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Thread: New to roasting - not sure what to listen/watch for?

  1. #1
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    New to roasting - not sure what to listen/watch for?

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    Hello everybody,

    I am very new to this forum and coffee making. I recently bought a Rancilio Silvia and Rocky and have been practicing hard to get that great cup of coffee!

    I have been looking into roasting and decided to make my own rig. After picking up my beans from the post office (thanks Andy), I got my parents old Panasonic SD200 that just needed a new belt. Bought that this morning and following the thread on modifying this model and I proceeded to put a switch in to switch the motor on and off.

    I also made a bean cooler out of a 20L bucket, exhaust fan and a sieve that I picked up from a catering store on my way to picking up the belt.

    I raced home put it all together and started my first roast. I dont have a temp gauge (yet) but I thought I would give it a go. The beans I bought are Ethiopian Harrar Longberry.

    Now a few questions for those experienced coffee roasters....
    I didnt know what to listen for for FC and SC. The noise from the HG and mixer are so loud. Are there other signs? I pulled the roast at just after 17mins on high when the colour was getting medium to dark - I dont have a gauge yet ( I should have ordered it with the beans). Is the heat gun too far away. Any suggestions?

    Thanks,

    Alistair










  2. #2
    Senior Member Koffee_Kosmo's Avatar
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    Re: New to roasting - not sure what to listen/watch for?

    Others will have a say on the BM & HG set up

    But I like the bean cooler as its similar to mine
    The beans however look a bit dark and dry
    Or it could be a bad photo

    If you cant hear the cracks roast by colour its your safest course of action

    When you get your thermocouple
    First crack will be @ 205/210 Celsius
    Second crack will be @ 220/225 Celsius

    KK

  3. #3
    sdg
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    Re: New to roasting - not sure what to listen/watch for?

    Er -- has that BM had a fire in it?

    Re roast stages -- SM has a page with pix here that may be some help, altho the colors look wrong on my PC...

    Roasting by color -- something like a rich chocolate -- not dark chocolate tho.

    FC is usually pretty audible, and RFC sounds like a string of tiny firecrackers all going off at once.

    And if theres smoke -- probably time to stop!

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    Re: New to roasting - not sure what to listen/watch for?

    Thanks for that KK and Simone.....
    The beans are not too dark - the photo is not great. I compared them to some med roast Harris beans and they are very similar colour.

    The bread maker hasnt had a fire in it but it has made bread for 5 years/ 1 loaf a day before the belt wore out....I just havent cleaned it yet!

    I am going to roast another batch this morning - this time some Ethiopian Gambella Naturals. Ill take those suggestions on board.

    Thanks,

    Alistair

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    Re: New to roasting - not sure what to listen/watch for?

    Ok just come in after roasting my Ethiopian Gambella Naturals beans.
    This time around it was heaps better. I put the beans in and fired up the Corretto. The small beans were getting stuck on the side with the paddle and causing it to jam. Ground off 5-8mm or so and problem fixed. Noise was much quieter - must have been the beans getting jammed and forced around making such a racket the first roast.
    Set the HG just under the rim of Corretto. Low heat for 5 mins. High heat until FC at 11:25mins. Raised the HG to original setting I had on the first roast and low heat. Lowered again at 14:45. High heat at 16mins and SC happened at 18mins. Pulled about 30 secs after and straight into the cooler. Measured weight loss: started with 300g and ended up with just over 250g
    To cool the roasting and blow away the chaff I used my air compressor from a meter or so away....seemed to work very well.
    Here is the finished product:




  6. #6
    Senior Member GregWormald's Avatar
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    Re: New to roasting - not sure what to listen/watch for?

    They look pretty good, mate.

    Now seal them in an airtight container (the one-way valve bags are very good, a thick glad bag will do) and leave for about 3 days to mature.

    Then start having a cup or so a day until they begin tasting like they are getting past it. Now you have an idea of how these beans, roasted this way, react to your taste buds at various ages.

    If you get hooked like many of us here, you will continue this for different beans, different roasts, and so on.

    There is lots of reading on CS re: roasting and making coffee, and references to many more web sites, some with incredible technical detail if that is what you want.

    Its all in the sake of good coffee and fun.

    Greg



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    Senior Member Koffee_Kosmo's Avatar
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    Re: New to roasting - not sure what to listen/watch for?

    Thats a 100% improvement

    Well done Alistair

    Its great fun this roasting business
    KK

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    Re: New to roasting - not sure what to listen/watch for?

    Hi Alistair,

    Glad to see a fellow Panasonic SD-200 corretto user! Humphrey (who posted the mod thread) and I are still using the same BM and its going strong after 70kg greens.


