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  • My Behmor experience, one year on.

    Almost a year ago to the day my Behmor arrived. I am now up to roast 63 so just over a roast per week.

    So my thoughts thus far….

    The Behmor is best for set and forget people, pick a profile and let it do its thing. Those looking to manually finesse their roasts will struggle with the lack of bean temp and ridiculously limiting 5 power settings.

    That said, the design is quite basic which means if you are mechanically and electrically adept, the Behmor is quite easy to tinker with. The mods I have done thus far are:

    - Extra handle on chaff tray to make handling easier
    - Chaff tray flap cut out to improve effectiveness. Now catches about 80-90% more chaff.
    - Bean temp probe
    - Digital control – power control in 1% increments
    - Computer control – via Artisan roasting software
    - Timer alarm – still a bit dodgy (sigh)
    - Extended power cord - technically I am not using an extension cord as I replaced the whole cord so following the letter of the law if not the spirit haha….

    The one tip I'd give all new Behmor owners, don’t cool in the Behmor. That one technique has improved my roasts the most. This was recommended to me by a commercial roaster friend. Even though I was cooling with the door open my roasts were always a tad over developed. My external cooling is now done via a leaf blower/vac and gets the beans to ambient temp in well under 30sec. Very noisy though but it works!

    The one thing that has really improved my roast consistency is computer controlled roasting. I can now set up roast profiles that will pretty much produce perfectly consistent roasts every time.

    The one thing I like the most, bang for buck and easy to tinker with. Actually that’s two things

    The thing I hate the most is the timer alarm. My stove/oven/toaster/kettle/coffee machine….. doesn’t turn itself off ¾ into cooking a meal or pouring a shot. Very very annoying. >

    The thing I’d change the most, increase heater output so it can actually roast 400gm comfortably with power to spare.

    I’ve learnt the stated 400gm capacity is stretching it, 300gm seems to be the sweet spot. 200gm and things happen too fast.

    I still think the interface is one of the most un-intuitive designs I have ever come across. You do get used to it but that doesn’t make it any better, it just means you’re used to it.

    Next possible mod, improve the cooling cycle so I can roast back to back without damaging the unit.

    ff

  • #2
    My experience is fairly similar to yours FF. I'm about 11 months in and 93 roasts. I've done less mods than you, just a standard Heatsnob. I'm finally getting close to finishing my bean cooler, but like you I've been cooling outside the machine for most of the time I've had it. It's definitely the way to do it.
    After experimenting with getting really involved with manual intervention I've reverted to letting the machine do its thing for the most part. The learning has been what batch size and profile to use. 250g is my most successful and most common, but I often do 300-350g batches as well. I almost always go into manual mode about 2/3-3/4 of the way through the roast, mostly so I can use the higher drum speed around 1C. I generally keep things as simple as possible.
    My next mod will be a BT probe, I think this is almost a necessity. Just trying to decide if I drill another hole in the side to fit it or not. One thing for sure, it's an enjoyable machine to use that produces excellent results and I don't regret getting it for a second.

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by MrFreddofrog View Post

      MY THOUGHTS ON YOUR POINTS BELOW:


      The thing I hate the most is the timer alarm. My stove/oven/toaster/kettle/coffee machine….. doesn’t turn itself off ¾ into cooking a meal or pouring a shot. Very very annoying. >

      TRUE, BUT NONE OF THESE THINGS CAN CAUSE A FIRE AS EASILY AS THE BEHMOR COULD.

      The thing I’d change the most, increase heater output so it can actually roast 400gm comfortably with power to spare.

      I THINK THAT'S UNLIKELY AS AT THE END OF THE DAY IT'S A HOME APPLIANCE AND POSSIBLY WOULDN'T GET CERTIFICATION IF IT WAS MORE POWERFUL.

      I’ve learnt the stated 400gm capacity is stretching it, 300gm seems to be the sweet spot. 200gm and things happen too fast.

