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Topic: RK DRUM- 4 OR 6 LB.? (26 msgs / 546 lines)
1) From: Randy Panduren
Posted this on the forum, thought I would drop it here too...
Hi,
I'm preparing to build a RK drum/gas grill roaster. I have a new grill with
sufficient specs to handle a 6 lb. RK drum. In the future I may need the 6
lb. capacity, as my roasting for friends and family continues to grow.
However, for the time being I will probably stick to 1-3 pound roasts.
The drum manufacturer informed me that the 6 lb. drum will perform well with
small batch sizes, down to 1 lb. However, it seems like the majority of
folks go with the 4 lb. drum. I'm wondering if I am better off with the 4
lb. drum for now, and upgrading to the 6 lb. drum if and when I need the
extra capacity? Or should I just go for the 6 now?
Any advice from other RK drum users would be appreciated.
Thanks
fenster88
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2) From: g paris
Randy:
kind of a no brain'r,
get the biggest you can because with ONLY 4 pounds you will curse
yourself for not getting the 6 pound'r
go for it, you do not need an excuse to go for BIG pounds.
next week you will want and really need a 12 kilo
you go guy?1
ginny
On Wed, Apr 28, 2010 at 3:57 PM, Randy Panduren  wrote:
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3) From: Randy Panduren
I like the way you think! 
Thanks for the sound advice. You are right of course, better to have too
much capacity and not use it, than to not have enough!
Randy
On Wed, Apr 28, 2010 at 9:00 PM, g paris  wrote:
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4) From: g paris
Randy:
ya gotta go big if you can because you will want the room some day and it
gives
you that extra room to play with...
smaller batch but larger drum will change the outcome so you will actually
save yourself a learning curve!!
ginny
On Wed, Apr 28, 2010 at 6:36 PM, Randy Panduren  wrote:
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5) From: Bob
Randy,
Have been roasting with the smaller RK drum for 4 years now and will give 
you some contrarian advice. I quickly learned that if you wanted to truly do 
more than brown beans, to develop profiles that are repeatable, the capacity 
of the drum is 1 lb. Any more and the need for heat(and my three burner has 
plenty) results in a very quick interval between 1st and 2-basically a 
runaway roast.
People who have never had fresh roasted coffee will still be amazed by the 
taste, but in my opinion you cannot get close to the potential of the beans 
offered to us here if you go anywhere close to the advertised capacity.
I love my RK drum--built like a tank, looks like a work of art--and it will 
roast 4, or 6, pounds. The question is, How well?
Bob in Vegas

6) From: miKe mcKoffee
It's a tool. The real question is how well you can use and control the tool.
Seriously. Knowing when and how to back off heat etc. so as to not fly
through 1st at break neck speed regardless the batch size is part and
parcel. 
miKe 
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7) From: Joseph Robertson
mike's point is so well taken. The tool is not so important as how you use
it. It's no fun to toast a big batch of Tom's small lot specialty beans.
Take your time with your practice runs.
Joe
On Wed, Apr 28, 2010 at 9:21 PM, miKe mcKoffee  wrote:
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8) From: g paris
Bob:
Great points. I have an original RK  #33 and it is great. Even when I go the
the local farmers markets it is large enough to roast for people to take
away to have continually just roasted beans and of course show of the
roasting process.
ginny
On Wed, Apr 28, 2010 at 8:53 PM, Bob  wrote:
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9) From: Joseph Robertson
Gin,
Farmers Markets and county fairs must be fun with the RK. What a nice way to
expose folks to Home Roasting. The smell alone would pull me away from the
cotton candy and caramel corn booth.
Joe
On Thu, Apr 29, 2010 at 7:35 AM, g paris  wrote:
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10) From: Allon Stern
On Apr 28, 2010, at 9:00 PM, g paris wrote:
<Snip>
So, how do you go about COOLING that much ?
