I was given a roaster... W600

Discuss roast levels and profiles for espresso, equipment for roasting coffee.

#1: Post by DamianWarS »

I just got a 1kg roaster (see attached picture) and so now I want to start roasting. I live in a coffee country so getting green beans is no problem. The roaster is a part of the first of a series called the W600, since then there has been the W600i and now the W600i SE. from what I understand it's major differences are the blower. The blower and the motor that turns the drum are the same and it's positioned below the exhaust (which is also the bean feeder). the funnel/hopper where you feed the beans is removable and you hook up this bendy tube to the blower. The air would be drawn out of the bean feeding area, down a tube to where the blower is where it is exhausted. From what I have heard using the built-in blower increases a smoky taste and I think it's because it's not strong enough and the air needs to move down, against its natural direction, to get exhausted which probably isn't that efficient and builds up smoke inside. So I've been told don't use the blower and just let it exhaust from the top. I've contacted the manufacture and I'm trying to get a different blower installed on the top and see what options he has for the unit to better vent the smoke. I'll also try and get some digital readout from the temp probes and then plug it into a computer.

I've never roasted before and barely know the basics. I've read Scott Rao's roaster's handbook but to me is less of a how-to guide and more or a what's going on guide although some things are there that have given me an idea. My neighbour is coming by (the guy who gave me the roaster) and we're going to do a roast together. he has his own roastery using this very roaster but has moved to a different city and right now is not using it so I'm keeping it for him. He's a very go by feeling style and with less tech hooked up on this unit I suppose I see why however his coffee is very consistent from it and he's very familiar with this roaster, right now he's shopping for a 30kg one so he'll be busy with that one. The go by feeling, however, is less my style, I'm an information junkie and if I did something right or wrong I wants a readout so I can analyze it. I'll record the roast with my GoPro tomorrow so I get go back to that but any other suggestions on a good place to start? what's some good software to use?


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#2: Post by CarefreeBuzzBuzz »

Does it have any temperature probes at all right now? That would be your information source.

You could then read the temps into Artisan, along with other sensors if you use Phidgets as your devices.

Artisan Supported Devices

Once you get that set up, I recommend buying a lot of reasonably priced, washed processed beans.
Roast and practice.
Set up some roasts to test air flow settings and drum speed if you have the ability to mange those. I wasn't clear from your description.

If you are an information junkie, the probes are key to start.
Artisan Quick Start Guide


#3: Post by Jrodanapolis »

I also vote for Artisan software - very user friendly and has been a joy to work with so far.

Michael is right - figure out if it has probes and if it doesn't, it might be a bit of a challenge to add them, but it is the only way to get consistent, repeatable, and excellent coffee.

How awesome that you were given a roaster! A little elbow grease and lots of experimenting and you'll be roasting great coffee in no time. Keep us updated on how things go. I'll be looking forward to seeing your results.

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#4: Post by hankua »

My suggestion for now would be to watch a roast and start keeping a chart/graph of overall time, temperatures, and segment times. Just a simple graph jotting down time/temperature/gas setting every 10*C. Including charge temperature, turning point temperature, 150c note, first crack note, and drop; and everything done between first crack and drop.

If you can reliably replicate what the owner's been doing, it would be a great start!


#5: Post by DamianWarS »

it has temp gauges for beans and inside the drum (attached picture) nothing digital but the manufacturer has a digital upgrade kit that works with Artisan. The blower is one thing that has been changed on this unit and the manufacturer also has an upgrade kit for it too. I've been told my owners that it's is pretty much a mandatory upgrade. there is also a replacement nanometer control for the gas... I think total upgrades for it will cost about $400 USD. It was free (7 years ago) was about $1,600 USD and the newest version can be purchased today for about $1,800 USD. Use ones like that one I got seem to go for the highest $1000 USD but I suspect that would include some of the upgrades.


I'm setting up a coffee school and a part of that will be involved with roasting. I know very little about roasting, but I'm partnering others to do the teaching (I'm doing more the organizing). where I live this particular model is very common for people starting out or with small to medium-sized cafes, even large ones will have this machine (as well as higher capacity ones). I plan to teach how to use it as well as rent out time to roast your own coffee (like a coffee laundry mat) with hands-on training. the name is very well known in Indonesia so I figure I'll learn on this machine and get really familiar with it. I'm not ready to jump in at $1,600 right now but because this was free I couldn't pass it up and investing $400 into I think might be worth it given the strategy I have for the brand.


#6: Post by Jrodanapolis »

If you can swing the $400, I think all of those upgrades will be well worth it. The probes to connect to Artisan will help you learn so much about roasting and how to use the roaster. The analog probes are better than nothing, but to go back to look at previous roasts and compare/contrast you're going to continuously get better at roasting. And from your first post, it sure sounds like an upgraded blower will improve the taste of the coffee as well. Spending $400 to have a drum roaster with temp probes is a huge score.