      MOSTLY I AGREE WITH THIS, ALTHOUGH IT DEPENDS ON THE COFFEE AS WELL AS OTHER FACTORS SUCH AS AMBIENT TEMP.

      I still think the interface is one of the most un-intuitive designs I have ever come across. You do get used to it but that doesn’t make it any better, it just means you’re used to it.

      I'M NOT SURE IT COULD BE MADE MUCH BETTER WITHOUT CHANGING ITS FUNCTIONALITY. IT WOULD EITHER END UP SIMPLER AND LESS CAPABLE, OR MORE COMPLEX. WHAT COULD BE IMPROVED IS THE NEAR USELESS INSTRUCTION MANUAL SO THAT IT DOESN'T TAKE SO LONG TO UNDERSTAND THE PANEL.

      Next possible mod, improve the cooling cycle so I can roast back to back without damaging the unit.

      HAVE YOU TRIED JUST BLOWING A PEDESTAL FAN AT IT FOR 5MIN OR SO? APPARENTLY ITS QUITE EFFECTIVE.
      ff
      Have a great weekend.

      Comment


      • #4
        Thank you both for your insights. I have been roasting for just two months and am trying to figure things out. The two things I have a question on is preheating and cooling. When you preheat, do you just heat the machine or do you have the drum loaded with beans as well? With cooling do you grab the beans out with the machine still on, hit the cooling cycle and grab the beans out, or turn the machine off? Is it bad for the machine? I appreciate any guidance in these areas. Thanks.

        Comment


        • #5
          One year with the Behmor for me too, although I was away for 3 months. Still managed 60 roasts. My experience is a little different to ff and LeroyC on a couple of points. I have made no modifications whatsoever to the machine and don't intend to, partly because I am not very mechanically and electrically adept, but mostly because the Behmor does what its meant to do straight out of the box and does it very well in my opinion. I wouldn't want people considering home roasting with the Behmor put off because you need to tinker with it, put probes in it, hook it up to the computer etc if you aren't this way inclined. For me, roasting coffee is not a science experiment, its cooking. And if you have enough skills to cook a steak on a BBQ to your liking, then I reckon you have enough skills to roast beans with a bit of practice. Second point of difference is that I roast 400g batches all the time with very good and even results. It takes 12-14 min to reach first crack (depending mostly on the bean type) and about another 3 min to second crack, if you want to go this far. This may be too long a time for some but I am very happy with the results. Third point of difference is that I do cool beans using the Behmor cycle - I think you just need to allow for the fact that the beans will continue to roast for around 15-20 seconds before the cooling cycle stops the cooking process.

          Why am I saying this? Because I think anyone contemplating home roasting should go for it. Best decision I made last year! I always thought that updating to a Rocket R58 espresso machine and Mazzer Mini grinder a couple of years ago would give me the biggest improvement in coffee taste but, in actual fact, it has been moving from store bought beans to home roasted that has made the biggest difference. So far I have roasted eight different single origin espresso and ALL have tasted better than the one I was buying. And by the way, the difference in price between roasted and green beans means that the Behmor will have paid for itself in a couple more months. And the garage smells great!

          Comment


          • #6
            I preheat to 150C without the drum in. (That's 150C chamber air temp) I used to preheat for 1:45min then discovered ambient temp and humidity can effect the temp ramp. Realistically the difference isn't huge but I try and limit as much variation as possible. And for my set up temp based is just as easy at time based. At 140C Artisan displays a message informing me 150C is approaching. By the time I put on my gloves and charge it's 150C.

            It can be tricky getting the drum in while the socket is spinning so I cut about 5mm off the RHS spindle so it fits in easier. I also found my drum lid doesn't sit exactly flat so the orientation of the drum when fitting can influence how difficult insertion is.

