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Thread: Behmor dark roasts choke machine

  1. #1
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    Behmor dark roasts choke machine

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    Hi All,

    I recently purchased a Behmor & have done about 20+ roasts. I've a got a couple of friends who home roast & they got me started on the right track.

    I drilled out spindle & added a thermocouple so I could plot out roast profile of which I am able to predictably repeat as required using a full manual profiles.

    All is going well I'm using 300gms Brazil N/P & when finished equals 250gms. I have 2 profiles while I figure the best way to go.

    1, Light roast city/city+ - Profile is 75% for 7mins then 100% until FC at 12mins. Then down to 75% & cruise through first FC which lasts 1.30mins then hit cool at 14.30mins.

    2, Dark roast Full City/+ - Profile is 75% for 5mins then 100% until FC still around 12mins. Then down to 75% through good rolling FC for 1.20mins then hit cool at 14mins.
    I do get the very start of SC just after I hit cool.

    I leave the beans in Behmor for around a minute after hitting cool (cuts down on any smoke) then stop the machine & put them in a cooling tray. 5mins cool as a cucumber.


    My question is apart from what do you guys think of the profile?

    Any of the darker roasts I've done have been a pain in the butt to pull espresso with!

    I am using an Astoria Lever Machine, so they have declining pressure profile. Temp is 91C & using a 14gm VST basket. 15gm dose, 30ml yield over 40sec.
    Using 14gm basket as 30-35mls is the max I get from a single pull, I but don't pull twice as it can fracture the puck & I get channeling.

    No matter how coarse I grind, I get a really sloppy wet puck & the shot starts out fast & then just slows down to a trickle, then a drip.
    I struggle to get 30mls out of a single pull. The lever is not quite all the way up & when I remove the porta filter and I get a little water escape. So essentially I'm choking the machine.
    What type of roast "defect" would cause the sloppy/silty puck. The lighter roasts in the Behmor are no problem & any darker roasts with specialty beans are fine.

    I thought that maybe because darker roasts are more soluble they get sloppy & choke the machine. I don't think I've baked it & the roast is 7 days old.
    I've tried coarser grinds & down dosing but nothing seems to help. Maybe a characteristic of the beans? Have only done Brasil N/P so far as saving better beans once I have a more of an idea.
    I don't like throwing away $28kg yirgacheffe. Any thoughts would be appreciated?

    Steve

  2. #2
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    You don't choke a machine when the shot starts out fast. You didn't mention your grinder. Some grinders produce more fines with darker roast levels specially when momentum to first crack is a bit fast and too hot. I'd try a slower ramp with the Brazil if you like it past Full City.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Barry O'Speedwagon's Avatar
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    Try leaving the lever down for a few more seconds before you raise it again. A bit more pre-infusion may help even out the resistance in the puck.

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    I have a Ceado E37S with the "clump crusher" mod already done. I'm happy now as no spraying since the mod was carried out.
    I've tried a slower ram up to FC but it's easy to stall the roast or I get a baked result. Interesting note, when it's baked it's similar with sloppy/silty pucks and no flow.
    Also noticed today that the top 2/3 of the puck is sloppy but the bottom 1/3 is firm?

    I do an 8 sec pre-infusion & I'm pretty happy with the taste if I can get a full 30ml shot. Has a good mouth feel, full body, low acid & slight bitterness but no sweetness.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Barry O'Speedwagon's Avatar
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    I ask this question with a due sense of dread (not b/c of anything to do with this specific thread, Stliimbe). Do you have a basket other than the VST? For all of their upside, they can be a bit more temperamental, due to the smaller holes / finer required grind.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Barry O'Speedwagon View Post
    I ask this question with a due sense of dread (not b/c of anything to do with this specific thread, Stliimbe). Do you have a basket other than the VST? For all of their upside, they can be a bit more temperamental, due to the smaller holes / finer required grind.
    I use IMS 20gram basket. All good. I really don't see what the fuss is about. Sure they work and objectively they do increase extraction but are they better? I use mine every day and no issues. I do think the standard baskets work just fine though and they are designed more practically. That is the sides slope more which means it is easier to knock out than one with straight sides.

