Attempting to re-send this in plain text since someone emailed me they
couldn't read the html. (I had no idea it was in html.)
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Last week I finally got my turbo-crazy (TC) roaster together. I acquired a
Westbend Stir Crazy used from someone on the list here who saw I had an
interest in one. The Sunpentown S-2000 I purchased new. The convection
ovens I saw on ebay that went up to 500F were quickly bid up to near or
more than the cost of a new Sunpentown. Anyway, I ordered it from
So far I've done three roasts. My results have been somewhat disappointing.
On the other hand, it took me a few roasts to have ANY idea of what I was
doing with my FR+, so I assume (hope?) this will likewise be a matter of time.
One difference is that if I screw things up with the TC I now have a much
larger quantity of coffee to go through before the next roast. This isn't
as bad as it might have been since my consumption has definitely increased
since purchasing the Rancilio Nancy. So the TC's greater capacity has taken
on even more importance.
Here's what my procedure has been so far:
(1) place the beans on the Stir Crazy and spread them out
(2) place the Sunpentown heater-element on top of the Stir Crazy base so it
rests on the two handles.
(3) Set the temperature on the Sunpentown
(4) plug in the Stir Crazy (it has no on-off switch)
(5) set the timer on the Sunpentown, and away we go!
I've roasted three batches so far. Here are the details:
(A) Yirgacheffe, 200g at 500F for 5:30, but really longer (see below).
(B) El Salvador SHG Santa Adelaida, 180g at 480F for 5:30, but really
longer (see below)
(C) Mexican Chiapas Strictly Altura, 250g at 460F for 6:30+.
I like to roast these light. For example, I would roast 100g of the
Yirgacheffe in the FR+ for 4:30.
In the first two roasts, after removing the Sunpentown I appreciatively
watched the rotating metal arms in the SC base congratulating myself while
thinking "this is great, it's cooling it down for me, just like a real
roaster" I must have gone into brain lock--the kindest hypothesis--since of
course it's the SC's base that is its heating unit.
For the Chiapas after turning off and removing the Sunpentown I unplugged
the SC and fairly quickly poured the beans into a colander and then into
two plastic bowls (covered) that had been in the freezer, before finally
transferring them to the strainers where I pour them back and forth.
In all three roasts the first crack was very audible. It seemed though that
when completed it nearly merged into 2nd crack. In all three cases the
roast came out darker than I had wanted, but it did appear fairly even.
Of course, I can control this simply by reducing the time (or lowering the
temperature), but I was surprised because bob's roasts had
taken so much longer. (Bob was very helpful to me in emails in what I
needed for the setup and for some tips on roasting. Thanks again, Bob!)
So, I just went back to his initial posting (from 6/19) and see that Bob
turns off the SC after a couple of minutes and then back on again some time
later! And, he started roasting at 400F but varied the temperature several
times along the way, going as low as 200F and up to 475F. Wow.
Clearly, discovering my optimal roast parameters for various coffees may
take some doing! And, I thought this was going to be easy! Not to mention
that I know my tastes will change over time. I mean, it looks like I'm
going to have to get into into the art of roasting which is not quite what
I had in mind. I realize that for many who go this route it will probably
be a real turn on. The FR+ is really straightforward compared to the TC.
And, since I'm an American, a REAL American, I want convenience!!! You
know, throw them beans into the hopper, push a button (what, NO SENSOR to
start it automatically???), wait no more than 30 seconds, if that. ("30
SECONDS!!! A WHOLE HALF MINUTE!!! ARE YOU NUTS!!! Let's SEND IT BACK.") The
vast difference between the beans I had so naively and simply roasted in
the FR+ vis a vis what I had been buying roasted from Peet's had been more
than enough for me.
With the TC there are the following variables (as I see it):
(1) quantity of beans (much less leeway in the FR+ in this regard)
(2) Sunpentown temperature (which you can adjust as the roast proceeds)
(3) when and how long the Sunpentown is on (at a given temperature)
(4) when and how long the SC is on.
Chaff: I placed the TC unit into a low profile cardboard box, and some of
the chaff did blow out between the gap between the pieces. However, a good
deal of chaff did remain, unlike for Bob. This didn't present a real
problem as it blew away while I was pouring between the strainers.
Fortunately, I can do this outside.
Smoke: definitely more smoke than from the FR+. But again, I'm roasting a
lot more beans. The smoke detector did not go off, but I chickened out
pretty early and turned on the fan. Because the TC is plugged into an
outlet in another room on another circuit I can't get the unit directly
under the fan or even really on the stove. But, so far no problems. An
extension cord is in the future, as is an on/off switch for the SC.
Eventually, I hope to arrive at some relatively simple and straightforward
parameters. I guess my next purchase will be a Palm Pilot so I can enter
the various parameters as I roast, view them during later roasts, and
download them at night into a spreadsheet so I can study and play with them.
Time to call my shrink.
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