Roast Vision - a new and affordable roast level sensor for $299 - Page 2

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baldheadracing
Team HB

#11: Post by baldheadracing »

I went to the website to buy one - but it is USA only. Normally I would just drive to the States and pick one up, but this is 2020 :| .

Please let us know when you ship to Canada.
-"Good quality brings happiness as you use it" - Nobuho Miya, Kamasada

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#12: Post by espressovision (original poster) »

Thanks for letting me know Craig - I hadn't anticipated selling internationally, but after hearing from a few other people in Canada I'll look into this and try to set this up ASAP.

baldheadracing
Team HB

#13: Post by baldheadracing » replying to espressovision »

Thanks. In normal times, Canada could be 5%-10% of your USA sales. FYI, if the device fits, a USPS Priority Mail small flat rate box is easily the best option for Canadians.
-"Good quality brings happiness as you use it" - Nobuho Miya, Kamasada

espressovision (original poster)
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#14: Post by espressovision (original poster) » replying to baldheadracing »

Luckily that is the exact box I place my custom box inside to ship with, and it should be set by the end of this coming week - just getting some customs forms envelopes and other items prepared. I'll post an update here once it's setup for shipping.

daustin777
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#15: Post by daustin777 »

I'm really considering buying one.
I was originally considering buying a Tonino, although I wasn't quite sure where to get one in the US. The listed US distributor doesn't respond to emails.
I have the SCA Roast Color Calibration swatch disks and the RoastRight Color Swatch (which match number-wise, BTW). It is a pain since you really need a proper light booth to be accurate.

For my use, I want to have precision in my roast level so that each batch of roasted coffee is consistent.

I assume that the proprietary scale can be translated, by a third party to something close to Agtron.
David Austin

espressovision (original poster)
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#16: Post by espressovision (original poster) »

Thanks for the interest David!

I've been posting some in-use photos on the Espresso Vision Instagram to demonstrate the device, so there might be some photos there that give you a bit more intuition about the precision and sensitivity of the device. I actually have 7 bags of coffee coming in soon from multiple roasters that I'll be comparing and testing with my device over the coming days for more demos.

For batch QC and precision, we believe that 35 distinct roast levels with a precision of +/- 1 unit is more than enough in order to validate and QC multiple batches.

Regarding Agtron, this is a main priority of ours once we have the funds for an Agtron specific device.

Additionally, the translation to Agtron will be provided through the website via an update to the Roast Vision Scale Diagram, so this will be available to anyone that purchased the device at any time, even if Agtron conversion wasn't released at the time of your purchase.

espressovision (original poster)
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#17: Post by espressovision (original poster) »

baldheadracing wrote:Thanks. In normal times, Canada could be 5%-10% of your USA sales. FYI, if the device fits, a USPS Priority Mail small flat rate box is easily the best option for Canadians.
Sales and shipping to Canada is live on the website!

Thanks for the patience while I was setting it up!

Iowa_Boy

#18: Post by Iowa_Boy »

Peppersass wrote:I'm major into Arduino -- used one to add flow and pressure profiling to my GS/3 :D.

Now that you mention setting the grinder very fine for measurement, that's actually another advantage over the Tonino method. Some have commented that you have to grind very, very fine to get accurate and consistent results with the Tonino. That means you may not be able to use the grounds in the basket after measuring. Personally, I've always measured at the grind setting I'm using to pull the espresso, and haven't taken the time to compare readings at different grind settings.

So if a really fine grind is essential for consistency and accuracy, your small sample requirement is a definite advantage.

I'm game. Order placed.
Peppersass - did you receive yours yet? Would appreciate your impressions!

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Peppersass
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#19: Post by Peppersass »

I got it last week. I'm still running tests, but so far I like it a lot.

Pros:

1. The unit requires no calibration. As a result, the workflow is *way* faster and easier than the Tonino workflow (I have the original Tonino tin-can version) As a result, I'm much more likely to use the Roast Vision. Often with the Tonino I wouldn't do a measurement because it was too much of a hassle to get the unit out, unpack it and the calibration squares (taking great care not to get them dirty), grind and tamp a double basket of grounds, calibrate and measure. And I had to unplug, re-plug and recalibrate for each subsequent measurement. The current Tonino also requires calibration, but I don't know if you have to do it prior to every measurement. It still requires a tamped double basket of coffee.

2. The unit is much smaller and has fewer parts, so I can store it where it's handy for me to grab to do a measurement. No felt patches or calibration circles to store and keep clean. I've added a very small battery pack and 6-inch USB-C cable so I can skip plugging in a charger and cable. I'm going to Velcro them together. According to my USB-C power meter, the Roast Vision uses less than 10mA of current, so the battery charge will last a long time. Grab and go!

3. It takes less than 0.4g to do a measurement. I haven't figured out the absolute minimum yet, but it's on the order of 2-4 beans. With the Tonino (both versions) I have to sacrifice an entire double basket of coffee. Sometimes I pull a shot with that basket after measurement, but it doesn't tell me much immediately after a roast, and if I'm roasting later in the day I don't want to drink any espresso. Again, the tiny quantity of grounds required makes it much more likely that I'll grab the Roast Vision for a quick measurement.

