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Thread: Home roasting advice please !!

  1. #1
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    Home roasting advice please !!

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    I have been roasting at home with a popper for the last few months on and off now but I'm looking to take it up a step and make it part of my usual routine. I have a few questions that i hope some more experienced guys can help me out with please !

    The first (and more important of questions) is that i home roast with a tempo 1200watt popper and my average roasts are nearly always roughly around the 4min mark. I roast around 80grams, roasted today in Sydney when it was a cool day, roast outside on the balcony, I have a tin can chimney sticking out to stop beans from flying out, I have a fan facing into the popper during roasts and I tilt the popper slightly to mix the beans more to try to get a cooler roast. I have roasted smaller amounts (50grams) aswell and with all the variables I make, the roasting time changes only a bit and i'm still in around the 4-4.5 minutes. I think my popper wattage is maybe too high.

    My first question is: Is 4 mins too little time roasting beans ? Am i cooking them too quickly and not getting the best out of them ? Or is this reasonable for a popper? Tastes nice (i think) but i'm no expert so looking for advice



    Secondly, after roasting I cool the beans with the fan til cold, then put them straight into a coffee bean zip lock pouch with one way valve and close it up.
    My second Question is: Should I leave the pouch open for 24hrs first? Should i open the pouch once a day to help let gas out or leave as is for a few days until using?


    Advice would be much appreciated so I can get on my way to good, regular home roasting !!!

  2. #2
    Life-long Learner DesigningByCoffee's Avatar
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    Hi Karl
    Welcome!
    There's a lot of stuff there that will raise some controversy :-) A quick search for poppers will give you a whole range of different opinions on roasting results from standard & modded poppers - have a look back through the archives - there's nothing new under the sun!
    In the end - if you are happy with the taste you're getting - excellent! Why fiddle!
    However, there are a lot of popper users (i've only really poppered a few times out of interest - for $2 at the tip shop why not!) who go to amazing lengths to stretch out their roasts - so there must be something in it. On a cold day I got some 50g/15-20min roasts from a standard popper and the results were great. Faster 5min roasts - not so good IMHO. But I'm also used to the flavours of 18min roasts in a corretto.

    With the bags? Cool 'em, seal 'em up, let 'em rest. The valve will release the CO2. If you can wait a few days to drink, the results in the cup will just keep improving.
    Happy roasting!

    Matt

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    Quote Originally Posted by karl_2020 View Post
    . My first question is: Is 4 mins too little time roasting beans ? Am i cooking them too quickly and not getting the best out of them ? Or is this reasonable for a popper? Tastes nice (i think) but i'm no expert so looking for advice

    I think my popper wattage is maybe too high.

    Secondly, after roasting I cool the beans with the fan til cold, then put them straight into a coffee bean zip lock pouch with one way valve and close it up.
    My second Question is: Should I leave the pouch open for 24hrs first? Should i open the pouch once a day to help let gas out or leave as is for a few days until using?
    Hi Karl. Even for a popper this is too fast. And yes, it is because 1200W is OK for winter but has bit too much grunt for summer roasting. For summer I use a Target 900W which is modified to allow an external fan to blow through the casing around chamber. I use a short chimney - just tall enough to keep the beans from jumping out. This morning with an ambient temp of 26C I did a 75 gram batch with first crack going from 7:30 to 9:40 and second crack starting at 12:20 - just as I was dumping the beans into the sieve.

    For storing the beans, I put them in a plastic Ziplock bag with a pinhole in it then put that into a valved bag, and press it flat as I seal it. There is no need to open the bag - I find that the pinhole and the valve will handle any out-gassing.

    Cheers, Leo.

    P.S. Like Matt, I found that longer roasts were better. When I first started I was only getting 6 to 8 minutes but was able to get this up to around 15 mins in winter, and the end result was better in the cup.
    Last edited by leograyson; 21st November 2012 at 02:33 PM. Reason: See P.S.

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    Quote Originally Posted by leograyson View Post
    For summer I use a Target 900W which is modified to allow an external fan to blow through the casing around chamber. I use a short chimney - just tall enough to keep the beans from jumping out. This morning with an ambient temp of 26C I did a 75 gram batch with first crack going from 7:30 to 9:40 and second crack starting at 12:20 - just as I was dumping the beans into the sieve.
    Hey Leo,

    Thanks heaps for the advice, I just popped out (pardon the pun) to Target just now and got myself the Target 900watt popcorn popper you mentioned. I kinda wish I didn't roast a batch this morning with the 1200watt popper now. Oh well..

    Any chance you could just tell me more about the mod to let more air around the chamber and possibly include a photo please so I can do the same to mine.

    Thanks,

    Karl

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    IMG_4191.JPG

    Is this something like what you did Leo, I just cut out a piece at the side and will face the fan at it when roasting. Of course there are no exposed wires etc !! I'll give it a test run in the morning when it's a bit cooler !

    And also a thanks to Matt for the sound advice too !!

  6. #6
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    Karl, The main mod is a simple mechanical job which is safe and does not touch or expose any of the electrical components if done correctly.

    On the front of the unit there is a decorative panel which just "pops" out if you slip a screwdriver or a blade under it and lever outwards.

    This will allow the external fan to blow directly onto the metal roast chamber. But to be really effective you need to make another hole in the back panel so that the air can blow straight through. This is also easy if you have a dremel moto-tool or similar, but not so easy if you do not.
    If you have a dremel (or can borrow one ) just use a cutting disc at fairly low speed.
    It tends to melt the plastic as much as cut it, but it does the job fast & easy.
    It would take longer and be fiddly, but it could probably be done with a pair of side-cutters, or really strong scissors. There is at least 15mm of clearance between the case and the roast chamber along the cut lines but don't go any deeper than that.

    Whatever you use, this is what you need to do :- On the back panel there are two small rectangular slots near the top. First you cut out the piece between them to make a single slot about 65 mm wide. Next cut downward from each side of the new slot for 90mm (but no more than that). Make a horizontal cut across the bottom, so you have made a hole about 90 mm high and about 65 mm wide.

    If you do this you may have to turn the fan off to reach first crack when it is cool or even mild. You may have to turn it off to reach second crack unless it is a really hot day. The 900w poppers are almost too low powered, and they will slow down the process without any mods, and with them the roast can stall and you end up with baked beans - not roasted. In winter they will struggle to even reach first crack. That's when you bring out the Tempo again.

    I now have a digital probe thermometer which I watch constantly, and if the temperature stays at the same level for more than one minute I turn the fan down or off, but I used to do it by watching the timer and the changing colour of the beans.

    If you want to discuss any of this - ask more questions etc. don't hesitate to post or PM me.

    Cheers, Leo.

    PS --- Karl could have saved a bit of typing if I had checked again before I posted this !!
    Last edited by leograyson; 21st November 2012 at 07:48 PM. Reason: See the PS

  7. #7
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    Behmor Coffee Roaster
    Thanks Leo,

    I have (easily) done the mod like you suggested (not sure if you seen the image I attached to my last post) and I am looking forward to roasting again to try it out. I will play around with roasting and will look forward to better tasting roasted coffee beans. I have also put in an order with OE to replace my Kyocera grinder with a new Pharos and I am just waiting on arrival. So things are looking up !!

    Thanks again for your help !!

    Karl



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