HomeRoast Digest


Topic: Alp question (16 msgs / 351 lines)
1) From: John Cramer
Guys,
I'm REALLY puzzled(and pretty PO'd)!?!?!?
My normal roast is 12. It's roasted fine there. Now that the AC
is no longer needed(even here in Florida..:-) ), and the heater is
set at 5 degrees lower than the AC was, 12 is burning my beans.
Even at 10 it is.
Anyone got an idea of what the heck is going on?
Happy roasting,
John

2) From: OligoNuk
In a message dated 12/9/00 11:54:22 PM, cramerj writes:
Would relative humidity have a play here?  I wonder even given that we're in 
the "winter" months, if the humidity is still higher now than when he was 
running the AC- or option two that the Alp. is running warmer given a better 
current flow in the absence of the AC running.
-Todd L. ALP- in balmy -2F (not incl. wind chill) Twin Cities, MN
<< Guys,
I'm REALLY puzzled(and pretty PO'd)!?!?!?
My normal roast is 12. It's roasted fine there. Now that the AC
is no longer needed(even here in Florida..:-) ), and the heater is
set at 5 degrees lower than the AC was, 12 is burning my beans.
Even at 10 it is.
Anyone got an idea of what the heck is going on?
Happy roasting, >>

3) From: Kathleen Tinkel
The most obvious question to ask is if anything else has changed -
different beans (different type or different batch of the same type)?
Different quantity? If you were using a specific volume rather than weight,
you could be changing the amount inadvertantly because of changes in
humidity that could be affecting the green beans.
My next thought was to wonder if the Alp may not be getting more power now
that you're not air conditioning (or, indeed, the whole state of Florida
has stopped air conditioning). We've checked the power in our lines from
time to time and definitely find some variation - your Alp may be sensitive
to that. If so, try using a powerstrip instead of plugging directly into
the wall - that usually reduces power draw a bit.
All guesses...
Kathleen

4) From: John Cramer
Thanks all!!
Actually, using a strip will, in effect, be using an extension cord.
I found out immediately upon receipt that that's NOT a good idea.
Blessings,
John

5) From: coffenut
John,
Going back to what Kathleen had mentioned, let us know how you are measuring
the beans, qty and any other changes to your process that may be pertinent.
There are several user controllable elements that can affect roast time;
using 8oz (weighed), good power, roasting at room temperature, roasting in a
box, etc.  Another thing to consider is the 30-minute wait time between
roasts.  As a test, I've roasted several batches with only a 5-10 minute
wait time (time to dump beans and clean the ALP).  In that environment, I've
noted the time to complete a roast is shortened by upwards of a couple
minutes.  If a user-controlled variable is not the issue, then it could be
that the temperature calibration of your Alp has slipped somehow.  If the
vent fan were to slow or intermittently work, this could also be a factor in
faster roasts.  In case you haven't seen this, Tom has a simple diagnostic
process for the Alp on his site at:http://www.sweetmarias.com/AlpenrostSimpleDiagnostic.htmlCoffenut  :^)

6) From: Paul Goelz
At 08:19 AM 12/11/00 -0500, you wrote:
<Snip>
I have started pre-heating my Alp.  I occurred to me that the slight
increase in time required to reach a desired roast level could be due to
the fact that the Alp sits in a cold corner until I roast.  It could easily
take 30 sec to a minute to get up to summer "room temperature", and this is
time added to the roast time.  
So I now turn it on without the roast basket and let it come up to
temperature (the heat starts to cycle).  Then I shut it off and load it and
re-start.  I'm hoping this will "normalize" my summer and winter roast
times.  
Paul Goelz
Rochester Hills, MI
pgoelz at eaglequest dot com
Videoastronomy, model helicopter and music (UnFest) web site:http://www.eaglequest.com/~pgoelz

