Important safety note regarding the Gene Cafe roaster - Page 2

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

#11: Post by Milligan »

Boldjava wrote:Context matters. Agree w/you.

I remember correcting a guy once. He had his fire extinguisher mounted on the wall behind the roaster. No!

My extinguisher is always behind me and between me and the exit.
Great piece of advice. I've always kept an extinguisher mounted at every exit point of my shop and garage as a bare minimum. I figure the exit is where I'd naturally want to go so may as well have them there.

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Randy G.

#12: Post by Randy G. »

Extinguishers should be mounted at exits so that when fighting a fire the escape route is at your back. I keep a large water extinguisher and a dry chem extinguisher in the garage.
For small home roasters (like the Hottop), spraying water into the roaster creates an instant cloud of steam because water expands 1600 times when turning to steam carrying with it a huge amount of thermal energy as well as displacing oxygen. That works well with the Hottop because the loading chute has such a short and direct path to the roast chamber. It's small volume is also of benefit in such a case. It is also beneficial to stop the fire before it is ejected in the Hottop's case because there is so much plastic in the cooling area.
Prevention is preferred, certainly. I recently disassembled the exhaust and chaff collector on my gas roaster and did a thorough cleaning of the entire path. I don't get paid for fighting fires any more. :roll:
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#13: Post by boren »

Would spraying water into the air intake of the Gene Cafe be an effective measure in case chaff catches fire inside the drum?

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Randy G.

#14: Post by Randy G. replying to boren »

I would think that water going through the fan and into the glass chamber would possibly create more problems than it could solve (water and electronics do not get along well, and water on a hot glass vessel could spread the problem). A bucket of water to toss the chaff collector into would be a good way to deal with that I would think. I have not used the Gene for a long time, but I seem to remember that not that much chaff gathered in the roast chamber. But a CO2 extinguisher shot from a moderate distance to deny the roaster oxygen for a time would smother the fire. That might be a better solution if you want to save the roaster.
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#15: Post by Trjelenc »

Randy G. wrote:That warning applies for all coffee roasters. Read the owner's manual and pay attention to the care and maintenance section. Place a repeating calendar event on your phone if you have to. The chaff and oils that are produced combined with the high temperatures of whatever heating system it has (gas, electric, IR, solar, whatever) creates a recipe for disaster if the cleaning regime is ignored. Same can be said for an inattentive operator. I roast many different types of coffees and some produce far more chaff than others. Just another thing to watch for.
Blows my mind when I've seen Behmor users (on models before they put the "acknowledge or shutoff" function) talk about starting a roast, setting a timer, and going to sit down and watch TV. No wonder Behmor added that feature, they don't want to get sued by people burning their house down because they can't be bothered to watch their roast

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Randy G.

#16: Post by Randy G. »

Trjelenc wrote:Blows my mind when I've seen Behmor users (on models before they put the "acknowledge or shutoff" function) talk about starting a roast, setting a timer, and going to sit down and watch TV.
We run into that as well. I could give specifics, many of which include the statement from the user, "I was right there when it happened all of a sudden! The roaster is faulty!" and sometimes followed by comments concerning lawyers and refunds.

One Hottop that was, as stated by the owner, "Totally destroyed," I took in for examination before making a judgement. Many of the external plastic parts were partially melted and the viewing window was totally covered by black soot. I plugged it in and it went into cooling mode when I pressed START. I traced it back to a melted chaff tray micro-switch which it forces the user to remove and empty the chaff tray before starting a subsequent roast. I jumped the switch's two wires and was immediately able to roast a batch of coffee. Roaster was working just fine, before and after the fire. They had the roaster set to max target temperature which was 428F and presumably expecting it either pay attention and manually eject (which they did not) or to have it eject automatically. After repair and cleanup I manually ejected a batch at around 405F (iirc) at an active, rolling 2nd crack. But it gets better... they were roasting in the kitchen and apparently just using the range hood for ventilation. That works pretty well with a normal roast. It will not handle a conflagration when a couple of handfuls of ignited beans are ejected.

When you invent a better, foolproof appliance, along comes a better fool.
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