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Thread: Roasting beans in my Weber Family Q using the rotisserie kit

  1. #1
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    Roasting beans in my Weber Family Q using the rotisserie kit

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    Hi all. I've combined two of my great loves - BBQ and coffee. I've modded my Weber Family Q rotisserie kit to roast coffee beans. I've been doing it now for a little over a year and I'm really happy with the results. I thought I'd post some pics and the process I undertook to build it, to hopefully inspire others to give it a go.

    PARTS REQUIRED

    Drum - I bought a stainless steel drum on eBay from a Chinese seller for around $30. I see they're available for a lot less nowadays such as here. The drum is pretty decent quality and has held up well over probably over 100 roasts. The first issue was that the shaft cutout is 6mm square whereas my Weber rotisserie shaft is 8mm square. A flat file solved that problem fairly easily.

    Rotisserie Motor - Initially, I tried using the original rotisserie motor but my results were inconsistent and I would end up with a motley roast. That is, the beans were unevenly roasted with some being almost green all the way through to burnt beans. I needed a higher RPM motor. So I turned to eBay again and bought a little 60RPM motor like this. I used an old 12VDC power pack, lobbed off the connector and soldered the wires to the motor. The next challenge was how to couple the motor to the shaft.

    Shaft Coupling - The ideal coupling would be made of metal. I found something on eBay again that wasn't exactly right but I thought I could mod to make work. I managed to break it in the modding process sadly, so that never got off the ground. So I weighed up options to get something fabricated. Metal was going to be expensive (relatively) so I discounted that early. A friend of mine had recently bought a 3D printer so I asked if he'd do it but his machine was broken at the time. Some searching revealed a fantastic website at www.3dhubs.com. The basic idea is that you draw something in 3D, upload it to the site and request quotes from local owners of 3D printers to print it for you. So I drew up my model in 3D and posted it. I quickly had a bunch of options to choose from. I chose a guy about 3 kms from home who would do it in ABS for about $6. This turned out to be the most problematic part. The guy had a decent printer but had lots of problems getting a decent print. He printed about 3 samples and gave these to me. He said if they worked, I could pay him and if not, I could have them for nothing. The problem was that in the curing process, the parts shrunk a little, so it was really hard to get the coupling to fit. He offered to print them again so I scaled the parts up a bit and the second attempt was much better.

    Bracket - I made up a bracket from scrap aluminium parts to get it to fit to my Weber Q rotisserie attachment point. It wasn't too hard to do. A bit of tweaking and it was done.

    FIRST RUN
    I assembled all the bits and once fitted, I gave my rig a test run. Lo and behold, it worked a treat! So I loaded up some beans and gave it a first run. The roasts were really consistent in colour and much quicker. Down from about 18 mins to 2nd crack to about 13:30 mins to 2nd crack for the same type and volume of beans.

    This solution was a little short-lived. Yep, you guessed it, the coupling was too close to the BBQ and over about half a dozen roasts, it started to deform from the heat sufficiently to round out the coupling and it stopped rotating.

    MODIFIED BRACKET
    I needed to modify the brackeT to move the coupling further away from the BBQ. It's remarkable how much difference only a few cms can make to the heat dispersion in air. About 5cm did the trick. The newly modified bracket has been working really well and the current coupling I'm using has done about 30-40 roasts and no signs of it slowing down. That's a pretty good return for my $6 spend.

    MY PROCESS
    I put in my rotisserie kit and mount the drum with the shaft on it. I preheat the Weber Q on full temp for 15 minutes. It gets the temp up to about 230 deg C at the lid thermometer.
    I then load the beans into the drum. I buy 1 kg bags of green beans and do 350g/350g/300g roasts from that bag. I place a piece of folded aluminium foil directly under the drum to deflect some of the direct heat away from the drum. This may or may not be necessary but I do it anyway.
    I load the drum back into the BBQ and leave the temp on high. Depending on the beans, I usually get first crack at between 9:30-10:30 mins and second crack around 13:00-13:30 mins. I always pull the beans at or just before second crack.
    Once pulled, I put the beans in a metal sieve and toss them in front of a desk fan to cool them down. Not a lot of chaff is left in the sieve. Most of it seems to end up in my BBQ and on the aluminium foil.

    THE RESULTS
    It gives me a roast that consistently produces a great cup (at least to my taste). I've read a lot about roasting beans and to many, I'm probably a complete amateur given I don't mess with the temps at all nor do I vary much in when I pull the beans. I also never blend beans. I do single origin roasts exclusively, although I do buy my beans in lots of 5kg and always buy 5 different 1kg bean bags for a bit of variety. My next trick will be to try and do some blends but I have no idea where to start with that.

