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Gene Cafe roasting

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  • Gene Cafe roasting

    Well, After trying some of BeanBay freshly roasted beans and loving it. I went the next step a got my self a GENE Cafe roaster.
    Very happy with the price.
    Anyway, I got some samples with it, the best one being Jamaican Blue Mountains.
    So far I done about 4 roasts and it's been fairly average. This morning I manage to almost toast 200gr of Papua New Guinea.
    I have just finished doing 100 of Jamaican Blue Mountains and have actually tried a cup only about 15 minutes after roasting. Still not impressed but now I will wait a few days untill I try it again. One thing I notice with my roasts in comparison to the roasted beans of BeanBAy. Mine feel light and sound tiny or lite when repeatedly dropping some beans on the counter. The BeanBay beans sound more solid or full. Not sure if my explanation makes any sense. The smell is also quite different. The color and texture, very similar. Also, for the life of me, I can't hear any cracks...
    This week I will have to order some good green beans from Bean Bay because I don't quite know if what I got as samples are what they say it is or if any good at all.
    OR..... I am doing it totally wrong?
    Anyone here using a Gene Cafe roaster?

  • #2

    With respect, how could anyone tell whether you are doing it totally wrong? You give zero description of your roasting profile (i.e. pre-heat temperature, how long did you roast the beans for at what temperatures(s), how did you go about cooling the beans etc). The forum contains several threads on using the Gene Cafe....a quick search should give you an idea of the various approaches that have worked / not worked for people. I tend to roast 250-300g batches, using a profile that has the whole shebang over in about 17 minutes from loading the beans. Green beans from BB is a good idea, as is waiting a few days after roasting to confirm that you don't like the taste.


    • #3
      Thank you for your reply, and good point.
      I notice that these machine seem to get up to temp quite quickly. I been going up to between 235-240 degrees with no preheat. Time wise, I have done in between 15 to 19 minutes before it starts cooling. I let the cooling cycle do it's thing and as soon as it stops, I take it and put it into a strainer, take it outside and pour it from one strainer to the other until it cools totally. I done some roasts using 100gr samples a one using 200gr.


      • #4
        Hi Again,

        Try pre-heating for 3 or 4 mins at 235 or 240, then do the 'emergency stop', put your beans in, then reprogram at desired temp (say 235) for max time, when you hit 1st crack (or soon thereafter), try dropping temp a few degrees. It takes a few goes to learn when 2C will start, but once you've worked that out, you can do the emergency stop at say 30 secs before 2C (up to you), and dump the beans into a cooling device (even tossing b/w two collanders/strainers with a fan pointed at them if you have to). If you use the Gene's cooling cycle, you'll have to be thinking some time ahead of what is happening. After doing the emergency stop to remove the beans, replace the empty roasting chamber and restart the Gene, but initiate the automatic cooling cycle straight away and let it cool itself. It really is worth making / obtaining a device to cool the beans have much more control.

        I actually use lower temperature than those above, but that's a matter of personal preference.


        • #5
          Barry, I wasn't aware you had a gene cafe, is it comparable to your iCoffee, or just totally different flavours and aromas?


          • #6
            Originally posted by Bernsbrew View Post
            Barry, I wasn't aware you had a gene cafe, is it comparable to your iCoffee, or just totally different flavours and aromas?
            Yes I have one of each. Each machine has its pros and cons. With the icoffee, I can easily put a bead thermocouple in it, monitor temperature etc and get a very good, repeatable result. This is particularly useful when roasting by colour doesn't work so well (i.e. Decaf Wow). The i-coffee also presents me with no smoke issues when roasting inside (which can be desirable on a winter's night in Canberra). As I have a central kitchen in my house, it is not practical for me to flue the outlet of the Gene out a window, so I use it on top of a professional roasting stand (an old dog kennel) on the back porch). There is also the question of the longevity of the i-coffee...mine is from a batch that needs to be reset once or twice during the roast (but otherwise works fine).

            The Gene is more flexible in terms of when you apply heat to the beans, and has a slightly larger capacity (it doesn't seem to mind 300g batches). Not worth trying to get a thermocouple in the Gene. For many beans, I couldn't swear that I'm sure the Gene (in my hands) produces a superior result. For example, the Ceja de Selva comes out pretty well in both roasters. The Gene does a better job on beans where a different roast profile helps...for example the Yemen Bani Ismail. I think the aroma of the beans when done in the Gene is closer to that from those that Andy, for instance, roasts. However, the difference in taste (to my palate) is not as marked. Also, small beans (like the Yemen Bani Ismail) tend to get stuck in the 'vent' holes at the bottom of the i-coffee chamber, while there is no similar issue on the Gene. Is it worth the price difference? Hard for me to say, and I'm still learning on the Gene. I still use both roasters (i-coffee for Decaf Wow and sometimes just because, Gene for most other stuff).

            Now, the $64 question....why do I own both? day I was using the i-coffee, and did my roast as normal. I took a phone call while the beans were cooling, which meant that my 'clean up' routine was not the same. I left the chaff collector on the roasting stand and packed up the machine. Next time I went to roast, Mr i-coffee wouldn't work. Everything seemed to fit nicely...thought I'd blown the power supply. Had been thinking about trying a different roaster anyway, so I decided to try a Gene (I think the Behmor was out of stock in Australia at the time). About two weeks later, when I went to set up the Gene I notice the chaff collector for the i-coffee sitting on the roasting station. Yes, I'm a complete d*&*head. True story.


