HomeRoast Digest

Topic: Newbie with possibly "scandelous" question (9 msgs / 352 lines)
1) From: David J. Doyle
This is a multi-part message in MIME format.
I'll probably regret asking this... but my wife put me up to it!  I
I am brand spankin' new at home roasting, so new in fact that I haven't
even gotten a roaster or grinder as of yet.  I'm the kinda guy that
likes to research something to death before jumping in with both feet.
My question is this:
I realize that different coffee beans taste differently when roasted and
to what stage you roast them, but my wife doesn't enjoy the liquid gold
as much as I and prefers "flavored" coffees... how is this done and can
the home roaster do this? 
I'm considering buying the Alp, I see at SweetMarias that the unit is
backordered, does anyone know if it is because the unit is being
Lastly, not too sure where I originally found this but, there was a
review at "Espresso! My Espresso!" HYPERLINK
"http://www.quiknet.com/~frcn/Coffee/Coffee.html"http://www.quiknet.com/~frcn/Coffee/Coffee.html that covered a new roaster called the HotTop at">http://www.quiknet.com/">http://www.quiknet.com/~frcn/Coffee/Coffee.html"http://www.quiknet.com/~frcn/Coffee/Coffee.html that covered a new roaster called the HotTop at
"http://hottop.com.tw/food_dehydrator1.html"http://hottop.com.tw/food_dehydrator1.html does anyone have this review archeived?">http://hottop.com.tw/food_de">http://hottop.com.tw/food_dehydrator1.html"http://hottop.com.tw/food_dehydrator1.html does anyone have this review archeived?
Thanks for bearing with this newbie.
David J. Doyle

2) From: Jim Friedlander
  Here's the review of the HotTop.  I found it by going tohttp://groups.google.com/and entering "HotTop coffee roast" as the
search criteria.  The first article was the one...
Hello fellow alties!
A large & *heavy* box from Taiwan containing a preproduction sample of
the Hottop roaster (produced by Chang Yue Industrial Corp.) arrived on
So I've had the roaster in the house for a couple of days.
Unfortunately,  due to other stuff requiring my attention (hey, being a
student isn't an *easy* life!), I've only been able to do four batches.
Still, here's some first impressions for you guys. For those not
familiar with this machine, have a look here:http://home.planet.nl/~rjeroenv/roasting/bean_roaster.jpgNow, the machine is every bit as cool in the flesh, as it is in the pix">http://www.hottop.com.tw/food_dehydrator1.htmlor here for a slightly bigger pic & a diff angle:http://home.planet.nl/~rjeroenv/roasting/bean_roaster.jpgNow, the machine is every bit as cool in the flesh, as it is in the pix
- prolly better. 
It's also *big*, I'm not sure how they got the measures indicated on
their webbie, it's more like 50cm  25cm  30cm. & I wasn't joking =
I said it was heavy. The chrome plated roasting chamber & probably most
of the machine's internal frame are made from heavy steel. This is a
well manufactured & very sturdy machine. 
However, because of the copious amount of steel, the machine does need a
five minute preheating cycle to reach a stable temperature.
As you may have guessed from it's looks, this is a drum roaster &
basically a scaled down version of a commercial machine. In fact, it is
a very pure drum roaster, with hardly any airflow. There is a fan on the
back of the machine, but it is mainly used to draw the smoke through a
build-in filter unit, though this doesn't exactly make the machine
One of the things that sets the Hottop apart from the Alpenrost, is that
it has a window on the front, so you can actually look inside the drum &
see what colour the beans are. I like that a lot & it turns out to be
very important too.
The front part of the drum chamber, can easily be removed by loosening
only one knob. This enables one to clean the window & also gives access
to the drum. The latter can be taken out for a thorough cleaning, by
removing a set of four screws.
Another feature that is unlike any other small roaster currently
available, is that the machine doesn't use forced air cooling. When the
roasting cycle is completed, it dumps the roasted beans out of the drum
on the cooling tray, equipped with paddles to stir the beans. On the
upside, this moves the beans out of the hot machine & probably stops the
'cooking' fairly quickly. Downside is that the beans are only cooled by
giving off heat to the surrounding air. After about 7 minutes the beans
have cooled down to some 40C. 
I would have liked seeing a more decisive quenching, for instance using
a fan underneath the cooling tray, drawing cool air through the beans.
A last oddity is the machines control system. Instead of the commonly
used "fixed temp, variable time", such as the HWP & Alp have, the
manufacturer has opted to provide seven different "fixed temperature &
time" profiles. IOW, you can choose from settings ranging from "slow
roast at low temp" to "quick roast at high temp". 
If the roast colour isn't to your liking at the end of the cycle
(indicated by beeping), the duration of the roast can be increased by
pressing a "Plus" button. This lengthens the roast in ten second
increments & can be used up to four times. OTOH, if you think the roast
is done before the cycle has ended, you can manually stop the roast,
using the "Eject" button, which, as said, dumps the beans out of the
Since the machine is apparently capable of using different temperature
settings, I would have preferred it, if the manufacturer had provided
separate controls for the heater & timer. IMVHO that would have been a
much simpler design, but would make the machine far more flexible.
Some observations from the few roasts I've tried so far...
The very first batch I tried was 250g of Colombian, using setting #5. It
took about 13 minutes to reach first crack, but then rapidly proceeded
to second crack in about 1 minute. Given the long pre-1st time, I
wasn't really paying attention & barely managed to safe the beans from
being charbucked by manually cutting the roast. Result: a dark, oily
roast, but not with the sharp pungency, that I had expected it to be
from earlier experiences with the HWP. It was in fact rather sweet &
Since my tiny appartment was already covered in smoke (yes, the alarm
did go off, it works!), I decided to roast a second batch on setting #3,
250g Brazil ended just into second, after increasing the roast time with
the "Plus" button four times (which is the max.). Got a decent, fairly
even, medium-dark brown roast.
Since I didn't quite like the quick progression from first to second
(without a "moment of silence" in between), I decided to try using more
beans to stretch the roast a bit.
Number three was a 300g batch of some left over 'busta, again done on
setting #5, which I roasted just to see if the machine could cope with
such a batch size. It could & actually performed very bravely. 
I was surprised to find that first crack didn't really start much later
than on the first try, but it did gave me the desired longer 1st-to2nd
time. Needless to say, I didn't try the results.
Number four was again a 300g batch of Col, roasted on #5. First started
after 13.20 minutes, I stopped the roast at around 16 minutes, when I
heard the first sounds of second blending in. Result: a fairly even,
medium-brown roast (~13% weight loss). A bit too acidy for vac pot, but
it tasted pretty well in a cafetiere.
Lessons learned: I need to use a larger batch size than recommended to
get what I want. Also, with this machine it is apparently much more
important to keep an eye on the colour of the beans & pay less attention
to the sounds.
More experiments will follow, if & when I can find the time. 'Course I
keep you lot posted.
Summarizing, I think the control system can certainly be much improved
upon & I've had quite some discussions with the manufacturer about this
& some other issues & apparently they are looking into it. As it is now,
the machine is probably about on par with the Alp. It certainly is
usable & even with the current limitations, there is enough room for
experimenting to get the best out of the current system.
Will get back to you...
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3) From: JimSchulCh
In a message dated 1/31/02 6:10:21 PM Central Standard Time, 
djdoyle writes:
According to alt.coffee threads: 1. the alpenrost's electronics were tweaked, 
and they've just begun shipping the updated unit to dealers; 2. the hottop 
review will be reposted without the apparently overdetailed internal 
Jim Schulman

