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Topic: turbo-crazy, first attempts (long) (2 msgs / 189 lines)
1) From: Roy Gordon
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.)
-- Roy
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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 
brilliantstore.com.
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.
-- Roy
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2) From: Ryuji Suzuki -- JF7WEX
From: Roy Gordon 
Subject: +turbo-crazy, first attempts (long)
Date: Tue, 30 Jul 2002 12:30:03 -0700
<Snip>
I couldn't read html either...
<Snip>
If Turbo Oven is like a plain knife, any home roasting machine would
be a motorized automatic apple peeler or pencil sharpener... (I
personally don't sharpen pencils with anything but a sharp knife.)
<Snip>
Try smaller (100 to 200g) batch size to begin and tune your
roasting. Scaling up is easier if smaller roasting batch size is
already calibrated to your taste -- just watch how well the beans get
agitated. Heating capacity is never a problem as long as beans can fit
in and get agitated properly.
<Snip>
I don't even unplug the thing - as soon as you remove Turbo Oven just
dump the beans on a metal net on downdraft flow of air. You can worry
about shutting down the Stir Crazy then.
<Snip>
The dark color is partly due to full power operation of Stir
Crazy. You can cut the heater wiring in that unit fairly easily (or
put a switch or a dimmer on that line).
Another problem is that you crank up the temperature from ambient to
500F in one shot. I wouldn't do that. This leads to mixing of first
and second crack. If you want city roast range, stay at 400F until
first crack slows down. If I want anything darker, I would increase
the temperature after that point.
<Snip>
I usually stay at 300 to 350F range for a few minutes before reaching
first crack to prolong roasting time.
<Snip>
Turbo Oven doesn't have a microcontroller with preprogrammed roast
profile. Your brain has to do all those. To some this is a big
advantage but for others this may not even be a usable system.
<Snip>
Up to certain point, this doesn't affect roast as much as in other machines.
<Snip>
Mine is always on. Reduced or no heater operation, though.
So,
<Snip>
you can concentrate on these temperature profile issues.
<Snip>
You need to place the Turbo Oven maximally ajar at one end to let most
silver skins eject from the roaster. If you don't do this, you'll get
more smoke because more SS's will get burnt. I use window fan to cut
the smoke and smell in the room.
<Snip>
A notebook will do. (If you don't need an extra reason to buy Palm Pilot)
Ryuji
--
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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