HomeRoast Digest

Topic: alp questions (5 msgs / 162 lines)
1) From: Brian Ray
hi all - i am thinking about purchasing an alp and have a few questions for 
the group.  i've been roasting for about 1.5 yrs.  i started with an fr and 
currently use and hwp which is having some problems thus prompting my 
considering an alp.
1. is the alp quieter than the hwp?  tom's comparison says it is but i 
perused the archives and others have said it's louder.
2. is there a corrected model currently being sold?  the archives indicated 
that swissmar was making some corrections due to persistent problems but i 
couldn't ascertain if a corrected version had been produced or not.  one 
post said that among the corrections would be a reduced sensitivity to 
ambient temps is that the case?
3. i'm likely going to have to roast outside b/c we live in an apt and the 
hwp sets off the smoke alarm even with the oven hood running.  i live in 
columbus where temp ranges from the miserable mid-90s we are suffering thru 
now to below freezing with everything in between.  i realize ambient temp is 
an issue but does it mostly mean adjusting roast times (i.e. lack of 
repeatability) or does it actually compromise the quality of the roast to 
make adjustments?  i haven't noticed tremendous difference with the hwp but 
from what i've read it seems the alp is even more sensitive.
4. i don't plan on modifying with a thermometer. is that a necessary tool or 
have folks had success relying on sound and smell?
5. folks with both hwp and alp what is your sense of the difference?
enjoying donuts and loxicha with the nytimes on a lazy sunday in columbus 
(and obsessing about the alp ;-)
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2) From: Kathleen Tinkel
I have an Alp and a FreshRoast (no experience with HWP, however), so 
maybe I can help a little.
Don't know about that, but while the Alp is fairly noisy, the noises 
the machines makes (separate from the beans rattling around in the 
drum) are sufficiently different from roasting sounds that it 
shouldn't take you more than a couple of roasts to be able to 
identify first and second crack by ear.
Yes. I've bought one Alp but actually had three of them: the 
notorious 'hot' Alp of a couple of years ago, which Swissmar replaced 
with a good Alp. That had some problems when it was 9 months old, so 
they recently replaced that one with the new Alp, which produces a 
slightly different roasting profile and has increased resistance to 
variations in ambient temp.
I'm still adapting to my new Alp, but understand the changes were 
intended to make it more adaptable to varying conditions, so it 
shouldn't ruin the roast.
IMO, you always have to roast by ear, nose, and even eye (sneaking a 
peak with a good flashlight after the first crack doesn't seem to 
cause a problem in the roast, and I often do it).
That I'll leave to those who have a Hearthware.
In my experience, the Alp differs from hot-air roasters mostly in its 
longer roasting times, which seems to produce a sweeter roast, 
bringing out heavier flavors in general and tending to suppress high 
notes. I like balanced coffees (Papua New Guinea, Kenya) rather than 
spicy, so it doesn't bother me. But if you're a fan of winey coffees 
you might be disappointed in the Alp.
Another possible problem having to do with coffee preferences -- the 
drum holes are large enough that small-beaned coffees (mocha, for 
example) can get stuck in the holes and over-roast (or fall through 
and not roast at all).
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3) From: Irene and Lubos Palounek
"...is the alp quieter than the hwp?"
"Don't know about that, but while the Alp is fairly noisy, the noises the
machines makes (separate from the beans rattling around in the drum) are
sufficiently different from roasting sounds that it shouldn't take you more
than a couple of roasts to be able to identify first and second crack by
I do not know whether Alpenrost is quieter than the hwp, but I do know that
the HotTop roaster is much quieter than any other roaster I know. The HT is
MUCH quieter than our kitchen exhaust fan.  When I was roasting outside in
the HT, a hummingbird flew to a nearby feeder. The noise from his wings was
slightly, but not much, louder than the HT noise, from about the same
Cheers, Lubos
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4) From: TFisher511
I have a FR+, HWP and a HWG on my workbench (oops, make that a CSA roasting 
bench) and an Alp in the shipping box in my garage. I have a total of maybe 
20 roasts on the Alp, and it has never performed the way I thought it should. 
You can't see the beans. The machine actually seems quieter than the HWP, but 
with the cover closed the sound of the cracks is very muffled. I have to 
listen for what seemed like first crack, then time 1 1/2 to 2 minutes and 
press the cool button. Cooling takes forever, so if you wait until the roast 
is exactly where you want it to press cool, the roast goes too far and you 
dump or suffer through the equivalent of 1/2# of greens.
The gear that opens the doors for cooling in my unit broke. Swissmar repaired 
the gears and gave the roaster a thorough check out and all I had to pay was 
two way shipping. I roasted about 3 - 4 batches after the return and still 
don't care for the roaster. I cannot roast more than one batch without a 
lengthy rest in between or the thermal override shuts down the heater and 
1/2# of coffee is ruined. I even had to roast less than 8 oz. of beans just 
to make sure this did not happen.
I would recommend you wait for the HotTop release and more reports from our 
beta testers. They are providing a lot of hands on experience and doing the 
rest of us a big favor. 
The new Hearthware unit may also be a good option, but I am having serious 
doubts about the evenness of the roasts in my HIP. The roasts in the HWG are 
more uniform, but the cracks are difficult to hear.
That is probably more than you wanted to hear, and that is only my personal 
opinion. Hope it helps you make a decision that is right for you.
Terry F 
brian_ray56 writes:

5) From: Kenneth S.
Hello gang-
I'm debating getting an alp, and just had some quick questions for any owners out there. (and yes, I searched through old posts ;) ).
-what's your average post-roast yield?
-can you roast consecutive batches like a HWG? dump & re-load?
Thanks in advance-
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