My experience with the Alp is that 10 minutes is too short a time, unless you are roasting really small amounts, like maybe 180 grams or less. I regularly roast 200 g. at a time and find that most beans can reach first crack at 12-14 minutes, a few more like 16 minutes; 2nd crack usually takes another 3-5 minutes. I don't know what a minimum amount that would work in an Alp, but I would think you could easily go down to 50-100 g., more like what a Hearthware Precision can do. The smallest batch I've roasted was about 120 g., and it got to a good Full City in about 12 minutes; another 2 minutes would have taken it well into a Dark French, I think.
Date: Thu, 05 Jun 2003 20:29:44 -0400
Subject: +To Alp or Not to Alp?
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Is it possible to use less coffee in an Alp in order to produce a faster roast? Tom's review says that one should expect a darker roast with less beans. What is the critical mass (minimum amount of bean) for an Alp, and how quickly will that roast? Can you adjust the batch size to consistently finish in rolling 2nd after say about 10 minutes?
Right now I am roasting a lot of east African/Yemen. My primary drink is 1 part Mokha Haimi and 1 part Uganda both to rolling 2nd and run through an espresso machine (2 oz), americano (2 oz hot water) and steamed 1/2 and 1/2 (2 oz with foam). I am really enjoying the fruit and the exotic flavor of that region.
I have not been able to get really satisfying results with the central/south american and Indonesians I have tried. The americans seem thin and less complex. The Indonesians leave me looking for a glass of water. Perhaps it is an acquired taste, or maybe a roasting problem, but I got a terrible mouth feel and furry teeth from a couple of them. I have only tried a few - some from a sampler and some I traded with a fellow roaster. Selections and roasting tips would be appreciated.
I am currently roasting with a Toastmaster popcorn popper. I have the fan and the heater both variable, so I can do pretty much whatever I want with the profile. I think the popper is probably complementing my taste for tiny bean coffee. I would like another roaster for fun, variety and as a backup.
Should I get the Alp? If I can use a finer mesh drum liner and less coffee to get good results with the Mokhas it would be an easier decision. It might also give me better results with the other regional profiles. How much fruity aromatics are lost with the long roast?
Should I get a Freshroast? I have seem it in action and it seems to work fine with some mods (variable fan at least). It is pretty much a Toastmaster with aluminum fan blades and better components. I think it would give the same results I get now. Thanks for reading - Jim