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Topic: New RK Roaster...Finally! (12 msgs / 425 lines)
1) From: Mejia, Carlos
 =
Well now, I've been offline for a long time totally swamped with my work.  =
However, in my very limited spare time I was finally able to complete my RK=
 Drum roaster!  I obtained the drum from another lister who had to sell it =
due to his apartment dwelling. (thanks Neal Prentiss!).  Then I bought a 64=
rpm, gear drive motor from surpluscenter.com at the suggestion from another=
 lister (thanks JavaJerry!).  This group is so helpful and knowledgeable.  =
I am totally grateful for the education I have gained in the last 1.5 yrs t=
hat I've been a member.   I haven't posted in a while because I get about 1=
00 emails a day on my job and just don't have the time.  I sometimes go as =
long as a week or so without even reading the list. My inbox gets so overlo=
aded that I have to just delete a lot w/o reading and I'm sure that I miss =
a lot of great stuff but... that's the way it is. =
 =
So now... about the roaster!   I bought a square rod stock for the axle.  I=
 cut the length of the square stock just shy of the dimensions of the INSID=
E width of the grill.  Then I placed a coupler on each end of the rod and t=
ransitioned to a round stock.  This was so I could position the round stock=
 on a pair of bearings for smoother rotation.  The idea of using bearings f=
or a quieter and smoother rotation came from JavaJerry and it works great! =
Next, I did something that I haven't seen done.  On the handle side, I dril=
led a small hole in the round stock about 2" from the end, drilling to the =
center of the rod.  Then another hole was drilled from the end of the rod u=
p to meet the first hole. This was so that I could feed the thermocouple wi=
re through this hole allowing a small section of the round stock to contact=
 the bearings without interfering with the wire.  Then the wire was wrapped=
 around the square shaft on up to the center of the drum.  Here I attached =
it to the drum with some stiff wire such that the sensor would be exposed a=
bout  inch inside center of the drum. I attached the thermocouple meter =
to the wooden handle using a strip of velcro.  It turns out that it's very =
easy to read the display as it rotates!
 =
Was it worth it to do this?  I'm not sure yet.  I've only roasted a few 1 p=
ound batches and with such a small amount of bean mass the sensor isn't in =
the beans for very long.  As the batch size increases the sensor will becom=
e immersed in the beans for a longer time and perhaps will register the bea=
n temp more accurately.  Anyway, it was fun to design/build it and a kick t=
o read the rotating display!
 =
OK now... how's the roast?  I certainly have a learning curve to climb but =
LOVE the extra capacity (vs. iR2) and the ability to hear the cracking is g=
reat, not to mention the quality has been fantastic.  My first roast went a=
 bit too long and the beans were really smokin' when I dumped them!  A bit =
oily I would say they were at a Vienna level... not too bad but not the FC+=
 roast I was hoping for.  The next couple of roasts I played with the grill=
 settings, extending the roasting time and finished with a FC+.  My third r=
oast was a pound of Idido Misty Valley roasted for 13.5 minutes to a FC+. T=
his roast was fantastic!  But I think I'm still roasting too fast and I'm t=
hinking I could get even better results if I could slow it down a bit.
 =
I'd love to get some feedback from some of ya'll.  I'd especially like to h=
ear from any of you who may be roasting with a similar setup.  I'm using a =
Brinkman grill with three burners. Don't know the BTU rating but believe it=
's around 40k.. The three burners are perpendicular to the axis of the drum=
.  The roast that worked best for me went like this;   I turned the three b=
urners on at full blast and after about 15 minutes the thermometer on the g=
rill read 500 deg F.  I opened the grill and put the preloaded drum in plac=
e.  I then immediately turn off the middle burner leaving the left and righ=
t burners on at the highest setting.  First crack started around 10.5 minut=
es later.  I turned the two side burners down to their lowest setting and a=
fter about 3 minutes more the cracking has pretty much stopped.  I turned o=
ff the burners and dumped the beans into my handy-dandy-shop-vac-bean-coole=
r.  =
 =
Is there anyone out there using a three burner grill with an RK drum who mi=
ght share with me their profiles?  I'd love to hear from you!  =
 =
Carlos
 =
PS.. a big THANKS to Ron Kyle for designing and building such a great produ=
ct!  I love this drum and expect to roast many great brews with it!
 =
 =
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2) From: Jamie Dolan
<Snip>
Yes.  This is just what I am using, right down to the Shop Vac bean
cooler that I built just this past week. (and maybe even the same
grill as you, mine is a 3 burner 44,00 BTU I think)  Yesterday, I
roasted a yemen, I started out high until I just heard the very first
cracks, then dropped all 3 burners down pretty close to the lowest
setting, I also then had the lid cracked open a couple inches.  I
stretched the roast out to about 18 minutes.  It was my best looking
yemen roast to date.  I would call it a City + roast, but I am not
good at judging roast levels.
Jamie
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3) From: Mejia, Carlos
Hey thanks for the response Jamie.  I wonder how quickly you hit first
crack with all three burners going full bore.  Is this the profile that
you use on everything and do you have a lot of experience with it?  It
seems like this would result in a very steep and quick ramp up to first
crack.  So by opening the lid slightly and turning the gas down you say
you stretched the roast to 18min. Just curious... what was your target
for the roast and how did you judge when you met this?   Was it x amount
of time after the first crack stopped or what?
carlos

