HomeRoast Digest


Topic: Question on Hot Top roaster (30 msgs / 669 lines)
1) From: Ken B
Hi all,
As many of you know, I've used the iRoast2 for about 2 years now.  While 
I am very happy with the results I get from it, the roast size has 
always been problematical for me.  I get a finished roast of ~124 grams 
with it.  As a result, I have started looking at other solutions to 
roasting.
I am not yet ready to spend the $$$ (nor do I have the space) for a USRC 
sample roaster, so I am looking at the other roasters available.  I am 
leaning towards the KN-8828B Programmable Model HotTop.  I would rather 
have a 1 lb roaster than a 1/2 lb roaster, but after reading the list 
for quite some time, I've come to the conclusion that I rank control 
over quantity. I have developed roast profiles for various coffees and 
in the iRoast, and would like to be able to transfer that data to the 
new roaster if possible.  (and yes, I am aware that an air roaster and 
drum roaster will be quite different, but the profile for the coffee may 
be transferable, e.g. temperature/time)
The Behmor seems to have issues with separation of heating, to where 
everyone talks about first crack rolling into second, with little to no 
time between them.  In my iRoast, I am able to separate first and second 
crack fairly easily, and the time needed to get there, so my profiles 
are based on time between heat points in the roast.  Having a machine 
without the ability to closely control the temperature/time is not a 
frustration I am willing to pay for.
While the Gene Cafe may also roast 1/2 lb, since I seem to want total 
control over the time/temperature cycles, I am leaning towards the 
HotTop, especially since it also dumps the coffee for cooling. 
So, is there anyone on the list who uses the KN-8828B Programmable Model 
HotTop as their primary roaster?  If I might ask, what is your 
experience with it?  Are you happy with the control it gives you in the 
roast cycle?  What are it's pluses and minuses, in your opinion?  But 
bottom line is, would you buy it again knowing what you know now?  It is 
not a small purchase, but I am looking for something to last the next 5 
or so years, when I may buy a USRC roaster.
Thanks for any and all input.
Best Regards,
Ken B
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2) From: Dave Huddle
Ken,
You said -  The Behmor seems to have issues with separation of
heating, to where everyone talks about first crack rolling into
second, with little to no time between them.-
This definitely is NOT my experience with my Behmor.    I usually see
60-90 seconds between the end of 1st and the beginning of 2nd.    I've
been pleased with the Behmor, its price and the coffee it produces for
nearly a year.
Just another data point.   YMMV.
Dave
Westerville, OH
On Sun, Nov 9, 2008 at 7:42 AM, Ken B  wrote:
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3) From: Bruce Garley
I get about 90 seconds between cracks using P4 with 1/2#, on the Behmor.
Hey, someone mentioned 3rd crack a while back. What is that? Is that the
crack you hear as flames engulf the roaster?
Bruce Garley
Plant Whisperer
San Juan Capistrano, CA
 
Vivir con miedo es como vivir a medias.
 
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4) From: MikeG
Dave which setting combo are you using to achieve that?   Today I did
1/2 lb at 1lb setting using P3/C setting with Mokha Mattari and was
able to space out 1C to 2C by opening the door for a bit at the onset
of 2C.
Are you opening the door or are you more dialed in to the machine's
settings than I am?
Mike
On Sun, Nov 9, 2008 at 12:06 PM, Dave Huddle
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5) From: Kris McN
Ken,
I concur with Dave on this - I usually get good separation between 1st and
2nd in the Behmor.  A couple of us have been talking lately about having 1st
run into 2nd when roasting the Guatemala Oriente DP in the Behmor, but that
seems to be a quality of that particular bean (along with a higher temp to
reach 1st).  I haven't roasted it using another method yet, so I don't know
if that changes things.  One reason it's noteworthy is that it's so unusual.
I don't have much else to say about your deliberations as I don't have
experience with the HotTop or Gene Cafe, but I wanted to be clear on
separation issue.
Best,
Kris McN
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6) From: Mike Koenig
Ken,
I have the B model Basic HotTop, and love the amount of control.  You
can adjust on the fly to get as fast or slow of a profile as you want,
and as much time as you would like between 1st and 2nd.  The best
thing about it is you can monitor your progress, and raise or lower
the heat as you go,  much like the larger "pro" roasters.
