HomeRoast Digest


Topic: OT a simple approach or simplistic (9 msgs / 536 lines)
1) From: Stephen Carey
Hi all.  I have been reading this list, adding my few cents worth and 
asking questions when appropriate.  One thing that is kind of 
bothering me is about the approach I am taking.  Money is a real 
factor in my house, I have major monthly medical expenses and own my 
own company.  It is tough being ill and running the business.  I tell 
you that NOT for sympathy, but to lay out the question.
So, for me to get into roasting I went with an off the shelf roaster 
- the IR2 (after lots of reading and lurking), a recommended 
thermometer - with the wire to go into the chamber.  I didn't get the 
variac (is that right? to control power to the machine?).  I haven't 
had time to build the best roasting area due to hospital visits, 
business, and money.
All of this means that my roasting method is by what I can do with 
the machine through trial and error with temperature, time, extension 
cords, that sort of thing.  When I read many of the posts and see 
what else I could be doing I feel like a wimp with my little set 
up.  But, I want to learn more, I want to learn to roast on the 
stove, on the grill, all of those things, they just have to wait.
To be very honest, I have liked what I have roasted - the last one 
the most, it was good coffee shop material (don't mean to brag, for 
it was from you  that I learned), but it was very, very good.  And I 
love the challenge of creating it again.
All said, my question is this: did I get into this too early and 
without enough money?  Meaning, should I have waited until I had 
money for all of the things that I see for sale and which others use 
to get such great finished beans?  I could have, but I sort of felt 
like if I didn't start I would never have the money, plus, my 
grandparents couldn't have had all of these things.  So, I went ahead 
and bought what I could, and read a ton.
I guess what I am asking is if I have the set-up as it is, does it 
rate up there with what I read about on this list?  Can I ever get 
beans as good?  Maybe that is a dumb question, for only I have to 
like them, so strike that one.  But, the over all feeling is that I 
am more in the wiffle ball league in this field.  Did any of you go through it?
Thanks for your help with this one and feel free to be very honest, 
trust me, with what I go through I can take it 8-)
All the best
Stephen

2) From: Eddie Dove
Stephen,
Your prose and honest heart engenders empathy with your situation and quandary.
Friend, do not let your heart be troubled because you do NOT have to
be rich to enjoy fantastic coffee; neither for the roasting equipment
or for some of the highest quality green coffee beans that you can
buy, from our hosts at Sweet Maria's.  Most times, it is the least
expensive coffees that they offer that are the favorites of me, my
family and others.
One does not need an expensive setup.  I started with a popcorn popper
that costed only a few dollars and a fan / pizza pan for cooling.  I
still use mason jars for storage that are less than $10 for a dozen.
I was more than happy with my coffee especially since the Papua New
Guinea turned out so good!
As you already indicated, your palate will will keep you informed.
Also, your palate and experience will guide you along the path.  Roast
the coffees you have at present, enjoy the nectar, share your results
with us, and ask questions if you hit a snag; we will be here to help.
 Be patient with yourself, you are well on your way.
Take some notes on the things that you like or don't like about the
coffees you have roasted and post them here; be sure to include
details about the roast.  You may find that you prefer some coffees
over others or some coffees roasted a certain way or to a certain
degree, while being able to have an appreciation for them all.
As the wise list member Martin says, " Heat + beans ... all the rest
is commentary."
I'll send up a prayer for you too.
I hope your find this helpful.
Respectfully,
Eddie
-- 
Vita non est vivere sed valere vita est
Roasting Blog and Profiles for the Gene Cafehttp://southcoastcoffeeroaster.blogspot.com/On 7/27/07, Stephen Carey  wrote:
<Snip>

3) From: Patrick R. Sklenar
Stephen Carey wrote:
<Snip>
Stephen,
    From what I've read and seen, the IR2 is a sweet machine and a 
pretty good way to roast your coffee.  But if you bought one of those 
and ask if you're being to cheap?  well .... take a look at my roasting 
setup:
       http://www.sklenar.info/coffee.htmlI paid $9.99 for a used Toastmaster Breadmaker and found a Wagner heat 
gun in the basement from a project from sseveral years ago.  I check in 
Lowes, the same heat gun was selling for $29.95 when I started in 
March.  After three months of roasting, I broke down and spent another 
$30 to buy a fan to speed the cool down.  I've spent far less than you 
on your IR2 and am thrilled with the results I'm getting.  Yes, it's a 
lot of separate pieces and it's not neat & tidy ... but the coffee ... 
wow!  The coffee is the whole point of this and it IS WORTH IT! :)
If you're ending up with coffee you enjoy, then I don't believe you've 
spent too little.
Just my humble two cents,
pat----

