HomeRoast Digest

Topic: Alpenrost (43 msgs / 2585 lines)
1) From: Glen Sutherland
Is everyone happy with their Alpenrost?
ICQ 34239611
Celeron2 566 @ 850mhz
Guillemot GF2 @ 245/375

2) From: Sam Boston
I love mine.  I do wish there was a site window in the end :>)
I find that I have to clean the flap vanes after every 3-5 dark roasts (full
city-French) or they start to gum up. Mine can roast anywhere from "light
cinnamon"(2) to "advanced charcoal" (14) and it is important to pay close
attention to sounds and smoke to be ready to hit the Cool Down button.
Sam Boston
Blue Ridge Mountain - Northern Virginia
Roast :Alpenrost, HWP, HWG
Grind: Gaggia MDF, Zass Turkish Mill
Brew: SL-90, French press, Cona Vacuum

3) From: Texinga
In a message dated 7/3/2000 6:59:05 PM Eastern Daylight Time, 
gsutherland writes:
<< Is everyone happy with their Alpenrost?
Yep, it's a good product (especially if you don't want to roast every day due 
to the 1/2lb capacity).  I've been through 15 roasts on my Alp and love the 
results.  You need to be comfortable with a few things about using this 
product.  You can't see the beans during roast, so you'll depend upon 
watching smoke levels and listening for 1st/2nd crack.  The settings (1-15) 
are ok as a gauge of time, but I prefer to just push the "cool" button when 
the roast is to my liking instead of depending upon the timed settings.  The 
smoke levels from the roast can easily overwhelm a standard oven vent fan, so 
you may need to roast outdoors or fashion an external exhaust for smoke.  
It's really an easy product to use once you get a few roasts under your belt.

4) From: tone dog

5) From: R.N.Kyle
The Alp arrived today. Inspected it, and noticed that the drum did not =
sit straight. It is about 1/8 in to the left at the tapered end, causing =
it to rub on the hard plastic frame at the end by the bean cup. 
I thought I'd give it a try anyway. Weighted out 225 grams of Columbian =
Supremo. set the Alp on 8 and hit the start button. Just as it started =
into 1st crack 17 min. mark, it when into the cool down cycle. very =
light and not roasted thru. I thru them back in and set it on 12 at =
about the 13 min mark 2nd crack and smoke a lot of smoke, so I hit the =
cool button, came out French but uneven. Tasted like Starbucks.
I know since it was pre roasted it finished allot faster, then it would =
have if I had threw in a new batch of greens. 
I need a better venting system, the Kitchen was full of smoke, the =
little fan in the window did not do the job.
I will call SwisMar tomorrow and discuss the situation of the drum being =
off center and rubbing the frame.
Ron Kyle
Anderson SC
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6) From: R.N.Kyle
Thanks John, I will try it again tonight, to see if it repeats itself, I =
have a few beans to waste if necessary. thanks for the information on =
the oven pad.
Ron Kyle
Anderson SC

7) From: R.N.Kyle
thanks Rick, It's rubbing enough to leave a slight groove on the tapered =
end of the drum. I think I will try it again, with a fresh batch of =
greens, and set it on 15 and monitor the roast with a stop watch, and =
manual cool if necessary. It may have been a fluke, I hate that the drum =
is not square with the frame, the rubbing causes a sweaking sound also.
I'm sure it is supposed to fit square with the frame, and in the middle =
of the half circle black plastic frame end. this one sits off to the =
left and rubs on that side of the frame end. That also means it is at an =
angle to the drive wheel and the rollers, and in time will oblong the =
drive holes, and add side thrust to the shaft. I'm a bit fussy when it =
comes to things lining up, 25 yrs. as tool and die maker
I'm sure I can take it apart and fix it, but dang this is a brand new =
roaster, and I'd hate to do that and void the Warranty.
Ron Kyle
Anderson SC