            For cooling, I grab the beans while the machine is still on, dump them in my bean cooler and then hit the Behmor cooling cycle. I wait for the unit to cool down. I'm pretty sure turning off the Behmor before it's finished it's cooling cycle would be bad but I don't recall actually reading this anywhere.
            Last edited by MrFreddofrog; 11 December 2016, 02:17 AM.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by geoff View Post
              One year with the Behmor for me too, although I was away for 3 months. Still managed 60 roasts. My experience is a little different to ff and LeroyC on a couple of points. I have made no modifications whatsoever to the machine and don't intend to, partly because I am not very mechanically and electrically adept, but mostly because the Behmor does what its meant to do straight out of the box and does it very well in my opinion. I wouldn't want people considering home roasting with the Behmor put off because you need to tinker with it, put probes in it, hook it up to the computer etc if you aren't this way inclined. For me, roasting coffee is not a science experiment, its cooking. And if you have enough skills to cook a steak on a BBQ to your liking, then I reckon you have enough skills to roast beans with a bit of practice. Second point of difference is that I roast 400g batches all the time with very good and even results. It takes 12-14 min to reach first crack (depending mostly on the bean type) and about another 3 min to second crack, if you want to go this far. This may be too long a time for some but I am very happy with the results. Third point of difference is that I do cool beans using the Behmor cycle - I think you just need to allow for the fact that the beans will continue to roast for around 15-20 seconds before the cooling cycle stops the cooking process.

              Why am I saying this? Because I think anyone contemplating home roasting should go for it. Best decision I made last year! I always thought that updating to a Rocket R58 espresso machine and Mazzer Mini grinder a couple of years ago would give me the biggest improvement in coffee taste but, in actual fact, it has been moving from store bought beans to home roasted that has made the biggest difference. So far I have roasted eight different single origin espresso and ALL have tasted better than the one I was buying. And by the way, the difference in price between roasted and green beans means that the Behmor will have paid for itself in a couple more months. And the garage smells great!
              We obviously cook and roast differently. I'm more like Heston. My steaks are literally timed to the second. A "scientific" approach produces consistent repeatable results, every time. It takes the guess work out of the equation.

              FC in 12mins is way way too long for my tastes but each to there own.

              I do think you are greatly underestimating how long cooling takes. 1 minute after cooling, bean temp only drops about 20C (so around 200C), and that's with the door open. So the beans are well and truly still roasting for a couple of minutes into the cooling cycle, not 15-20s.

              I think the take home point is the Behmor is capable of turning out excellent roasts straight out of the box. If you like driving an automatic, it's a perfect fit. However, if you like driving a manual, the Behmor still has a lot to offer, it will just require some modding to get there.

              Comment


              • #8
                Kudos to you MrFreddofrog on your Behmor innovations! I thought that by now you would have redesigned the roasting drum so you can charge it while it is spinning and tilt it to unload the roasted coffee in a cooling try like a Huky 500.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by LeroyC View Post
                  My next mod will be a BT probe, I think this is almost a necessity. Just trying to decide if I drill another hole in the side to fit it or not. One thing for sure, it's an enjoyable machine to use that produces excellent results and I don't regret getting it for a second.
                  Do it. It's only a hole which you could fill up with a rivet later if you really wanted to. I don't know how people roast manually without it. All this talk about waiting x seconds after FC and then pressing rosetta bla bla hurts my head. Just tell me the bean temp and ROR and we'll go from there.

                  If Andy still doesn't have a long probe I know a mob in Perth who can make custom thermocouples if you are interested. They have already made a few for fellow Behmorer's so they are familiar with the intended application.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    My Behmor experience, one year on.

                    You can quite easily mount a bean temp probe with the only drilling needed is in the centre of the left drum spindle. This is excellent for monitoring the roast and completely reversible (you won't notice the small hole inside the drum spindle).

                    I use a bit of stainless strip and use the thin bead probe. Very fast temp reacting too.