-
allon
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11) From: Joseph Robertson
I know when I go to fairs and such I am attracted to smells first then
things that turn or move. Must be why big rides do well too. ;)
Joe
On Thu, Apr 29, 2010 at 7:50 AM, Joseph Robertson wrote:
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12) From: Ryan M. Ward
Man, that is so cool. I would love to do something like roasting at farmer's market. (I have to get out of the neophyte stage first though- I am still a newb). That would be a hit in our county too. Our farmer's markets are pretty big. 
-- 
Ryan M. Ward
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13) From: Joseph Robertson
Allon,
Tom may  have a been cooler in his store or web site. Do check him first.
Other wise there are many on this list who have made one using a shop vac
and something like a tray. I would buy one from Tom just because I like turn
key stuff, ahhhh, most of the time.
Joe
On Thu, Apr 29, 2010 at 7:51 AM, Allon Stern  wrote:
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14) From: Joseph Robertson
Ryan,
Go for it. The drum system is not that costly and Tom of course has some
killer beans. I can tell you with out a doubt if you wait too long you'll
never get a round to it. I will never tell you roasting coffee is a piece of
cake but it gets harder when you never start.
Joe
On Thu, Apr 29, 2010 at 8:01 AM, Ryan M. Ward
wrote:
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-- 
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15) From: Allon Stern
On Apr 29, 2010, at 11:05 AM, Joseph Robertson wrote:
<Snip>
Well duh tom has a cooler in his store.
But for the backyard roaster, I just wanted to point out that the larger the roast, the more thermal mass, and you'll have to cool it.
Try a shop vac on that and you'll melt the blades of the fan in the vacuum.
-
allon
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16) From: Joseph Robertson
I wish he sold the drums too.
Joe
On Thu, Apr 29, 2010 at 8:08 AM, Joseph Robertson wrote:
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17) From: Allon Stern
On Apr 29, 2010, at 11:09 AM, Allon Stern wrote:
<Snip>
Ah. You meant for sale?
Um, no, don't think so.
-
allon
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18) From: g paris
Ryan:
Check out
http://www.homeroasters.org/php/news.phpwe have several threads on local farmers markets and well as thoughts on how
to setup and all.
there has always been information here as well, for sure check the SM Forum.
take pictures if you hit the markets.
ginnyhttp://www.homeroasters.org/php/news.phpOn Thu, Apr 29, 2010 at 8:01 AM, Ryan M. Ward
wrote:
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19) From: Phil Palmintere
I'm imagining a rube golberg-ish device... a bottom large screen sieve where
you dump hot beans.  A top sieve 6 inches above it where you put a block of
dry ice.  All the above inside a shroud -- with a fan blowing air on the dry
ice which then blows onto the hot beans...
:-)
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20) From: Joseph Robertson
It would be a fast cool but if you want to roast much the dry ice supply
might be an issue unless you make your own.
Phil, it's really not RS. Look at the older roasters or even the new ones.
All you need to do is move a lot of air, usually from the bottom while the
beans are in motion. The motion is important. The surface area of the
exposed needs to be changed at the same time as the air moves rapidly over
them.
If Alchemist John sees this thread maybe he will chime in too. He has
designed more roasting devices and accessories than anyone I know. Keep your
thoughts coming Phil. Sure is fun coming up with mods and roasting tools.
Joe
On Thu, Apr 29, 2010 at 10:09 AM, Phil Palmintere 

21) From: Bob
MiKe is right and I will amend my post by saying that I could never find 
that point of dialing down the heat with more than a pound without either 
baking or having a runaway. I believe the larger the bean load the harder it 
is to roast well in an RK. Remember one is dealing with a BBQ without 
assisted convection, eyes on beans, and bean mass temp. Time, smell, cracks 
and temp in the BBQ are your only inputs. With enough experience at high 
load  perhaps it can be done.
My cooling is relatively simple--an 18" sieve placed 36" over a large box 
fan--beans cool enough to touch in about 30 seconds
Bob
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22) From: raymanowen
"So, how do you go about COOLING [as in - STOPPING] that much ?"
Indeed- with every facet of coffee, timing is Paramount. Otherwise, why
wouldn't the small farmers in the producing areas just fire up the John
Deere, run a harvester through the field once, pluck it all in a single pass
and call it Good Enough just like Big Coffee?