4) From: Sandy Andina
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Stephen,
There is no right way, wrong way, cheapo way or extravagant way to  
home roast (well, okay, there are some insanely extravagant ways).   
Would it help you to know that my family, while not wealthy, is  
"comfortable;" yet I roast with an i-Roast 2, an old i-Roast (with  
cracked chaff collector!) and a used SC/TO combo I won here in a  
"tradition" drawing?  Logic would dictate that I own at least a  
Hottop or retrofit my gas grill with an RK drum, but I don't feel  
like it. I have no special roasting room or even area--about as  
complex as my setup gets is an extension cord, a power strip and a  
couple of spaghetti strainers. Oh, and lots of tinfoil beneath it all  
to collect the chaff. (I even save and reuse the foil--no point in  
being un-ecological, right?).  Ventilation? Turn on the ceiling fan,  
throw open the door and open the windows. Even in winter. And I live  
in Chicago.  If it's nice outside, I'll roast on the deck.  No  
variac, no thermocouple, no PID.
On Jul 27, 2007, at 8:54 PM, Stephen Carey wrote:
<Snip>
Sandy Andina
www.sandyandina.com
www.myspace.com/sandyandina
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Stephen,
There is no right way, wrong way, = cheapo way or extravagant way to home roast (well, okay, there are some = insanely extravagant ways).  Would it help you to know that my family, = while not wealthy, is "comfortable;" yet I roast with an i-Roast 2, an = old i-Roast (with cracked chaff collector!) and a used SC/TO combo I won = here in a "tradition" drawing?  Logic would dictate that I own at = least a Hottop or retrofit my gas grill with an RK drum, but I don't = feel like it. I have no special roasting room or even area--about as = complex as my setup gets is an extension cord, a power strip and a = couple of spaghetti strainers. Oh, and lots of tinfoil beneath it all to = collect the chaff. (I even save and reuse the foil--no point in being = un-ecological, right?).  Ventilation? Turn on the ceiling fan, throw = open the door and open the windows. Even in winter. And I live in = Chicago.  If it's nice outside, I'll roast on the deck.  No variac, = no thermocouple, no PID. On Jul 27, 2007, at 8:54 PM, = Stephen Carey wrote:
Hi all.  = I have been reading this list, adding my few cents worth and = asking questions when appropriate. = One thing that is kind of bothering me is about the approach I = am taking.  Money is a = real factor in my house, I have major monthly medical expenses and own = my own company.  It is = tough being ill and running the business.  I tell you that NOT for = sympathy, but to lay out the question. So, for me to = get into roasting I went with an off the shelf roaster - the IR2 (after = lots of reading and lurking), a recommended thermometer - with the wire = to go into the chamber.  = I didn't get the variac (is that right? to control power to the = machine?).  I haven't had = time to build the best roasting area due to hospital visits, business, = and money. All of this means that my roasting method is by what = I can do with the machine through trial and error with temperature, = time, extension cords, that sort of thing.  When I read many of the posts = and see what else I could be doing I feel like a wimp with my little set = up.  But, I want to learn = more, I want to learn to roast on the stove, on the grill, all of those = things, they just have to wait. Sandy = Andinawww.sandyandina.comwww.myspace.com/sandyandina=

= = --Apple-Mail-102--1022031338--

5) From: miKe mcKoffee
Baby steps. Enjoy the journey, don't worry about the destination. Whether
roasting with a skillet over a campfire or a Probat L12 doesn't matter.
Pacific Northwest Gathering VIhttp://home.comcast.net/~mckona/PNWGVI.htmKona Konnaisseur miKe mcKoffee
URL to Rosto mods, FrankenFormer, some recipes etc:http://www.mckoffee.com/Ultimately the quest for Koffee Nirvana is a solitary path. To know I must
first not know. And in knowing know I know not. Each Personal enlightenment
found exploring the many divergent foot steps of Those who have gone before.
Sweet Maria's List - Searchable Archiveshttp://themeyers.org/HomeRoast/
<Snip>