    Just a few things weve noticed. We usually roast 500-600g (green) and find that it roasts more evenly and that the temp is far easier to control with more beans (we started out roasting 300g batches). FWIW, our motor is bung and actually cant mix more than 700g green... Wed roast larger amounts if we could (and weve done so in another breadmaker we just obtained, but havent fixed the wiring in yet...).

    We also found that certain beans (small ones like the Gambella - which weve roasted a fair bit) got stuck between the ridges on the BM pan and the paddle... so we shaved some off as well!

    We also scrubbed the teflon coating off the BM paddle because someone suggested it...

    The biggest change weve made has been to lower the heat gun such that the tip (with spreader attachment) is submerged in the bean mass by about 5mm (the beans expand during the roast to go half-way up the attachment). This is only possible because we switched to a variable-temp HG. It means we can have the heat set to ~350C instead of the ~500C it was on when situated ~15cm above the bean mass - I think this is an improvement because there is less heat differential between the beans and the air (ie. less tipping/scorching - in theory). Weve had great results with it. I cant say better because we were so impressed with the level of temp control it gave us that we havent gone back to the old method to compare. You do need a variable temp HG though.

    Cheers
    Stuart.

  9. #9
    sdg
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    Re: New to roasting - not sure what to listen/watch for?

    2nd roast looks absolutely delicious! A little uneven, but I found exactly the same one my one roast so far of this bean. I also got much the same (proportional) weight loss, though no other bean (so far) "shrinks" to quite this extent.

    Second what stuart says about quantities -- if the BMs a biggish one then 300g can look a bit frantic. A less frenetic rotation will make less noise too (tho sounds like youve largely sussed out the noise problem)

    Like the air-compressor idea for cooling, tho could be easy to make a horrible miscalculation :o -- I tried my leaf-blower once -- not a good plan :-/

  10. #10
    Sleep is overrated Thundergod's Avatar
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    Re: New to roasting - not sure what to listen/watch for?

    Agreed.
    Both my coolers so far have sucked (not blowed). ;D

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    Senior Member Pavoniboy's Avatar
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    Re: New to roasting - not sure what to listen/watch for?

    I made a cooler with a powerful industrial fan designed to blow a concentrated stream of air. Rigged a 20L bucket on top with a home made gold pan type bean holder. Dumped my beans in, plugged it in (no switch) and watched my 200 degree beans cyclone out of the pan and scatter all over my garage! :-/
    Have it working really well now using a mesh lid to enclose the beans. Not planning on losing another to the cyclone.
    Am still blowing, as am concerned about sucking chaff and hot air and anything else through the expensive fan (which is on loan from a friend who had it excess to his needs). What are peoples experiences with sucking and fan life?

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    Senior Member Koffee_Kosmo's Avatar
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    Re: New to roasting - not sure what to listen/watch for?

    My cooler is now at suck
    I have a removable mesh screen above the fan blade that was part of the unit. It is under those concentric circles
    If any stray chaff comes off it is caught by the screen
    All I need to do is remove the screen and tap it clean

    KK


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    Re: New to roasting - not sure what to listen/watch for?

    My old cooler was powered by a shop vac so any chaff that got through the colander holes ended up in the vacs dirt bag, so not a problem.

    The new cooler (MkII) is powered by a vac motor but the new sieve has very fine mesh so no chaff would get through.

    Most of my chaff is blown away during the roast.
    If I did see a bit left behind I could toss between two bowls in front of the pedestal fan.
    A couple of swaps between pans is enough to remove any remaining chaff.

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    Re: New to roasting - not sure what to listen/watch for?

    Behmor Coffee Roaster
    Thanks to all the comments/suggestions. I have to admit that I tried the beans today .....I didnt think 3 days was that long to wait before I started! Anyway my wife is very impressed. Had to set the grinder a little coarser as the shot was going a little slow - however the shot was very syrupy and good crema. Taste was very well rounded, a little earthy, very tasty.
    I will now wait a couple more days ::)

    When I used the air compressor blower during the roasting - I really only used that to blow the chaff away.....by the time SC came hardly any chaff was coming out (all over my garage bench/floor).

    The bean cooler I made uses one of those home kitchen/bathroom extraction fans. I just pushed it into the 20L bucket (it fits perfectly) so that it blew upwards. I wired it up to a power cord but didnt bother about a switch. The sieve I bought sits on top but just rest there....I plan to modify it so it locks on somehow (just in case you knock it and loose all your precious beans/effort/love). I drilled 8 holes at the bottom of the bucket with my largest hole saw (I think 55mm) The fan blows the beans and I noticed that the pressure was enough to lift the outer beans slightly. Beans were cool in about a minute.
    Thanks again for everyones comments/suggestions. Look forward to sharing more good experiences!

    Cheers,
    Alistair



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