In my opinion it isn't worth the extra $200 for the fully programmable
model,  which in theory gives you the ability to run pre-set profiles.
 Unless you spend a lot of time with one bean developing a fixed
profile, you might not use this feature.  I find myself starting with
a basic profile, and adjusting as I go.
A lot of the comments floating around the net about shortcomings of
the HotTops are related to the older models (not roasting dark enough,
etc)  and don't seem to apply to the B models.
If you can spring for it, I would say it is worth the extra money over
a Behmor (not a slight to the Behmor, it's a great roaster for the
price, but doesn't have the level of control of the HT)
--mike
On Sun, Nov 9, 2008 at 7:42 AM, Ken B  wrote:
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7) From: Ken B
Thanks Dave, Kris and all.  I do hope that what I said was not taken as 
a knock against the Behmor.  I am sure it is a fine machine based on 
reading the posts from all the people who use it.  However, it seems to 
be a bit less programmable than I think I would be happy with, so I am 
looking to satisfy my need to control the process.  I think the USRC 
would be perfect, but it takes space, and a lot of $$$. :-)  I am hoping 
that the HT will allow me the control I desire, with repeatable results, 
and will last until I feel the need for the USRC.  But based on the cost 
of the unit, I wish to hear others experiences with it as it is not a 
trivial purchase.
Again, if anyone read what I posted as a knock against the Behmor, 
please accept my apologies.  Nothing derogatory was meant.  I just meant 
that  based on reading posts here, it *may* be harder to separate first 
and second in the Behmor and control the time between them to the degree 
I wish to control it.
Best Regards,
Ken B
Kris McN wrote:
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8) From: Barry Luterman
I've been roasting a while now. I find I have settled into a bunch of
favorite coffees and tend to buy them in large batches. The P model works
great for me. I have all my favorite profiles in memory. If I try a new
coffee usually a 2 or 5 pounder I first roast it in the Behmor. If I find
that this one will require a re-order in the future I work out a profile in
the P. Usually, however, the profile already exists.
On Sun, Nov 9, 2008 at 12:26 PM, Mike Koenig  wrote:
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9) From: Barry Luterman
It sounds as though you might be a P man
On Sun, Nov 9, 2008 at 12:29 PM, Ken B  wrote:
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10) From: Ken B
Thanks Mike...it is the control that the HT offers that is most 
attractive to me. :-)  The only difference between the basic and 
programmable is the ability to run pre-sets?  Can the basic model save 
profiles, or do you always need to start from the basic profile?
Best Regards,
Ken B
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11) From: Barry Luterman
I think you can save 3 profiles on the B and 10 profiles on the P. The P
however alows you to control through 8 time segments.
On Sun, Nov 9, 2008 at 12:49 PM, Ken B  wrote:
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12) From: Lex Johnson
Hi Barry:
I also have a P model, but usually tweek my roasts using the "auto" mode as
I don't often times seem to be able to get the degree of roast that I
require for a certain coffee -would you mind sharing your favorite roast
profiles for specific coffees?
Thanks,
Lex
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13) From: Ken B
Heh, yep...I think you are right...I am a P man. ;-)  Thanks for the 
input Barry.
Best Regards,
Ken B
Barry Luterman wrote:
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14) From: Barry Luterman
This I use for dark roasts and dark roast blends like Monkey. Monkey tastes
best this way. I am drinking a shot of it as I type.
