at a time  
and can roast a few times a day with no problem. The programmability  
of this thing is amazing allowing me to control the heat ramp. Tom's  
tip sheet for it is great! I saw a smaller unit for about $70 on the  
SM site so why spend more on a popper and parts? Trust me, I am all  
over building stuff just cause I can, but with such a great diversity  
of products and prices, is it really worth it?
I know this will most likely start a "thread" but is there that much  
difference in roasting methods?
About to get my butt kicked Dave . . .
On Jun 12, 2007, at 2:15 PM, mirrera wrote:

4) From: Bob
I'm one of those who has posted about using a stand for the HG.
I position it above the bread maker.
Mine is a hair dryer stand I purchased at BedBathBeyond last
year. Has a weighted circular base and a telescoping bendable
neck. There are some straps to hold a standard hair dryer to a
"gun mount" on the top, to which I have supplemented bungie
cords as tie downs. All I need to do is manipulate the degree of
tilt and what heat setting. Lazy I guess.
Roast amount: 1 1/2# is the norm @ 16 - 18 minutes.
Bob in Parker CO

5) From: Justin Marquez
Dave -
I roast about a half pound (roasted wt) in 15 minutes using my HG/DB.   I
usually roast 2 batches a week. My entire setup - HG, large SS bowl, wire
mesh strainer, wooden spoons, loaf pan for pouring back and forth for
cooling and a gray plastic tub to keep it all in all cost just under $40 new
2 years ago - so it isn't a "bunch of money".  A corn popper can be had for
less than $15 new - much less at the ol' thrift shop.
I am glad that the i-Roast is working out well for you.
Justin Marquez
On 6/12/07, David Brown  wrote:

6) From: Justin Marquez
How do you keep it from "tipping" (burning the ends) the beans if the HG
doesn't move? Particulary if it has enough "oomph" to get that 1.5# done in
16 minutes.
Safe Journeys and Sweet Music
Justin Marquez (CYPRESS, TX)
On 6/12/07, Bob  wrote:

7) From: Sheila Quinn
Hi Dave,
Spending more on poppers or heat guns? No, quite the contrary. I already 
had a heat gun when I started, so I really didn't have to spend anything 
at all. (Even if I had, the heat gun was only about $30, which is 
cheaper than any roaster.) I can easily do 1/2-pound batches, which is 
larger than the cheaper automatic roasters. I'm not the "handyman" type, 
but I prefer using a heat gun and have no intention of buying a "real" 
roaster. I enjoy doing it this way, with a true hands-on approach and 
such great control. The stirring is no big deal either - it doesn't 
bother me a bit.
To each his own, though. If you like your i-Roast, that's all that matters.
David Brown wrote:

8) From: Sheila Quinn
Hi Dave,
Spending more on poppers or heat guns? No, quite the contrary. I already 
had a heat gun when I started, so I really didn't have to spend anything 
at all. (Even if I had, the heat gun was only about $30, which is 
cheaper than any roaster.) I can easily do 1/2-pound batches, which is 
larger than the cheaper automatic roasters. I'm not the "handyman" type, 
but I prefer using a heat gun and have no intention of buying a "real" 
roaster. I enjoy doing it this way, with a true hands-on approach and 
such great control. The stirring is no big deal either - it doesn't 
bother me a bit.
I wouldn't even know how to modify a popper, and I have no desire to 
learn. ;)
To each his own, though. If you like your i-Roast and are happy with it, 
that's what really counts!
David Brown wrote:

9) From: john nanavati
i use a milwaukee hg and roast in two different bowls depending on batch
size (1/2 or 1lb). my larger bowl is from target - their jumbo dog bowl ($15
- looks a lot like this:http://www.petco.com/shop/product.aspx?sku17012&cm_ven=froog&cm_cat`&cm_pla17012&cm_ite17012)i really think that it might be better suited for 1.25-1.5lb batches.
i sit on the ground (concrete) and hold the heat gun by the barrel, where it
doesn't get very hot. my hg is pretty light, but if my arm gets tired of
holding it, i'll prop my elbow against my knee. (i do like the suggestion to
turn on the grill for ambient heat). since you're using a grill, you might
consider a wire hook against the lid or a wooden prop to the grill's
i prefer a longer roast cycle than others seem to and will roast to FC+ in
about 18-20 min -- regardless of the batch size, i'll hit first crack about
12:00 just like you but take a little longer to get to second.
hope this helps.
John Nanavati, DHI, CIT
Plainfield, New Jersey