Keep reading on here as much as you can and try to find a profile for the type of beans you like. I love fruity African beans so when I first started I looked at some profiles of the guys who post the most and tried to replicate those. You'll waste some beans for sure, but if you can have your neighbor help you get started, that will be a huge advantage. Pay attention to the charge temps he uses and when he changes the gas settings. And when you get Artisan set up, try your best to keep a declining RoR curve without any crashes or flicks. Experiment with development time until you get the flavor you want.

What an awesome way to get started roasting! I started playing the drums the same way once upon a time... my grandmother's neighbor was throwing some very old ones away and brought them over for me. I played on them for a couple of years and then upgraded to some beautiful brand new ones. I sold the "trash drums" for a few hundred bucks to help fund my new set.

Post some curves when you get Artisan set up and we'll give you some pointers. The guys on here have been extremely helpful over the past 6 months and I can't thank them enough. A few months from now you'll be roasting beans that probably taste better to you than what you can buy locally. Don't stop learning!


#7: Post by DamianWarS » replying to Jrodanapolis »

My neighbour and I did 3 roasts today, no blower just venting from the top. All analog. It was interesting to watch him as he has done hundreds of roasts on this machine and was clearly very comfortable with it. First was a natural, beans entered at drum heat of 180 and drum temp was raised to 200 and was kept at that temp adjusting gas as necessary. First crack was at about 16 min and total roast about 19 min. Temp was maintained at 200 until beans reach 190 (after first crack) and gas was turned down to a very low flame. Shortly after the beans were dropped, checking colour the whole time before dropping them. The goal was a medium, picture posted of the roasts. The other 2 where washed and I did one of them as per his instructions, they were put in at a slightly lower drum heat as they were not quite as dry as the manuals but he has no moisture meters he is just estimating the moisture content. His claim were naturals were usually always a lower moisture content then washed. Tomorrow we are doing robusta which according to his instructions has a few different targets.


Below also is a picture of the built in blower disconnected and just a funnel on top and thats how these were roasted. During one of the roast there was what I thought to be a lot of smoke from the bottom, seems there was some burning chaff not sure the impact it would have had on the roast (he was roasted these for himself). I have had his coffee many times and there was a flavour characteristic I couldn't place at the time I now have identified it as smoky and it may be from insufficiently exhausting the smoke, not necessarily my neighbours fault but the limits of the set up of the machine. He claims with the built in blower the smoky flavour is increased so that's why it is run just venting on top. I'm in process of ordering the upgrades and getting them installed, I'm particularly interested in the artisan software.



#8: Post by DamianWarS »

hankua wrote:My suggestion for now would be to watch a roast and start keeping a chart/graph of overall time, temperatures, and segment times. Just a simple graph jotting down time/temperature/gas setting every 10*C. Including charge temperature, turning point temperature, 150c note, first crack note, and drop; and everything done between first crack and drop.

If you can reliably replicate what the owner's been doing, it would be a great start!
obviously software will constantly be recording but it's interesting to do your own roast profile manually collecting the data. What exactly is collected in a roast profile anyway by something like artisan? drum and bean temp plus time are a given and maybe the limits of my unit (maybe manually noting the gas level too), but what else is there that typically is measured? What should I be looking for?

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#9: Post by hankua »

That's the basics, if you chart more frequently like say 30 seconds; then a graph can be made and ROR calculated as well. For datalogging the least expensive is using a Mastech MS6514 or PerfectPrime clone and one or two ungrounded K-type thermocouples in the roaster's faceplate. Often times hobbyists can fine a bolt hole to re-purpose for inserting a probe.

Depending on how long you have the roaster to use, charting with a pencil may be the most practical solution.

These are the four things I used to chart: Time - Gas - Air - Temperature - at 10*C intervals including Start, Turning Point, 150c, First Crack, Second Crack, Drop.

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#10: Post by civ »

DamianWarS wrote: ... a very go by feeling style and with less tech ...
... his coffee is very consistent ...
... very familiar with this roaster ...
This is because he knows his roaster inside out, so to speak.

If your friend can do all this, so can you.
As long as your nose, sight and ears work well enough. =-D

If I were in your shoes, given the really great opportunity you have to learn directly from a person who clearly understands how a drum roaster works and has evidently mastered this particular roaster (they are all different), I'd concentrate on acquiring his skill set while you can.

Once you are able to do what he is able to do using his senses and experience, then you could move towards the use of the various measuring/charting tools available to see what is actually going on in terms of temperature, RoR, etc.

I started roasting coffee using a pair of SS collanders held together with wire over a camping stove flame, shaking vigorously as the roast progressed and checking the termperature with a small oven thermometer stuck in through the top collander.

I recall getting a few really excellent roasts.
To my chagrin, I have not been able to repeat them (been close) in spite of Artisan, two probes, an analog dial thermomenter and lots of graphs.

Makes me wonder ...
Just what does your friend think of all the tech you are wanting to add to his roaster?

Just my $0.02.