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Topic: Toaster Roaster (12 msgs / 384 lines)
1) From: Alan Marchiori
Hi all, I have been roasting with a popper for a year or so and a few months 
ago it finally died.  Iíve managed to build an admittedly shabby looking 
drum roaster out of a toaster and various other parts.  I also have started 
to get more scientific about my roasting.  If anyone can look at my 
work-in-progress and give me any advice Iíd appreciate it! If you want to go 
straight to my ďresultsĒ go tohttp:// story:
After going to every store I could think of to find a replacement popper I 
finally convinced myself that a toaster could be made into a roaster.  So 
for $5 I bought one of those wide slot toasters, and removed the heating 
elements.  Then for about $15 at Home Depot I got some aluminum screen and 
two sink strainers to make the drum out of, plus some various other nuts & 
bolts.  I built a little box out of some scrap wood and Plexiglas for easy 
viewing of the beans.  Surprisingly enough if you put these items together 
it does resemble something like a little drum roaster.  At least in my 
opinion, although Iíve never seen a drum roaster up close before.  (Thatís 
why I need some help).
My Questions:
First of all I am using a digital Polder thermometer. It claims to work up 
to 400 degrees F, however I am seriously doubting its numbers because I have 
never reached 400 degrees F in my roaster and have defiantly had some burnt 
beans.  My 2nd roast was the lightest and it finished up at 285 degrees and 
was defiantly at the City level.  I guess I need a better thermometer?
The chaff is defiantly causing some problem when it falls onto the heating 
element and goes up in smoke and occasionally with some flames (see picture 
of Roaster After Roast).  I hoped my fan would blow the chaff out before it 
burnt, but no luck on that one.  Any ideas?
How fast should the drum rotate?
Would a solid drum be better than screen?
Iíll stop there for today.  If anyone has any thoughts to improve my 
toaster-roaster I would greatly appreciate it.
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2) From: Bob Trancho
Though I think that you may be on to something here, I can't help noting
that you have a good chance of burning your house down with a
wood/particle board roasting chamber.  That aside...
- The Polder is useless - get a Weber grill thermometer or a digital
with a bead probe like a Fluke 51
- You could try placing the heating elements at right angle to the drum
and let the chaff fall into a tray - away from the elements
Bob Trancho
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3) From: Marchiori, Alan
My wife would agree with you on the 1st point.  Surprisingly, the wood
doesn't get very hot (there is a thin aluminum "heat shield" below the
heating element).  Plus the fan does circulate the air a little bit.  Just
in case I do have a fire extinguisher nearby.  
I like the idea of not having a heating element below the drum.  But I do
have 2 reasons for putting it under: 1.  heat rises.  2:  That's how it
looks like the Alpenrost is (right?).
However I like the idea but rather than mess with the design I think the
next time I roast I will just turn the whole box upside-down so that the
heating element covers to top and 2 sides.  The chaff will then be free to
fall down onto the lid where it will hopefully not burn up.
I'll let you know what happens.