 Used for Espresso Type 20 sec into 2nd crack
Segment    Time    Temp    Fan
1                    2        245        off
2                    1:30    291        off
3                    2:30    333        off
4                    1:30    351        off
5                    1:30    369        off
6                    2:00    392        2
7                    2:00    400        2
8                    3:00    405        2
The other end of the spectrum.For light roasts that you do not want to go
into or near 2nd. The trick here is to put the beans in at 250 F not when
the roaster starts chimming (about 165) great for Keyans DPs, Horse etc
End of First not approaching 2nd
Note: Put beans in when Temp reaches 250 degrees (pre-heat roaster)
Segment    Time    Temperature    Fan
1                    3:00    243                    off
2                    1:30    291                   off
3                    3:00    333                   off
4                    1:30    351                   off
5                    1:30    369                   off
6                    1:30    392                    2
7                    1:30    392                    2
8                     3:00    401                   2
This is the one I tend to use the most. Great for Centrals, Brazils, Bali,
And Guats. This takes most coffees to the verge of 2nd  or a couple of snaps
int 2nd
Verge of 2nd couple of snaps into 2nd (My most used profile:Extend time as
needed
Segment    Time    Temp    Fan
1                   3:00    243        off
2                   1:30    291        off
3                    3:00    333       off
4                    1:30    351       off
5                    1:30    369       off
6                    1:30    392        2
7                    1:30    400        2
8                    3:00    405        2
On Sun, Nov 9, 2008 at 12:59 PM, Ken B  wrote:
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15) From: Barry Luterman
The second roast. The one where you put the beans in at 250 is especially
good for coffees which have predominantly fruit tone such as blueberry,
strawberry. citrus
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16) From: Lex Johnson
Hi Barry:
Thanks for your help!  I take some of my roasts such as for IMV, up to 423 F
and others to 419 F.  What is your experience at these temps -I usually add
greens at 300 F.
-Lex
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17) From: MikeG
Thank you for that Barry.  I have a B model arriving next week and
this is just the info I was looking for.
Mike
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18) From: Barry Luterman
IMV is not one of my favorites. Pre-heating to 300 might be little too much
I've never done it.Often at 423 I tend to get Charbucks but if you are not
adding beans till 300 then going to 423 probably works. Remember however
there is a safety feature built into the HT. If it gets too hot they will
dump automatically
 But then again for coffees like IMV it might work out. What I didn't
include in my e-mail is that I often use the standard program and adjust on
the fly according to smell. I sent only my basic profiles but they are the
ones I use 90% of the time.
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19) From: Mike Koenig
Ken,
The Basic model will store 3 profiles, which basically remembers all
the adjustments you made during the roast when you stored the profile.
 You can't really set a profile ahead of time.   I have 2 basic
profiles I store, and work from there.  The Programmable gives you
more granular control over temperature (which is environment temp,
according to the internal sensor, which isn't REALLY the environment
temp.), which may make it easier to make a "set it and forget it"
profile.
--mike
On Sun, Nov 9, 2008 at 5:49 PM, Ken B  wrote:
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20) From: Lex Johnson
Hi Barry:
What batch weight(s) do you use with these profiles?
Lex
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21) From: Jeffrey Pawlan
Barry wrote:
"The second roast. The one where you put the beans in at 250 is especially
good for coffees which have predominantly fruit tone such as blueberry,
strawberry. citrus"
I have complete control of the hottop with my CCR system and accurately read the 
real chamber temperature. Through extensive experimentation I have found that it 
is best to stabilize the air temperature at 420 deg F for up to 12 minutes 
before putting the beans in. This makes the beans rise in temperature more 
quickly to above the boiling point so that water is driven out without baking 
the beans.
Most professional roasters put the beans in their large drum roasters when the 
air temperature is between 420 and 470 deg F.
Regards,
Jeffrey Pawlan
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22) From: Mike Chester

23) From: Mike Chester
The B allows an unlimited number of adjustments during a roast and 3 can be 
saved.  The programming is backward from the P model though.  With the P , 
you set segment time, fan power, and goal temp and the control attempts to 
do as commanded.  With the B, you set heater power and the fan power and see 
where the temp goes in a certain amount of time.  If it is progressing too 
fast or slow, you can make adjustments on the fly within the limits of the 
roaster's power.
Mike Chester

24) From: Barry Luterman
The reason I suggested the P is he says he wants to upgrade eventually to a
professional type roaster. This would suggest he wants more control over his
results. The P breaks the roast into 8 segments. within each of these
segments you can control time, temp and fan.
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25) From: Allon Stern
On Nov 9, 2008, at 7:42 AM, Ken B wrote:
<Snip>
I have the same problem.
I've started toying with HG roasting. It's a fun way to get intimate  
with the roasting process.
I'm doing 200g batches, ending with 170g or so roasted.