4. AFAIK, the price is the lowest of any roast color measurement device. Truly affordable for the home roaster.

5. Measurements are consistent. So far, almost all of the measurements I've taken of the same coffee have been identical. I think one time the reading was different by one tick mark, but that could have been due to my not filling and tapping the sample carefully.

6. USB-C connector (a USB-A to USB-C connector is provided, which is compatible with most chargers.) I hate micro USB connectors and wish all my devices used USB-C.

Cons:

1. No integrated rechargeable battery (with on/off switch.) This would make the unit truly grab and go, but it would also be larger, heavier and more expensive. The solution I described above addresses this pretty well for less than $20.

2. The unit is 3-D printed and the appearance isn't as slick as a production unit made in a factory. But that's just cosmetics, not functionality, which is much more important (bear in mind that the last roast color meter I bought is assembled in a tin can...) The appearance is reasonable for the price.

Caveat: I've only tested three coffees so far, and only measured one of them with both the Roast Vision and the Tonino.

The results have been interesting. The first two coffees I tried were from Happy Mug: the Ethiopian Duarto Bombe and Sidamo Shantawene. Happy Mug print a roast scale on the bag, and both coffees were 1/2-2/3 through the Light region. In other words, Light roast. The Roast Vision reported both coffees as a 25 Medium Light, which is right on the line between Medium Light and Light. So, Roast Vision measured the roast a little darker than the roaster, but the distance between them was relatively small. And of course I don't know how Happy Mug measures their roasts -- by eye, ground, whole bean, etc.

The third coffee was the most interesting. It was The Natural from Black and White Roasters. They labeled the bag "Medium Dark". The Roast Vision gave it a 23, a little further toward Medium than the Happy Mug coffees, but about the middle of the Roast Vision's Medium Light range. The Tonino, on the other hand, measured the coffee at 127, which is very, very Light in my experience. I can't recall a commercial roast measuring that light on my Tonino, and my own roasts have never gone above 130 (and they were under-developed.)

So why would the two devices measure a darker coffee so light? I suspect that B&W uses a whole-bean measurement device, which I believe many roasters use because it's quick and easy. But what if the beans were roasted hot and dropped early? In that case they could be darker on the outside than the inside, and a whole bean measurement will come out darker than a ground coffee measurement. I didn't think about this possible cause until after I had consumed all The Natural I had on hand, so I didn't get a chance to cut some beans open to check the internal color. [EDIT: I don't know why the Tonino was so far off to the Light side, but it might have something to do with the grind setting and firmness of my tamp. Or, my Tonino has a problem or the color squares have faded or gotten dirty. I'll be investigating this during further testing.]

And I have a *lot* more testing to do. In addition to comparing the Roast Vision with the Tonino on a lot of different coffees, I want to assess the impact of grind fineness on the readings of both units. If fineness makes a significant difference, then my choice would be to always grind my Roast Vision samples as fine as my grinder can go. After all, it's only 3-4 beans and my Monolith Flat is accurate when returning to the previous grind setting. I've avoided grinding that fine with the Tonino because I'd definitely have to throw the sample out unless it was an ultra-light coffee I could pull with flow profiling. Tonino says to tamp very hard in order to minimize the difference between different grind settings, but I've never verified that to be true. I'll be looking to do that in these tests.

As for the scale, I have no problem with 35 steps. Most of the commercial home roasts I measured with the Tonino were in the 85-130 range, only ten more steps, and really the typical range for coffees I drink is more like 95-125. I can't imagine needing more precision. What would the detectable difference be in 23 versus 24? For me, repeatability is more important than precision. What I need is a relative scale against which to measure the coffees I buy and roast.

It would be nice to compare my measurements with Agtron readings, which are sometimes provided for sample roasts by green coffee suppliers and rarely by commercial specialty roasters, but as mentioned above it makes a difference if the reading is take with whole beans or grounds. I think just knowing the Roast Vision's approximate equivalent of the supplier's Agrton reading is enough, which should be possible with the scale Zach is planning to put on his website.

mathof

#20: Post by mathof »

Peppersass wrote:
So why would the two devices measure a darker coffee so light? I suspect that B&W uses a whole-bean measurement device, which I believe many roasters use because it's quick and easy. But what if the beans were roasted hot and dropped early? In that case they could be darker on the outside than the inside, and a whole bean measurement will come out darker than a ground coffee measurement.]
Coffee Review gives two Agtron readings for all the coffees it reviews, whole bean followed by ground. So, for it's most recently evaluated espresso roast, Kakalove Cafe's Black Swan Blend, we get 54/70.
https://www.coffeereview.com/review/black-swan-blend/

Invariably, the roasts they review are quite a bit darker outside than when ground. They discuss their measurements here:
https://www.coffeereview.com/review/black-swan-blend/

I use a Tonino, 2nd generation meter. I've grown used to getting much lighter readings than the roasters' descriptions would indicate.