4) From: David Westebbe
  If anyone can look at my
Looks pretty friggin awesome to me!
My Polder tops out at 392F.  check yours in some boiling water to calibrate
You are using radiant heat.  There is no need for the elements to be below
the beans.  Try positioning them off to the sides, or on top.
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5) From: David Westebbe
Nope!  Hot objects rise, but heat does not.  I learned that from somebody
You are using radiant heat.  The infrared glow hits the beans and heats them
up.  That is why you get very hot on your front when you face a fireplace,
even though your back doesn't feel a thing.  The air heats up and rises, but
that's NOT the main conduit for the heat.  If you were in a vacuum, the
beans would receive almost as much heat from the IR glow.
Think about a broiler in an oven.  The hot coils or hot gas are on top, and
yet the surface of the food still cooks.
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6) From: F. M. McNeill
Very impressive!
Thanks for your work and your sharing!
Since you are a creative sort, I can ask you to
give us any thoughts on roasting one bean at a time.
Possibilities there, as the amount of energy required at one time is minimized. Needs an automatic feed to go through many beans
time. Energy could be focused IR lamp, toaster heater, microwave, hot air, hot chamber, etc..
Possibility of a new home roaster product.
Frederick Martin McNeill
Poway, California, United States of America
Phrases of the week :
"There ain't no rules around here! We're trying to accomplish
something!" -- Thomas Edison (1847-1931)
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7) From: AlChemist John
Sometime around 08:34 11/12/02, Alan Marchiori typed:
Ok, I can't answer the questions from experience, but I am going to pose 
others.  BTW, good start a roaster.  I would consider moving the heating 
elements to the sides and let the chaff fall down (or not, see below),  and 
rotating about 30-60 rpm.
I have done some research in regards to the difference between hot air bed 
roasters and drum roasters.  I have so far noticed two main 
differences.  Sivetz (sp) claims fluidized bed roasters are better since 
they remove the chaff, thus give a "cleaner, brighter cup".  OTOH, a drum 
roaster chars this chaf and coats the beans with this residue and smoke.
It appears the thoughts here are the drum roasting (HotTop at least) gives 
a fuller, richer cup (as opposed to "cleaner, brighter????) that can not be 
explained JUST by the profile of the roast.  In much the same way smoke 
roasted meat is sooooo wonderful (treager?), is the smoking chaff one of 
the key elements to a stunning cup?
I am now wondering if I want chaff to remain with my beans in the roaster 
design rattling around in my head.
John Nanci 
AlChemist at large
Roasting and Blending by Gestalt
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8) From: Marchiori, Alan
one bean at a time hmmm.  I think the idea sounds cool, but part of me wants
to know what the advantage would be (to roasting one bean at a time)?  You
mentioned minimizing energy, but for example my toaster element puts out
plenty of energy to roast a handful of beans at a time.
on a different topic I contacted a manufacturer of quartz ir heating
elements, they said the cheapest one they had was $90, so I decided to go
the more economical thrift-store route.  But I wonder how different heaters
could effect the roast.

9) From: Marchiori, Alan
Thanks for your advice,
This morning I had a few beans left over from my 2nd & 3rd roasts and to use
them up I mixed them together not expecting much--but wow this is defiantly
the best cup of coffee I've had in the last 6 months or so.  I'm not sure if
it was the extra day of resting or the fact that half the beans were lightly
roasted and the other half were much darker (or a combination).  (excuse my
non-expert coffee flavor descriptions...)  The flavor pretty much ran the
whole spectrum of coffee flavors there were bright flavors and these very
rich and full smokey flavors all in the same sip.  
Ok maybe I should actually go and do some work now.. :)
ps, please do rattle your roaster design out and make something, maybe after
a few people pitch in and make some roasters it will evolve into something
better & cheaper than any other roaster you can buy (maybe I'm a tad bit
optimistic, but).

10) From: Ryuji Suzuki -- JF7WEX
The roaster looks pretty good. I would make the box a bit bigger and
place a hemicylindrical reflector all over the heater-drum
assembly. The coffee gets roasted through radiant heat and you are
losing much by not reflecting back. Some of the heat is apparently
used to soften and expand the plexiglass. I don't know how good or bad
that thermometer is, but I would place the probe inside the drum if
you can. Also, I wouldn't use the fan unless you get way too much
smoke or you want to slow down the temp rise.
Two questions for you.
How easy is it to get the bean out of the hot cage? Do you cool the
whole assembly before extracting roasted coffee from it?
How much coffee can you roast in a batch?
How's the coffee taste like?
The mesh drum looks very nice. I should make one and use in my Turbo
Oven setup.
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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11) From: David Westebbe
Excellent suggestion.  It might be even better to fashion a parabolic
reflector, and to focus it to converge in the middle of the main bean mass.
I would think that it would be pretty easy to find foil covered cardboard
from food packaging which would work great.
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12) From: Ryuji Suzuki -- JF7WEX
From: "David Westebbe" 
Subject: RE: +Toaster Roaster
Date: Fri, 15 Nov 2002 08:54:15 -0500
I think parabolic reflector would concentrate the radiation to one
point (practically more like a disc) and helps more to produce uneven
roast result than uniform roast. That's why I suggested
hemicylindrical reflector instead. Quasi-parabolic system might be
easier to make out of a large Chinese iron wok with a lid of suitable
size. Place the heater on top and place drum on the bottom part.
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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