HomeRoast Digest


Topic: New Alpenrost (40 msgs / 947 lines)
1) From: Nicholas J Leon
Homeroasters:
I was wondering if I could have your collective help with something. I
recently bought an Alpenrost and am having some difficulties roasting
with it. 
The short version: a setting of 3 doesn't take beans enough into 1st
crack and a setting of 4 produces a dark roast. I cannot seem to produce
a light or medium roast.
The long version: roasting (for example) 225 grams of Purple Mountain
Kona at a setting of 3 stops just as first crack is starting. A good 25%
of the beans still have their chaff, the rest are splotchy and mostly
uncracked. This occurs whether this is the first roast I've done for the
evening or the second. A setting of 4 with the exact same quantity and
type of beans produces a roast that is very dark and *almost* oily. 
Settings of 5-8 produce about the same level of roast, almost oily ->
very oily, but still drinkable. Basically anything >9 produces burnt
beans.
[seehttp://www.mrnick.binary9.net/images/beans.jpg:: left pile is Kona
@ 3 and the right is Kona @ 4].
These results also depend on the type of beans being used. Kona seems to
be the worst performer of the lot (gee, and the most expensive :-/). The
other type I've been experimenting with is a Guatemala Huehuetenango: a
setting of 3 still produces underroasted beans, but 4-10 produce a more
even scaling of darkness to the roasts (even though a light or medium
roast is still impossible to obtain).
I've done fairly well with my FR+ so I think I have the basics down
"OK". The behavior I'm seeing from this Alpenrost doesn't seem right. Do
you think I might have a busted roaster or is there some Stupid-User
mistake I'm making? I'm willing to listen to any advice you might have.
I am planning on giving roasted coffee out as Xmas presents and would
hate to have to fall back to my FR+ to do so.
Thank you all in advance,
--njl

2) From: Rick Farris
Hi Nicholas,
The Alp is definitely not a set-it-and-forget-it roaster.  Set it for
four (in your case) and listen carefully for the cracks.  When it gets
to the point you want, press the cool button.
Personally, (when I had an Alp, and now with my HT) I set a timer for
about the point I know the coffee will start first crack and then go off
and read or watch TV.  When the timer goes off, I go tend the coffee for
the last few minutes and then start over.
-- Rick

3) From: Tim Jolicoeur
Rick, what did you mean when you said "in your case set it to four". 4
0n my Alp is a very faint tan color which, in my opinion, is no where
near 1st crack. I set mine to 15 and know at aprox 12-14 minutes it will
reach 1st crack and at that time I tend to my roast and usher it into
2nd snap. TJ
Best Regards,
Tim Jolicoeur

4) From: Dave McCracken
--On Tuesday, December 09, 2003 09:01:31 -0700 Rick Farris
 wrote:
<Snip>
I use a stopwatch with split timer capability for my Alp.  The stopwatch
goes around my neck.  I keep checking it and head out to babysit the Alp at
about 11 minutes.  I hit the split timer at first crack, then again at
second crack.  I generally hit the cool button at 40-50 seconds past that.
Then I hit the split timer again when I push the cool button and know that
6 minutes later it'll be done.
Dave McCracken

5) From: Nicholas J Leon
On Tue, 2003-12-09 at 11:12, Tim Jolicoeur wrote:
<Snip>
This is why I think there might be something wrong with my Alp. My
setting of 4 is *very* dark, apparently in contradiction to everyone
else's experience with their alps.
<Snip>

6) From: Rick Farris
I was replying to Nicholas who said: "a setting of 3 doesn't take beans
enough into 1st crack and a setting of 4 produces a dark roast."
Personally, I always set mine to 15, also, and frequently still couldn't
get as dark as I liked, but I was living in Nicholas' world for that
post.  Nick must have a really hot Alp.
-- Rick

7) From: Tim Jolicoeur
Nick, If you look on the front of your Alp. It should give you a visual
of bean color next to the number 4 is defiantly tan. This seem awful
weird. Have you done any testing of current draw while roasting? Or has
your electricity bill increased at all? TJ
Best Regards,
Tim Jolicoeur

8) From: MMore
I would say that you do have a problem with your Alp.  I always set mine to 
15, with first crack coming around 16 min. (unless a do a short batch, which I 
usually do) and 2nd around 19 or 20. 
Michael A. Roaster of Vienna, Va.