8) From: John Cramer
I had the uneven roast all the time, until the idea hit me to put a folded oven mit under the
unit's bean cup end. Folded, it's just under an inch. This keeps the beans in the hottest
section of the unit, and have never had another uneven roast since.
BTW, it sounds as if you've ended up with one of their 'cool' units...:-(. Until the post on
adjusting the heat was made, I had to do double roasts, as well. Unfortunately, in your case,
tweaking it would void the warrantee.
"R.N.Kyle" wrote:
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9) From: Rick Farris

10) From: Rick Farris
Ahem.  Excuse me.  Finger slipped. 
Ron wrote:
Something wrong there.  08 should be 18:10 before cool.  There is an
adjustment on the bottom, under the small panel on the right end.  You'll
need a #10 Torx (Security) to get it open.
One of the things I've found is that what used to be "a few seconds into
2nd" with an air roaster needs to be modified to "60 seconds, or so, into
2nd" to achieve the same results.  I've had smoke pouring out of my Alp,
with 2nd crack sounding like a forest fire, but when it's all done, the
beans were hardly darker than cinnamon.  I think it's something about the
slow ramp up.
Also, I've found that I get a much better result if I manually cool the
roast by waiting until the cool cycle kicks in, waiting 20s for the smoke to
disperse, and then opening the door and blowing a small fan directly on the
I've been told by a very knowledgeable (about Alps) person not to do this,
but after much introspection I've decided that it's because of the fire
hazard, not because of any risk to the machine.
If it's really rubbing, that's a problem.
-- Rick
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11) From: Rick Farris
John wrote:
On the other hand, it *can* be reached from underneath without opening the
-- Rick
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12) From: TFisher511
Hey Ron,
If you live in the mountains of South Carolina, maybe all you need to do is 
turn the roaster around 180 so it is facing uphill instead of downhill :=
I added a couple of the sticky backed thick felt dots, like you buy for 
coasters and such to keep them from scratching the tabletop, to the bean cup=
end of my Alp for the same uneven roast reason. In my case it really didn't 
take a whole lot to even out the roasts.
Terry F
Wondering if I only had 10# of green and 8 # of that was Kona would that 
place me ahead of miKe w/ 80%.
rnkyle writes:

13) From: Chris Beck
I seem to remember someone else mentioning an Alp with a similar issue 
on alt.coffee I think.  Hmm, maybe some Chinese 'kwality' problems....
Mine seems OK, knocking vigorously on wood...
R.N.Kyle wrote:
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14) From: R.N.Kyle
Thanks to all that have replied to this post. A new alp will be shipped =
Ron Kyle
Anderson SC

15) From: R.N.Kyle
Terry F wrote:
Wondering if I only had 10# of green and 8 # of that was Kona would that =
place me ahead of miKe w/ 80%.
Yes Terry that would put you ahead of the Kona King, at least percentage =
wise, but we may have forgotten about Les, I think he is on the heels of =
Ron Kyle
Anderson SC

16) From: R.N.Kyle
There were some wonderful and useful suggestion, as well as some funny =
antidotes, I love this list. thanks again.
Ron Kyle
Anderson SC

17) From: Les & Becky
Hey Ron,
I don't want to get into this mess!  Mike is ahead of me in the Kona
Department.  However does anyone else have over 10 pounds of  St. Helena?
My Kona percentage is at about 25%  I had 72 pounds of Uganda at one point,
I am now down to less that 4.

18) From: John Cramer
Much welcome, Ron!!!!
"R.N.Kyle" wrote:
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19) From: R.N.Kyle
Dang Rick you scarred me with the first paragraph I thought your Alp =
blew up or something. glad you found the sweet spot for your drum =
roaster. I have one coming Monday The 3rd one they say the 3rd one is =
the charm I sure hope so.
Ron Kyle
Anderson SC