4) From: dechelbarger@hughes.net
Good luck with your RK.  I was a slow learner, and it took me 20 
something roasts to get it right.  Be cautious about full bore heat -- 
that failed for me -- and everything tasted "green."  Think of tanning 
the bean 1st and then having the ramp slowly increase in temperature.  
I found a flame deflector crucial.  I am for a 1st crack at about 10 
minutes with a 1/2 pound roast.
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5) From: Jamie Dolan
Hello;
<Snip>
Depends on the bean and how much I am roasting, between 7 and 11
minutes I would say is normal.
<Snip>
No.  I was over roasting my yemens, and the roast I described is one
that I have only used a couple times now.
<Snip>
Good or bad, I am not sure, but yes, I have always tried to get it up
to first crack pretty quickly.
<Snip>
Normally, I do something like 2 minutes after rolling first.  However,
with the yemen, I was cruising right through first, second and into
third before I knew it, and I was trashing the beans.  I stopped the
yemen once I though it was rolling in second crack.
<Snip>
Normally I have good luck with around 2 minutes after rolling first,
on all beans except the yemens.
I am still learning and will experiment more with different roast
profiles.  I have only roasted about 30 batches on the RK.
Jamie
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6) From: Mejia, Carlos
Hey thanks for the feedback.  The 10min to 1st is in the range that I
was shooting for. Can you describe the flame deflector you're talking
about?  Is this something that you added?  If so, would you describe or
better yet provide a picture.  I'm wanting to keep all three burners on
to get an even heat distribution but I have a feeling that, even at
their lowest settings the heat is higher than I want it to be.  
I'm surprised that this thread didn't scare up any more RK roasters out
there.  I'd love to hear what others are doing to obtain their favorite
roast levels with the RK drum.
carlos

7) From: Mejia, Carlos
Thanks Jamie...  Third?  I thought there were only two cracks.  Man if
you hit a third crack it must have been approaching the *$ level!

8) From: Jamie Dolan
Third = Beyond Starbucks, damn close to fire..
Stage 16 in toms descriptions (the infamous 3rd crack):
"This bean is right at the verge of fire - in fact you can actually
start a fire with a large batch once you dump the coffee out of the
roast drum into the cool tray - the sudden feed of oxygen might be the
needed ingredient for cafe del fuego. Kids, grab your marshmallows! In
a smaller roaster it is a bit harder to get ignition because there
just isn't enough fuel. In a really large 2-3 bag roaster, you should
have called the fire department before you roast to 497 - you will
have a fire. Needless to say, this roast level is full-on carbon and
you can write your name with a coffee bean."
Yea, I screwed up and have gotted right up in that range a couple times.....
-Jamie
On 6/16/08, Mejia, Carlos  wrote:
<Snip>
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9) From:
Well I'm still learning after five months.
I have an old fiesta 345 grill with an generic replacement double burner.
I warm the grill up a little but don't really make that a priority, and just ramp the heat up shooting for 1st snap between 12 and 15 and then ramp it down to stretch it out a bit.
I want pics of how the thermo probe was done! I've been wanting to do this too. My probe is just stuffed in a small hole I made in the front of the grill and the readings have very little to do with what the beans are really feeling. :)
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10) From: Mejia, Carlos
I'm sort of swamped trying to prepare for a biz trip to China in two
days.  I don't know if I'll have time to figure out how to post pictures
of my T/C on the SM gallery but will try.
So.. do most folks "pre-heat" the drum or not?  I've been going by some
info that I believe I found on RK's website that said preheat to 500 deg
before putting the loaded drum in.  I'm sure this uses the gas a lot
faster.  Can someone tell me if and why this should be done?  
Also for drum roasting is there an "optimum" roast length of time that I
should target for the different levels?  Just for example; start to
finish should be 12-13 min for a FC...etc.  
~carlos
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11) From: dechelbarger@hughes.net
In my opinion preheating is necessary.  All temperatures will be 
relative to your roaster.  For me 1/2 pound I need a preheat temp of 
490, 1lb 530 etc.  For me the temp will drop when I load the drum.  My 
goal is to be back to the preheat temp in 8 minutes through equal 
temps.
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12) From: RK
Carlos.
these are my rule of thumbs for drum roasting
Approximate times.
1 lb first crack 8 to 10 min finish 14  temp 430
2lb first crack 10 to12 min finish 16  temp 460
3lb first crack 13 to 15 min. finish 18 temp 500
4lb first crack 15 to 16 min finish 19 to 21 530
 I preheat grill to my target temps, load drum an insert drum in grill, the
temps will drop about 100 degrees and will climb back up to target in about
6 min. I leave the temp at 430 for 1lb but lower it on all other roast as
first gets going.
for the 2lb batch I will lower it to 440 after first gets going
for  the 3lb batch I will lower it to 460
and for the 4lb batch I will lower it to 470.
I usually roast to FC and up so I try to get a min of 4 min between the
start of first to the finish and a max of 6min.
Just my thought and of course each grill is different and temps are relative
to each grill.
Softer lower elevation beans need a slower ramp to first, so I do not
preheat for these beans.
Dark roasts I stretch out to 6min from the beginning of first to the finish
Vienna to light French.
It takes time to learn your grill and each bean that you roast so take notes
and experiment until you get it.
Les has some nice profiles on my website. I consider him one of the best RK
roasters along with Oaxaca Charlie.
check the profiles submitted by Leshttp://rkdrums.com/drumprofiles.htmRK
PS My apologies to the list for my limited participation but I have been so
busy this last year that I have not had much time to read and reply. I will
try to do better.


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