9) From: Rick Farris
Actually, you just have a hot one and I think you said, a new one.  All
Alps run a little hot when they're new, but as you get a couple of dozen
roasts on them it is not uncommon for them to cool off to the point that
it's hard to get a dark roast.
When you set your Alp to four, how long does it take to reach first
crack?
-- Rick

10) From: Paul Goelz
At 11:01 AM 12/9/2003, you wrote:
<Snip>
FWIW, I use my Alp as a totally set-and-forget roaster 100% of the time.  I 
load 8 oz. of beans (CRLM) by weight, set it to 8 and walk away.  I get a 
very consistent roast every time.  There are some very small variations 
between winter and summer because the roaster sits in a corner of the 
family room that gets cold in the winter.... the machine is a bit colder in 
the winter and I think it over compensates and roasts just a tad 
darker.  The difference is very slight.
If yours roasts that dark on a setting of 4 there is something seriously 
wrong.... I would suspect that maybe the heater is not cycling on and off 
like it is supposed to?
Paul
Paul Goelz
Rochester Hills MI USA
pgoelzhttp://www.pgoelz.com

11) From: Nicholas J Leon
<Snip>
About 13-15 minutes or so. I don't have the exact numbers unfortunately
but tonight plan on doing some more testing.
Thank you all for the responses!

12) From: Rick W
Nicholas,
The Alp settings (at least on my unit) are Setting 1 = 16:05 mins.  Each
successive setting increases that time by 15 seconds until you reach the
max of 20:05 at setting 15.  
Something is very strange here.  The difference (in time) between a
setting of 3 and 4 is 15 seconds which is not enough time for a working
Alp to take beans from just crossing 1st to a dark and oily level.  With
my Alp and for most beans, there is a 2 to 2.5 minute transition from
the very 1st snap of 1st to the very first snap of 2nd.  A setting of 3
is roughly 17:05 mins of roasting time which is plenty to get you to
first snap on most Alps, but would be a bit long IMO.  On my unit, I'd
be well past 2nd C at that time, but I have an Alp that is calibrated
toward the hotter side. I prefer to see an Alp hitting 1st C at the
11-13 minute level (depending upon bean type).  Of course at 11-13 mins,
that means that the Alp user settings are rendered useless (which they
are anyway IMO).  
The part that just doesn't add-up is that one setting difference is
producing such a broad result in roast level on your Alp.  For an Alp to
do what you're describing, it would likely have to be a malfunction that
was adding much more than 15 seconds between setting 3 and 4.  Do a dry
run with your Alp (no beans) and time how many minutes it takes for both
setting 3 and 4.  While you're doing those dry runs, look at the flapper
doors (just behind the drum) and see if they are fully closed when you
press "Start" and fully open when you press "Cool" or when the unit
initiates Cool .  Think I'd also be calling SwissMar on this one.
Rick Waits
<Snip>
produce
<Snip>
25%
<Snip>
the
<Snip>
Kona
<Snip>
to
<Snip>
The
<Snip>
a
<Snip>
more
<Snip>
Do
<Snip>
have.
<Snip>

13) From: Craig Andrews
Subject: RE: +New Alpenrost
Date: Tue, 9 Dec 2003 09:18:24 -0700
Reply-To: homeroast
I was replying to Nicholas who said: "a setting of 3 doesn't take beans
enough into 1st crack and a setting of 4 produces a dark roast."
Personally, I always set mine to 15, also, and frequently still couldn't
get as dark as I liked, but I was living in Nicholas' world for that
post.  Nick must have a really hot Alp.
-- Rick
Yes Nicholas has a "hot" Alp. If you want to recalibrate it, heres the
post for the procedure once again:http://www.coffeegeek.com/forums/coffee/homeroast/6348#6348This should help you out.
Cheers!
Regard's,
Craig Andrews.
www.andrewsgreenbeans.4t.com

14) From: Craig Andrews
I was replying to Nicholas who said: "a setting of 3 doesn't take beans
enough into 1st crack and a setting of 4 produces a dark roast."
Personally, I always set mine to 15, also, and frequently still couldn't
get as dark as I liked, but I was living in Nicholas' world for that
post.  Nick must have a really hot Alp.
-- Rick
Yes Nicholas has a "hot" Alp. If you want to recalibrate it, heres the
post for the procedure once again:http://www.coffeegeek.com/forums/coffee/homeroast/6348#6348This should help you out.
Cheers!
Regard's,
Craig Andrews.http://www.andrewsgreenbeans.4t.com

15) From: Rick Farris
That sounds just right, Nicholas.
-- Rick

16) From: Rick Farris
Be careful with those dry runs.  I melted my bean cup by dry-running.
-- Rick

17) From: Rick W
Hmmm...I've done quite a few of them with no damage to the bean cup
(based upon recommendation from SwissMar).  But, I have to say that my
Alp is the original version and maybe some of these second generation
units are different in that regard.
Rick W.
<Snip>
takes
<Snip>