    Overall it is a *meh* from me whether you use standard baskets which I am sure work just fine or whether you use IMS or VST.
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  7. #7
    Senior Member Vinitasse's Avatar
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    Why are you roasting the crap out of your coffee? Full City + is a pretty brutal thing to any decent bean so if you're struggling with the burnt... errrr... darker roasts why not roast a bit lighter thereby leaving some of the bean's character intact? It just might dial in a bit easier as well.

    Just sayin'
    Last edited by Vinitasse; 28th October 2016 at 09:38 PM.

  8. #8
    Senior Member flynnaus's Avatar
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    Do you have another basket other than the VST?

  9. #9
    Senior Member Barry O'Speedwagon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wattgn View Post
    I use IMS 20gram basket. All good. I really don't see what the fuss is about. Sure they work and objectively they do increase extraction but are they better? I use mine every day and no issues. I do think the standard baskets work just fine though and they are designed more practically. That is the sides slope more which means it is easier to knock out than one with straight sides.

    Overall it is a *meh* from me whether you use standard baskets which I am sure work just fine or whether you use IMS or VST.
    Yeh, the reason for the disclaimer at the start of my post was that I was trying to help a guy with a specific problem, rather than start a VST v the world debate.
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    I don't recall asking about what degree of roast you all prefer or your opinion on mine! I could say that the current hipster trend for lighter roasts only results in underdeveloped, insipid, thin & sour shots that rival an atomic warhead lolly!

    Rather I was asking the members of a Roasting Forum about my struggles when doing a darker roast in the Behmor and the increasing restriction in flow, no matter how coarse I grind (to the point of spraying) or down dosing.
    Lever machines have a declining pressure profile, but this problem only occurs with dark roasts that have come out of the Behmor. All the commercial dark roasts I have bought have not behaved like this.

    I used the Astoria factory 15gm basket this morning & had a similar outcome, still struggling to 30mls out of a shot. So it's not the VST.

    Just trying to change variables one at a time identify the cause. Dose, grind, tamp, basket have all been eliminated. It's either roast profile, type of bean or the Behmor not being a drum roaster?

    This is about learning how to get the best result when roasting a certain bean. Maybe the Brazil needs to be roasted lighter, in which case I'll not buy that style of bean again.

    Any suggestions?

    Stliimbe

  11. #11
    Senior Member Vinitasse's Avatar
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    Why not take a page out of Goldilock's book... this roast is too dark I can't even extract it properly and this roast is too light and comes across as thin, sour and insipid.

    Hmmm... perhaps somewhere in the middle you'll find something that is just right.

    Just sayin' Part II

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    The question is why? Are you saying that you can't do a dark roasted Brazil, that it's a characteristic of the bean?

  13. #13
    Senior Member Barry O'Speedwagon's Avatar
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    In my experience, the Behmor performs less well with Brazilian (and other softer) beans than others. I also have a lever machine (Quckmill Achille) with a similar group to yours, and haven't had the specific problem that you refer to, but have been less impressed with the few Brazilians I've tried relative to the dozens of others.....but that is far from a fair sample. There is a thread here somewhere in which some chap relates his struggles with the Behmor/Brazil thing....about 8-12 months ago.
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  14. #14
    Senior Member SniffCoffee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vinitasse View Post
    Why are you roasting the crap out of your coffee? Full City + is a pretty brutal thing to any decent bean so if you're struggling with the burnt... errrr... darker roasts why not roast a bit lighter thereby leaving some of the bean's character intact? It just might dial in a bit easier as well.

    Just sayin'
    Stliimbe's description of "full city" in his original post doesn't really sound like full city to me, just sounds like the first snaps of second crack...I thought full city was CS12 into a rolling second crack, beans all oily and yeuch!

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    Out of interest...

    Have you checked on the consistency of roast throughout several beans, grinding down on a piece of fine emery for example? Perhaps unevenness may be contributing to your experience...

    Also, have you tried brewing the coffee via another method such as Pour-Over or through an AeroPress for example? Just to be certain that there is nothing inherently wrong with the roast overall?

    Mal.
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    The suggestion to try a different brew method makes a lot of sense to me. I always resort to my Kalita 102 pour over when something is off with a particular batch. You can also try to intentionally let the ground coffee go stale for about 20 minutes before pulling the shot to see if the shot will behave any different.

