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Thread: Avoiding home roaster syndrome (and starting to roast)

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    Avoiding home roaster syndrome (and starting to roast)

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    Reading a review of a roaster today, I came across the following quote
    These days I generally donít enjoy coffee roasted in domestic hot air equipment. I find these coffees tend to be harsh, underdeveloped and lacking in complexity
    This is exactly what Ive found from the home-roast coffee Ive tried from a number of sources - even though there are some palates that prefer coffee that way, mine isnt such a fan. So does roasting like a professional require professional equipment? My dream is probably a sample roaster, but if it cost $15000, Id be $16000 short right now, and while I know I have to learn somewhere if I start, Im just about to start living in a flat, and not happy drinking sub-standard coffee. So is your popper roast guilty of the above? What about a Gene? Or a Hotptop? Or Dudley? And how many roasts do you have under your belt to learn to master them?

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    Re: Avoiding home roaster syndrome (and starting to roast)

    I have been home roasting for about three months short of 9 years. I have used the following roasters in that time:
    - Hearthware Precision
    - Hearthwarte Gourmet
    - Popcorn poppers (bought, tested, and sold or given away three)
    - Hearthware iRoast2
    - Genecafe
    - at least one of Every model of Hottop made (I work for them as an independent contractor).

    I agree that most unmodified air poppers create an overly-bright underdeveloped roast. The Hearthware iRoast2 was the only fluid bed roaster of the above examples that produced a quality roast for me. The Genecafe also is very capable of producing a roast that rivals commercial roasts, but its lack of programmability as well as its inability to have profiles saved means that it is a hands-on machine for every roast. Its cooling function is marginal as well since it blows the cooling air through the heating elements metal chamber before the air is passed over the coffee.

    The early models of the Hottop, while capable, lacked user control to get the most from the bean. The last two models, the KN-8828P and more so, the KN-8828B are both very good and capable roasters that allow the user to created a smooth, balanced, developed coffee.

    The KN-8828B is the only one of the above bunch I use, and have been using for a year or two now. All the other sit on display shelves or have gone back into their boxes. They create an excellent espresso roast that makes a good straight espresso as well as flavor that cuts through milk in a cappuccino.

    The other benefit is that the Hottops are tanks, built to last.

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    Re: Avoiding home roaster syndrome (and starting to roast)

    Hi coffeehorse.
    I read this comment too - and was a little nervous, since I was on the verge of purchasing my own piece of domestic hot air equipment.

    The roaster/blogger in question did mention that he had limited experience with machines such as hottop and gene.

    I have very little experience in terms of roasting - but secretly wonder whether this comment may be more about build quality than heat source type discussions - the question I have in my head is whether equipment like a barbecue would offer advantage in terms of heat retention and cope better with ambient temperature than a BM (which offers very little insulation by comparison - and whether these factors may be responsible for overall taste, rather than air vs gas.

    I may be barking up the wrong tree entirely however ;)


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    Re: Avoiding home roaster syndrome (and starting to roast)

    i think this is the adventure, knowing that great quality coffee IS able to be made out of these contraptions we build pushes us to achieve it, we win some we lose some, but its a fantastic journey all the way, i have no where near the roasting experience that others have, i have only roasted about 50kg or so, but i have friends and family that rave about my coffee, its a great feeling to have the inlaws saying they wont drink coffee anywhere else,

    So in short, yes, amazing coffee is available to you, its all up to you, the maker......

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    Re: Avoiding home roaster syndrome (and starting to roast)

    Quote Originally Posted by 6C684E5757524D5A553B0 link=1250961818/5#5 date=1251085344
    So in short, yes, amazing coffee is available to you, its all up to you, the maker......
    Without saying a bad workman blames his tools, if the equipment we use is lacking in comparison to that of a commercial roaster, we are still behind the 8-ball... And thus our coffee is not as good as it could be.

    This does not bother me as I love the experience of home roasting and my palate isnt all that well developed. But this is the point CH is making I believe

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    Re: Avoiding home roaster syndrome (and starting to roast)

    Quote Originally Posted by 5E5B5C5641534B4053320 link=1250961818/3#3 date=1250989083
    I didnt get one laugh out of your post alternately no one got one fact from mine.
    Ill try to add you to my favourites list for "Home Roaster info, search no further comprehensive/authoritative/awesome".
    One Q: If I turn a 110V HT up side down will it work on 240V?
    BTW are you just up the road from down the hill you know Big Bend Road or over the other side?
    Kind Regards
    Lindsay, but not TIC (tongue in cheek) just now.
    Im not sure of the Melway coordinates for the mo.
    what on earth are you on about? :-?