6) From: Stephen Carey
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So I am learning.  Thank you for the support.  I will put my ego and 
the feeling sorry for myself attitude away and get back to roasting 
some kick#@% beans.
I still am looking forward to giving half pound bags or larger to my 
friends for the holidays or birthdays.  The bags will contain their 
favorites.  For some, they want to come over and try roasting their 
beans and have that be the gift.
That will make for a wonderful journey and it will include others, 
which makes things even more fun - at times.  Other times, my guess 
is, I will want the time to myself and have it be my time to lose 
myself into creating something new and enjoying myself in the process.
So, enough of the "poor me" attitude and onto really fun experiences 
roasting, smelling the smoke, hearing the cracks, being psyched about 
a roast or playing detective to see why it came out different than I 
thought it might.
There is a world out there and it is up to me to choose to go roast 
it (so to speak) or sit home and whine.  I think I will take the 
former.  Trust me, I will be here with my questions about went wrong 
and my excitement about how a roast came out as planned.
Sorry for the morose topic to begin with, onto better things.
All the best,
Stephen
At 01:10 AM 7/28/2007, you wrote:
<Snip>
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So I am learning.  Thank you for the support.  I
will put my ego and the feeling sorry for myself attitude away and get
back to roasting some kick#@% beans.
I still am looking forward to giving half pound bags or larger to my
friends for the holidays or birthdays.  The bags will contain their
favorites.  For some, they want to come over and try roasting their
beans and have that be the gift.
That will make for a wonderful journey and it will include others, which
makes things even more fun - at times.  Other times, my guess is, I
will want the time to myself and have it be my time to lose myself into
creating something new and enjoying myself in the process.
So, enough of the "poor me" attitude and onto really fun
experiences roasting, smelling the smoke, hearing the cracks, being
psyched about a roast or playing detective to see why it came out
different than I thought it might.
There is a world out there and it is up to me to choose to go roast it
(so to speak) or sit home and whine.  I think I will take the
former.  Trust me, I will be here with my questions about went wrong
and my excitement about how a roast came out as planned.
Sorry for the morose topic to begin with, onto better things.
All the best,
Stephen
At 01:10 AM 7/28/2007, you wrote:
Baby steps. Enjoy the journey,
don't worry about the destination. Whether
roasting with a skillet over a campfire or a Probat L12 doesn't
matter.
Pacific Northwest Gathering VI
http://home.comcast.net/~mckona/PNWGVI.htmKona Konnaisseur miKe mcKoffee
URL to Rosto mods, FrankenFormer, some recipes etc:
http://www.mckoffee.com/Ultimately the quest for Koffee Nirvana is a solitary path. To know I
must
first not know. And in knowing know I know not. Each Personal
enlightenment
found exploring the many divergent foot steps of Those who have gone
before.
Sweet Maria's List - Searchable Archives
http://themeyers.org/HomeRoast/
>

7) From: Rick Copple
I'll just add, I've never spent one dime on a roaster. I've purchased a 
Zass so I can get decent grinding, and I've purchased a coffee maker 
here and there, nothing more than $60. I think my old Cory stainless 
steel electric vac pot I got off Ebay was under $30 if I recall. And it 
makes great coffee!
But my roaster was an old air popper I happened to have laying dormant 
in the garage, and when I wanted to go to bigger batches, I ended up 
using a wok that I had mostly unused in the pantry. That's been my 
standard roaster for the past three years, occasionally using the popper 
when I need a quick, small batch.
The bean doesn't care what you roast it in, as long as the right levels 
of temperature are applied for the right amount of time, it will 
essentially taste the same. (There could be some variances between a pan 
roast and an air roast due to pan roasting creating a wider range of 
roasting levels in the beans.) So learn and enjoy. If it taste great, it 
is. :)
-- 
Rick Copplehttp://www.copple.us/blog/

8) From:
Hi Stephen,
sounds like you are enjoying your coffee...
you don't need to have the most expensive stuff to make great roasted coffee; our grandparents used frying pans on their porches and made fantastic roasted beans.
get into conversations about the equipment you have and enjoy it. sure you will lust after stuff, we all do...
take care,
ginny
---- Stephen Carey  wrote: 
<Snip>

9) From: Patrick R. Sklenar
Stephen Carey wrote:
<Snip>
According to my log, I have roasted 27 pounds of coffee since I started 
at the end of March.  Of those, fully 8 or 9 pounds (in 1/2 pound 
increments) have been gifts given to others.  I have no artistic 
abilities ...  Home Roasted coffee is about the only personally created 
gift I can give my friends & family. :)
<Snip>
That's pretty much how I feel about it.  I do admit, there are times I 
think I'm almost into a zen state listening to the beans go around in 
the pan, hearing the whir of the heat gun & the crack of the beans and 
enjoying the sweet, pungent smell of the smoke. :)
<Snip>
In *MY* opinion, you have the PERFECT attitude towards this.    The 
whole point is to have fun and to *enjoy* the results!  If you enjoy the 
results, all the rest is merely "icing on the cake".
<Snip>
And, in my opinion, the folks on this list are the absolute best for  
helping out!  I have learned SOOOOOOO much from so many of them!!! 
(Thanks folks!  Really!!!)
<Snip>
Please don't apologize.  We (humans) don't learn if we don't ask 
questions and explore options. :)
pat----


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