20) From: Rick Farris
I drink drip (Chemex) coffee and I haven't been pleased with the roast
results of my new Alpenrost.  Until today.  :-)
I got my Alp a few days before Christmas and spent those days roasting
coffee for Christmas presents.  When I got through with that, I roasted a
few batches of my "house" Sabor de Segovia.  I was disappointed because my
nice, flavorful, "coffee" tasting Nicaraguan tasted flat and washed out
unless I roasted it dark enough that the roast flavors were predominating.
December was an "all-day, everyday" Kona month, roasted in my HIP, and
because of my disappointing results with the coffee I thought I knew the
most about, I was hesitant to risk my Kona stash (8 oz at a time!) so I
declared January an all-day, everyday Mokha Java month - alone and combined
After stocking up on Mokha I realized that you can't roast it in an
Alpenrost -- the beans are too small.  So I used the HIP to roast the Mokha
(Ismaili, Raimi, Mattari) and the Alp for the Java-equivalents (Sulawesi,
Timor).  I discovered that I'm not all that fond of Mokha, although I did
like the Raimi.  Unfortunately, the Java-like coffees started out non-bright
and got even more non-bright in the Alp.
So, all-in-all, I was deliriously happy about the convenience and high
capacity of the Alp, but not so impressed with the cup quality.  I could not
understand all the commotion from other quarters about the Hot-top, the Alp,
and other drum roasted coffee.
I made a few inquiries here about which coffees were good drum-roasted and
got the typical "I dunno, but I'll quote you the party dogma" answer of
"whatever you like best".  I *knew* that.
Browsing through my stash, I decided that maybe if I roasted some coffees
that started out exceedingly bright that maybe I would end up with a
balanced cup.  Plus, there was a discussion this week about how Panama and
Costa Rica are neighbors, with the biggest distinction being the coffee
plant varieties they use, so I decided to concentrate on Central- and South-
American coffees this month.
I was out of roasted coffee so I roasted one batch of Huehue.  A half-hour
out of the roaster, it was flat and boring.  I made a pot this morning,
though, and it was great.  I wonder if drum roasted coffee takes longer to
After that I roasted three batches each of CRLM and Panama La Berliner,
one-each of Vienna, Full-city and half-way between Full-city and City.   I
store my coffee (this week) in mason jars, and I ended up with small
quantities of each roast level left over so I ended up with a pint of each
roast level of both coffees and a half-pint of each coffee of mixed roast
This morning I brewed up a pot of the La Berliner mixed roast.  I've got to
tell you it's one of the best pots of coffee I've ever made.  Now I see why
people like drum roasting.
Is there any of that La Berliner left over at Tom's?  :-)
-- Rick
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21) From: R.N.Kyle
Ron, are you *certain* you've been seating the drum correctly?  The only =
I certainly believe so. I too care and several takes on trying to get it =
to line up straight but had no luck, I sat with the drive wheel in the =
drive track of the drum
it actually rubbed a line mark on the drum .
I roast Sumatra's, and Sulawesi, and PNG if that qualifies. I enjoy each =
one of these, and could use any of these as a comparison roast to your =
results if you'd like? I have a decent supply of each of the above =
The new or almost new (has had one batch through and they assured me =
that it worked perfectly) arrives 2/4/03
Ron Kyle
Anderson SC
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22) From: Rick Farris
Ron wrote:
Sorry, Ron, will it be a permanent disfigurement?  ;-)
Ron, are you *certain* you've been seating the drum correctly?  The only way
I can get mine even close to rubbing is if it's off the track towards the
left.  It's hard to get on the track until you've done it a few times.
I don't think I found any sweet spots; I think I found the right greens.
I'll be interested in your findings.  Do you drink Indonesians now?
-- Rick
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23) From: R.N.Kyle
Ok Rick I will compare the Alp to the roast I've been doing in the =
Poppers. and Post the results on the list.
Ron Kyle
Anderson SC

24) From: Rick Farris
One of the tricks I've discovered (actually someone else mentioned it so I
guess I discovered it here...yeah, that's the ticket) is that because the
Alp is much slower than an air roaster, when they say "a few seconds into
second crack," on the Alp that means 30, 45, or even 60 seconds into 2nd
crack for an equivalent roast.
Now that I think about it, it makes a lot of sense.  With my HIP, once 2nd
started it was a race to get the cooling cycle started before the beans
Also, although I've been warned not to do it, I get better roasts by letting
the Alp run until I want the roast to stop and then starting the cooling
cycle, opening the door, and blowing a small fan directly on the drum.  If
you choose to try this method, though, make sure you've got a shop-vac
handy.  Chaff goes *all* over the place.
-- Rick
P.S. I love your enthusiasm, Tony, but are you really sure that you want to
"showcase my first week of home roasting ...with Alpy?"

