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Topic: BBQ grill roaster - 1st effort (8 msgs / 309 lines)
1) From: Mark Smith
Made a simple version of the Lowes stainless steel trashcan=
 rotisserie roaster (as seen on Ed Needham's website) for my=
 30,000 BTU gas grill, and did the first roast last night.
Using Sumatra Mandheling and aiming for somewhere about City to=
 lighter Full City. I regulated the burners to keep the temp=
 around 475F. First crack started around 10 min. Finished the=
 roast at 11 min 45 sec, when it seemed that first crack was=
 blending right into second crack.
Results: Certainly more uneven than my old HWP. Beans were=
 anything from matte brown-no oil up to fairly dark with oil=
 (probably explains why first & second crack seemed to overlap).=
 I have no agitator vanes (yet) in the chamber so adding those=
 might help.
Problem: Although appearing OK and smelling and tasting very=
 good, the beans seem to be much denser and harder; they stall my=
 Solis Maestro grinder completely. Had to use a manual grinder.=
 Does this mean they didn't have enough time to dry and expand?=
 I'm guessing that they need a longer roast at lower temp. Any=
 helpful comments much appreciated!
Mark S
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2) From: jim gundlach
Mark,
    You clearly need some stirring vanes to get the roast more even.  
After that problem is fixed, you can work on getting the profile by 
adjusting the level of heat.
    Jim Gundlach
On Thursday, January 23, 2003, at 07:28 AM, Mark Smith wrote:
<Snip>
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3) From: floyd burton
I have done a grand total of 4 roasts in mine but I would suggest adding
vanes to stir up the beans-maybe two different heights to break up any
stratification.  I think the big boys start at about 250 or so and then work
up from there to roast temps.  Don't know if there is any magic to this but
I am shooting for a 16 to 18 minute roast-somebody said anything over 12 is
good.  Maybe a ramp of roasting temps would be better-again that is just
conjecture on my part.  I used some really cheap col beans as my roasting
trial beans-cheap and hard to kill-though I have done that.  FYI on my last
roast I had to do 3 consecutive roasts on the same beans to get to second
crack-over 30 minutes roasting time-not bad coffee but not great but better
than my HWP.
You know taste is what we are after-if u got the taste you want-I would say
don't change a thing-maybe get a more robust grinder.

4) From: Marchiori, Alan
I also use the Lowes can roaster.
1. Adding the vanes will help immensely
2. I have noticed the same thing; the 2nd crack always begins right after
the 1st stops.  I have been trying desperately to solve this problem.
Recently I added some lava rocks to help diffuse the heat, and I'm going to
move my drum further from the burner.  I've been trying to start the roast
slowly; gradually turning up the heat to a first crack at 8-12 minutes, then
back down to try and slow down the 2nd, but I've only gotten to about 14-15
minutes to 2nd so far (1st is just finishing up).
3. The beans stalling in the grinder makes me think they needed a few more
minutes on the grill.  
Although we both have noticed the same things, my theory is it has more to
do with learning how to use the BBQ roaster, since this is my first and I'm
guessing yours to.
Getting some of that $1/# ebay coffee that someone mentioned sounds like a
good idea to me.
Alan...

5) From: Ed Needham
Hey Mark...Welcome to the International Grill ROasters club. (IGRO)
A few comments...
Yes, the uneven roast was probably because of uneven agitation.  Put
something in there to stir the beans.  Be creative and come up with something
different that the boring stirring vanes the rest of us have.
The roast you got could be called a Mélange roast where the beans are all
roasted to different degrees of doneness.  Sometimes that can be wonderful,
but it sounds like you may have a few pre-first crack beans in the mix that
are so hard it's messing up your grinder.  After first crack, the beans will
not be that hard.  Into second crack, the beans are really brittle and grind
really easily.
You want to shoot for second crack anywhere from 18 to 22 minutes.  The beans
can tolerate quite a bit of heat at first, but as the bean mass heats up,
you'll need to throttle back the heat to keep it under control.  As you near
second crack, you can almost turn off the burners and the roast momentum will
take you home.
Ed Needham
To Absurdity and Beyond!http://www.homeroaster.comed
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6) From: David Westebbe
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Last night I tried my first roast using a long-handled popcorn popper over
some hardwood embers.  The popper is 1960's vintage, and consists of two
convex screens which clip together on a long handle.  It is made for popping
popcorn over a fire.
I had similar results to yours.  The roast was uneven, with some beans (Tanz
Peaberry) showing oil while others were still just cinnamon.  The lighter
ones were still very dense.  I tried a couple immediately after cooling, and
some seemed to have moisture still inside, because they were chewy instead
of brittle.
They did not stall my Maestro, however.
And they taste very good.  Not the best, but then again, I didn't use my
very finest beans for the experiment.
For my next roast, I plan to start with the popper higher over the coals for
the drying stage, and patiently keep it there until the beans are a
consistent cinnamon color.  Then I'll be sure to keep up my agitation
through the cracks, so that the bottom beans don't get over-cooked.
With these two differences in technique, I think I'll solve the two problems
I identified.  We'll see.
I want this to work, because I go camping for a couple of weeks every summer
on an island with no electricity.  I usually bring pre-ground coffee in
valve bags, but it doesn't last, and I drink stale coffee.  This year, I
want to bring my campfire popper, a stainless vac pot, and a hand-cranked
grinder, so I'll be able to have ultra-fresh coffee for the whole two weeks.
What fun!
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7) From: Oaxaca Charlie
--- David Westebbe  wrote: 
<Snip>
 It's tricky getting a perfect roast with a fireplace popper.
(that's one name for what you're using) But with practice it's
not that hard. Roasting over an open flame will almost always
always result in some beans burning before others crack. Over
coals you need to find the right distance from the heat and keep
shaking. It's so easy to move the basket away at any time,
except for the strain on your arms. Any profile is possible, no
variac needed. Go conservative at first, untill you get the feel
for how close to the coals and for how long. If it's a little
windy out it can affect the roasting and lead one to rashly
placing the popper too darn close. Too few coals can result in
sore arms after 15 minutes waiting for first crack.
I use mine not only for camping, but all my small bean (Yemens)
roasts and little sample amounts that come my way. I use the
wood stove in the house and all the smoke just goes up the
chiminy. Nice. I've managed up to a lb in it, too, but that's
pushing 'er. Easier than a wok over a camp fire, and you can
cook plenty of other things over the fire in them besides
popcorn and coffee. (NOT MARSHMALLOWS ;o)  Have fun,
Charlie
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8) From: David Westebbe
<Snip>
Thanks for the advice, Charlie.
I'm psyched to try again, and to keep better tabs on what I'm doing.  Last
night was just a quick experiment, more of a proof of concept.  I saw the
glowing coals from a burned down to embers fire, remembered that my mom gave
me the fireplace popper, and said "Hey!".
One thing I like about it is that I can do bigger loads than my typical 3/4
cup Popcorn Pumper load. Another thing I like is that I can experiment with
different hardwoods.  Last night was just some mixed firewood - likely some
maple and ash.  My guess is that fruitwoods might work great for some beans,
especially the heavy bodied indonesians.  Hmmm....Maybe alder-smoked
Sumatran?   Apple smoked Huehuetenango?  Cherry wood Kenya?
This is going to be fun.
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