HomeRoast Digest

Topic: Questions from a homeroaster ending a four year hiatus (8 msgs / 286 lines)
1) From: Blake Andres
This is a multi-part message in MIME format.
Two kids, two cross-country moves, and and five years later I have =
finally unpacked the balance of my roasting, grinding and brewing =
equipment. The last four years have consisted of mostly purchased =
roasted beans processed through my 15 year old Braun mill and brewed =
with Mellitta funnel when brewing for one or the Chemex pot or Bodum =
press when brewing for friends.
This email is being composed as an unmodified WB Poppery II struggles on =
the front porch  to roast Kenya AA just past the beginning of second =
crack in about 14-15 minutes - I'm sure that I'll get a bit of the baked =
flavor profile in tomorrow's cup! (32 degrees outside and the wind is =
blowing the wrong way to blow smoke and chaff out the kitchen window =
today). I thought about using a box to recirculate but hate to have =
chaff sucked up into the last of my working WBII's. If the popper's cord =
was two feet longer, I could send the smoke up the fireplace chimney - =
but even a five foot extension cord provides to much resistance - the =
extension cord warms to the touch and the popper never gets hot enough =
to roast properly. Has anyobne replaced the cord with slightly longer =
one? What gauge wire should be used?
I started roasting in the late 80's experimenting with ovens, homebuilt =
fireplace & barbeque rotisseries, underpowered Mellitas, and an =
overpriced and injury prone Sirocco. Eventually, I settled on two =
roasting methods: 1) hand stirred in a heavy bottomed stainless steel =
skillet (I still think that I get deeper, richer, and more complex cup =
when roasting some coffees this way); and 2) a number of altered Pumpers =
and Poppery's - most with a single pole switch installed to take one of =
the heating coils offline to help stop roasting. Sumatran coffees are my =
wife's favorites but I always have a difficult time getting the desired =
flavor profile roasting with hot air - yet I can get the desired cup =
raosting in a skillet. Any others have this experience? Do today's =
Hearthware Gormet Roasters, convenience aside, provide better roasting =
temperature profiles than my WBII? 
Daily drip coffees have been ground by a Braun burr grinder (model =
#4045). After 15 years of use, even at its finest setting, grinds are =
too course. Even when it was new, given the speed of its motor and =
quality of burrs, its never been an accurate ginder but I would still =
like to replace its now very worn burrs. Has anyone tried this on this =
model? A Braun service center once told me that though I might be able =
to get the burrs, but home deinstallation and installation was not =
possible. I know one of my blade grinders does just as good of a job as =
this noisemaker, but the hopper on the Braun is just the right size for =
4-5 days of fresh beans and ground beans are neatly kept in the =
Espresso grinding has been on a Zacconni G. (model badged Riviera =
Espresso for the import market) that Thomas Cara recommended and =
imported for me about 10 years ago. Strong 140 watt moter, gear =
reduction, and decent surface area on accurately ground conical burrs. I =
have been searching the Web for information about this grinder but can =
only find Zacconni Piston espresso machines. I would appreciate any =
Zacconi users with maintenance tips and knowledge of a parts source. =
There is a metal plate screwed over an opening where portafilter forks =
might be placed. If possible I would like to add the forks.
Though I often planned to upgrade, I will unpack my 10 year old  =
Espresso Gaggia tomorrow. With fresh roasted blend (10-15% robusta) and =
the Zacconi grinder, I was able to get decent depth and crema from this =
$175 machine, but not consistently.  Getting a consistent tamp with the =
provided portafilter and tamper was always very difficult. Any tips from =
those using this machine?
For fun, I occasionally pull out a Cory vacuum pot that I picked up at a =
tag sale. This pot uses a glass filter rod so the the water drips =
through at a faster pace than pots with cloth/paper filters. Never have =
used this enough to get the timing and grind just right. I am open to =
suggestions from anyone using vacuum pots with glass filter rods.
Thanks in advance for any help!

