My 5kg USRC Roaster, I took the the plunge - Page 5

Discuss roast levels and profiles for espresso, equipment for roasting coffee.
Milligan (original poster)

#41: Post by Milligan (original poster) »

Peppersass wrote:Beautiful roaster and great work cleaning it up and getting it operational!

Not to be a Debbie Downer, but did you install the natural gas extension yourself, or did you have a licensed technician do it?

You mentioned an HVAC guy, but your descriptions sounds like you may have done the work yourself. My State allows home owners to do their own electrical wiring, but requires a licensed technician for all work on gas appliances, including simply connecting or disconnecting them. I would guess the rules for gas installation and service are the same for most, if not all jurisdictions. Besides, if your jurisdiction requires a licensed technician, and you did the work and anything goes wrong with the gas that causes death, injury or property damage, your insurance company won't cover.

Hopefully, it's just the way you wrote it up or the way I read it.
I installed it. I used to be a contractor in a prior life and do pretty much everything myself. My father in law is a master certified electrician so he advises and inspects all of my electrical installs. The HVAC guy I talked about I've known for a long time. He confirmed my work. Unfortunately, I live in an area where we have VERY loose codes. You'd be appalled at the work I've run across in projects. Extension cords in walls, Romex tying into knob and tube passed off as a "full rewire", shower head necks used as gas line, partition walls built in basements to hide foundation issues, etc. I do wish we had stricter standards here.

You raise a great point though. Before I roast my first batch I need to get a hold of my insurance agent and make sure all this is covered and I'll specifically ask the question you raised. If I need extra insurance then so be it. If I need certification paperwork then I'll have the HVAC guy come and do an inspection. Ameren installed my meter and the same HVAC guy ran the main gas line through the house. I was never given any paperwork on either job.

FWIW, my jurisdiction has zero inspections required other than for tax assessment and certification of occupancy on new homes or major additions. They do require permits on additions, pools, and permanent non-attached structures. Those permits are for tax purposes and they don't inspect them for safety as far as I know. We don't have the funding for full inspections in my area.

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#42: Post by Peppersass »

Sounds like a good strategy for the insurance.

I live in a rural area, too, but my town has strict building and zoning codes due to some major institutions with lots of buildings in the area. Things were a lot looser 20-30 years ago. Some contractors still aren't on board. For example, the HVAC company I hired to replace our propane furnace with a heat pump didn't mention applying for a building permit until I brought it up. Ended up applying for the permit myself. Our town zoning, planing and codes administrator told me that local house sales are regularly held up due to lack of proper permits in the file.

Milligan (original poster)

#43: Post by Milligan (original poster) »

I contacted my insurance agent and she had to call the underwriter because they haven't been asked about homeowner installed gas lines before. She got back with me pretty quickly and said it doesn't matter. The insurance underwriters were more concerned with what is attached to the gas line than who installed the line (at least in my area and agency.) The biggest issue was if the appliance was sized appropriately for the space (as in a heater that isn't too big for a small room) and that the appliance was not DIY/Homemade (like a cobbled together gas grill or oil drum turned into a space heater.) They were much more concerned about wood fired appliances. I asked specifically about a coffee roaster and she said as long as it wasn't used commercially then it wouldn't need any extra insurance. I'm not commercially using it in this space. This is a test bed and customer roasts will not be performed until I get my commercial location.

I got a Dwyer DPGA-04 for my burner gauge. I thought about getting one that one connect with artisan but the cheapest options as $300. If I find that I want that then I will put this one on the service line and grab the gauge with a transmitter. Should be running some beans through it soon.

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#44: Post by TomC »

Tim your progression curve has been impressive! Looking forward to seeing how your first few batches turn out for you.
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#45: Post by mkane »

And if the house blows up or burns down they will figure out the cause anyway.

I too am interested in your progress.

Milligan (original poster)

#46: Post by Milligan (original poster) »

mkane wrote:And if the house blows up or burns down they will figure out the cause anyway.
Let's hope it doesn't come to that!
TomC wrote:Tim your progression curve has been impressive! Looking forward to seeing how your first few batches turn out for you.
Thanks. My family and friends have said the quality has vastly improved as I've spent more time. I never would have believed how much nuance goes into coffee roasting. I rolled my eyes the first time I read that experienced cuppers could tell the difference in a 10s or so of development time. Let alone taste the difference in a RoR curve. One of my biggest points in becoming a believer in the nuance was when I read in Rao's older book "The Coffee Roaster's Companion" early on...
The Coffee Roaster's Companion by Scott Rao pg 44 wrote:If the ROR is constant or horizontal, even for just 1 minute, it will also destroy sweetness and create "flat" flavors reminiscent of paper, cardboard, dry cereal, or straw.
I remembered a roast from a few days prior to reading those words that had terrible straw taste but shouldn't have been underdeveloped. I looked back on the graph and sure enough, flatline after 1st crack. I thought, well there might be something to this. :oops:

Right now, I'm tasting a lot of coffees to try to nail down the first order. I'm trying to find something that the majority of my family and friends will enjoy in quantity but still has some interesting flavors. Most of the feedback has been people like the Costa Rican coffees, likely due to their clarity. I've been taken aback a bit by how much difference there is in Guatemalan Huehuetenango coffees. Some are incredibly herbaceous which seems to turn folks off while some are chocolatey and heavy bodied even at a lighter roast. I've also come to realize for myself that I do not like wet hulled Indonesian coffee and likely won't revisit them again for awhile.

I'm very eager to move to a normal roasting process of manipulating inputs to control the BT curve. I get very frustrated with the Ikawa which has me set the temperature curve and then cross my fingers that it actually follows it without a wavy ROR. I've about pulled my hair out wishing it had manual controls that I could take over during first crack... I've figured out ways to manipulate it by, for example, programming a dip in the temperature curve that I know it will overshoot on specific coffees but that is such a bandaid and not a systematic way to do things.

It will be a large learning curve on the gas roaster but I can't wait to have more control. If I had to do over, I would have bought a BC2 or something like that at the beginning on this process. Not to knock the Ikawa, it is great for banging out samples which is what it is intended to do.

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#47: Post by mkane »

Our flatline seems to arrive just after 340°.

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#48: Post by Andy »

Milligan wrote:I wish artisan worked on an iPad.
Have you considered Roastmaster? It was developed for IOS.

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#49: Post by bean2friends »

Yeah, I use Roastmaster on an Ipad and like it. Although I haven't figured out how to post events like changes in gas and fan.

Milligan (original poster)

#50: Post by Milligan (original poster) »

Andy wrote:Have you considered Roastmaster? It was developed for IOS.
I didn't look into it since it seems most pros use artisan or cropster. I wanted one of those two to be within the standards of knowledge base. I've gotten artisan setup on an older MacBook. The warmup I did seemed to work well.

Quick update, I plan to do the first test roast tomorrow. Had to do a few things before finally firing it up for a test batch. Greased the drum, installed the digital gas gauge, and set up some ancillary equipment around the roaster. Ambient temps have been a bit high to roast. Tomorrow is in the 70s so I plan to do it then. I have a nice quantity of beans on the way and quite a list of folks eager to get some bags.

Commercial location is in limbo due to infrastructure and easement legalities. As Reagan said: trust, but verify. Glad I had utility services fully inspected before closing.