HomeRoast Digest

Topic: unlurking (5 msgs / 248 lines)
1) From: peter zulkowski
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Hi All,
I am relatively new at this home coffee roasting. A while ago I took a
pledge never to buy ANYTHING that I saw on the late night
info-mercials. So late one night when I saw the Zack and Danny's green
coffee roaster deal, I (almost bought it but) resigned myself to check
out the internet instead.
Well, when I awakened next morning I still remembered the idea, so I
went a searchin.
Gosh, one of the first sites I came across was SweetMarias  . Not
only did they have the product of my dreams (was I dreaming?), but
several other many and varied contraptions to make coffee better!
So I read most of the site, and joined this list, and became more
confused than ever about what to do.
As luck would have it I came across a popcorn pumper at a thrift store
for $3.50, and some mexican coffee for less than $3.00 a pound on ebay.
Put these things together and man.. I was roastin 
You gotta know that all this talk about first and second crack?......
well, I was watching for the first crack.... and listening for the
second, and the beans were flying higher and higher ( had to tip the
popper against a board to keep in the half cup of beans) and at about
17 minutes.. I guessed it had gone long enough and it MUST be done.
It was very strong coffee. Albeit much better than we ever had from the
grocery store where we had been buying Seattle's Best  whole beans.
I started to shake from the caffeine after the second sip, and the
taste stayed with me for 15 minutes or so. Good Coffee!!
And my wife Loved it!! Since then I have discovered that 17 minutes (at
500F) is way too long to cook it.
With my trusty infrared temperature gage I found that the temp never
gets much above 500 F in the pumper, but it gets there very quickly.
The first crack was happening almost as soon as I turned it on, and the
second within about 3 minutes. A decent roast happens within about 10
minutes total.. less burnt taste 
Of course I have been ordering thermometers, and variacs and timers
etc. from ebay; but before I could hook all that stuff up I came across
another air popper at another thrift store.
It has a wattage rating of only 1200 compared to the 1450 of the
Soon I may get sophisticated about this, but for now I thought I would
share my latest ideas, since I have already taken and used so many
ideas from this list.
You see, for the first (about 5 minutes) part of the roast I use the
lower powered unit until all the chafe flies off.
This brings the temp of the beans up to about 400F.
Then I turn that roaster off dump the beans into my old Pumper, and
plug it in.
In another five minutes or so, the divots are beginning to fly off of
the batch, the IR bean temp is about 500F, so it is time to pull the
plug, dump into my colander, swish swish, then onto the recycled thick
aluminum frypan grill (about 14 inches square) for a good cool down.
The beans get town to less than 130F in about 2 minutes.
Now I have tried different weights of beans, anywhere from 72 grams to
100 grams, but I have no idea how you could cook more than that in this
small unit.
(I did get a lamp chimney to put on the top, and that keeps the flying
beans corralled, and still allows the chafe and divots to escape)  
The amount of beans I put in seems to affect the temperature rise time,
and the length of cooking time seems to affect the final taste.
Also it tastes better after it ages for a day or more.
So far I have been able to achieve lots of different types of coffee
taste with just one type of bean. Interesting huh?
Yes, I did order and receive some ISH from Tom, and I also got an 8
pack sampler, and another thermometer. (Can't have too many
And some of that awful vietnamese coffee for .70 a pound.
I like extremes.
I will probably wait until I get better at peaking the roasting before
I try the ISH. Right now I am afraid to ruin it, although  according to
my wife, I have not ruined any of it yet. Could any of you offer any
suggestions as to how to approach cooking this?
Should I hook up my variacs and thermometers and pyrometers? or ...
maybe just wait until I can get a new Hearthroast.
Thanks for providing a list with so much fun and useful information. I
really enjoy reading all the email I get, and I have learned sooo much.
I am just beginning, and still need to learn lots more.
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2) From: miKe mcKoffee

3) From: Ed Needham
Leave it to a 'newbie' to come up with an idea I have not heard anyone else
try...to move beans from one roaster to another that has different roasting
characteristics.  I'd think you could milk that idea for a number of
variations to get different results.  Onward and upward!
Ed Needham
To Absurdity and Beyond!
homeroaster ... d.o.t ... com

4) From: Angelo
Well, I've done something like this when I got tired of waiting for my 
beans to get to second crack in my Z&D roaster....After about 15 minutes, I 
dumped them into my Pumper and got them to the stage I wanted them to be...
Now, I'm thinking it might be interesting to do this on purpose....hmmmm

5) From: Ken Mary
A reminder about IR temps, if you hold the sensor in the hot air above the
beans, the reading will be too high due to the sensor window getting warm.
If you immediately shoot the countertop or floor after a roast temp, you
will see the error. In recent roasts, I have seen an error of more than 30F.
Only non-metallic surfaces will be read correctly, clean metals can read 30
to 40 percent lower than the actual temp. Coated metal (paint, teflon, etc)
can read closer to the actual temp.
I suggest you mod your poppers for cooling. It is less bother and quickly
stops the roast process.

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