4) From: Brian Yarvin
Why not introduce your wife to flavorings added after roasting?
Although I too, find flavored coffee revolting, I add flavorings for the 
coffees I serve to many of my non fanatic friends. Simply adding 
commonly available syrups or extracts at the time of serving will be 
a big quality increase over flavors added to the beans long before 
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5) From: John - wandering Texas
	If you MUST flavor - do it after the beans are roasted.  You need a sealed
tumbler and the appropriate flavoring syrup. However - so that you don't
destroy all the beans - you might try using the flavored creams that are
available everywhere (even in Wal-Mart!!).

6) From: John Roche
The Hottop Randy reviewed was a pre-production model, it is not yet
available and no telling when it will be out.
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7) From:
This is a multi-part message in MIME format.
MessageTom asked us not to post other company's URL's here.  Just a friendly
But I'm dying to try some "socially fresh bean".  Wonder if Tom sells any...
BTW, 250g is about 9 oz., close to what the AlpenRoast does.  So it looks
like you're in the right ballpark to compare the two.  It's also nice to see
some new ideas.
As for flavorings:  My family, knowing that I'm "into coffee" now (kinda
like, when I was into Peanuts the comic strip as a kid, I ended up with
enough paraphenalia to start my own theme park) gives me coffee-related
stuff.  I got a sampler pack of liquid flavorings from a local mall-based
StarBucks-like place, and found the hazelnut flavoring the best at making
the pre-roasted, pre-ground gift coffees palatable.  Reasonable pricing for
a full-size bottle (had to check). Raspberry was interesting...  I also got
some powder stuff, called "Coffee Accents Creamers", which is 4 chocolate
flavors that also helped the sampler packs not get flushed.  Strong, sweet
flavors, didn't have to use a tablespoon per cup as suggested to do the job
(must be marketed to people who don't like coffee).  Yes, I'll drink ground
coffee when I'm too lazy to roast.  Anyway, I guess I'm suggesting to add
flavors after you roast, instead of putting coated beans through your
grinder (unless you want to clean out your grinder every time) and through
your brewer.  I don't mind not cleaning as often, when I'm using the same
bean, but with pre-flavored coffee I'd think it would "taint" the equipment,
and ruin the experience for your.  Let her ruin her own coffee... ;)

8) From: Ryuji Suzuki -- JF7WEX
From: John Roche 
Subject: Re: +Newbie with possibly "scandelous" question
Date: Thu, 31 Jan 2002 20:57:23 -0500
I just heard from then that they plan to make it available in North
America in six months. Anyone know/guess the price?
Ryuji Suzuki
"I can't believe I'm here.
People always say that I'm a long way from normal."
(Bob Dylan, Normal, Illinois, 13 February 1999)
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9) From: Ed Needham
According to Randy G (who had a preproduction unit and close contact
with the Hottop people) they were feeling out the market to see what it
would bear.  Suggestions to them (I think) were $400 -$500, but I'm sure
all that will change as they get nearer to an introduction and begin
setting up market deals.
Ed Needham

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