HomeRoast Digest

Topic: new to this whole thing... (15 msgs / 433 lines)
1) From: John Jiminez
I'm new to the group and have been lurking (see that guy behind the tree?)
for about a month or so.  I joined the group hoping that I would gain some
knowledge about different roasters and  the facts and discussions would
assist me in making an intelligent purchase from SM.
In reading the posts (as least so far) my initial hopes have been dashed.
Everyone seems to be hung-up on whether or not to html and every other
reader wants off the list.  Please get back on track.
Much time has been spent reading books, web sites (and here, I'd like to
thank Ed Needham for his wisdom, wit and excellent site).
It seems that there are two main schools of thought on the selection of a
roaster,  though I'm sure there are far more than that.
 1.  Fluid-bed.  Noisy (difficult to hear the second crack), faster roast,
smaller capacity, but convenient and durable.
 2.  Drum.  Ala Alpen (the affordable one).  Much quieter, slower
(interpreted as perhaps more gentle on the bean), slightly greater capacity.
Though I have narrowed the search down to two or three roasters, I remain
undecided, both on type and brand.  It seems that the more that I research
the topic, the more confusing the decision has become.
I'm very much looking forward to cogent discussion of the upcoming I-Roast
and hope that it is as good as the pre-press - for it might be the one.
It seems that there are vastly conflicting opinions of the Alpenroast with
respect to reliability and quality control.  The lack of a viewing port
remains a variable for virgins like myself.  However the form factor and
operation of seem user friendly.
Smoke emissions don't much concern me since I'll probably build a vented
roasting room.  I have been buying pre-roasted beans from 'FreshCoffeeNow'
(I hear those boo's from you all already) for a couple of years and respect
them for their selection, quality and consistency.  It's that potential of
producing a better roast along with a greater selection of beans that
motivates me now.  I tend to prefer Full City roasts and Kenya AA and
Sumatra beans are my most frequent purchases.  The Indian Monsoons seem to
vary considerably  in quality and when I grind it with my Bodum, the static
electricity reminds me of a science project gone wrong.
When I receive my sample pack from SM, I'm going to try using a wok over a
Coleman stove as a first attempt (fire extinguisher at the ready).
Any flames, recommendations/comments will be most appreciated.
Randolph Poe

2) From: Ken Mary
Please do not say flames.  :-)
Get a popper. Sooner or later you will want one if not for the educational
experience, then for use as a backup roaster.

3) From: Rick W
We all go through the "research paralysis" phase when making decisions
on things that are unknown to us.  Based upon having tasted product from
both air-roasters and drum roasters, drum roast is the better result
(for me).  I think it's because drum roasting accomplishes what so many
air-roaster users end up attempting to do in one way or the other (allow
the roast profile to come up in a more gradual timeframe).  Most
air-roasters roast the beans too fast for my liking (I've got an HWP too
and really don't prefer it's roast result versus the Alp).
I can tell you that the Alpenrost is not as intimidating as it may
appear to a new roaster.  I started with it as my first roaster, learned
it quickly and it's still going strong after 3 years and 395 roasts.  I
won't make any excuses for the Alps that didn't make people happy, but
you're gonna find faults, Q/C issues, etc in most of roasters (air or
drum).  If my Alp dies tomorrow, I'd buy another without hesitation
because it's drum technology and still a lot cheaper than the HotTop.
SwissMar has always treated me well and I had the pleasure of many
conversations with the inventor when he was there.  He gave me great
advice about the Alp which you can find in the List Archives (so I won't
What-ever you choose, you'll be paying for the roaster via the dollars
you save in green beans versus retail roasted.  What will put you in the
"poor house" is the never ending fascination with new beans, new
equipment, quest for great cups and on.  Best wishes in your quest...
Rick Waits

4) From: Angelo
My fluid bed roasters(poppers) are the only ones in which I CAN hear second 
crack. I have a Z&D in which I can't even hear first crack, and the ghosts 
of a couple of Gourmet in which I had trouble hearing second crack...
The poppers are the cheapest and, frankly, the most fun and the least 

5) From: jim gundlach
      I too have been disappointed with the extent that people beat the 
HTML in email around.
so back to coffee.
     I believe the best way to learn to roast is in a wok.  You can see 
and smell the entire process and you have a lot of control over the 
level of heat and the rate of stirring.  I have three roasting set-ups. 
   One a good heavy wok, a thin and light one will cause scorched beans, 
that I use on a restaurant level gas range.  I don't have to worry 
about smoke because our kitchen is essentially detached from the rest 
of the house.  Second some old Androck over the fire popcorn poppers in 
which I can roast about a pound at a time over pecan wood fires built 
in a couple of different BBQ's.  And third, a BBQ rotisserie driven 
drum in which I can roast as much as four pounds at a time over pecan 
wood fires.  My personal feeling is the the rotisserie driven drum 
approach heated with a good gas BBQ grill is most compatible with the 
material culture most residents of the US have.  The smoke is outside 
the house, you have reasonable control over the roasting process, and 
it adds a use to a little used tool that most have, the grill.  Also, 
Ron Kyle has some very nice ones available that will last forever.
Just my two cents worth.
Jim Gundlach
roasting over pecan wood fires
in La Place, Alabama.
On Nov 1, 2003, at 11:18 AM, John Jiminez wrote:

6) From: Bill Nonnemacher
On Saturday, November 1, 2003, at 01:16  PM, jim gundlach wrote:
Does Ron have a website or address?

