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How practical is it to roast in the stock Hottop with no temp probe?

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  • How practical is it to roast in the stock Hottop with no temp probe?

    Hi All,

    This must be my sort-of annual post here on the forum. Earlier this year I was looking at getting a Hottop for my 50th birthday but for a bunch of reasons I ended up with a gift-less birthday and am still using my Behmor. But as fate would have it, the Hottop is on sale and I just happen to have exactly that much cash sitting in the bank with nothing better to do.

    Which leads to this year's question. I have just enough cash to stretch to an on-sale Hottop without my wife frowning too much but will never get approval for the extra mod to add a temperature probe. So I'm wondering how essential the addition of a DMM and probe actually are to successful roasting? Obviously it can be done with a stock roaster but I'm wondering if it'll lead to frustration and I'd be better off waiting for another day when I can go the whole hog?

    All opinions and advice welcome.

    Jeff K

  • #2
    Hey Jeff, I think the latest 'B' hottop has a bean-mass thermocouple inside it. You could use the 'roast logger' software with a webcam pointed at the LCD display on the hottop and data log using that method.

    (i think I'm right?)


    • #3
      I think the temperature sensor was moved to make it more accurate but still isn't actually reading the bean mass. In any event just ordered the Hottop with the probe upgrade. I figure I can ride out being in trouble with my better half but I'll have the upgrade forever :-)


      • #4
        I would say its probably possible but it would be making your job unnecessarily difficult. James is probably correct about the webcam logging although I havnt tried that before.. I'm not sure how fiddley or reliable it would be.

        Maybe another angle on this is that you already have a behmor. What does the Hottop offer you don't already have.. The one thing I can see is tweakability. If you choose not to use a DMM, I dont think you can really take full advantage of the upgrade.

        Given I don't have a -B2K I have attempted several probe installations inside the drum and couldn't achieve acceptable (greater then -5%, which is more than 10deg after 200C) insulation against the thermal mass of the roaster itself. There are non intrusive ways to add a bean probe without drilling in anything if that's your concern..

        Hope it helps!



        • #5
          Sigh, that's what I get for slowly writing a long reply

          Good one Jeff, you won't regret it.


          • #6
            Thanks Matt,

            And you are absolutely right - it was the control over the roast I was looking for and I knew if I didn't get the upgrade I'd be spending my whole time wishing I had it. The Behmor has been great and I think I will definitely miss its extra roasting capacity once it goes off to it's new home. I'm hoping the Hottop will be the last roaster that I buy for many years to come although I'm always a little wary of products that have things that need replacing that only come from the manufacturer (the filters).

            Now to start reading everything I can find on using the Hottop while I'm waiting impatiently for the Pullman guys to confirm my order and hopefully give me an ETA:-)

            Jeff K


            • #7
              Hrmm filters.. Lets just say I know at least one person who doesn't replace them

              Anyway good luck, what will you roast first? If I were you I would try to get a similar time for 1C/2C, if one of your beans is roasted to right on/after 2C on the behmor that would be easiest!


              • #8
                Well, the good news is that the Hottop has shipped so it'll probably be here first thing next week. Really looking forward to it.

                What bean will I roast? Well, I'm down the end if my stash at the moment so there's limited choice... I tend to order in six months worth at a time, and it's bean ordering time again.

                There's some Nicaragua Cup of Excellence La Bendicion from 2010 that's probably a bit past its use-by date that I'll use to practice with. Then it's on to the 100g or so of Gambella Sundried that's lurking in the cupboard.

                After that, I'll hopefully have had enough practice to be getting some good results from the PNG Kona Ka and the Hawaiian Kona Extra Fancy that's the last of this year's coffee haul.

                I think the Hottop has a default profile built in? I thought my first roast would probably be to let that profile run so I could log it on the roast monitor software as a baseline, then start tweaking from there.

                Jeff K


                • #9
                  From memory the base/auto profile isn't a profile at all!

                  You would be best served using the instructions included, did you buy it from ThingsCoffee? Afaik all CS sponsors will include a guide/instructions for your first roast, from this you can start tweaking.

                  Anyway, do let us know how you go


                  • #10
                    Yes, it coming from ThingsCoffee so I'll go with whatever they say for first roast. Better yet, just got confirmation it'll be on my doorstep sometime today :-)

                    I'll be sure to post the results of my first roast.

                    One last question (for this thread at least) - Assuming you use the CS RoastMonitor software for logging, do you just log the temperature or do you log your heater/fan speed changes as well? I saw an example elsewhere where that was done but I can't quite get my head around how to set that up in the software. I sort-of see how but it seemed like I'd spend more time playing with sliders than actually roasting coffee.


                    • #11
                      I log just about everything, heat, fan, if i had an external fan on, if i lifted the filter to slow down the roast and how much.. you don't want to end up in the position that you don't remember what you did on something that turned out really well

                      Here's one from ages ago, it looks like a pretty fast roast with only 2.5 mins between R1C and eject but the point is to illustrate how I use RoastMonitor with the Hottop-B

                      - H3F3 would be heat 3/10 and fan 3/4
                      - B0 is the filter partially open
                      - numbers will be the probe temp

                      Most of the time when you're roasting you're not actively doing anything so taking notes shouldn't present too much trouble for you.
                      Attached Files


                      • #12
                        Thanks! The Hottop didn't arrive for the weekend. Apparently it was put on a truck for delivery and then just returned to the depot at the end of the day - no reason given for not actually delivering it. I'm promised it will be here on Monday so fingers crossed.

                        I'm about to order some beans. Are there any types that the Hottop isn't so good with?

                        Jeff K


                        • #13
                          Stale & mouldy ones don't work well in the hottop I don't think you really need to worry too much about that, probably just buy whatever you normally like drinking!


                          • #14
                            Jeff, I have been using the stock Hottop B-2K for roasting since July, and I think it is quite usable. For the ultimate in precision, I will eventually install my thermocouples to get both BT and ET measurements. I assume you saw the example profiles I had posted in a different thread: