HomeRoast Digest

Topic: alpenrost roast times (15 msgs / 460 lines)
1) From: John Blumel
New alpenrost from SM's this week and after a couple of trial batches by 
ear did a 'reference' roast this evening on a setting of 8. Roast data:
    - 5:55pm (shortly after sunset)
    - 225g of Guat. SHB (huehuetenango, not from SM's, 2000 crop)
    - ambient conditions: 75 degrees, 
                          82% RH, 
                          light breeze out of the ESE,
                          lots of mosquitoes that seemed to vanish
                            at around 8:00pm into the roast and a
                            couple of lurking neighborhood cats
                            that disappeared around the same time
    - first crack start:  14:10
    - first crack end:    16:40
    - second crack start: 17:15
    - end of roast cycle: 18:17 (rolling 2nd crack)
The roast color was slightly uneven with somewhere around 5% lighter 
colored beans but basically looked like a Vienna roast, which agreed with 
the auditory data. All beans with an oily sheen.
How does this compare with other alpenrost user's experiences? Fast? 
Slow? On target? Consistency of roast color? Feline reactions?
John Blumel
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2) From: coffenut
I just roasted some Guat HueHue last night too.  I have the old-design Alp
and as you probably know, the differences in heater calibration can yield
differences in roast/crack times.  Anyway, last night it was 70F, so I took
to my favorite roasting perch, the deck.  I roasted a full 8oz with 1st C at
11:49.  I don't allow the HueHue to reach 2nd C, so I stopped the roast at
14:00 (went to Cool) just before 2nd C was going to start.  For me, the
HueHue is much better if I don't let it get into even the first snap of 2nd
With most beans, on my the Alp, I find that 1st C (start to finish) runs
about 1.5 to 2 mins.  The quiet period between the end of 1st C and start of
2nd C is about 30 seconds.
I'd say the roast color balance was about the same as you experienced.  Not
having an Agtron chart other than the 4 tiles in back of Ken Davids book,
the color was a little lighter than his Agtron #45 "moderately dark" tile
and the surface was dry.
No cats or bugs were present, so I couldn't get their reaction.  It was
already dark, so I enjoyed the roast aroma and occasional mini-fireworks
from the little chaff sparks that exit the Alp exhaust.
Coffenut  :^)

3) From: Steve
70 degrees at night? We are just now getting back up into the 40s, in the
day time!
Makes  you realize everyone has a different situation...
cold in Seattle
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4) From: Paul Goelz
Sounds about like mine.  I just tried the first roast in my new Alp and it
does seem to roast a bit faster than my old one.  My old one would do a
good full city at a setting of 11, so that is where I set the new one for
starters.  At 68 degrees F (indoors in the fireplace), the new one was in
full second crack by the 17 minute mark.  I let it run to about the
equivalent of a setting of 10, and the roast was a bit darker than I
wanted.  Next time I'll use a setting of 8 and that should be about right.  
Paul Goelz
Rochester Hills, MI
pgoelz at eaglequest dot com
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5) From: John Blumel
On 2/1/02 7:55 AM, coffenut wrote:
Ok, that seems to match up pretty well with my times, although, I seem to 
be getting up to temp a bit slower. I was a bit concerned over the short 
interval between the end of 1st and beginning of 2nd crack -- my HWP, on 
the same circuit, can go 1-3 minutes between cracks -- and was also 
concerned that a setting of 8 ended up going through to the middle of 2nd 
crack. I guess it will be nice to have the extra time up to 15 for when 
it's cold out -- that would be 50s here -- although, it will be 
interesting to see how things go when it's 95F+ in August.
Just in case anyone is wondering, the mosquitoes vanished at the 8 minute 
mark of the roast cycle and NOT into the alpenroast at 8:00pm. The cats 
have not been seen since.
John Blumel
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6) From: TFisher511
I also roasted last night at about the same 70 degrees here in Clearwater, 
FL. The roast finished just fine with second crack just about to begin at 
15:50. At about 15:40, the machine quit cycling which has been a sign that it 
just shut the heaters down. My Alp only has about 10-12 roasts since Gene at 
Swissmar completely refurbished my roaster.
I am glad others are having good results with their Alps, but of all the 
roasters I own and have owned, this has been the least reliable and more of a 
PITA product that any of the others. That even includes the Unimax 2000 from 
long ago. That was my first step up from a popper, and I have tried most of 
the home roasters on the market.
Terry F.
In a message dated 2/1/02 12:14:10 PM Eastern Standard Time, 
steve writes:

7) From: coffenut
This is a multi-part message in MIME format.
I'd likely feel that way too and "knock on bean", I've had 192 roasts on
mine without any failures.  Since you've only had a few roasts since it was
re-built, hopefully they'll warranty their repair work.
Coffenut  :^)