    All in all, I really enjoy the whole process. I still buy roasted beans from time to time and I can honestly say, my own efforts are generally at least as good as most of the beans I buy. Occasionally I buy bean blends and have a bit of bean envy but that probably only happens 10% of the time. That said, I welcome any suggestions or feedback others may have. I'm always eager to learn new and better techniques. For an all up cost of about $30 to mod my rotisserie, it's a great intro to the world of coffee roasting. I may upgrade one day to a proper roasting machine but for now, I don't see any real need.

    Here are some pics of some of the bits.

    20161016_173940 (Large).jpg20161016_173959 (Large).jpgMotor Assembly.jpg

    And https://youtu.be/VpqQeZMklwU a video of the setup in action. This is with the original mounting bracket which has since been modded as per the photo above.

  2. #2
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    Well done bigrizz, I've been pondering this setup for a while but never followed through.

    Great to see how you've solved the problems and the outcome you are getting.

    Time to get myself into action!

    Cheers
    matth3wh likes this.

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    Do the beans pick up any flavour from the other stuff cooked on the BBQ? Eg sausages etc?

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    Senior Member Barry O'Speedwagon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by herzog View Post
    Do the beans pick up any flavour from the other stuff cooked on the BBQ? Eg sausages etc?

    Even if they do, I guess the trick is just to cook coffee friendly flavours on the Weber (chcocolate, Granny Smiths, spice, earth).
    Magic_Matt likes this.

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    Good question, mate. I do make an effort to keep the grill plates clean. That's my normal routine anyway, which is to clean the grates after every cook. The 15 minute preheat burns off anything I might have missed anyway, so the bbq isn't producing any smoke of unburnt bits by the time it's hot.

    Initially, I made an effort to clean out the gunk down around the burners but nowadays I don't bother and I honestly can't taste any difference.
    matth3wh and sprezzatura like this.

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    For anyone interested, I found a couple of photos of my roasts - one before I made the 60 RPM motor mod and one after. I think it's obvious you benefit from a higher RPM motor than your regular BBQ motor.Roast after.jpgRoast Before.jpg
    matth3wh likes this.

  7. #7
    Senior Member matth3wh's Avatar
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    Good one Bigrizz and thank you for documenting the process so clearly.

    Should hopefully inspire some more BBQ coffee roasters.

    I'd be interested to know whether you can mod the drum to add internal vanes ala similar to the behmor drum design which distributes the beans around inside of the drum.
    sprezzatura likes this.

  8. #8
    Senior Member artman's Avatar
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    Or just use a Behmor drum.

    Good work, looks like it is very effective.

    You could introduce a smoke element and start a new craze. Smokey Brazil yellow burbon!!

    Cheers
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  9. #9
    Senior Member matth3wh's Avatar
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    Hickory smoked bourbon 🥃
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    Quote Originally Posted by matth3wh View Post
    I'd be interested to know whether you can mod the drum to add internal vanes ala similar to the behmor drum design which distributes the beans around inside of the drum.
    There is actually a vein already in it that runs horizontally the length of the drum. If you wanted to get really tricky with it, I reckon it'd be a piece of cake to pop rivet some more pieces of angle iron inside. I'm perfectly happy with the single vein so see no need.
    matth3wh likes this.

  11. #11
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    Bigrizz, thanks for the thread, very inspiring

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    Senior Member trentski's Avatar
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    There's a few places in the states that roast coffee over wood. It was on Man Fire Food on SBS

    Austin, TX Coffee Shop [Summer Moon]
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    Interesting Trentski, after reading so much about roasting profiles, etc to read about a commercial wood fired roaster who uses nothing more than eyes, ears and nose for measuring.

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    That's pretty cool.. Nice work Bigrizz!!

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    Quote Originally Posted by maximized View Post
    That's pretty cool.. Nice work Bigrizz!!
    Quote Originally Posted by 338 View Post
    Bigrizz, thanks for the thread, very inspiring
    Thanks gents. I'm hoping we can start a movement and get others into the BBQ roasting fold.
    matth3wh likes this.

  16. #16
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    You have me thinking Bigrizz, I have a brand new plumbed in bbq with window so to have a go is pretty straightforward after you great guide.

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    Behmor Coffee Roaster
    Quote Originally Posted by trentski View Post
    There's a few places in the states that roast coffee over wood. It was on Man Fire Food on SBS

    Austin, TX Coffee Shop [Summer Moon]
    That's fantastic! Really taking it back to basics. The irony in my case is that I love technology (I'm an Electrical Engineer with a major in computer systems) but there's something undeniably pleasurable in using your senses and intuition that technology just doesn't satisfy. It's about enjoying the journey as much as the outcome.
    matth3wh and 338 like this.



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