Larry Cotton on his home-made roasters

Discuss roast levels and profiles for espresso, equipment for roasting coffee.
baldheadracing
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#1: Post by baldheadracing »

Some may be familiar from the videos Sweet Maria's has put out of Larry Cotton's awesome home roasters.

Here's Larry in his own words, courtesy Makezine magazine:
https://makezine.com/?=554494 wrote:My 15-Year Quest to Make the Ultimate DIY Coffee Roaster: Bean Back Better: How I built - and rebuilt, and rebuilt - 22 versions of the perfect homemade coffee roaster

I'm a coffee addict - just not the usual type. I can't even settle for buying a pound of Peet's whole beans, grind and brew them, then relax with my cup of hot coffee and Reddit. My coffee must come from beans that I roast.

In a coffee roaster that I built.

Way back in 2006, while visiting my son Mike in Portland, Oregon, he offered me a cup of coffee. Seems like a perfectly normal thing to do, right? Not really, because up to then I had never drunk a full cup of coffee, and he knew it. Even survived four years of quasi-derision in the Navy from the old salts: "Mr. Cotton, you'll never survive the US Navy without coffee." (They were wrong.)

When Mike offered me the brew, I balked: "You know I don't drink coff-"

He interrupted, "Just try this, Dad." So I did, and guess what? It was delicious and refreshing - exactly what I needed at that particular 3-time-zone jet lag moment. ...
Article continues at: https://makezine.com/?p=554494

dyno

#2: Post by dyno »

Think I'ma try this. Maybe with more control of the heat gun output. Thanks for the link!

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happycat

#3: Post by happycat »

Thanks for sharing. Pretty ingenious ideas with the flour sifter.

I'm surprised he built so many roasters but they never incorporated control systems. I guess he was enamored of the mechanical aspects of the challenge.
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tinman143
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#4: Post by tinman143 »

I've been using my diy sifter, drill and heat gun for a few months now. Love it!

BodieZoffa

#5: Post by BodieZoffa »

happycat wrote:Thanks for sharing. Pretty ingenious ideas with the flour sifter.

I'm surprised he built so many roasters but they never incorporated control systems. I guess he was enamored of the mechanical aspects of the challenge.
I built my setup over 5 yrs ago using a high quality heat gun, sifter, etc. and have it setup to have infinite control of the heat applied, agitation speed, airflow to a degree and monitor temps at 3 crucial spots. I actually like the total manual control and can make adjustments as needed on the fly and get great consistent results. Roasting 9-10 lbs. monthly, always outdoors. I judge my batches on appearance (color changes, development time, etc.), aroma and of course ultimately taste/texture.

I am surprised that Cotton has so much faith in Harbor Fright heat guns though as regardless of affordably getting the job done I would never trust the reliability/longevity as much as I push mine.

dyno

#6: Post by dyno » replying to BodieZoffa »

Very cool. Where would you locate the thermocouples in Cotton's design? I'm looking at the Phidget site to get a feel for what's needed.

thirdcrackfourthwave

#7: Post by thirdcrackfourthwave »

BodieZoffa wrote:I built my setup over 5 yrs ago using a high quality heat gun, sifter, etc. and have it setup to have infinite control of the heat applied, agitation speed, airflow to a degree and monitor temps at 3 crucial spots. I actually like the total manual control and can make adjustments as needed on the fly and get great consistent results. Roasting 9-10 lbs. monthly, always outdoors. I judge my batches on appearance (color changes, development time, etc.), aroma and of course ultimately taste/texture.

I am surprised that Cotton has so much faith in Harbor Fright heat guns though as regardless of affordably getting the job done I would never trust the reliability/longevity as much as I push mine.
Let's talk turkey. . . .my Harbor Freight died last week after about 6 years. What high quality gun are you using? FTR I replaced it with a Porter-Cable and it is worse than the HF that died. Total pos and it is going back. A lot of plastic, (around heat right?) poor airflow and the build quality seems right at HF levels.

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BodieZoffa

#8: Post by BodieZoffa » replying to thirdcrackfourthwave »

https://www.masterappliance.com/the-new ... -heat-gun/

Yes it's more costly than most others (can be found cheaper than MSRP), but the performance/consistency, build quality and of course longevity is unbeatable. Having infinite temperature control this unit has makes it worth every dollar for my use.

BodieZoffa

#9: Post by BodieZoffa »

dyno wrote:Very cool. Where would you locate the thermocouples in Cotton's design? I'm looking at the Phidget site to get a feel for what's needed.
Would need to take a closer look when I have the time. I have mine setup to monitor temp at the heat gun nozzle, at the bottom of the sifter screen as well as bean mass as it's being agitated. Allows me to get great feedback with fairly quick reactions and no fluctuation to be honest.

tinman143
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#10: Post by tinman143 »

thirdcrackfourthwave wrote:Let's talk turkey. . . .my Harbor Freight died last week after about 6 years. What high quality gun are you using? FTR I replaced it with a Porter-Cable and it is worse than the HF that died. Total pos and it is going back. A lot of plastic, (around heat right?) poor airflow and the build quality seems right at HF levels.
This is the one I'm using. It's $cheap but all metal, has a metal stand that attaches and has a cool air setting which is perfect for roasting. I use mine once a week for the past 6 months. Hope it's good for a few years.

https://www.harborfreight.com/power-too ... 69342.html