Might be a stop-gap, and learn something along the way. Cost me all  
of $15 for the roaster. Done 4 roasts thus far, quite successfully.
-
allon
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26) From: Ken B
And that suggestion was spot on Barry.  The primary criteria for my 
choice is control, so I think the P is my best choice, and will be my 
Christmas present to myself. :-)  Thank you for your input.  It was very 
helpful, and gives me some starting points when I get the new roaster.
Mike...I have nothing against the B, but I am a programmer, so the more 
I can control the variables the happier I am.  I have developed roast 
profiles on the iRoast that work for me, though they have mixed results 
for others.  They are repeatable, and have good results.  However, I 
know they can be tweaked further if I had the control of the P model, so 
it is the best choice for me.
Best Regards,
Ken B
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27) From: Ken B
Heh, then I would need to throw away most of my data I have worked so 
hard to develop in the iRoast.  The beauty of the HT-P is that I think I 
will be able to use that data as a starting point to more quickly get 
good results from it.  With 8 segments vs 5, and with better control of 
the heat/time/fan, I think the HT-P will be my roaster for the next 5 
years. :-)
Hey, a few months ago you said you were able to get thermocouples for a 
very reasonable cost.  Do you have a place to order these online, or are 
they only at your swap meet?  I need a couple more, so figured I would ask.
Best Regards,
Ken B
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28) From: Mike Koenig
Ken,
While the general concepts you have picked up from your iRoast will
help, just be aware that the thermodynamics of air roasting and drum
roasting are a bit different.  Air roasts transfer heat and move
moisture out a lot quicker than drum roasts, so you can expect a bit
of a learning curve (that's part of the fun!).
--mike
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29) From: Mike Chester
Ken,
I was not promoting the B.  I was just trying to explain the differences. 
Last winter, I upgraded my stock HT from a D to a B model and used it for 
about a month.  I really wanted the P, but as I stated in another post, the 
cost is the same to upgrade from the B to the P as to buy it originally, so 
I figured it would not cost me anything to try it first.  I had pretty much 
decided that I was going to go to the P model when I got the opportunity to 
purchase a used CCR Hottop.  The capability, accuracy, and repeatability of 
the CCR is way beyond that of the stock P model, so I bought it.  I have 
since created a multitude of profiles for specific beans, many with only 
minor tweaks from other profiles, plus I have data logs of all of my roasts 
listing both ET and BT each second of the roast.  I can feed this data into 
Excel and create graphs if desired.  Having watched the readouts available 
on the computer screen during the roasts has taught me a lot about what is 
going on inside the roaster.  I can't remember the last time I looked 
through the window to see the beans roasting as there is much more 
information on the screen.  There were only ten of the CCRs built by Jeffery 
Pawlan and he is currently working on a similar control system for gas 
burning roasters as pros prefer gas and larger capacities than the HT.
Since the CCRs were a very limited run and there are no more available, 
there is not a lot of point in discussing them in detail on this list. 
Having used the stock HTs for a couple of years and the CCR for most of this 
year does, I believe, qualify me do comment on their quality.  The CCR uses 
the same mechanical components as the  stock models except for a 
modification of the drum to accommodate the thermocouples.  They are built 
like tanks and are extremely reliable.  miKe has mentioned many times using 
the CCR-HTs for his shop before the USRC arrived.  He probably put 5 years 
worth of home use on them in a couple of months and I now have the one he 
ran the most.  It still performs like new.  He included a new heating 
element with it as the original was warped. Replacing it was the only thing 
I have done other than routine cleaning of the filters, and I could have 
left the warped heater in place as it still worked fine.  The HTs are more 
expensive than other home roasters, but they are as close as you can get to 
a commercial roaster without spending thousands of dollars.
Mike Chester
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30) From: Barry Luterman
Mine was a stock model that I upgraded to a P. When they came out. So the
basic machine is over 5 years old. the only trouble I had with it was a
blown chip in the control boar. Michael sent me a new board free of charge
no questions asked. I installed the new board in less than 10 minutes and it
works fine. As I have previously stated; They are built like a
Ceramic Deficatory.
On Tue, Nov 11, 2008 at 8:05 AM, Mike Chester  wrote:
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