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    Senior Member flynnaus's Avatar
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    Re: Avoiding home roaster syndrome (and starting to roast)

    A common message that comes up many times on CS is that we dont all have the same taste (literally, in coffee or figuratively, in coffee equipment and methods. This is not much different to, say, someone saying they prefer wood-fired pizza to home-made pizzas.

    CH may well not like the taste of hot-air roasted coffee but that does not mean you will also not like it.

    I KNOW I cant make coffee as good as what Dudley (in the capable hands of Dennis) can produce. But, as WSully recommends, enjoy the experience.

    And FWIW I really enjoy my home-made pizzas using Leb bread as a base. (beats those at Dominos/Pizza Rat frinstance).

    KT: :-?

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    Re: Avoiding home roaster syndrome (and starting to roast)

    Quote Originally Posted by 4B415443434C585E2D0 link=1250961818/8#8 date=1251086497

    KT: *:-?

    And not the first KT post that has made me think exactly the same thing...

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    Re: Avoiding home roaster syndrome (and starting to roast)

    Quote Originally Posted by 797169637E1A0 link=1250961818/9#9 date=1251087126
    Quote Originally Posted by 4B415443434C585E2D0 link=1250961818/8#8 date=1251086497

    KT: *:-?
    And not the first KT post that has made me think exactly the same thing...
    Thanks, folks, for saying so (you as well as WSULLY). I had n idea what to make of such a post that seemed to be designed to be disruptive and insulting. *I wonder why such behavior is tolerated here on what has otherwise been a friendly forum. Comments like that seem counter-productive at best. I do try to use humor where appropriate, but in this thread I thought the OP was serious so I tried to offer some constructive assistance.

    Takes all kinds I guess, but you dont have to let them into the house.

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    Senior Member flynnaus's Avatar
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    Re: Avoiding home roaster syndrome (and starting to roast)

    Quote Originally Posted by 42717E74694F573E100 link=1250961818/10#10 date=1251090179
    I thought the OP was serious so I tried to offer some constructive assistance.
    It was, and you did (as usual)

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    Re: Avoiding home roaster syndrome (and starting to roast)

    Hi,

    Interesting where did you read the review?

    I know of at least one coffee shop in Brisbane that roast with a hot air fluid bed roaster. They make superb coffee and are listed in numerous places as producing great coffee including here at CS.

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    Re: Avoiding home roaster syndrome (and starting to roast)

    Quote Originally Posted by 596A656F72544C250B0 link=1250961818/10#10 date=1251090179
    I had n idea what to make of such a post that seemed to be designed to be disruptive and insulting
    Randy

    I suspect that he is either on drugs or just deliberately trying to appear clever rather than insulting.

    When you put your location (N39.725į W121.49į) into Google maps as a lat long you get a spot near a "Big bend road". The first part of his post he is saying that he took the opposite approach to you and acknowledging that he didnt provide any info.

    I guess turning a 110v unit upside down is using it on the bottom of the world in Australia.

    All in all probably better to speak english and avoid misunderstandings KT. Or are you actually a bot? In which case does anybody know how to tell?

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    Re: Avoiding home roaster syndrome (and starting to roast)

    Quote Originally Posted by 4D4F48484B41422E0 link=1250961818/13#13 date=1251116563
    Quote Originally Posted by 596A656F72544C250B0 link=1250961818/10#10 date=1251090179
    I had n idea what to make of such a post that seemed to be designed to be disruptive and insulting
    Randy

    I suspect that he is either on drugs or just deliberately trying to appear clever rather than insulting. *

    When you put your location (N39.725į W121.49į) into Google maps as a lat long you get a spot near a "Big bend road". * The first part of his post he is saying that he took the opposite approach to you and acknowledging that he didnt provide any info.

    I guess turning a 110v unit upside down is using it on the bottom of the world in Australia.

    All in all probably better to speak english and avoid misunderstandings KT. * Or are you actually a bot? * In which case does anybody know how to tell?
    We have a couple running at present... ;D

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    Re: Avoiding home roaster syndrome (and starting to roast)

    Quote Originally Posted by 012C2D263C213C31480 link=1250961818/0#0 date=1250961818
    Or Dudley? And how many roasts do you have under your belt to learn to master them?
    Im still learning. ;)


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    Re: Avoiding home roaster syndrome (and starting to roast)

    Quote Originally Posted by 04252E2E2933400 link=1250961818/15#15 date=1251117234
    Im still learning. ;)
    As are we all.... 8-)

    Mal.