18) From: Nicholas J Leon
On Tue, 2003-12-09 at 12:54, Rick W wrote:
<Snip>
Last night I was able to do a little more testing (though not as much as
I wished). Here are some of the results:
Setting #3: 17:00
Setting #4: 19:20
#3 was a dry run (which I did twice to confirm the numbers).
#4 was with beans (which I also did twice). 
Some more detail for setting #4:
16m05s into the roast:  1st crack (which is almost inaudible)
18m30s : Fully into 2nd crack
19m20s : vent snaps open and machine goes into cooldown
---
I had hoped to time setting #2 and #5, but simply didn't have the time. 
At this point I'm going to assume that there is something physically
wrong with my alp so I'll be giving Swissmar a call today or tomorrow.
Thank you all for your help!
--njl

19) From: Paul Goelz
At 08:44 AM 12/10/2003, you wrote:
<Snip>
Does anyone know how the ambient temperature compensation works on the 
Alp?  I have always figured the easy way to temperature compensate the Alp 
would be to start the timer at the point where the heater first reaches the 
setpoint and begins cycling but I do not know if that is how they do it. If 
that is indeed how they do it, that might explain the problem if the sensor 
or circuit are malfunctioning.
Paul
Paul Goelz
Rochester Hills MI USA
pgoelzhttp://www.pgoelz.com

20) From: Rick Farris
Now I agree.  There should only be 15s difference between each setting.
As I recall, setting #8 (mid-range) is supposed to be 18:15.  That would
make your setting #3 correct, but setting #4 wildly high.  19:20
(actually 19:15 -- close enough) would be correct for setting #13.
-- Rick

21) From: Rick Farris
The timer doesn't know anything about the heater.  And, come to think
about it, I don't think there *is* any ambient temperature compensation.
The timer starts when you press the "Go" button and is factory
calibrated for 18:00 at a setting of 8.  Each setting from 8 changes the
time by 15s.  So setting it at 16 (It *is* 16, isn't it?  Not 15?)
increases the time by (8 * 15s = 120s = 2m) two minutes, for a total
roast time of 20 minutes.  Likewise the other direction.
-- Rick

22) From: rnkyle
Rick I believe the new ones with the white sticker on the bottom 01 I
believe. have ambient compensation. As you stated the timer is independent
from the heat. Its just a timer. The heater cycles on and off to keep the
roasting chamber temp at 500 degrees.
Ron

23) From: Rick Farris
That's what I was thinking, but then I thought "What would 'ambient
compensation' mean?"
What do you think it means.  (And don't say "It compensates for
ambient!")
-- Rick

24) From: rnkyle
Rick I''m not sure of the exact details but will dig around in my files and
find the write up on it. I will try to do that tonignt when I get home from
work.
Ron

25) From: Craig Andrews
<Snip>
On the front  left hand side of the Alp, forth slot on the right,
directly under the "p" in the name Alpenrost you'll see the ambient air
temp correction sensor, it's green & looks similar to a small ceramic
capacitor. It's a thermistor. This makes an adjustment to keep roasting
times consistant regardless of your environmental temperature, ie (a
garage). I tested mine out 2 yrs ago on a 50 ft extension cord & the
temp in the garage was 7C, 45F & not a problem...
Cheers,
Craig Andrews
www.andrewsgreenbeans.4t.com

26) From: Rick Farris
Yeah, that's the "It compensates for ambient" answer.  Now, what does it
really do?
I mean, if the thermostat is controlling the oven temperature at 550,
and the timer is controlling roast time, what adjustment does the
"ambient temperature corrector" make?
-- Rick

27) From: rnkyle
Thanks Graig, I thought the newer version did compensate for ambient temps.
Rick I guess it does't matter who answered your question.'Craig is far more
experienced on the Alpenrost then I.
Ron

28) From: Rick Farris
What?  Saying that ambient temperature compensation "makes an adjustment
to keep roasting times consistent?"  How is that an answer?
Hot air poppers take in roasting-environment temperature air and apply a
constant amount of heat to it, leading to an output temperature that is
a direct function of input temperature.  That is what was so great about
the Hearthware Precision.  It actually had a thermostat in the airflow
path so that it could maintain a constant output temperature, thereby
compensating for changes in ambient temperature.
But the Alpenrost is an oven.  It already had a temperature controller
which kept a constant temperature inside.  Just like your kitchen oven
when you set it for 350, it goes to 350, no matter what the
temperature in the kitchen.
Interestingly, barbecue roasters are like hot-air roasters in that
regard.  If you just turn on the gas to a given setting, then the
temperature inside (and hence the roast parameters) will change with the
outside temperature.  With a barbecue roaster, though, I suspect that
*you* become the ambient compensator by adjusting the gas based on a
thermometer reading of the interior temperature.
I just want to know what you could adjust on a thermostatically
controlled device to compensate for ambient temperature changes, that's
all.
-- Rick

29) From: Timothy Reaves
     The 'new' machines do not (or no longer) have white stickers on the
bottom.  I just purchased mine, and it DOES have the thermisister,
but it doesw NOT have the white sticker.
F.Y.I.
<Snip>

30) From: AlChemist John
Sometime around 17:59 12/11/2003, Rick Farris typed:
<Snip>
Inlet temperature via another heating coil? (just guessing, but I thought 
of this feature in my own designs)
<Snip>
--
John Nanci 
AlChemist at large
Zen Roasting and Blending by Gestalthttp://www.dreamsandbones.net/blog/

31) From: Rick Farris
There really isn't any "inlet air" on an Alp.  The fan doesn't run until
the cooling cycle kicks in.  I tell ya', it's an oven.