25) From: Rick Farris
Ron wrote:
I'm just interested in your own comparison of the cup profile you'll get
with the Alp, as compared to the cup you're used to.
-- Rick
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26) From: R.N.Kyle
John posted
Chris posted this answer to a cool Alp:
From: "b. walker" 
Subject: Adventures in Alp Hacking
Newsgroups: alt.coffee
I decided to open my Alp up (cleaning) and see about upping the =
(21+ minutes for a roast, rarely ever stopped before 15 stopped).  In my =
case I didn't have a decent temp guage handy, so I used an Ohmmeter.
1: lay Alp on it's back (lid hinges down).  Remove bean carrier first 
though..don't want it rattling around.
2: Remove two screws in small access panel  on the bottom (ventilated, =
to find)
3: Pull circuit board out a bit.
4: On the upper right hand corner, top of circuit board there are two =
cloth covered wires, they have small spade connectors that are soldered 
onto terminals.  Attache ohmmeter to those (don't remember the polarity, =
the next steps if it reads 0 ohms, swap).  Set ohmmeter to lowest =
(unless it's below 25ohms).
5: There are two trim pots accessible through holes from the bottom of =
board.  The one at the top appears to adjust the time of the 'bean dump' =
process (found out after I tweaked it).  The one nearest the center of =
board adjusts the temperature.
6: Make sure there's nothing flammible touching the top/sides/etc...
7: Turn on Alp.  Check resistance, it should start rising pretty =
If it doesn't reverse polarity.
8: Mine got to 25ohms and then you could tell the heater cycled, and it 
just hung around 25ohms.
9: Turn the pot (might have to remove the gunk they used to sorta lock =
down) counterclockwise (worked for me).
I left mine at 29ohms and roasted 8oz of tanzanian peaberry in 
approximately 16 minutes to what I would call a city roast.
Might need to tweak it down just a bit, but it's much better now!
As alwasy YMMV, do this at your own risk...voids warranty....yadda =
Ron Kyle
Anderson SC
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27) From: John F. Coffey
Just a question for those of you that have or have used this machine.
Seems mine is near impossible to get dark roasts in.  I did  two 
batchs last night and at best it looks like I reached first crack.
First one was 225 gr (by scale) set to 10 on the alpenrost.
Second batch was done NOT letting the machine cool down too much and 
was 225 gr(by scale) set on 12.
I'm beginning to wonder if I have a defective unit or if something 
else is wrong.
With my FreshRoast Plus - I follow the tip sheet from Tom and get the 
roast that  he sayes I'll get in most cases.  (sometimes I have to 
push it a little long and other times cut it off a little sooner... 
depending upon what I'm roasting.)
Any thoughts from list memebers would be appreciated.
(hmmmm I don't have an offical coffee list tag line yet -- have to 
work on that one ...)
   John F. Coffey			WWW   -http://www.nas.com   Network Access Services, Inc		Email - john
   P.O. Box 1948				Fax   - (360)676-0345
   Bellingham, WA  98227-1948		Voice - (360)733-9279
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28) From: Don Parkhurst/Katherine Bartel
I have had my machine for about two and a half years now.  I have never been
able to get the Alp to reach a real dark roast, other than on one or two of
the smaller beans and then only in warm weather.  I find that everything is
just barely the way that I want it roasted or not roasted enough.  Quite a
while back someone came up with the term 'cool Alp' for machines like this.
Others on this list and some on alt.coffee have had 'hot' Alps, which seem
to quickly reach the point of over roasting.
Try a Brazilian or Colombian bean if you have some and run a roast on
setting 15.  See what stage the roast will get to.  If it doesn't reach well
into second crack, then I would phone Swissmar and ask for a replacement.
Make sure that you are roasting it in a reasonably warm room, or garage.
Although Swissmar claims that the temperature shouldn't make a difference, I
find that it makes a substantial difference.
My Alp has stopped working and is out of warranty.  So far I have been told
by the person on the other end that they don't repair Alps and that mine is
out of warranty - so nothing can be done.  I am awaiting a call back from
Bruno.  He is supposed to be the Alp expert.  Sure hope he can help.
Let the list know how long the roast on 15 takes and how far into second
crack you reach.
Good luck,
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29) From: Bob Trancho
You have a clunker.  Give them a call and send it back for a replacement.
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30) From: Robert Cantor
These are probably in reverse order, but that's what age does...
Try less than 225 g.  some alps are "hotter" than others.
Also 15 will produce a noticeably darker roast in my machine than a 12 even
though it's only 45 seconds more.
And a clean screen may also improve things if you've had it a while and used
to get good results.
Is it new or old?
Bob C.

