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Thread: First Hottop Roast

  1. #1
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    First Hottop Roast

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    My Hottop finally arrived and the first roast is done with 250g of the Guatemala Nueva Granada Estate that came with the roaster.

    I followed the suggested profile that ThingsCoffee included and the result looks good. The roast actually went much faster than I thought it would based on the supplied profile though. I dumped the beans about 30 seconds into RSC so we'll see what that tastes like in a few days.

    Some random thoughts...

    I found I had to keep reminding myself to look at the output from the logger rather than the temperature readout on the panel. Glowing numbers are way sexier than the log on my laptop.

    I'd watched a few videos of Hottop roasts and mine seemed to be making some extra noise that I didn't remember hearing in those. We'll call it a metallic 'bump' every now and then, like something was getting caught somewhere. I couldn't see anything out of place though.

    There was more chaff left inside the drum than I expected. Opening the front dumped what was almost another half tray out onto the bench.

    I had one of the safety alerts later in the roast and I hadn't expected it to shut both the heater and the fan off until I hit a button. Not a big deal but something else I hadn't seen in any of the videos I'd watched.

    Apart form that - very easy to use. I'll be using 250g for the next few roasts but the faster roast this time makes me think I'll easily be able to switch up a 300g roast which my ideal batch size for a week's worth of coffee.

    Next roast I'll probably mess up a little (actually, I'll probably mess it up a lot) as I want to play and get my head around just how much the heater and fan controls interact.

    Cheers,
    Jeff K

  2. #2
    Senior Member GrahamK's Avatar
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    Hi Jeff,

    Noises: There are various noises from the motor and drum that also change as it heats up. Sometimes tightening the front brass screw will stop them as it pulls the drum away from where it can touch
    Chaff: One of the Hottop's weaker points. I empty tray. Put it 1/2 way back in then unscrew front and let the rest drop into the tray. Close tray and blow into chamber then empty tray & them vacuum between every roast.
    Alerts: there are 2 alerts; A1 - If it reaches 180deg within the 1st 8:30 mins it will alarm. If not you will not get the 1st alarm. A2 - when it reaches 210deg. This is a safety in case you arnt being attentive, in which case it will shut down/eject etc.
    >250g: I have never been able to roast more than 250g without it giving me grief of some type. I have tried to roast enough so you can still get 250g after the %loss but to no avail, and a few binned roasts. Most recently in August this year I tried 305g. The result was it failed to eject/unload, and as I have the older version, there is no manual eject. Probably still worth giving it a try though.
    Filter: You will also find the fans effectiveness is affected to some degree as the filter deteriorates.


    GrahamK

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    Quote Originally Posted by jeffk View Post
    Apart form that - very easy to use. I'll be using 250g for the next few roasts but the faster roast this time makes me think I'll easily be able to switch up a 300g roast which my ideal batch size for a week's worth of coffee.

    Cheers,
    Jeff K
    The biggest problem with increasing the load is that the Hottop will be less responsive to changes you make in the fan and heat level. Most users seem to settle on a standard load between 227g and 250g, in order to maximize their ability to control the roast.

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    Ok, thanks. My plan is to stick to 250g until I feel I know what I'm doing, which I'm sure will be more than a few roasts from now. Then I'll try 275g and see what happens.

    As to the chaff left in the drum: at 250g I'll have to do two roasts back to back. Will I have to deal with getting excess chaff out of a hot(ish) drum between roasts or will it just work it's way out during the next roast? I've got plenty of time while I'm waiting for the drum to cool and I guess taking the front cover off will help it cool faster - but I'm also keen to not ,ess around with hot drums and covers ifi don't have to.

  5. #5
    Senior Member GrahamK's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jeffk View Post
    Will I have to deal with getting excess chaff out of a hot(ish) drum between roasts or will it just work it's way out during the next roast?
    I personally always clean out all the chaff between roasts. As you say removing the front does assist quicker cooling between roasts. (I use a small fan to assist). I also ensure there are no stuck beans left in the roaster so they do not burn when you do the next roast. They can get stuck in the vanes, especially if they are misshaped. (A wooden chopstick is useful for doing this).

    However having said all that I don't think its a necessity if only doing 2 roasts, getting most of the chaff out via the chaff draw after roast 1 should be good enough.

    GrahamK

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    I'll probably do several batches in a row on Saturday as some home roasted coffee is a tradition gift to some of my family members this time of year. Looking forward to that as it'll give me plenty of practice with the new roaster although normally I'd just drag the Corretto out of the back shed and do a couple of big batches.

    Thanks for the advice. I'm sure I'll have a question a three once I've done a few more roasts :-)

    Merry Christmas!

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    Quote Originally Posted by GrahamK View Post
    I personally always clean out all the chaff between roasts. As you say removing the front does assist quicker cooling between roasts. (I use a small fan to assist). I also ensure there are no stuck beans left in the roaster so they do not burn when you do the next roast. They can get stuck in the vanes, especially if they are misshaped. (A wooden chopstick is useful for doing this).

    However having said all that I don't think its a necessity if only doing 2 roasts, getting most of the chaff out via the chaff draw after roast 1 should be good enough.