7) From: Kathleen Tinkel
   >> Actually, using a strip will, in effect, be using an 
   >> extension cord. I found out immediately upon receipt that 
   >> that's NOT a good idea.
Well, actually, not necessarily so. 
You do want to use a power strip or extension cord with sufficient
capacity. The Alp draws 8 amps - a heavy-duty extension cord (not a lamp
cord) will work. But this was a suggestion for a quick-and-dirty fix
(because each switching point, as well as extra length of the extension
cord will reduce available power slightly).
Because you're in Florida, it may be that you were actually running in
near-brownout conditions during the air conditioning season. The resultant
jump in current when everyone turned off their air conditioners may have
given a literal jolt to your Alpenrost!
If you suspect this may be the case, even better than extension cords or
power strips would be a variable transformer (i.e., Variac) that would
allow you to set the level precisely.
First, though, as Coffee Nut suggested, eliminate any practices that might
be causing your overroasting. 
It also seems to me that you should expect some variation in timing in any
event - the Alp is not a set-it-and-leave-it device. I've never found a
substitute to listening for the cracks, sneaking a peek at the roasting
beans, and other good old-fashioned human controls...
Good luck.
Kathleen

8) From: GA80486
Day like today you could make an igloo to store it in.
Gordy Anderson
Grand Rapids, MI
In a message dated 12/11/00 11:52:02 AM Eastern Standard Time, 
pgoelz writes:
... due to the fact that the Alp sits in a cold corner until I roast.  It 
could easily
take 30 sec to a minute to get up to summer "room temperature", and this is
time added to the roast time....
Paul Goelz
Rochester Hills, MI

9) From: coffenut
Paul and Others,
This is an area that interests me and I'd like to know what others are
experiencing.  Between roasting for myself and my daughter's family, I have
to do 4 back-to-back 1/2 lb roasts every 8-10 days.  Having done this many
times, its time consuming to have to wait for the Alp to cool down between
roasts (30 min recommended time).  This is why I experimented with doing
back-to-back roasts, allowing only a few minutes of cleanup between the
roasts.
The question is...over time, will I damage the Alp by doing these roasts
back-to-back with little cooling between roasts?  I figured one reason
SwissMar says to wait the 30 minutes is because a back-to-back roast alters
the 2nd roast time and could produce user issues.  I haven't noticed any ill
effect (taste-wise) from the shortened roasts, but they are noticeably
shorter getting to cracks vs allowing a 30-min cool down between roasts.
Since I don't use the automated settings, I'm happy to manually cool down
whenever the roast has reached the desired level.  What's the opinion of the
Alp community?
Coffenut  :^)

10) From: Michael Vanecek
Well, I try not to hurry when dealing with the coffee. I'll roast a
batch, let it go through its cooldown, empty it into the collander, baby
it (stir it) to get it cooling, munch a bean for taste and texture,
check my email, bag the coffee, measure out the next batch, vacuum the
chaff out of the roaster and well - half an hour just flew by... In our
lives of hurry hurry hurry, it's sometimes hard to purposefully be
inefficient, but it is relaxing...
I prefer to let it cool somewhat to make it easier to have more
consistent roasts. My family has gotten mighty picky of late what with
their immersion in specialty coffee from yours truly and a slight
variation in color will certainly raise eyebrows and force me to come up
with some story about how I "purposefully" made that roast just a touch
darker to appeal to their preference of a more chocolaty taste or some
creative excuse... :)
Mike
coffenut wrote:
<Snip>

11) From: TFisher511
> The question is...over time, will I damage the Alp by doing these roasts
> back-to-back with little cooling between roasts?  I figured one reason
> SwissMar says to wait the 30 minutes is because a back-to-back roast 
alters
> the 2nd roast time and could produce user issues.  
I really think the cooling issue is mostly for the roast by the numbers 
users. If that is the way they feel comfortable roasting, then a preheat in 
all seasons may be ideal.
I have recently noticed it is taking 15 minutes plus to begin first crack 
with my Alp. I weigh the beans to 8 oz exactly on the digital scales I bought 
from Tom, the outdoor temperature has dropped to a cool 70-75 degrees, and 
the air conditioners have gone quiet. Don't know for sure what changed, but 
the coffee still tastes fine.
I used to worry about the beans finishing the cooling cycle so hot compared 
to other brand roasters, but at the recommendation of someone in the group 
advising not to worry, I have found that to be good advice indeed.