  17. #17
    Life-long Learner DesigningByCoffee's Avatar
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    If the darker Brazil is choking it sounds like it is baked - is it a dry powdery texture? I'd try a similar roast depth in terms of colour but a faster ramp getting there. Not quite sure how I'd do that on a behmor though...
    Cheers Matt

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    Yep even on my coarsest espresso grind setting I can feel a powdery texture. All the previous dark roasts where obviously baked but this one didn't smell or taste it, just could't pull a consistent shot.

    Re Roast: I slowed the drying stage of the roast down using 75% power for 5+mins then up to 100% untill FC & then down to 75% again. Mill City Roasters You Tube videos said it didn't matter about drying stage as no chemical reactions are occurring until after yellow. I was struggling with 100% from the start of the roast as was carrying too much momentum at the end & it just went from rolling FC straight into SC with no time in between.

    I'll start fast a finish slow & see the difference in outcome.

    Cheers Matt

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    I wouldn't approach 1st crack with 100% power with the type of coffee you are using. I would use full power at the start of the roast and go to 75% when the afterburner kicks in and maintain until 1st crack. 30 seconds after start of 1st crack lowered to 50% until end of roast or a few snaps of 2nd crack. It is apparent that your current profile is over roasting your bean of choice.

  20. #20
    Senior Member LeroyC's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Barry O'Speedwagon View Post
    In my experience, the Behmor performs less well with Brazilian (and other softer) beans than others. I also have a lever machine (Quckmill Achille) with a similar group to yours, and haven't had the specific problem that you refer to, but have been less impressed with the few Brazilians I've tried relative to the dozens of others.....but that is far from a fair sample. There is a thread here somewhere in which some chap relates his struggles with the Behmor/Brazil thing....about 8-12 months ago.
    Some of the bests roasts I've had from my Behmor have been Brazilians. I'm buying good quality Brazilians and my approach is obviously different to when roasting other beans, which has turned out some awesome results.

  21. #21
    Senior Member LeroyC's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stliimbe View Post
    Yep even on my coarsest espresso grind setting I can feel a powdery texture. All the previous dark roasts where obviously baked but this one didn't smell or taste it, just could't pull a consistent shot.

    Re Roast: I slowed the drying stage of the roast down using 75% power for 5+mins then up to 100% untill FC & then down to 75% again. Mill City Roasters You Tube videos said it didn't matter about drying stage as no chemical reactions are occurring until after yellow. I was struggling with 100% from the start of the roast as was carrying too much momentum at the end & it just went from rolling FC straight into SC with no time in between.

    I'll start fast a finish slow & see the difference in outcome.

    Cheers Matt
    It's hard to know for sure without knowing more about the specific coffee you're using, but if I was roasting a Brazilian NP in my Behmor I certainly wouldn't be starting fast. You can maybe start hot with a good long preheat (although it's debatable how much difference this makes), but you want a relatively low RoR. Almost all the Brazilians I've roasted, including one NP have done the best starting on P3 auto. I usually do 250g batches and switch to manual mode some time between when the fan kicks in and first crack. Generally I'm trying to intervene to avoid stalling or baking the roast so I go to 75 or 100% then ease back again before first crack so it doesn't get away from me. I usually go double drum speed just before first crack too and maintain that well into rolling first crack before dropping it back again.
    Just note that although the Mill City videos are good and delivered in a general sort of way that allows you to develop your general roasting knowledge, they are really aimed at people using commercial drum roasters. More specifically their drum roasters. The Behmor is an incredibly capable little machine, but it can't replicate a full commercial machine.

  22. #22
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    Behmor Coffee Roaster
    Sorry all I've been crazy busy with work & home life. Ah to be young a commitment free again, those were the days!

    just clarify the thermocouple I've added doesn't go into the bean mass, but rather right in the centre of the drum just above the bean mass.

    My rate of rise measuring in the position of the Thermocouple was
    The roast that's giving me hell: @ 75% was around 10' per min then plateaued at which point I'd hit 100% until FC then down to 75% for 1.30min the cool. Max temp was 201'.
    Faster Start: @ 100% it was hitting 20' per min until FC then down to 75% for 1.30min then cool.

    The total roast time was 3mins shorter & even though the temp got as high as 207', the roast was much lighter.

    I'll update in a day or two see how it pulls.

    Update on the dark roast, it's pulling better now at day 13 & not choking, but now is tasting a bit blah.



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