2) From: jim gundlach
I only have a couple of minutes so I will only address a few issues, 
see them inserted below:
On Saturday, December 14, 2002, at 04:41 PM, Blake Andres wrote:
If you get a heavier gauge wire, you can make the cord longer without 
reducing the power.
I have two preferred roasting methods.  The first is using a couple of =
old over the fire popcorn poppers and I roast the beans directly over a =
pecan wood fire.  The second is in a large heavy iron wok, not too 
different from the skillet but the higher rim keeps beans in better and =
the round bottom makes for easier stirring.
         I believe the Rocky is the bottom end of an adequate grinder.  =
I have tried several others and while the Zass will grind adequately, 
it takes too much time to grind all the coffee we use.  The Rocky will =
grind coarse enough for drip and press as well as espresso.   It has 
three flaws.  The doser is bad but it can be removed and a chute put in =
its place.  The finger guard sometimes keeps the beans from flowing to =
the burrs.  It can be removed you just have to promise not to put your =
fingers into the running burrs.  The adjusting steps are to large.  So =
far I know of nothing that will fix that problem.  Check the archives 
for several discussions on grinders.  I have never seen or heard of the =
Zacconni but others may have.
      I've had two Gaggias.   I gave one, a Gran,  away and I still use =
the other, a Coffee, as a back-up machine.  Both are similar to the 
Expresso.   I could never get consistent performance out of either 
until I got the Rocky.  With a very consistent grind and a lot of trial =
and error practice on the tamper, I now can get good crema from the 
Gaggia about three times out of four.  With the Solis SL-90 I get good =
results more than 90% of the time.
Welcome to the group.
Jim Gundlach
roasting over pecan wood fires
in La Place, Alabama
homeroast mailing listhttp://lists.sweetmarias.com/mailman/listinfo/homeroast

3) From: Les & Becky
This is a multi-part message in MIME format.
Welcome back into the fold!  You will find this group to be very fun, =
and often very technical.  We can also be very opinionated.  It sounds =
like you have much experience.  I use a glass rod, and I have found that =
an even grind is most important!  I also time the amount of time I leave =
the brew "north" before turning the heat off.  I have found that by =
turning the heat down to low you can hold the brew north long enough to =
get good extraction from a courser grind.  I usually leave it north for =
1.5 - 3 minutes depending on the coffee.

4) From: Blake Andres
This is a multi-part message in MIME format.
Thanks for weeding through my lengthy request for information and for =
the reply. Your stove must allow you to get a good portion of the iron =
wok heated given the size of the batches you are roasting. Since my =
second move from the desert southwest to the midwest, I have yet to get =
the outdoor fireplace set up for roasting. And unlike my home in Phoenix =
- the range in my current house does not vent outside. I am going to =
replace the cord on the WBII. And likely install a switch, etc...
My Zacconi G. Riviera grinds very evenly but is really lacking in =
convenience items ( no doser or forks). A second request to any =
subscribers who might be using ZG equipment - Re: tips and parts =
A number of years ago, I almost gave up on the Espresso Gaggia. Then I =
bought a pound of freshly roasted and ground espresso from a favorite =
espresso bar in Pittsburgh, PA,  and got a respectable espresso on the =
very first try. Turned out to be beginners luck with dosing & tamping. =
But it was enough to convince me to spend money on a better grinder. I =
contacted Thamas Cara LTD, and had a discussion about "home" espresso =
grinders and purchased the Zacconi G. Riviera model. My success rate is =
maybe1 in 3 with home roasted espresso blends. My recent order to SM =
included few pounds of Italian blend. I hope to begin the experimenting  =
this weekend.
Thanks for the glass rod advice. SInce the Cory was designed for stove =
top use ( I once was able to use it an electric range with a trivet). I =
can easily control the "up north time" I am guessing that my pot is at =
least 35-40 years old. Though the "rubber" over the funnel is a bit hard =
I still get a decent seal. Will definately have to use the ZG grinder. =
My old Braun is not up to the task.
Since my 4 year hiatus from roasting many things have changed. Most =
notable is the level of expertise shared by subscibers to lists such as =
Blake Andres 

5) From: jim gundlach
     I have a professional gas range converted to propane.  It has six =
large burners that I believe are rated at 38,000 btu each.  Also, our 
house was built in 1840 and the kitchen is attached to the rest of the =
house just by enough of one corner to provide a doorway.  Back then 
they designed things so only the slaves that did the cooking had to 
endure the extra heat produced by cooking in the summer.  When I roast =
in the kitchen I just shut off the rest of the house and open a window =
and door.  I know most people don't have this kind of setup.  Often 
around this time of the year you can get a very good price on a Turkey =
fryer which will hook up to a propane tank and should be easy enough to =
set up to roast in a wok outside.  In addition you can still fry the 
turkey and cook other large batches of food.
         Jim Gundlach
On Tuesday, December 17, 2002, at 06:32 AM, Blake Andres wrote:
on the 
homeroast mailing listhttp://lists.sweetmarias.com/mailman/listinfo/homeroast

6) From: Ben Treichel
jim gundlach wrote:
I saw those recently ($38) and wondered. It did seem to me to be the 
start of a good gas fired roaster.  (Oh No!)
homeroast mailing listhttp://lists.sweetmarias.com/mailman/listinfo/homeroast

7) From: Ed Needham
Uhhhh, Ben?  I was thinking the same thing...http://www.homeroaster.com/bigmama.htmlIt's a ways from being finished, but hopefully I'll have some tinker time
over the holidays.
Ed Needhamhttp://www.homeroaster.comed

8) From: Terry Stockdale
At 09:11 AM 12/17/2002 -0500, you wrote:
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