32) From: Brice D. Hornback
Are you sure about that?  This morning, I roasted a batch and about twenty
seconds into the roast, I heard a noise that sounded like bearings going out
in a fan.  I think the fan is dieing.  Anyone know of a replacement part and
how difficult it is to replace?  Anyway... if the fan wasn't on at all
during the roasting process, the noise wouldn't have started during the
roast.  (I believe it does run... just at a very reduced RPM to help pull
moisture out of the roast chamber.  See... with the fan going out... there
was no way to move the roasting air (moist steam / oily stuff) out of the
roaster.  I had what actually looked like coffee drips coming from the lid
since all the smoke, steam, etc. was essentially trapped inside the roast
chamber.  Thoughts?
Anyone else have the Alp fan go bad?
Thanks,
Brice

33) From: Dave Huddle
Rick,
I'm sure the fan runs all the time, pulling air in through various
slots, and through the space between the inner chrome 1/2 cylinder and
the outer cover.
Otherwise, the exterior of the outer black cover would get VERY hot.
Dave
<Snip>

34) From: Rick Farris
Let me rephrase myself: The fan has no effect on the roasting chamber
until the cooling cycle.  I think the fan actually does run so that the
electronics don't overheat.  But the roasting chamber is sealed until
the doors open when the cooling cycle begins.
-- Rick

35) From: Jeffrey A. Bertoia
The fan does run during the roasting cycle.  My Alp is out of commission 
right now because of
a bad fan.
When it does not run it gets real 'cold' ie drying barely occurs during 
a normal roast cycle.
jeff
Rick Farris wrote:
<Snip>

36) From: Paul Goelz
At 10:08 PM 12/11/2003, you wrote:
<Snip>
Once the internal temperature reaches the setpoint, the Alp attempts to 
keep it constant.  But the ambient temperature (and that of the roaster 
before it is started) will affect the time it takes to get to the preset 
internal roast temperature.  If the Alp or the ambient air is cold, for 
example, the Alp will take longer to reach the setpoint.  If the timer is a=
 
fixed value, a cold Alp will roast lighter for a given timer 
setting.  Unless compensated for, the ambient WILL affect the roast level.
I have been told by Swissmar that the newer Alps incorporate ambient 
temperature compensation but so far they do not seem to have revealed how 
it works.  Logic dictates that the ambient compensation either affects the=
 
roast temperature or the time.  Anyone done any experimentation?
Paul
Paul Goelz
Rochester Hills, MI
paul
pgoelzhttp://www.pgoelz.com

37) From: rnkyle
I beleive the only way the Alps could compenstate for ambient temps is alter
the on/off heating cylce. The on/off is the way it maintains 500 degrees, on
cooler days it would cycle on longer then it would on  warmer days thus
maintaining drum chamber temp.
Just my thinking.
Ron

38) From: Rick Farris
I give up.  :-)
-- Rick

39) From: Paul Goelz
At 05:29 PM 12/12/2003, you wrote:
<Snip>
It would seem to me that an easier way would be to set the setpoint at the 
desired internal temperature.  Then simply start the timer when the 
setpoint was reached for the first time.  But I don't know how/if the Alp 
does the compensation.
I do know that my compensated Alp seem to roast just slightly darker in the 
winter when the ambient inside is a couple degrees lower than it is in the 
summer.  My Alp is stored in the corner next to the fireplace (I roast in 
the fireplace), and it gets colder there in the winter so the Alp itself is 
colder in the winter.  That would tend to indicate that there was some form 
of compensation and that it slightly over-corrected?
Paul
Paul Goelz
Rochester Hills, MI
paul
pgoelzhttp://www.pgoelz.com

40) From: Craig Andrews
From: "rnkyle" 
To: 
Subject: Re: +New Alpenrost
Date: Fri, 12 Dec 2003 17:29:01 -0500
Reply-To: homeroast
I beleive the only way the Alps could compenstate for ambient temps is
alter
the on/off heating cylce. The on/off is the way it maintains 500
degrees, on
cooler days it would cycle on longer then it would on  warmer days thus
maintaining drum chamber temp.
Just my thinking.
Ron
You know, it doesn't matter what answer I give or say, some people just
like to hear themselves talk...
Craig.


HomeRoast Digest