31) From: Rick Farris
John Coffey wrote:
Is your machine dirty?  If the inside of the cover is not bright and shiny
not enough heat is reflected back at the roast, and it will not get very
If the inside doors and the place where they seal against the roasting
chamber are not clean, then the doors won't close all the way and heat will
leak out.
I wipe mine down with a damp cloth between each roast.  I do two roasts an
How many roasts do you have on your Alp?  When was the last time you cleaned
it?  Did it used to roast darkly?
The Alpenrost is notoriously unable to reproduce roasts by the numbers.  Try
setting your Alp on 15 and then listening for whatever marker you like --
end of 1st crack, beginning of 2nd crack, rolling 2nd crack and hitting the
cool button at that point.
Personally, I set the Alp to 15, set a timer for 16 minutes and then go
watch TV.  When the timer goes off I go back to the Alp, listen to the
cracks and manually start the cool cycle.
-- Rick
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32) From: Rick Farris
Don wrote:
On your machine it certainly does.  Alpenrost began shipping an upgraded
(v1.1?) machine starting the end of last year.  You can tell if yours is the
newer type by looking for a white sticker on the bottom.  Yours obviously
isn't because it's so old.
Craig Andrews has posted instructions for calibrating the heat cycle and the
timer here on the list a couple of times.  If you'd like a copy of his
instructions, contact me off-list and I'll email them to you.
-- Rick
P.S. Speaking of calibrating our Alps, it requires a "security" Torx driver.
Does anyone have a handy URL where they are available?
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33) From: Bob Trancho
I have a newer Alp and have had no problem using a standard torx to open and a hex key to adjust.  Of course, the adjustment hasn't
solved my "never reach 2nd crack" problem, but that's another issue.
Bob Trancho
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34) From: Larry Lemmon
I have been roasting for about 2 years with a Hearthware.  Last month I 
started using an Alpenrost.  I find that the color of the batch is not 
as uniform as I would like.  About 75% of the beans are the desired 
color, but about 25% of the beans are noticeably lighter.  The same 
thing happens no matter what setting I use (tried setting 10, 11, and 12 
so far).  I always measure out 8 oz of green beans for each batch.  Any 
ideas about why this is happening?

35) From: Steve McKinney
Ditto for my Alpenrost.  I never have been able to get a very consistent
roast, and it doesn't help that 1st and 2nd always seem to overlap
significantly.  I end up having to roast farther into 2nd crack than I would
normally feel comfortable with in order to get the 'laggard' beans
sufficiently roasted.
My Alpenrost has another peculiarity as well -- it consistently hits 2nd
crack at around 15 minutes, BEFORE any of the roast settings take effect.
I've been thinking about following the adjustment instructions I've seen
posted, but haven't gotten around to it yet.

36) From: Rick Farris
It was my experience with the Alpenrost that the larger the batch, the
more uneven the roast.  You might try roasting, say, 200g and see if it
turns out more even.  Keep a close eye on it, though, because it will
roast more quickly.
-- Rick