                    Cheers
                    Last edited by artman; 11 December 2016, 03:26 AM. Reason: More info added

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by kandjdeans77 View Post
                      Thank you both for your insights. I have been roasting for just two months and am trying to figure things out. The two things I have a question on is preheating and cooling. When you preheat, do you just heat the machine or do you have the drum loaded with beans as well? With cooling do you grab the beans out with the machine still on, hit the cooling cycle and grab the beans out, or turn the machine off? Is it bad for the machine? I appreciate any guidance in these areas. Thanks.
                      I do the opposite of what Mr FF does as I just find it easier. It's what I'd recommend you try initially - preheat the machine with the drum out and the beans preloaded. Turn the machine off after your preheat and pop the drum in before starting your roast with the chosen profile. Also at the end I turn the machine off before removing the drum to dump the beans into my cooler. I then turn the machine back on to 'cool' and let it run out. This obviously does mean that I'm turning the Behmor off and on again twice during a roast which Behmor don't recommend. I actually don't see how it can be a problem as long as you ensure it cools properly at the end. It's up to you how you do it, either way works, neither are recommended by Behmor and everything is hot so make sure you're using oven mitts or something when handling the equipment.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by geoff View Post
                        One year with the Behmor for me too, although I was away for 3 months. Still managed 60 roasts. My experience is a little different to ff and LeroyC on a couple of points. I have made no modifications whatsoever to the machine and don't intend to, partly because I am not very mechanically and electrically adept, but mostly because the Behmor does what its meant to do straight out of the box and does it very well in my opinion. I wouldn't want people considering home roasting with the Behmor put off because you need to tinker with it, put probes in it, hook it up to the computer etc if you aren't this way inclined. For me, roasting coffee is not a science experiment, its cooking. And if you have enough skills to cook a steak on a BBQ to your liking, then I reckon you have enough skills to roast beans with a bit of practice. Second point of difference is that I roast 400g batches all the time with very good and even results. It takes 12-14 min to reach first crack (depending mostly on the bean type) and about another 3 min to second crack, if you want to go this far. This may be too long a time for some but I am very happy with the results. Third point of difference is that I do cool beans using the Behmor cycle - I think you just need to allow for the fact that the beans will continue to roast for around 15-20 seconds before the cooling cycle stops the cooking process.

                        Why am I saying this? Because I think anyone contemplating home roasting should go for it. Best decision I made last year! I always thought that updating to a Rocket R58 espresso machine and Mazzer Mini grinder a couple of years ago would give me the biggest improvement in coffee taste but, in actual fact, it has been moving from store bought beans to home roasted that has made the biggest difference. So far I have roasted eight different single origin espresso and ALL have tasted better than the one I was buying. And by the way, the difference in price between roasted and green beans means that the Behmor will have paid for itself in a couple more months. And the garage smells great!
                        Absolutely. I'd say the greater percentage of Behmor owners are using it the way you are. It's a very cleverly designed machine, it's the way it was designed to be used and even relatively light roasts are achievable this way. Glad you're enjoying the journey as much as the rest of us.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by artman View Post
                          You can quite easily mount a bean temp probe with the only drilling needed is in the centre of the left drum spindle. This is excellent for monitoring the roast and completely reversible (you won't notice the small hole inside the drum spindle).

                          I use a bit of stainless strip and use the thin bead probe. Very fast temp reacting too.

                          Cheers
                          Yes I do remember your mod Art. You used part of a windscreen wiper blade from memory. Maybe I should go this route first.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            That's the one. It's very easy and works great. I used a corretto before the Behmor so watching brant temps. Add it easy to convert.

                            Cheers

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by artman View Post
                              That's the one. It's very easy and works great. I used a corretto before the Behmor so watching brant temps. Add it easy to convert.

                              Cheers
                              Yeah cool. I might just have to do it. I was waiting until I could afford another Heatsnob, but I might actually just use the one I've got and only record BT profile on the laptop. Just need to get myself a probe then.

                              Comment

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