10) From: mirrera
I, too, could have gotten one of the off-the-shelf roasters, but they are all pretty limited on size, and, as I stated in the original post, I'm looking for a higher bean capacity.
As for why the HG/DB -- the self-appointed List Sages here recommended that I start with that method, rather than going right to an RK drum.  I completely agree with their advice.  I have quickly learned, by sight, sound, and smell, what the beans do during a roast by using this very interactive method.  I bought an $80 heat gun because I wanted one that wasn't going to die on me, and would have plenty of power.  If I were only trying to save money on coffee, I wouldn't have a $2000 espresso machine or a $500 grinder, would I?  I'm sure most others on this list could save money by spending $4/day on a latte, if that's what it were all about.
Justin's comment on 'tipping' caught my eye, though.  I definitely had that happen to a few of the beans when I tried the 1 lb. roast.  Mostly because I wasn't paying close enough attention for too long -- constant stirring usually avoids that.
Back to my original question on batch size -- is 1# too much for HG/DB, or are others doing it regularly?  My suspicion is, if the HG/BM can comfortably do 1.5#, I should be able to do 1.

11) From: an iconoclast
On 6/12/07, mirrera  wrote:
I roast 2 lbs of greens at a time, in any kind of weather, with great
results using the following equipment:
Here is the heatgun I use:http://www.northerntool.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/product2_6970_200195724_200195724. I went with high-end, but
many people roast with a $50 heat gun from Home Depot, Sears or Lowes.
This one has easily cleanable filters when chaff clogs them up.  It
has a slider control that goes up to 1100 degrees and a slider control
3 speed fan. My husband likes it because we can use it to bend plastic
pipe, take off paint, etc.  I hang it off the BBQ hood facing down
into the dog bowl/colander combination that's sitting on top of the
(Front Avenue grill from Costco made by Charbroil) BBQ side burner.
The heat gun is held down by an extra bag of beans on the BBQ hood.
My husband fixed a clamp to the grill to keep the bowl in place.  When windy
we lift up the hood of the side burner for protection.
Here is the dog bowl I use:http://petco.com/Shop/Product.aspx?R&00&Nav=1&Naor&N=0&Ntt=dog+bowl&cp=7&sku2662&familyID`07&I bought a 64oz and 32oz, but use the 64 oz the most.
I bought these colanders:http://www.bedbathandbeyond.com/product.asp?order_num=-1&SKU508006.
I use the one that fits the dog bowl best, usually the one 10 inches
in diameter.  I roast with the colander in the dog bowl.  It's easier
to stir the beans in the colander rather than the dog bowl. I don't
even need to use hotpad.  At the end of the
roast, I just lift the colander out by it's handle and hold it over my
cooling fan until the bottom of the colander is cool.  Then I set it
right on the fan.
I use this fan:http://www.nextag.com/Honeywell/personal-fan/brand-htmlI tilt the fan so the face is horizonal and lay the colander on top
and stir.  Beans are cool in a few minutes and chaff is gone. I got mine
the summer for $8.
I found a cheap stainless steel balloon whisk I got at Winco that cost
$4.69. It measures 12.5 inches long and is very light in weight, so
keeps my hands out of the head and is comfortable to hold.
That's my equipment. It isn't much, but I have exquisite control over
the roast by adjusting the bottom heat from the side burner or top
heat from the heat gun.  I watch every change the beans make.   I love
 Take care,
Sweet Maria's list searchable archiveshttp://themeyers.org/HomeRoast/index.htm

12) From: Sheila Quinn
Probably, since you have such a good heat gun. If you're going to 
experiment, though, I'd suggest not using your absolute favorite beans. 
I tried doing a full pound of Idido Misty Valley with my cheap heat gun 
once and it took 30 minutes to finally get to a City+ roast!!! Next time 
I want to experiment, I'll use one of my least favorites. :)