8) From: Tony & Mary Gentile
       Youre auto cool time is right on.  Good data that you have
recorded.  The alp is running real hot.  Do a roast without beans using
the alp. check system.
       2nd. crack  time is approx. 19 mins.
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9) From: coffenut
From everything I've heard (the guy who invented the Alp and Tom), if your
Alp is to the hot-side of calibration, you're better for it.  This often
means that the front-end of the auto-settings are useless, but I don't use
the settings anyway.  I always put mine on 15 and make sure I'm around at
the 11 minute mark to listen for 1st C.  When August comes, and if your
roasting outdoors, you'll be hitting 1st C a little earlier (30 secs on
average for me).
BTW, I've seen the same thing on my HWP as you do with the delta between
cracks.  Hearing 2nd C on the HWP (for me) is very difficult, so thank
goodness you have the visual ability on that product.  I find that I only
use the HWP for really small beans.  I much prefer the capacity and single
roast effort of the Alp (versus 3 roasts in the HWP).
Coffenut  :^)

10) From: John Blumel
On Mon, 4 Feb 2002 12:26:12 -0500, coffenut wrote:
That may be the case as Tom has, somewhere on the SM's site, stated
that the alp is not recommended for dark roasts as it has trouble
reaching them. What sort of temperatures are you referring to that give
you 1st crack 30 seconds earlier? (I could probably live with a 30
second faster roast at 95F compared to 75F)
I do plan to roast manually most of the time so I'm not really worried
about the actual settings so much as the speed of the roast. Has anyone
experimented with ways to slow the alpenrost down in varying
temperatures so that the roast times remain approximately the same?
Perhaps something non destructive like propping the top open a
centimeter or so? Is the temperature control user adjustable in some
way that doesn't void the warranty?
Also reassuring to hear.
The capacity increase IS nice, although, the main reason I bought the
alpenrost was for the slower roasting times. (I'm guessing my neighbors
will prefer the decreased noise levels but maybe not the greater smoke
output.) Already, I've noticed that I actually like coffees that I had
not enjoyed roasted with the HWP. For example, the Hueheutenango from
my first roast had been languishing in the closet because it was just
too acidic for my taste. Roasted into 2nd crack in the alpenrost, it
was a chocolatey joy to drink.
John Blumel
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11) From: Paul Goelz
My old Alp had no trouble hitting at least French roast.  The new one is
even better.  And although I have not actually tested it, the new ones are
supposed to be able to compensate for different ambient air temperature and
produce consistant results in a wider range of ambients.  
Paul Goelz
Rochester Hills, MI
pgoelz at eaglequest dot com
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12) From: coffenut
I don't have anything very scientific about the faster roast times in
summer, but I recall that 1st C comes a bit faster when the temps are 80F
and higher.  On the deck, I've roasted in 90F weather, but it probably
depends upon your benchmark for a normal ambient temperature (be that 70F or
maybe 75F?).  I also found the outdoor temp at which I couldn't achieve 2nd
C on my Alp and it was 54F.  I waited that day until the daytime temp
reached 64F and I was ok for reaching 2nd C again.  That's about all I've
done with the ambient temp tests.  With my Alp being one of the hotter ones,
I can roast 'em as dark as you want (even to the almost charcoal level).
I bought the Alp because of the roast method too, and have also learned to
appreciate the capacity.  IMO the Alp has a decidedly more mellow flavor
with many beans.  But, I also recognize that with certain beans (like Harar
Horse), my HWP can turn out some very nice (as good as the Alp) roasts.  The
HWP would certainly best the Alp in scaring away neighborhood cats
(especially when it does it's motor screech thing).  Heck I don't like being
near the HWP either when it's running.  A noise muffler for the HWP...now
there would be a useful device.
Coffenut  :^)

13) From: John Blumel
On Mon, 4 Feb 2002 18:18:26 -0500, coffenut wrote:
It's not really the cats that are the problem -- they're quiet and
don't make much of a nuisance of themselves. The HWP, however, does
tend to set off the neighborhood dogs.
John Blumel
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14) From: =?iso-8859-1?q?Alan?=
I'm new to the Alp (and since I joined yesterday even newer to this
group), but my new 240v ver 3 Alp defiantly seems to adjust the roast
time according to ambient temp.  I've been keeping track of pre roast
weight accurate to 0.5 grams, ambient temp and the times, the roast
time has gone up by as much as two minutes at the same setting and
weight with a 7c temp change.  I'll try it soon with all the doors and
windows open and see how the roast goes, since I'm in Dublin Ireland
that should give some definite time variations!
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15) From: coffenut
Welcome aboard Alan.  That's quite a spread in time, (2 mins) for such a
small change in temperature.  The new Alp must be doing things differently,
because a 2 minute extension on my older Alp, for only a 12 degree F temp
change would = burnt beans.  Very interesting.
Coffenut  :^)

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