HomeRoast Digest


Topic: iRoast questions (7 msgs / 202 lines)
1) From: James Hutchings
Thanks to your generous responses to my recent queries, several new questions have been forming in my mind, mostly as a direct result from reading the iRoast Tip Sheet.  I've tried to be to the point.  Sorry if I'm simply being way too newbie. :)
1) "Your roaster collects the chaff, but expect a little to escape."
-- How messy is this?  Does it stick to the machine, or collect on the wall, or on the counter around the machine?
2) "Empty the chaff collector between every roast and brush it out to get perfectly consistent results."
-- I expect to roast only a quarter pound per week, probably during 2-4 sessions; how religious should I be about cleaning?  Can I go a couple of weeks?
3) "Soak the entire chaff collector assembly in degreaser periodically."
-- What is degreaser?  Where is it purchased?  How often is 'periodically', or will I be able to tell simply by noticing how oily the chaff collector feels?
4) "It is best to roast by weight, not volume."
-- The most I'd be likely to roast at a time is a quarter pound, and often only half of that.  With quantities this small, should I worry that much about any potential discrepancies?
5) "Coffee is better after 4 hours of "resting", which allows the CO2 to de-gas from the coffee."
-- I assume you certainly don't need to leave the freshly-roasted coffee open to the air during this time to let the CO2 escape, right?  It would simply escape when you open the jar?  Or should you let it air out for awhile before sealing it?
6) "Note that an exhaust system does shift the roast profiles."
-- How much?  In what way?
7) I can attach an exhaust hose of, apparently, 4" diameter.  How easy is a hose like this to buy in a hardware store?  I ask because all the dryer vent hoses I've ever seen are larger than 4", so I don't know if there's something special I would be looking for ...
8) Smelling the ongoing roast is important, I've read.  If I manage to hook up a hose really well, will I miss out on this?  Should I aim to leave some gaps, damn the smoke, to ensure I'm not forced to rely on sight alone?
Many, many thanks -- for your patience as much as your answers.
James
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2) From: Mike Koenig
James,
Here's some answers based on my experience with the IR1:
1)  Not much chaff ever escaped my unit, some small particles get
through the screen,  but more would escape onto my kitchen floor when
I dumped it into the trash.  If it gets wet, it will stick to the
kitchen floor quite nicely.
2)  Definitely empty the chaff collector, and brush out the loose
stuff.  I've never been that religious about cleaning it.  A few times
a year I would clean the gunk out of the small holes in the chaff
collector lid (the plastic part).  Never had a problem.
3)  Once or twice a year I would soak the thing in dish detergent for
a few hours,  don't be too concerned with this.
4)  The main reason for roasting by weight is consistency.  The weight
of the beans in the airstream affects the roast,  and a given volume
of different coffees will have a different weight.
5)  I always put the just-roasted beans in a jar, and leave the lid
slightly loose overnight.  Various listers have different means of
handling just roasted beans.
6)  By blocking the airflow slightly, attaching a duct to the top will
affect the roast (probably make it hotter,  I've never used it).
7)  You should be able to find ducting like this at Home Depot type
stores (if you are in the US)
8)  Smell is somewhat important, but you can also see the beans during
the roast, so that helps.  My solution has always been to roast
outside (even in the winter).  Never had to mess around with ducting,
etc,  and chaff mess would just get swept into the flower bed.
Hope this helps.
--mike
On Tue, Apr 1, 2008 at 10:56 PM, James Hutchings
 wrote:
<Snip>
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3) From: Seth Grandeau
Mike,
Does it get very cold where you are?  I had heard (but not verified) that
the iRoast doesn't like being used when ambient temps are low (20s, 30s,
40s, etc).  If that's not the case, I think I may do more outdoor roasting.
<Snip>
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4) From: Mike Koenig
I'm in New Jersey, where it does get cold.  Whenever the temperature
would go below ~40 F I would put the roaster in a box (standing on
end, with the top of the box facing the front and left open), to
recirculate warm air,  and never had a stalled roast.
--mike
On Wed, Apr 2, 2008 at 5:13 PM, Seth Grandeau  wrote:
<Snip>
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5) From: Larry Williams
1.  The chaff collector works quite well.  The issue will be the exhaust 
or smoke.  You should try to ventilate the the unit through a stove top 
power vent or a window.  Cold weather will significantly effect you 
roast.  I roast inside.
2.  Empty the chaff collector every time - it takes all of 30 seconds.   
You do it for consistency.
3.  Put it in the dishwasher or wash it very carefully as not to bend 
the center deflector.  Be careful!
4.  I roast 150 grams MAX.  I never use a cup measure for volume.
5.  Let your coffee rest at least over night.  It's all based on taste - 
your taste!  I have rested some more than a week.
6.  An exhaust pipe should not change the profile unless you use a 
suction device on the pipe.  However you plumb it - keep it the same on 
every roast for consistency.
7.  I use a 4" aluminum flex hose and it works perfect.
8.  Not important.  Use temp, time and visual.  Keep notes.
Have fun
Larry Williams
James Hutchings wrote:
<Snip>
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6) From: Mike Sieweke
James,
<Snip>
The quantity of chaff that escapes is like a couple of
shakes of pepper.  Wipe up with a damp rag.
<Snip>
You need to empty the chaff collector after every roast.
This takes about 20 seconds.
<Snip>
I've had my iRoast for three years, and I've never cleaned
it.  The glass part could use a cleaning, but it doesn't bother
me.
<Snip>
Use the same amount of green coffee every time.  You will
find it much easier to get consistent roasts this way.  If you
use 4 oz, you'll get an even number of roasts per pound.  More
coffee roasts in less time (yes, that's right).
<Snip>
Don't leave roasted coffee open to the air.  A loosely
sealed bag or jar works fine.  The CO2 will push out most
oxygen.
<Snip>
The iRoast is very noisy, so I don't like to stand close
enough to smell the roast.  I use a digital thermometer with
a probe in the beans to monitor the roast.  With this system
I can duplicate a roast or make minor changes.  Note that the
iRoast only gives you the illusion of control.  The temperature
ramp and roast time can change dramatically from one roast to
another, even within the same batch of beans.  Chaff drives the
temperature up, but chaff isn't consistent.
Mike
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7) From: James Hutchings
Just wanted to thank everyone for their answers.  I've decided to buy one!
As Ben once said to Luke (no, I'm really not that nerdy; I just remember this line), "You've taken your first step into a larger world."  We'll see how I get by in this world. :)
James
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