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    Re: Avoiding home roaster syndrome (and starting to roast)

    Quote Originally Posted by 5E73777B761A0 link=1250961818/16#16 date=1251117579
    Quote Originally Posted by 04252E2E2933400 link=1250961818/15#15 date=1251117234
    Im still learning. ;)
    As are we all.... 8-)

    Mal.
    And, if/when somebody thinks they know everything, I reckon its time to find something else as clearly the mind has closed to learning ;)

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    Re: Avoiding home roaster syndrome (and starting to roast)

    You certainly dont need to be an expert to use the Hottop...I have the D. Whilst not programmable as it is, I have not had one bad coffee from it yet. Espressos which have been quite tasty, and very nice through milk. And that is just using a basic profile.

    And when backed to a window with a passing breeze to draw smoke out with fanning help from me, inside use is ok if has to be done when outside use is not possible.

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    Re: Avoiding home roaster syndrome (and starting to roast)

    Quote Originally Posted by 5B76777C667B666B120 link=1250961818/0#0 date=1250961818
    Reading a review of a roaster today, I came across the following quote Quote:
    These days I generally donít enjoy coffee roasted in domestic hot air equipment. I find these coffees tend to be harsh, underdeveloped and lacking in complexity

    What a ridiculous generalisation. *
    (was this scientific sample from more than 2 roasts?)

    I hope you stopped reading at that point.


  19. #19
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    Re: Avoiding home roaster syndrome (and starting to roast)

    Quote Originally Posted by 705D5C574D504D40390 link=1250961818/0#0 date=1250961818
    My dream is probably a sample roaster, but if it cost $15000,
    Ill go you halves and we can store it in my garage *;D

    Quote Originally Posted by 705D5C574D504D40390 link=1250961818/0#0 date=1250961818
    not happy drinking sub-standard coffee
    me either, which is why i keep drinking commercial coffee as well as what I roast myself. Mind you, if I dont drink my own sub-standard roasts how do I learn what is wrong and what needs fixin?

    Quote Originally Posted by 705D5C574D504D40390 link=1250961818/0#0 date=1250961818
    So is your popper roast guilty of the above? What about a Gene? Or a Hotptop? Or Dudley? And how many roasts do you have under your belt to learn to master them? *
    most CERTAINLY my Gene roasts are guilty of being underdeveloped and not as interesting as I would like :-[. But, as we discussed offline last week, I wasnt giving enough time between FC and SC and I learnt something by talking to another roaster. While that one thing isnt a panacea for all thats wrong with my roasts I hope that I NEVER master my Gene or any roasting apparatus I get in the future, as I want to keep learning, keep questioning, keep striving for different and more interesting flavours.

    Quote Originally Posted by 705D5C574D504D40390 link=1250961818/0#0 date=1250961818
    I generally donít enjoy coffee roasted in domestic hot air equipment... This is exactly what Ive found from the home-roast coffee Ive tried from a number of sources
    Maybe, just maybe, what you dont like is the approach of the home roasters whos coffee youve tried. It might be less about the device used and more about the profile and approach taken by the roaster themselves.


    Some ppl here know that I resisted home roasting for a long time, saying things along the lines of why would I do it, I know nothing and there are plenty of awesome roasters near where I live, some even within walking distance. As if I can do better, so why bother. I also feared ruining a great product that so MANY people had worked hard to get to my front door. But I dont know why I waited for so long. Like anything, theres always PLENTY of reasons NOT to do something. Just ask anyone who is writing a PhD *;) ;D

    But the best reason TO do something is my all time favourite. Because I can.

    I totally understand the apprehension one can feel about starting to home roast, but I think that like a lot of things, one can overthink it when maybe youd be better off just having a go.

    I might just know someone whos close and willing to let you have a go at roasting. ;D *8-)

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    Re: Avoiding home roaster syndrome (and starting to roast)

    It is indeed an ongoing learning process. *I recently set up a Sicilian mate of mine with a Corretto (he is amused by the name). *He is not amused however by the coffee...he has never tasted anything nearly as good...he used to own restuarants and thought his commercially roasted coffee was nice until now....

    I am constantly learning about the best way to treat beans...the best way to massage the roast down to the best resting times. *But what I can say is that I rarely enjoy even the best local small specialty commercial roasts as I do those I do at home with a bread maker, heatgun, DMM and laptp...and lets not forget its a pretty darn scientific set up this not just someone flapping around with some heat and a spoon..