13) From: Peter Z
Hi AdkMike,
You brought up a good question, and I would like the answer as well.
Here are some of my experiences:
I started off wanting an I-roast, but when I was set to order they 
changed models and I waited, and waited, and finally bought a popcorn 
popper. (nothing about hg/db yet on this list) :(
The popper became too small for me, I wanted to net a 1# batch, and I 
could only get the pumper up to a bit over 1/2 #.
So I modified a bread machine and heated it with a Turbo oven. This 
recirculates the heat, but I could not do much more than a pound. Too 
much heat loss I thought.
So I insulated the roasting chamber, and my 1475W Turbo Oven will roast 
easily enough beans to weigh just over a pound and a half when the roast 
is finished.
 The heat is still recirculating, and so is most of the smoke and chaff. :(
The profile is fine, and a roast that large takes about 15 minutes total 
to just into second crack.
I go slow for 2 - 3 minutes between first and second.
I would like to get to first crack quicker, and loose some of the smoke!
Plans in the works for this.
All in all it is a pretty good roaster (PGR) and I have done hundreds of 
roasts with it.
A roast usually lasts us about a week, and the coffee is always great.
Respectfully submitted,
Not a sage on this list, but merely a tinkerer, here in LHC
mirrera wrote:

14) From: Brian Kamnetz
On 6/12/07, mirrera  wrote:
I have the same heatgun model that you do, I think, Master Appliance 751B. I
usually roast 1/2 pound batches because that's all I use in a week, but
several times I have roasted a pound at a time with no problem, other than
having a lot of experience with half pound roasts and very little experience
with pound roasts, so I fumbled around a bit more than usual. In the past
month or two I have started using the Jim Schulman profile that someone
posted to the list, which takes about 13 mins. I hold the heat gun well away
from the beans in order to "stretch" the half-pound roast out this long. I
haven't roasted a pound since starting to follow this profile, but think I
could be pretty close to the 13 mins with a pound if I wanted to, though I
might be inclined to aim at 15 or 16 minutes.
I wish I could remember for sure, but I want to think that Pecan Jim used to
roast substantially more than a pound on occasion in his wok back in the
days when he used a wood fire as supplemental heat. But I may be

15) From: Bob
This is a multi-part message in MIME format.
Sorry, post and run off to work, how rude. - and using a Bread Maker on =
this end ~ just picked up another at the local Goodwill for $3 [score!] 
I position the tip of the gun about 2 - 3 inches away from the swirling =
mass of beans. The gooseneck of the stand allows me to vary the height =
of the gun tip if needed. And the HG is a Milwaukee 8975-6 Dual =
Temperature, so it has the power to roast 1.5# with no problem!

16) From: mirrera
Thanks to Brian, Ann, and John for their helpful comments.
That was a great post -- thanks a lot.  I think that in order to do a 1# or greater roast, we're gonna need a bigger boat - uh, bowl.  I think that mine is a 32 oz., and the 64 would give more room for stirring.  The bowl that John Nanavati uses may do the trick for me -- it's deeper than the one you linked to (Bowl Buddies Jumbo vs. 'regular' Bowl Buddies -- what an awful name, BTW).  The depth will help keep beans from jumping to their death over the side from overzealous stirring, I think.
I'll consider using some additional heat from the grill, but I think that the gun can handle a pound at a time, and, right now anyway, I don't think that I need to do more than that.
John also mentions that he holds his gun by the barrel -- either his is substantially different than mine, or his hands are made of asbestos.  My barrel ends up getting pretty hot.  Hot enough to melt plastic, anyway.  Even the grip gets hot after 15 mins, but that's mostly from the heat splashing back up at it from the beans.
So, I think that I'll try to make the move up to the 1lb batch size after a trip to PetCo.  It'll help get through the 20 pound delivery I just got from SM...mmm.

17) From: raymanowen
I've roasted as much as 800g in a Kitchen Aid mixer bowl with a Glorious
People's Orange 1000 HG. That batch size was just not a comfortable roas=
size in that configuration, getting it just to the edge of 2nd Crack. A few
snaps of Second and I was happy to dump it in The Cooler.
The mixer bowl is a deep 6qt size, so I don't think I would have had any
success at all with a 1qt dog bowl. My DB is a deep bowl, not a dog bowl.
Your bowl sounds a bit small.
Cheers, and roast on -RayO, aka Opa!
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