Quest M3 : time between roasts

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

#1: Post by badperson »

My basic routine is to roast 5 batches.

I start by warming up the machine for 15 mins or so, but which point BT reading is between 300-350F. I then hit full power and drop a batch of decaf.

After dropping, I kill the power and leave the beans in the tray for around 6-7 mins, til the beans are still warm but I can move my fingers thru them comfortably.

At that point the BT reads between 350 and 365, I hit full power and drop when it reaches 400F (or whatever my drop temp needs to be). I can typically do 5 batches in 90 mins or that similar to what you guys do? Anyway to cut down the time between roasts?

vecchi della seattle
Supporter ❤

#2: Post by vecchi della seattle »

I got a Quest M3 about 2 months ago, a replacement for the Behmor 2000AB, so I'm still getting my process down. I use the MET probe as my main heater adjustment reference. Sounds like you are using the tray with the Quest fan for cooling. I use a separate cooler box (muffin fan in a cardboard box ala Sweet Maria's). I dump the beans in that, drop fan to zero, current to 9 amps and get back to drop temperature while getting the next batch ready.

User avatar
Supporter ♡

#3: Post by Boldjava »

I cool separately from the Quest in a colander suspended in a bucket with a shop vac drawing air thru the colander.

I do back to back to back roasts, stopping only long enough to clean the chaff collector. I usually drop at 460* on the BT. Unlike a large commercial roaster, the Quest quickly sheds the heat. Little retained energy in its mass. I get a turning point of about 1:25 w/no bean scorch.
LMWDP #339


#4: Post by Jonk »

I like to keep temp around 50F above charge temperature for about 20 minutes to properly heat up the Quest, as per Scott Rao's advice. This way there's less difference between the first and second batch. Or just roast sensitive or lower quality beans first.

I also like to charge hot, the drum is comparatively thin and will drop in temperature quickly after adding beans. I've charged up to around 440-450F BT with good results. That would not be conventional on a large production roaster, but keep in mind this is a tiny machine.

If you have a Quest M3S (the model produced for the last 7 odd years) and use the built-in cooler it's prudent to cool the machine down a bit between batches. Cutting airflow through the drum completely will otherwise cause a spike in MET like this:

...which is not supposed to be good for the longevity of the heating elements. I would normally open the chute and chaff collector to let in cool air, but in the pictured batch I forgot.

So yeah, a separate cooler is a good idea if you want to cut down time between batches.
Alternatively you could charge the next batch of beans while using the built-in cooler and allow the chute to stay open like some do (you should only need to cool the beans for about 3 minutes).
But if you're looking for consistency I'd suggest to have a so-called "between-batch-protocol" and aim for a certain MET and BT-reading so you have similar momentum and stored energy every time. Having a MET probe has been quite helpful in my experience, but it feels a bit like juggling boiler (MET) and group (BT) temps in a small lever machine.

5 batches in 90 mins (including pre-heat) sounds fast in my book 8)


#5: Post by maccompatible »

I roast 4 batches once a week. I go back to back, and use a separate cooling fan in a box, a la Sweet Maria's style. I use a separate cooler just because it feels more feng shui to me. The hot roaster should stay hot and the beans should cool down. Anyway, as soon as I drop a roast, I crank the heat and once it gets back up to 380-400°F, I charge again. I can preheat and get my week's worth of roasting done in about an hour.
"Wait. People drink coffee just for the caffeine??"
LMWDP #628


#6: Post by yamhill »

My process is similar to this, but here are the specifics:

I drop the beans at roast-end and immediately put them in a separate cooler (amazon box cut to fit the bottom of the quest cooling tray and also cut to accept a shop-vac hose.)

I drop the fan speed (mine always runs - even at the lowest setting), drop the heat to zero -- or nearly zero, open the back door, pull and clean the chaff collector.

I leave the back door open, save the artisan file and graph image, prep artisan for the new batch, and weigh the new batch. This takes maybe two - five minutes.

At this point the roaster temperature will usually still be too hot for my 380F charge -- but if I close the back door and turn up the heat, the fan will pull heat and drop the temperature in the drum pretty quickly. With the back door still open, I turn on the heat to about 1100 watts (per the kill-a-watt) for about 30 seconds, and then close the back door and then assess the temperature of the roaster. I like to charge the beans into the roaster with heat in the elements and with a stable temperature.

With this approach, I can roast close to 4 x 220-300g batches in an hour (after warm-up). 3 roasts per hour is pretty easy to hit -- and 4 requires good focus. For me, 4 roasts per hour is really good and too much process intensity reduces the pleasure, but I do often wish for a larger roaster.

A whole bunch of stuff impacts the time between roasts. The temperature of the roasting environment is a big one. Also, I'm super picky about the heat potential of the roaster at charge. For me, this means that I want the temperature stable and at target and the elements hot/ready to heat the roaster. I'm most comfortable coming at this from the cool side. I'm catching the charge temperature rising to my target with heat and fan settings at specific levels for my roast profile.