Fractions of a degree of heat, and seconds of time all contribute to or
destroy the phenomenal roast waiting in the bean.
Did I miss the contest- who can build the biggest roaster?
Is there a "Biggest, Baddest Barista Bean Burner Badge?" If so, Tom should
know, since he is so exclusive in his sourcing of beans and puts so much
effort into finding them.
Cheers, Mabuhay, Iechyd da -RayO, aka Opa!
If Some is good, More is better- *$ needs a wise consultant to teach them.
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23) From: Joseph Robertson
RayO,
Good thing I did not stop down at my favorite pub and throw down a couple of
my favorite coffee stouts before I read your post, I almost thought you were
serious about "aBiggest, Baddest Barista Bean Burner Badge" If I did not
know you better I would think you had something against barista coffee
roasters but I know you better than that. Most of us here on Toms list know
you come up with the best humor the coffee world has to offer. It just takes
us time to figure out what you have to say. At first glance I thought maybe
your were looking to find work consulting in the coffee world. I know for
sure you could add to *$'s offerings. As far as I'm concerned they don't
have a clue to roast levels and taste buds.
I don't personally have time or taste buds for *$ but I'm sure with your
background and coffee wisdom they would no doubt improve with your
consulting and advice
May your coffee hopper always remain full of your finest roast which I would
love to taste someday.
Cheers,
Joe
On Thu, Apr 29, 2010 at 3:46 PM,  wrote:
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24) From: dennis
I went through this debate myself a few years back my decision came down 
to "preventing upgradeitis" I went with the 6# even though most of my 
roasts are 2.5-4 pounds I am glad that i have the extra room when i need 
it..
the 6# is a bit more cumbersome to move in and out than the 4# is but 
that is a small price to pay to already be settled with one drum and one 
grill that you can learn from your learning curve will be much faster 
than getting a 4# now and a 6# later
My 6# will do anything from a single bean to a full 6# and i just adjust 
my times accordingly since i have a probe in my grill maintaining the 
temps for a small versus large roast i know what i like the temps to be 
during a roast and i adjust the heat accordingly (honestly the ambient 
air has a larger effect than the roast size on where i set the heat
first suggestion when going to a drum get a full 6# of junk beans and 
burn them... take them to spanish and beyond... all the way to charbucks 
roast slowely so you will better understand your cues to where your 
roast is since your sight is removed you will need to learn everything 
by smell and sound.... try to roast into 1st then back off and try to 
hold your 1st as long as you can then try to drag the space between 1st 
and 2nd then try to hold 2nd then see from there how long until totally 
destroyed
the smells and sound will stay with you and allow you to have a greater 
understanding of what is happening "under the hood"
second thing you will need to take into account a larger roast will 
"runaway" very easily so plan your cooling accordingly when you do your 
"test run" see how long it takes to cool 6# of beans to room temp 
-longer than i expected and i promptly upgraded my cooler
(Hint for ya if your grill gets too hot and you are trying to slow  down 
a quick open and close of the hood  a few times can dump 30-50 deg off 
your temp and help you slow it a bit...
you may find that the easiest way to pinpoint your roasts is to kill the 
heat a little early and let it "coast into" the finish )
as always YMMV but this works for me
Dennis
AKA
FC1(SW/AW) Dennis True USN (Ret.)
still searching for a job......
On 4/28/2010 6:57 PM, Randy Panduren wrote:
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25) From: Randy Panduren
Thanks to everyone for the various comments and suggestions. I believe I
will go for the 6 lb. drum as I originally planned. It seems like it will
best serve my needs, even if I never use the full capacity.
Bob - I bought a Brinkmann 4-burner, with 48,000 BTU in the tub. The Webers
I looked at were definitely nicer overall, but in the end I went for value
($150 on sale.)
Randy
On Fri, Apr 30, 2010 at 2:33 PM, Archeobob  wrote:
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26) From: g paris
Randy:
Please send us pictures when your setup is complete or 1/2 way or just
starting.
ginny
On Sat, May 1, 2010 at 6:35 AM, Randy Panduren  wrote:
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