    Cheers

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    Re: Avoiding home roaster syndrome (and starting to roast)

    I love going to cafes that serve great coffee but they are few and far between. Roasting my own coffee has been a wonderful experience and being able to share it with my family, friends and fellow coffee obsessives has enhanced my life greatly. Apart from a few top notch commercial roasters I consider my beans superior or on a par to most other roasters around town....maybe Im biased but the proof is in the cup........."time for a home brew!!" :D :D

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    Re: Avoiding home roaster syndrome (and starting to roast)

    Agree totally GM...apart from the DiBellas, Venezianoss and the like...I would put my home roasted and brewed coffee up against anything that CharBucks, Caffeine Club or any other similar caffeine dispensary was to put in a cup.

    But then again, its the same deal with food...if you put a meal together with fresh and well looked after/prepared ingredients, the final result is going to poop all over the prepackaged/pre prepared options.

    Plus...you cant beat the love!!!

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    Re: Avoiding home roaster syndrome (and starting to roast)

    My personal experience is mirrored by Ozs above.... :)

    Now and again Ill buy a bag or two of brown from roasters whose knowledge and outcomes I respect; just to make sure Im not missing the boat with what Im doing here at home. Oft times, I discover interesting flavour traits that Ive never noticed before with my own home-roasts and then the quest begins anew.

    Roasting coffee seems to be one of those activities that one never really gets on top of, there are just so many variables and if you happen to identify a few of them, assert some level of control over them, then you are able to reproduce these outcomes because you really enjoy the brew that ends up in the cup. I must admit to trying about four or five different roasting methods over time but stuck with a modified popper for a number of years and when the Corretto came along (Hail Belinda [smiley=thumbsup.gif]), grabbed that concept with both hands and have been extremely happy this method ever since.

    Because many of the variables that can affect the roast outcome are under the control of the Roaster, it does require of the Roaster, a high level of diligence, keen observation and good record-keeping. The latter being required of all roasting, regardless of method. However, the results in the cup can be truly excellent and considering the materials required can be obtained for nominal cost, I think its a terrific method to use if batches larger than 200-300g are your aim.

    Theres a new version of an earlier home-roast method on the horizon now though, the KKTO (Koffee Kosmo Turbo Roaster) and this method also offers significant promise to the passionate home roaster, and one that I intend to try at some time in the not too distant future. Sure, this method also uses air as the medium to transport the thermal energy required to roast the beans, but so too do many commercial drum roasters; in fact many of them would not function without it. Its not that heated air is a problem with regard to roasting coffee, its the manner in which it is applied.

    Done properly, great results are possible and Im sure many of us are really, really pleased with the quality of the brews we achieve at the culmination of our roasting efforts. I know in my case, my entire extended family see me as their coffee provider of choice (not necessarily my choice, too much hard work :P) but thats how it goes. Also have a string of friends, neighbours and many others who think similarly; a couple of whom have even tried to encourage me to head into a commercial venture with them. So, the Corretto must be doing something right.... 8-)

    It is not the method that should come under criticism so much, but the knowledge, experience and ability of the Roaster. The more you learn about the bean, the more you experiment with your home-roaster and the more you experiment and catalogue your results, the better will be your chance to achieving your desired outcomes in the cup and thats what were all about here on CS, I believe. Know your roaster, know your beans and dont be afraid to experiment, thats the ticket.... 8-)

    Cheers,
    Mal.

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    Re: Avoiding home roaster syndrome (and starting to roast)

    I find myself waiting for my house to be completed not so much to move into, but to start home roasting! I am figuring its a lot like food, in that I might not be able to cook like Shannon Bennett, but I appreciate my food that much more when I manage to get close...

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    Re: Avoiding home roaster syndrome (and starting to roast)

    Behmor Coffee Roaster
    Hi Coffeehorse
    Have a hottop B and been roasting for about 3 months now. I have roasted some average coffee, a couple of good batches and a few real shockers (a startling acidity similar to pissants, floral notes of cauliflower and the mouth feel of a gin and tonic).
    Roasting coffee seems very much an art as well as a science. You need to be prepared for failures and accept there is a long learning curve to reliably produce top coffee irrespective of what machine you buy. There is a mass of information on the net about how to get the best out of most types of roaster. I think you need to be a bit obsessive if you want to become good at roasting. If you dont have the type of temprement that handles that then keep buying your coffee. There are many good roasters whose beans you can buy off the net.
    I became quite despondent after a couple of months when nothing seemed to produce good coffee. (drinkable but not good). I can detect improvement in the taste of my roasts and believe that with perseverence I can get there, but it will take some time.
    If you decide to have a go, buy 5 kg of a coffee you like (not an expensive one) keep details of each roast with tasting notes.

    If something is worth doing its worth being obsessive about.



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