    GrahamK
    I do my routine cleaning each weekend, before I start roasting. Someone else suggested removing the chaff tray, and blowing some compressed air into that area. You will be amazed at how much chaff comes out!! I also use a flashlight and long screwdriver to pry out the beans which have become stuck in the drum holes. My average is 3-4 beans (for 3-4 roasts).

    For cooling between roasts, you can remove the rear filter to speed things up. Then re-start the roaster and set a timer for 4 minutes - it may take a bit longer to cool, depending on ambient temperature.

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    I leave my hottop for a couple of hours between roasts so it cools down properly. I think the heating elements work off a timing sequence rather than sensing the temp in the roast chamber. This makes the roaster sensitive to both air temp and starting temp of the machine. When I have tried starting with a warm roaster the roast finished faster than I was aiming for using my regular temp settings. I have not bothered to try and work out a profile for a hot machine start but I am sure it can be done. I beleve it will be different to a profile starting from cold. Let us know what you find.
    Tony

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    I let the first roast rest a few days before trying it and while it looked fine, I've managed to create a flavour I can best described as "rusty tin". Very metallic. I'm not sure if can put that down to needing to 'season' the roaster with a couple of roasts? I can't imagine the bean naturally tasting that way ;-)

    I'm going to try again this weekend with a bean I actually know and see how that turns out but not a great start.

  10. #10
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    G'day Feff
    Dont take this the wrong way but I found the most important thing about roasting was being able to consistently pull a good shot with the espresso machine and know how to fix a poor shot. I was only average coffee maker when I started roasting and spent a while in the wilderness producing horrible coffee until I got on top of the whole process. The worst situation to be in is not knowing if it is your roasting technique or coffee making technique that is at fault. When you change bean type you will generally have to dial the grinder in for those beans. That woluld be the first thing I would try with your new roast. Play around a bit with the grinder and see if you can improve it. For some types of beans I will extend the pour up to 40 seconds. Slightly finer grind and tamp firmly. I use a naked PF and find that excellent as you can see if the pour is running well or starting to channel. The longer time will still only produce the same size shot.
    One mistake I made early on was trying to extend the time between first and second crack to much and ending up stalling the roast at that point. I aim to keep the rate of temp rise at about 6 deg per minute from start of FC until completion. That will generally give 4 minutes plus between FC and SC
    There is another hottop thread just below this one that you probably have looked at but that has some good comments as well.
    Tony

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    Quote Originally Posted by jeffk View Post
    I let the first roast rest a few days before trying it and while it looked fine, I've managed to create a flavour I can best described as "rusty tin". Very metallic. I'm not sure if can put that down to needing to 'season' the roaster with a couple of roasts? I can't imagine the bean naturally tasting that way ;-)
    Jeff, I have some questions:
    Are using the beans for drip coffee?
    I have never had a flavor like that before. Is it possible the beans are under-roasted, and overly acidic?
    How long did you roast the beans - did you roast up to 2nd crack?

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    Thanks guys,

    @Tony: I'll be the first to put up my hand as an average coffee maker but I think I'm managing to get at least some ballpark good shots out of my Rocket Giotto Premium Plus. I don't think it was the making or the grinding. I will say that day 6 sees the coffee tasting passable - not great but... ok.

    @rgrosz: It's espresso and they were roasted to about 30 seconds into second crack. Even so, they looked a little lighter than I expected. But I've never messed with that particular bean before so I don't have any reference for what's a 'normal' outcome.

    I think I'll have to write that first batch off as one that got away. I've done a second roast with the last half of the beans (Guatemala Nueva Granada Estate that came with the roaster) and I'll see how that turns out. I approached it more like I would roasting in my Corretto - just let the roaster do it's thing in the ramp to first crack, then reducing the heat to slow things down until second crack. I made a couple of fan adjustments early on to control the rate a little but tried to keep messing with the controls to a minimum this time.

    The result looks better (darker) although I messed up slowing the roast post first crack and it pretty much just rolled from first crack to second crack without much pause. I'll see how it stands up in a couple of days.

    Mostly though, I figure I need to sit down and come up with the best approach to learning how to use the roaster so I can get beyond just copying someone else's profile, and/or just changing the temperature and fan randomly, hoping I'll get the result I want. I think some time revisiting the general fundamentals of a good roast profile will be time well spent.

    All pointers to good resources on roasting in general and/or comments on approaches that helped in learning to use the Hottop in particular are most welcome.

    Merry Christmas!
    Jeff K

  13. #13
    Senior Member insomnispresso's Avatar
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    Behmor Coffee Roaster
    Jeff,
    Think we discussed it in that other thread, try max fan half heat 1-2 mins before first crack starts.

    Following someone else's profile is still a good idea to see how the roaster reacts, use your experience to guide you. If you know the gap between an audible first and second crack on the corretto is x minutes, make that the case with the hottop. Temperatures will likely not be transferable but sound and smell should be more so.

    Other resources.. Just read everything you can find on the Internet one interesting idea is the article about drying/profiling on FRCNdigital by Randy.



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