HomeRoast Digest

Topic: Alpenrost problems (9 msgs / 197 lines)
1) From: mgeis
I have gone from getting perfect roasts with what seemed to be an overhot
machine to not being able to get a dark roast even at setting #15.  Any
thoughts on what could be going on.
I have changed from S. Mandheling beans I already had to new ones.  Is it
possible that a bean could be taken 90 seconds into second crack and not be
dark and oily?  That would explain what is going on if possible.
Mike Geis

2) From: Tom & Maria
It could be possible with a Sumatra and the Alpenrost. The Sumatra really
do enter the crack and dont appear that they have. Its takes a lot more
roast on a USmatra to produce the oils. But the roast taste should give
away the true degree of roast and not the surface color.
I am not sure if there could be another change. Ed Powers told me his ALP
eemed to be getting lighter and I was wondering what the quality of Summer
electrical was in this area. (on a side note, I went home midday a week
back, and HALF my house was without electical. It was bizarre. It was like
half the ciruits were down. I was about to call an electrician and I called
our service provider first. They said there were partial blackouts in
adjacent grids that could be affecting us. It was fine when I went home at
night. Bizarre. Plus we have lost power at the shop 3 times for no apparent
reason, no storms in the area, etc....)
I REALLY wish there was heat control access for that burner ... something
you could adjust to callibrate the heat. I have had 3 Alps that are
INCINERATING coffee in the last 2 weeks. Ironically, the roasters really
are working okay: they are reaching 2nd crack at 14 miuntes, quite
respectable. But when the lowest setting is to stoip the roast at 16.5
minutes, that could be a big shift in degree of roast with some coffees!
People dont buy these becasue they want a manual roaster. So I may
temporarily stop selling them until ALP can guarantee all units will have
ben callibrated between the burner heat output and the roast settings.
We'll see.
                  "Great coffee comes from tiny roasters"
           Sweet Maria's Home Coffee Roasting  -  Tom & Maria

3) From: Paul Goelz
Why not simply allow time settings ANYWHERE from 15 seconds on up to the
max allowed by the display (99 X 15 seconds = 24 3/4 minutes).  It would be
a simple firmware change.  It's just silly to start at some value above
I suspect that allowing the heater to come up to temperature before
actually starting the timer might also help to stabilize things.  
Paul Goelz
Rochester Hills, MI
pgoelz at eaglequest dot com
Videoastronomy and music (UnFest) web site:http://www.eaglequest.com/~pgoelz

4) From: TFisher511
In a message dated 7/27/00 1:55:46 PM Eastern Daylight Time, 
tom writes:
I use fluorescent lighting in most of our house. I notice that the lights 
really flicker every time I am roasting with the Alp. And if you roast more 
than one type of bean, which most of us do, the Alp is no more automatic than 
any of the other roasters on the market. It's just harder to judge when to 
hit the "cool" button so it finishes where you want it to.

5) From: coffenut
You hit that nail on the head with your comment.  I like to roast a variety
of beans on my Alp too and I record the information on each roast (time to
cracks, outdoor temp, roast color and cup result).  I've reviewed these
records and found that even with the same bean, you can have variances.  The
same Alp setting would not replicate the exact result of a previous roast of
the same bean.  First crack can vary sometimes as much as a minute with the
same bean.  Some of this may be due to changes in outdoor temp since I roast
outdoors.  The start and cool buttons are all you really need, coupled with
your own senses.  Actually, I kind of like the fact that the same bean may
roast differently on different occasions...it keeps me paying attention to
the roast and keeps home roasting interesting.  :^)

6) From: Barry Corliss
on 8/3/00 5:43 PM, coffenut  wrote:
I have come to this conclusion as well. Although I have kept notes on many
aspects of time and so forth, it seems silly to wait for the machine to
decide when the roast is done.
Roast a few lbs. too far and not far enough and it becomes easy to tell when
to hit the cool button. I'm getting much better coffee doing it manually,
and I don't have to worry whether the machine will turn off early or over
roast the beans.
Barry Corliss
Seattle, WA   (206) 282-2274http://www.master-works.com

7) From: Sam Boston
I also find that a 5 min. pre-heat (with 30 sec. cool down and power cycle)
before loading the drum (gloves are best for this) helps overcome the slow
heat up problems.
Sam Boston
Blue Ridge Mountain - Northern Virginia
Roast :Alpenrost, HWP, HWG
Grind: Gaggia MDF, Zass Turkish Mill
Brew: SL-90, French press, Cona Vacuum

8) From: coffenut
Are you having a problem with your unit being too slow to heat or are you
doing the pre-heat to speed up the roast?  I figure the total time the Alp
takes to process the roast is part of the beauty of the machine and why it
produces such good results.  If you are pre-heating to speed up the roast,
what results have you noticed versus not doing the pre-heat?
Coffenut  :^)

9) From: Tom & Maria
One Alpenrost issue: there have been "Hot" units. These reach 2nd crack
between 12-14 mintues. Basically, the machine is fine except that the
adjustable ALP range is 16 minutes upward. A lot happens between second
crack at 12 minutes and 16 minutes: i.e. Charcoal!
At first it seemed to be volatge issues but it really seems to be
calibration now. The designer at Swissmar, Anthony, flew to Asia to help
identify the problem and figure out how to determine which units have it
and why. Once Alpenrost finds the common thread and the serial numbers of
roasters that are "hot" they plan to contact the buyers via the
registration information. Basically, they are going to repair or replace
any hot units out there.
It is ironic because I have roasted manually on a "hot" unit (14 minute 2nd
crack) and I like the roast. But I guess there is on simple way for a user
to calibrate either the burner or the timing range to match. Isnt it funny
that chipsets in appliances cause more major problems out of minor ones. On
an old Poppery you just get in there and tweak the little potentiometer to
adjust the heat. I wish manufatureres would build in adjustments that users
can do, even if they were "undocumented" and required the user being talked
though it on the phone or something. This is the case with recalibrating
the Solis mill (BTW remember the talk of a "new " solis mill --forget it.
The new mill did not have the gear reduction so it was noisier and less
predictable than the 166. It also had a suspect part that would chip if you
adjusted the grind range: not good. The US importer has backed out of the
project, and wisely so!)
                  "Great coffee comes from tiny roasters"
           Sweet Maria's Home Coffee Roasting  -  Tom & Maria

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