            • #7

              I still use my Gene Cafe. I use just 200 to 250 grams and not 300 grams as I think 300 is sometimes a bit too much load for its power. I don't do the "emergency stop method" for cooling as I don't think that is good long-term for the machine. At the start I set the temp to 235 C and when at FC I see what the temp is (it's usually < 235) and I turn down the temp dial to that amount then turn it up by 2 C every minute. That gives me sorta control of the temp rise from FC to SC.

              I sometimes also start with the temp set at the max at 250 C at the start of the roast and every few mins I start to turn down the temp dial by 5 degs so as to hit a setting of about 235 C at about FC. All this does is to stop the element from occasionally turning on and off during the rise to FC, I want that heat to be *continuously* on during the rise to FC

              Then for cooling I occasionally pull out the drum quickly when it's at about 70 C and dump the beans in wide flat steel disk to cool quicker but more often than not I just wait for it to end normally at 60 C. I did try a vacuum cleaner with a funnel under a stainless steel wire collander (beans were in the collander) to cool the beans quicker but I really could not tell any difference in flavour so it wasn't work the extra hassle.



              • #8
                How I Roast with my Gene Café.
                For the first 5 years with the Gene I roasted about 4 batches one after the other every 2 weeks whilst I working as a Dairy hand. In the last 5 years since I retired I have done 6 roasts every 2 weeks in a batch.
                6 different 250gm roasts of Andy's beautiful Beanbay green beans from 6 different countries and occasionally added a roast of my own home grown beans.
                Depending on the ambient temperature I preheat to 80C in hot weather or 100C in winter.
                I try to get to first crack in about 12 mins. setting the temp to 230C then lower it at first crack to 215 or 220C (depending on the variety) to get to just before second crack in about 3 mins.
                I then hit the emergency stop and quickly tip the roast onto my "exhaust fan in a garden pot" bean cooler. I quickly blow out any chaff from out of the roasting chamber and then put it back onto the cooling cycle within about 30 secs.
                Whilst it is cooling for the next roast I clean out the chaff collector. You just have to keep your mind on the job and not be distracted to keep the process going seamlessly.
                Cheers Herbie


                • #9
                  Hi Leroy
                  Have been using GC for about 6 yrs now and have discovered every bean type has different roast profile so with new batch fill only to line on glass - then temp to 240 time to 20mins.
                  Then set your alarm to 15 mins - sit and watch final stage of roast (colour of yr choice) - when happy hit the cool cycle and note the remain time - deduct from 20mins and you have yr roast time. Roast early morning below 20c if poss.
                  Dark roast? - watch for first glisten then cool. Key is to watch and react quickly - don't get distracted!


                  • #10
                    You guys realise this thread is 4 years old right?


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by LeroyC View Post
                      You guys realise this thread is 4 years old right?
                      Another late reply but a Google search landed me here and actually got some
                      useful information despite thread age *shrugs*

                      I do have a question however, hopefully someone here can help...

                      Have been using the Gene Cafe for around 9 months now, mostly the same beans and mostly with acceptable results. Of the beans I have found the Peru to release incredible amounts of chaff and that this seems to occasionally block the chaff vent in the drum which thus causes the Gene to seemingly switch off the heating element no matter what I do with the heat control dial. The end result is baked beans when this happens.

                      Has anyone experienced this and, if so, any tips to combat this?


                      • #12
                        Nothing wrong with dusting off an old thread. New things, ideas and experiences with equipment come up.

                        In my experience with the Gene (about 5 years) I've only experienced this once. I've certainly seen varied amounts of chaff depending on the bean. Nothing new there! Before roasting it's worth checking there is no pre existing chaff in the drum. If so brush it out.

                        The chaff collector itself may be the cause. I'm presuming you empty it after each roast. I do this in the following ways :

                        1. Empty the collector and give it a few taps
                        2. Put your regular dustpan brush inside the collector and give it a good brush inside to loosen any chaff that is stuck to the inside of the chamber. and
                        3. Occasionally you need to open up the collector by unscrewing it and giving it a thorough wash in soapy water. The screws can be a bit fiddly to get in and out but doable.

                        Hope this helps. If it continues it might be worth contacting the importer Avacuppa (they're on the net) and asking for advice. They've helped me before.



                        • #13
                          Thanks Steve!

                          Correct that I clean the chaff collector after each use, though this has been simply a few taps into green waste bin. Will give it a more extensive clean with brush and maybe a bath. Thought I might have been overloading the Gene but it happened today with only 220g of Peru in the drum.


                          • #14
                            Again, resurrecting the dead but for just about every search I do this thread comes up.

                            So I am wondering if there is something I am missing here, but everyone talks about adjusting temp at FC but I cant hear anything over the motor and flap.

                            The best ive come up with is a slight pinging noise like flicking a fork tine at about 225 degrees. How are you all determining FC?


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by drwharris View Post
                              Again, resurrecting the dead but for just about every search I do this thread comes up.

                              So I am wondering if there is something I am missing here, but everyone talks about adjusting temp at FC but I cant hear anything over the motor and flap.

                              The best ive come up with is a slight pinging noise like flicking a fork tine at about 225 degrees. How are you all determining FC?
                              Do you have the small or large chaff collector? When I use my Gene (with large chaff collector), for most beans first crack is pretty clear. Some small Yemens I've tried have been harder to hear. I guess it's possible that there's some random variation in the units.