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How to Home Roast - Page 4

Postby Ken Fox on Tue Feb 16, 2010 12:12 am

pallen wrote:Thanks for the post. This seems to be where I need to do some experimenting. Even roasting 12oz in the Behmor, I usually hit 1C somewhere around 14min. I've gotten pretty good at stretching the 1st crack to the second, but if I am going to hit 1C under 10min, I'm probably going to have to go down to an 8 oz load on the 1lb setting. Could this explain why I don't seem to get the brighter tones I think I should?


I've never used a Behmor. My bias, which I've expressed before (to the dismay of many :mrgreen: ) is that I have doubts that one can sell a roaster capable of doing a good job at roasting a pound of coffee per batch at this price point. This does not mean that this roaster might not do a good or reasonable job with a smaller quantity.

I have never tried your coffee that takes 14 minutes to hit first crack, so I can't give an opinion on it. I do have doubts that any batch of coffee taking 14 minutes to reach 1st crack would be anywhere as good as it might be hitting first crack a lot earlier.

My suggestion would be to try roasting a smaller quantity that can hit first crack earlier, then compare this to your results with a larger quantity. This is how you can go about answering your own question, and if you want, perhaps you will let us know how it turned out.

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Postby pallen on Tue Feb 16, 2010 11:08 am

I don't at all disagree with your general criticism of the Behmor. It has many limitations. I don't think the price point is the issue as much as our 110V sockets. There is only so much heat that can be generated under safe, home breaker loads. Air roasters, of course, are a different story, but suffer other flaws. To me, the ideal electric roaster would plug into a 220V dryer socket, but that would be impossible to market for obvious reasons. Even though the Behmor has its shortcomings, I do think it can produce really good coffee if you fully understand what the programs are doing and how to shift them into doing exactly what you want. (unfortunately, you can only do your adjustments at the beginning and not on the fly) The big advantage to me is that if you are able to really nail a profile with great results, you have some hope to reproduce it since the microprocessor will assure that the same heat is always applied with the same exact timing every time.

The 14 minutes pretty much applies to everything I have been roasting in the Behmor. Some hit 1C as soon as 12 minutes, others 14-15. I knew something was up when I tried my first Yirga Cheffe and it came out sweet and deep rather than bright, floral and fruity. I suspected that I'm missing something, but the coffee tastes great and I really cant compare the same bean roasted by a "professional".

Based on the targets posted in this thread, I roasted an 8 oz batch of Ethiopian Sidamo on the 1lb P1 A setting. I hit 1st crack at almost exactly 9minutes. I opened the door as the 1st crack got going and left it open for almost 3 minutes and closed it. About 4 minutes after the 1st crack began, I heard the first snaps of the 2nd and stopped. I haven't tasted it yet, but this at least gets my times into "ideal" ranges. At least I know that I can hit 1c in 9 minutes by adjusting the load weight.
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Postby Arpi on Tue Feb 16, 2010 1:34 pm

Very good post.

Another thing to consider is how the heat arrives to the beans. If you crank up the power all the way up to get to 1C faster, you may damage the flavor of beans with acrid acidity. So first you have to find the limit of the max env. temperature that the beans can take without causing flavor damage. Then select the batch size to get to 1C at a desired time while not going over the env. limit.

The challenge is how to transfer heat to the beans below the max env. limit and in a timely manner to make the flavor pop.

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Postby Ken Fox on Tue Feb 16, 2010 2:09 pm

Arpi wrote:
Another thing to consider is how the heat arrives to the beans. If you crank up the power all the way up to get to 1C faster, you may damage the flavor of beans with acrid acidity. So first you have to find the limit of the max env. temperature that the beans can take without causing flavor damage. Then select the batch size to get to 1C at a desired time while not going over the env. limit.

The challenge is how to transfer heat to the beans below the max env. limit and in a timely manner to make the flavor pop.

Cheers


Hi Rafael,

This is the sort of complexity and jargon that I was trying to get away from with my post. Your idea of what constitutes "environmental temperature" in your roaster is going to have no relationship to what someone else thinks is the "environmental temperature" in their roaster. For that matter, your "acrid acidity" might be someone else's "citrus." So, although this concept might help you to roast the way that you roast with your roaster, I don't think I would suggest to roasters starting out that they think about roasting in this way.

rgds,

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Postby Arpi on Tue Feb 16, 2010 3:00 pm

I understand. Thanks for the effort.

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Postby GC7 on Tue Feb 16, 2010 4:13 pm

Arpi wrote:Another thing to consider is how the heat arrives to the beans. If you crank up the power all the way up to get to 1C faster, you may damage the flavor of beans with acrid acidity. So first you have to find the limit of the max env. temperature that the beans can take without causing flavor damage. Then select the batch size to get to 1C at a desired time while not going over the env. limit.

The challenge is how to transfer heat to the beans below the max env. limit and in a timely manner to make the flavor pop.

Cheers


Rafael

Unlike Ken, this is exactly where I have come in my roast planning using my hottop. I've got a good handle on my bean temperature measurements and delta-temperature ramps during the roast but I don't have a good handle on environmnetal temperatures or where to put the probes. My BT is exactly as RandyG describes on his excellent site. WIth winter roasting I've seen that ET can be significantly lower (20-30*) for a heat input compared with spring or summer roasting. It's not at all trivial to compenste for weather variables. Rather then "acrid acidity" you describe I've seen roast compensations that cause ashy espresso roasts or lifeless muddy brew roasts if the roast profile is not right. Between Max's excellent description of his hottop roast profiles and his use of variable (smaller) loads to get there and your summation above I think there is a good lesson to learn about how to develop a roasting strategy. I also think that it is imperative for a roaster to have at least some skills at tasting the end product and being able to recognize what he/she is drinking.
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Postby howard seth on Tue Feb 16, 2010 4:46 pm

I roast with a Behmor: (usually 10 oz. batches) I have not found, so far, reaching the 1st crack around 10 minutes to produce superior results than the slower profiles that reach first crack at 14 minutes or even later - and that might be completed around 20 minutes. This is with beans meant solely for espresso/cappuccino in my Elektra Semiautomatica.

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Postby Ken Fox on Tue Feb 16, 2010 5:05 pm

GC7 wrote:Rafael

Unlike Ken, this is exactly where I have come in my roast planning using my hottop. I've got a good handle on my bean temperature measurements and delta-temperature ramps during the roast but I don't have a good handle on environmnetal temperatures or where to put the probes. My BT is exactly as RandyG describes on his excellent site. WIth winter roasting I've seen that ET can be significantly lower (20-30*) for a heat input compared with spring or summer roasting. It's not at all trivial to compenste for weather variables. Rather then "acrid acidity" you describe I've seen roast compensations that cause ashy espresso roasts or lifeless muddy brew roasts if the roast profile is not right. Between Max's excellent description of his hottop roast profiles and his use of variable (smaller) loads to get there and your summation above I think there is a good lesson to learn about how to develop a roasting strategy. I also think that it is imperative for a roaster to have at least some skills at tasting the end product and being able to recognize what he/she is drinking.


I believe that this is a significant limitation of virtually any 110v home electrical drum roaster, which will struggle to produce enough heat at room temperature to roast 9 or 10 oz. of beans. If you have to use such a roaster in cold winter temperatures, it is a bit like Sisyphus pushing his boulder uphill, not to mention the fact that it forces you to roast one way during the warmer months and another way during the winter. Not only will this make roasting in winter a chore, it will make the learning curve that much steeper since the variables you face in roasting will be constantly changing.

My own sample roaster lives in my garage. When I first got it, the propane burner supplied with it was horrendously underpowered, plus I had no smoke hood which forced me to roast outside with the roaster on a cart. To say that this was an enormous PITA would be an understatement. I solved the heat production problem by getting a better and much more powerful burner set up for natural gas, plus had a friend build a smoke hood, and the roaster is now permanently installed in the garage under the hood. This allows me to roast at 50 - 55 degrees F in the winter, and has eliminated the cold weather problems I used to have. Still, perfection is hard to come by. I have found that during the winter my gas forced air heating system will deprive the roaster of gas pressure when the house is being heated, which makes roasting well hard to do. As a result, I have to turn my thermostats way down when I'm roasting, to prevent the furnace from sucking up all the precious natural gas I need to roast with :mrgreen:

Most people are probably not going to go to the lengths that I did to avoid the problems of cold weather roasting. Nonetheless, if one lives in a cold climate, one should take this into consideration when choosing a roaster, perhaps choosing something that has more heat capacity, in relationship to the bean load demands. Or, one could choose a roaster whose smoke can be evacuated outdoors, which would allow the roaster to be used indoors during the winter.

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Postby another_jim on Tue Feb 16, 2010 5:29 pm

With smaller, electrically powered roasters, it's worth considering insulation.

-- On my air roaster with a glass roast chamber, I needed to blow in 550F air to get to the second crack. When I insulated the glass with a sleeve, I could go down to 470F, and roast a lot of coffees that were ashy at the higher temperature. (Has anyone tried this on the Z & D? That take it from turtle to hare)

-- After roasting on the M3 for a week (similar in scale and power to the Hottop), I added an insulating wrap around the drum. This let me hold the drum temperatures below 500F, while getting 15 minute 2nd crack roasts with 1/2 pound loads. Without the insulation, the half pound roasts either ran slower or required a hotter drum.

-- People roasting outdoors with small roasters typically use a large cardboard shipping box as an enclosure. Preheating the roaster raises the temperature inside the box to room levels, and the walls shield the roaster from drafts. In many cases, it is completely impossible to complete the roast with this.
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Postby edwa on Tue Feb 16, 2010 9:19 pm

Ken Fox wrote:I generally try to get about 4-5 minutes in between the beginning of 1st Crack and the end of the roast.


Very nice to see this simply put in B&W. Can I apply these same general timings for 1C and end of roast for Decaf? I've read and seen how much quicker they can roast and find myself erring on the side of ending the roast possibly too soon, or taking to long to get to 1C. I then adjust to darken.

Another question, and I suppose this is also dependent on machine type and bean, once 1C is hit is there a preferred heat profile for the stage leading to 2C or does it not matter as long as you get to those timings? I'm not sure I've put my question clear enough. An earlier post stated that they ventilated (via open door) for 3 minutes while using a P1 profile. That setting is 100% power for the duration of the roast with his added open door ventilation, compared to say, a profile that lowers the heat to 70 % after 1C has started but isn't ventilated. Is there a temp/internal heat momentum that we want to ride or is it better to allow a cooling and then add more heat? For the sake of this question ignore how quickly you can increase the heat.
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