7) From: Ed Needham
I use my drum roaster most of the time, but I still rely on my Hearthware
Precision to roast small batches or the tiniest beans which would fall
through the holes on my drum.
Both seem to meet my needs.  One day, I'll finish my big air roaster.  Yeah,
Ed Needham
To Absurdity and Beyond!
homeroaster ... d.o.t ... com

8) From: Felix Dial
Hello Randolph ... or John  ... whichever your name is!
I think I said "excuse me" to you as I stepped by on my out from behind that
very same tree.  I'm relatively new to roasting and to the list myself.
I ended up choosing the popcorn popper method to roast coffee.   Price and
more importantly quality control issues kept me from purchasing any of the
dedicated roasters.  But I must add that I narrowed my choices down and
seriously considered purchasing either the Cafe Rosto or the Alpenrost.  The
FreshRoast was a close substitute to the Rosto.  Of course I got a bit
obsessive-compulsive and modified my roasting process with dimmers and
transformers to control and extended the popper roasting profiles.  There
are a good number of posts in the archives on the differences/similarities
between air and drum roasts, which I suspect you've already read. A quick
search  on "air drum roasts" at http://themeyers.org/HomeRoast/index.htmproduces a few threads.
I'm really pleased with the resulting roasts I've been getting.  To me,
beans roasted in a popper to 440 in 13 minutes using a suitable temp-time
profile taste significantly better than the same beans roasted to 440 in
5-8 minutes.  Again this is according to my tastes and there are others like
Ken Mary prefer quick roasts.  But I too am looking forward to the release
and subsequent user reviews of the I-roast.  I'd like very much to simplify
my roasting process and a product like the I-roast might satisfy this.
If you plan to wait a bit to see how people review the I-roast but want to
give home roasting a try, then certainly poppery roasting and wok roasting
are good methods to start.  I think the whirley pop is a good starter method
to try as well.   People have gotten good/great results using this method,
but I haven't seen many posts lately on this roasting method.  Any
whirley-pop roasters care to chime in?  I'm considering giving this method a
try and look forward to reading whirley-pop feedback.  Thanks.
Welcome to the group Randolph.  There is a lot of good coffee roasting
information on this list.  I think you'll find the list a lot more usefull
now that you're participating.

9) From: rnkyle
snip from John Jiminez's Post
Though I have narrowed the search down to two or three roasters, I remain
Welcome to the wonderful world of Home Roasting John
We sometimes get side tracked with non coffee chat.
All in all thought there is a wealth of knowledge about coffee, and roasting
on this list. Stay awhile and contribute your own experience.
I started with FR+, thru several poppers, my favorite was a WBI with a
modified heater on and off switch, then to a Alpenrost, nice machine, it
took 3 to get one that worked correctly.. I found the coffee to have a bit
of flatness using the alps, Ed , and Jim inspired me to bbq drum roasting.
starting out with a ss trash can, and then to a small carbon steel drum. Now
I use my own designed SS drum and can roast up to 4 lbs at a time and I love
Like Jim said it is built like a tank and will last a very long time. So
good luck with your journey and enjoy.
Ron Kyle
Roasting drums for gas grillshttp://rnk10.tripod.com

10) From: Dave McCracken
I consider myself something of a newcomer as well.  I've been home roasting
for about a year and a half.  My first roaster was a Fresh Roast, replaced
last spring by an Alpenrost.
It's been my experience that the FR in particular roasts way too fast.
Mine would reach second crack in 3 to 4 minutes.  The resulting bean is
very bright and lacks body.  If you look through the archives, many air bed
owners make various modifications to stretch out the roast time and
overcome this trait.  The cracks in the FR are very audible, perhaps
because they all happen so quickly.
My Alpenrost has been extremely simple for me to use, and produces beans
with much greater depth of flavor, which I vastly prefer.  I typically
roast 200 grams at a time, which takes about 15-16 minutes to second crack.
First crack is a little more difficult to hear because it stretches out
over a longer time, but I've not had any problems with it.  Second crack is
still very audible.
I hope this all helps,
Dave McCracken

11) From: miKe mcKoffee

12) From: Randy Poe
Thanks for your reply.  I'd have to say the the HotTop is just slightly out
of my price range.  If you don't like the AlpenRoast, I'd be interested in
knowing why.
There have been so many complaints about the capacity and chaff problems
with the Rosto I had sort of ruled it out (but not totally).  Of course, all
of us are in the dark with respect to the upcoming I-Roast, so that choice
is definitely on hold.
The 500 degree number does indeed seem to be an ideal starting point, in a
number of different roasting vessels.
In case you didn't receive my last post, I erred in entering my personal
data.   My real emal address is:  John_Falstaff (underscore after
John) and my real name is Randy Poe
Best regards,

13) From: miKe mcKoffee

14) From: Bill Nonnemacher
On Sunday, November 2, 2003, at 08:46  PM, miKe mcKoffee wrote:

15) From: rnkyle
Yes I do and you can visit it by clicking on the URL below my sig.
Ron Kyle

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