37) From: Rick W
I don't have those problems with my Alp, but it's one of the early
designs, is calibrated hotter than most and I typically let the roast go
a little past 2nd C.  My usual load is 236gms which is a little more
than the specs recommend, but works fine.  
I think the key difference is the heater setting (calibration) on my
unit.  With most beans, I'm hitting 1st C at 12 minutes (some as early
as 11 mins).  1st C continues for 2 mins on avg, then there's a 30
second quiet period and 2nd C begins.  If I had an Alp that wasn't
hitting 1st C until 15 minutes, I'd do one of two things.  Either get
SwissMar to tweak it hotter or do it myself with that procedure shared
by one of our list-mates today.
Another thing that will help your roast results is to forget about those
useless timer settings (other than putting it on 15 every time).  If you
really want to get the best out of the Alp and avoid problem roasts,
then learn to roast using your senses, a count-up timer and chuck the
automation.  Depending upon the settings to end the roast is a sure way
"not" to have the best results with the Alp.  Having roasted many
different beans in my Alp, I can assure you that there are striking
differences between 1st C times across different beans.  The Alp's
automation (timer) will never know those differences.  Add to this,
having proper ambient temperature is key to having success with your Alp
roasts.  On my unit, if I roast in temperatures below 60F, the roast
will run way long and likely not reach 2nd.  
Hope this helps, 
Rick Waits

38) From: Manoj Iyer
I have tried this and it works for me. Dont use the reccomended 225g or
8ounces, but use less, ie use 200g or 7 ounces, use the 9 setting and
listen to the crack and watch for the smoke and smell. I get a
consistant roast most of the time. Initially I was getting char-bucks
but I finally nailed it. Try using some costco cheap coffee to master
the roast.
my 2 cents

39) From: Dale Taylor
Does anyone know where to get an Alpenrost repaired? I e-mailed Swissmar last week and they still have not responded. Thanks if you can help. dale

40) From: Michael Dhabolt
I can't help you on the repair/swissmar location etc.
If you wan't to troubleshoot and repair it yourself - there are a
couple of outstanding threads on the Coffee Geek forums.  Search for
alpenroast on their forum.  One of the principle sources of knowledge
re: alpenroasts' post here periodically.  He might chime up anytime
Mike (just plain)

41) From: ddubr75
I am new to this amalgam of roasters. I have not roasted since I discarded my Alpenrost. 
Any of you out there do the same thing? I am starting over with the IRoast2 soon. I did like the batch size of the drum?but I was a little leary investing more than a couple hundred dollars to have a melt down like I did with the Alpenrost. The issues are too long to mention but the main issue was roasting blind, not seeing the level of roast, the uneven roast, and the difficulty in distinguishing a full crack.
Oh Well.
Any advice for alternatives to the IRoast2?
I rued throwing out my hot air popcorn popper.
I am looking forward to hearing the crack again. Funnily enough I am living next door to a bistro that roasts their own coffee. I guess I will not need to worry about the smell.
Dave Smith
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42) From: Barry Luterman
If you haven't bought it yet consider something else. I would suggest a
Behemor for just a little bit more. The i-roasts have poor inter-
reliability. That is each one roasts a bit differently and makes sharing of
profiles rather meaningless. It is very difficult to hear the cracks in an
I-roast. In addition it has a small final yield and has smoke issues. The
Behemor beats the i-roast on all these categories. In addition, dealer
service for the Behmor can not be beat.
On Sat, Mar 29, 2008 at 4:42 PM,  wrote:
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43) From: Bob Hazen
I think Barry is right.  Consider the Behmor.
I started with an IR1.  While it was good to learn with, I grew tired of the 
small batch size.  I bought a Behmor a few months ago and I haven't had the 
slightest urge to fire up the IR1.  The IR1 did roast a little "brighter" I 
think and when you hit cool, it did so without delay.  The Behmor isn't so 
"bright" but it sure isn't dull either.  I think it produces a more complex 
roast than the IR1.  The Behmor also exhibits momentum.  When you hit cool, 
it doesn't stop in its tracks, but coasts for while; perhaps a minute.  So 
if you hit cool when you hear 2nd, you'll be getting Vienna.  The great 
thing, though, is the Behmor is so repeatable, you can time the beginning of 
1st to the onset of 2nd and predictably hit cool in advance of 2nd.  The 
repeatability of the Behmor makes it relatively easy to fool with different 
degrees of roast.  With my IR1, the same degree of roast for a given coffee 
came at different times, even when I let it cool for hours between roasts.

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