12) From: Tom & Maria
<Snip>
As I mentioned in a previous post, my Alp is roasting lighter since I
loaned it out for a weekend. The reason appears to be excessive residue
inside but i havent had a change to clean it out (with a Urnex solution as
suggested by the list) to test if this is indeed the cause. I really cant
believe any shift could be caused by anything else mechanically-speaking
...it does roast fine, just about 2 settings lighter. Bummer... since any
shift in roasting requires time to figure out how to compensate. On the
other hand, I really cant use it again until I clean it because the burned
residue on the doors is too pungent and smokey while roasting....
Tom
!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Tom, Maria and Jovan are currently working through a a heavy load of
christmas orders so shipments are delayed just 1-2 days!
                  "Great coffee comes from tiny roasters"
           Sweet Maria's Home Coffee Roasting  -  Tom & Maria
                     http://www.sweetmarias.com

13) From: John Cramer
Thanks, whoever you are,
I decided to try another batch today, and dropped the roasting to '7'.
The roast came out beautifully. Just a bit lighter than my normal roast
at '12'.
I tried the '10' roast batch, and it sure did taste burned!!
I'm placing a call to Swissmar tomorrow, in that the ONLY things that've
changed are the loss of AC and the 5 degree drop in temp.  I weigh my batches
to EXACTLY 8 ounces on a tremendous 10# digital scale I got from King
Arthur Flour. It was made in Sweden (SWISSmar...:-)  ).
Thank you ALL who helped!!
John
coffenut wrote:
<Snip>

14) From: Michael Vanecek
Have you considered throwing $25 at Radio Shack for a lap-watch and
timing your roasts? I think it gives you much more control - just set
the timer setting to 14, set the lap watch into lap-mode and start the
watch and roast simultaniously. When you start hearing the pops/cracks
(kinda sounds like popcorn popping, but less frequently) hit the lap
button for the second "lap". Depending on the desired level of roast and
referencing previous roasts of the same bean and ambient conditions,
many of mine end up being 2:30 to 3:00 minutes after the first crack
starts - I just hit the Cool button to end the roast. That will help you
compensate for differences in ambient conditions. Using the preset
settings you are at the mercy of hard-coded time - if the coffee is
roasting slower or faster than normal that day, you're out of luck. But
if you're using the stopwatch, you roast according to the needs of the
coffee. You'll find that the same coffee can take longer or shorter to
get to first crack depending on many conditions, but the timing after
first crack (two to three minutes or so for a medium roast) can be
altered depending on the time it took the coffee to get to first crack
and gives you much more flexibility too.
Mike
John Cramer wrote:
<Snip>

15) From: The Scarlet Wombat
I have heard, from tom's site as well as other places, that some beans are 
too small for the Alp.  However, I talked to a dealer of them yesterday who 
said that the only beans too small for the Alp are the now unavailable Maui 
Moka reds and yellows.  He said the small Yemens and Ethiopians work 
fine.  Anyone have experience with the smaller beans?  I am seriously 
considering an alp after the Gourmet troubles.
Dan
homeroast mailing listhttp://lists.sweetmarias.com/mailman/listinfo/homeroast

16) From: Dave Huddle
Scarlet Wombat Dan
I've roasted Ethiopian Harrar in the Alp.   A few beans (less than 10
per batch) stick in the perforations of the drum and get really dark,
BUT they stay stuck during the cooling/dumping cycle so they don't mess
us a batch. 
Similar things happen with other beans - just fewer beans get stuck.
After the drum has cooled, I push them back to the inside of the drum
and dump them in the trash.
Dave	
just 41 hours from SweetMaria's
<Snip>
homeroast mailing listhttp://lists.sweetmarias.com/mailman/listinfo/homeroast


HomeRoast Digest