Originally Posted by 667C637E78697E0C0 link=1255931577/0#0 date=1255931577
It really depends whose theory you subscribe to. *Personally, I like to get to FC as quick as I can and then stretch out first to 2nd as long as I can without going flat or negative. *There are a few caveats involved here but first things first, welcome to CS and congrats on getting yourself a Hottop! *:)
My first roasts in the Hottop (P model) were on Auto and I cant say they blew my hair back so then I moved to manual. *I used Randy Gs program as a starting point to build my own profile. *Go to *http://www.espressomyespresso.com/ and click the "Improved Roast Profiling" link under the "Coffee College" heading. *If you havent come across this site before, it is quite frankly, brilliant. *
So after starting with that profile, I noticed that the heating element kept turning off (bad). *This will depend on many things including (but not limited to) the beans, the environmental temperature, the size of your "load", the voltage of your machine, etc etc. *So after making some systematic adjustments I managed to keep the temperature target above the actual thus consistent heat application. *This is important for a few reasons:
1. A limitation of the P model is that although you can set the segment temp target, segment length and fan speed (sounds good right?); you cant control how the roaster achieves that target (ba baoww). *The P is an all or nothing roaster. *It will apply full power to the heating element until it reaches its target and then turn the power off. *In a perfect world, it would apply power to achieve target temp at the end of the segment. *If this "nothing" part of the all or nothing arrangement occurs in the last 30 sec of the segment, its not the end of the world. *The roaster and bean mass combo should have enough thermal inertia to keep you from stalling the roast (temperature profile flat or negative). *However, if more than about 30 sec passes you come to the next problem....the heating element.
2. *Just like an electric stove, the Hottops heating element takes some time to warm up. *The resulting delay means its easier to keep it going (element on). *If you do start to play around, you have to anticipate when you will need heat and make that demand BEFORE its needed.
So having created a program that would result in a consistent rise in bean mass temp, the next task was to flatten out the profile between first and second crack. *You can vent the chamber by lifting off the bean chute cover and to even greater effect, lifting the removeable filter out of its slot. *Not the latter will cause occasional pieces of chaff to be blown out the back. *No biggie...unless you like to roast on white linen *:P * The last (and initially most difficult way due to the poor reaction time of an electric element) is to manually reduce and increase the target temp mid segment, effectively cycling through power on and power off. *It does take some practice but works well when youre used to it.
That broadly covers the Hottop side of things. *All thats left to discuss is the bean mass and what the hell is happening to it! *I would strongly recommend a digital multi-meter and thermocouple from Bean Bay ("DMM"). *The temperature on the control panel is from the button like thermocouple on the back chamber wall. *If you take off the front cover and look up the barrel youll see it on the right had side, above the bean exit chute door with a securing screw top and bottom. *Anyway, this measures the chamber temperature but is quite different from the bean mass temperature. *Without a whole heap of sophisticated equipment, the best temp info you can get is from a thermocouple stuck deep into the bean mass. *It effectively measures the air temp between beans...as good as were going to get. *Warren a.k.a. "Top Shot" has produced a great how-to on installing a CS DMM TC into the Hottop. *Just make sure the tip gets far/deep enough into the bean mass or the readings will be unreliable. A search on this site for "Roast Monitor" will lead you to some great software written for the aforementioned DMM. It will plot your bean mass temperature and most importantly let you know the RATE OF CHANGE of that temperature. Priceless.
Final note: This has been what I do/have done and what works for me. *It is but one method so read around and form your own opinions! * One caution though, make allowances for equipment type. *Ramp times etc vary greatly between roasting methods whether they be popper, coretto, wok, KKTO etc so not all advice will be appropriate for your setup. For example, I found that a drying phase in the roast to do more harm than good. However, Id expect that someone who has shorter roast times and higher temperature rise capability (due different roaster) would certainly benefit.
Good luck and hope to hear how you fare. *:)