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Thread: Coffe roasting fumes ok?

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    Coffe roasting fumes ok?

    Hi, an offhand comment by I think Leroy a few weeks away mentioned that coffee roasting fumes are potentially hazardous (why is it that everything you like doing wants to kill you? even coffee roasting). A quick google suggested this was a problem for professional roasters due to both diacetyl and 2,3-pentanedione being formed when roasted and also released when ground. It turns out the grinding risk is lower unless grinding in quantity but no one quantified the roasting risk. As the damage is irreversible thought I would see if anyone had any thoughts or suggestions. It was raining on the weekend in Sydney and I wore some fumes after doing two roasts of Brazilian Yellow Bourbon which brought this to mind.

    With summer coming on I don't particularly fancy roasting in a full hazmat suit and full face breathing apparatus but at the same time I have plenty of mates I need to yell at due to using power tools or firearms without hearing protection. Hopefully a whiff when the wind turns or checking the roast isn't a concern, somewhat like second hand smoke, but if someone said this stuff is wildly carcinogenic would try harder to avoid it. I actually have no idea and didn't till Leroy's comment, being a natural edible product I didn't expect this.

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    Senior Member Yelta's Avatar
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    Not much of a problem 338, take little effort to handle smoke produced by home roasting.

    I roast in the doorway of a shed with a fan positioned to blow the smoke and chaff outside.

    Others may care to comment on their methods of handling it.

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    Senior Member LeroyC's Avatar
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    Yeah as Yelta said it’s not likely to cause much issue for home roasters, but it will depend on what you’re using. A Behmor for example has a smoke suppression system that includes a catalytic converter so you’re pretty safe there. The bigger and more open the roaster the bigger the risk. So at the other end of the home roaster set up scale from the Behmor would be if you built yourself a really big Coretto or KKTO and were roasting frequently on it to keep friends and family caffeinated. In this case you’d probably want to give some serious consideration to where you roast and how well ventilated the area is. No need to go to extremes though (such as HAZMAT suit! I had a laugh), a fan and an open door or window will do the trick.
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    Thanks Yelta and Leroy, very reassuring. It sounds like rudimentary precautions will be more than enough for a home roaster.

    Of course any roasters with different experiences are unlikely to post, they are already six feet under.

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    Senior Member trentski's Avatar
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    I was roasting the other weekend wondering how i could use the smoke to help flavour some ribs or brisket. Maybe i should just keep using the kamado for that purpose instead.
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    Senior Member WhatEverBeansNecessary's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by trentski View Post
    I was roasting the other weekend wondering how i could use the smoke to help flavour some ribs or brisket. Maybe i should just keep using the kamado for that purpose instead.
    0/10 would recommend.

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    I'm interested in this too, my spouse asked about the fumes being potentially harmful.
    As far as carcinogens go, it would be interesting to know how much emphasis needs to be put on moving the smoke out of inhabited areas. I roast by a door, the machine blows the smoke through a gap, however on occasion the air draws in and we get some smoke in the room.
    We've got replies here about how easy it is to ensure smoke doesn't waft into the living area, ow dangerous though are the intermittent fumes that might be breathed in, compounded over time?

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    Senior Member Yelta's Avatar
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    Behmor Coffee Roaster
    Quote Originally Posted by Janus View Post
    I'm interested in this too, my spouse asked about the fumes being potentially harmful.
    As far as carcinogens go, it would be interesting to know how much emphasis needs to be put on moving the smoke out of inhabited areas. I roast by a door, the machine blows the smoke through a gap, however on occasion the air draws in and we get some smoke in the room.
    We've got replies here about how easy it is to ensure smoke doesn't waft into the living area, ow dangerous though are the intermittent fumes that might be breathed in, compounded over time?
    Morning Janus,

    I reckon the answer is self-evident, our lungs are designed to process air, regardless of whether coffee roasting smoke/fumes are carcinogenic or not I would suggest it's in our own best interest not to breathe them.

    Setting up a fan to blow the fumes out through the door is an easy and inexpensive solution.

    As far as roasting in an unventilated house, I wouldn't, it will stink the house up as well as subject you to the fumes, no need to become paranoid about it, just a few simple precautions need to be taken.
    Dimal and LeroyC like this.

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