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Thread: Behmor roasting - should I be cooling externally?

  1. #1
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    Question Behmor roasting - should I be cooling externally?

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    So I have a Behmor 1600 Plus and have been roasting a couple of months. I'm pretty pumped with the results but have some questions on cooling. I've been cooling using a mix of the following techniques...
    • Stock standard, in Behmor, door closed (rarely, usually only if I feel like I hit stop early)
    • Semi standard, in Behmor, door open after 2 mins
    • Semi-standard #2, in Behmor, door open after 2 mins, with pedestal fan blowing in.


    I've read people want to cool beans as close to instantly as possible, which I can appreciate the rationale. I've also read others not too bothered by a slower cool if you take it into account as part of the roast,which is uber-convenient, but probably overall, less-preferred. So I have a couple of questions...
    1. Why cool externally? What improvements will I notice using superfast external cooler? (i.e. Outside the Behmor) - currently in my garage, in winter with 200g roasts and the pedestal fan on, I don't reckon I'm near ambient for at least 5-6mins
    2. How do I cool externally? If I hook up one of the many sweet external cooling setups, how do I go about getting the hot drum out of the Behmor without compromising the Behmor components? i.e. Surely I can't just turn it off and open door? but similarly, pulling the drum out while the motor is rotating can't be great either. How are people getting the beans out of Behmor into coolers?!
    3. What do Behmor owners generally do as their cooling routine?


    Note: I understand there are great threads on coolers (http://coffeesnobs.com.au/home-roast...our-beans.html) but I'm interested in the potential taste improvements to expect (WHY externally cool) and the basic logistics of getting from Behmor to cooler (HOW to externally cool).

  2. #2
    Senior Member artman's Avatar
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    I guess with the slower cooling there will be a small continued level or roasting taking place compared to say a corretto where you remove beans and dump into a sieve with forced fan air flow.

    I just hit cool and open the door. Fills the garage with some smoke and a yummy smell!

    I think stuffing around with removing the drum, emptying beans etc would be worse than cracking open the door as it seems the initial cooling is what you want (the beans smoke a fair bit if you cut the airflow after a roast and the beans sit dormant - evident in a corretto). Once the temp drops a bit I would guess the rest is fine as the roast has effectively largely stopped, which happens quite quickly with the door open (measuring bean temp).

    I would use the Behmor cooling as is and adjust the heat and stop towards the end of the roast to suit.

    Leaving the door closed almost eliminates the smoke, which I think is quite amazing. Great little roaster the Behmor.

    Cheers
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  3. #3
    Senior Member WhatEverBeansNecessary's Avatar
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    Second Artman's comments.

    Although relatively newbie myself, I always cool with the door open, remove the chaff tray and an old pedestal fan blowing in. Cools the beans to a temp comfortable to hold in your hand in only a few minutes.

    Generally I don't go the whole cooling cycle, just enough to be cool to touch and then bag 'em up. But that is mostly because I am impatient.
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    Quote Originally Posted by WhatEverBeansNecessary View Post
    Generally I don't go the whole cooling cycle, just enough to be cool to touch and then bag 'em up. But that is mostly because I am impatient.
    Do you just hit OFF once you're satisfied everything is cooled to ambient temp WhatEverBeansNecessary?

  5. #5
    Senior Member Barry O'Speedwagon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by WhatEverBeansNecessary View Post
    Second Artman's comments.

    Although relatively newbie myself, I always cool with the door open, remove the chaff tray and an old pedestal fan blowing in. Cools the beans to a temp comfortable to hold in your hand in only a few minutes.

    Generally I don't go the whole cooling cycle, just enough to be cool to touch and then bag 'em up. But that is mostly because I am impatient.
    I also cool with door open and fan.

    If you are going to interrupt the cooling cycle and dump the beans it might be an idea to restart the cooling cycle in the Behmor....particularly if you are going to do another roast that session.

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    You'll notice on the Behmor that the heat elements come on at the start and cool the beans down slowly. I think it is purely up to the person roasting as to what they feel is right but I'm sure a lot of science went into the Behmor cool cycle so there is a reason as to why it is how it is.

    My process: I leave the door shut but that is because I now roast inside and don't want chaff going everywhere. Once finished I give the drum a shake outside which gets rid of some excess chaff and cools the beans a little more. I then leave them in an open bag until the temp has drop to room temp. You can't really use the bean straight away so I don't see the hurry to cool them.

  7. #7
    Senior Member WhatEverBeansNecessary's Avatar
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    Yup, just hit off once I am satisfied that they have cooled enough.

    Dan raises a good point, probably by the time I position the fan etc it's about a minute and then open the door (chaff does go everywhere, but I roast outside so it is fine). As a general rule of thumb if any of the surfaces are too hot to touch then leave it in to cool a little longer. Once cool to touch then I just hit off and take the drum out. Give the drum a few shakes to remove excess chaff.

    Usually I dump the beans first into a bowl to inspect then into a bag.

    Barry raises a good point also, let the Behmor cool before starting another batch. If you try to do back to back roasts (I have 4 or so before the Behmor overheats which is bad) it will go into error. However rarely will I do more than 2 or 3 in a row and still I let it cool before starting another.

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    There's a quote floating about the interwebs that suggests sugar is lost if the cool process takes longer than 4 minutes. It's about the most scientific explanation I've found for connecting cool time with taste, not sure what the deal is referencing external sites around here...(I can't find the origin anyway)

    This dude Staub seems to know stuff about coffee...
    We all look for sweetness in the cup and something we often ignore is how we cool the coffee after we roast it. But, it is part of the process. I don't like water quenching, but I am a proponent of trying to cool the coffee once it comes out of the roaster in four minutes or less. And why do I say that? We've done experiments using exactly the same strategy cooling the coffee in six minutes, five minutes, and four minutes. From six minutes to five minutes there is a small improvement in the sweetness of the coffee. When you go from five minutes to four minutes, the sweetness in the cup doubles and there is a definite chemical explanation for why that happens. This is due to sugar solubility. The primary sugar in coffee is sucrose. During the roasting process you fracture the sucrose and you want to caramelize it or polymerize it in the scientific term. But, you also have to maintain solubility. If it doesn't come out when you put water into it, it is not going to be a sweet cup. Having the sugar there is one issue, being able to get it out with hot water is another issue. If you cool it too slowly, the long series chain polymers, sugars, fructose and glucose will find other constituents to link up with in the coffee and they are not as soluble.
    Likewise, during the roasting process if you form molecules that are very large, they may be favorable for espresso extraction you will get a lot of crema. Having the starches, oils, lipids, and fatty proteins in the coffee is a very good thing for espresso. But, when you try to apply that same strategy to coffee that is going through a paper filter, the water doesn't want to go through the filter. The larger molecules get trapped by the paper filter and don't end up in the cup.
    from SCAA Conference Transcript 2002 (Newall, Lee,Diedrich, Staub)
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    Super Moderator Javaphile's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by moff View Post
    ...not sure what the deal is referencing external sites around here...(I can't find the origin anyway)...
    You haven't been able to find the origin of all external links being banned here because the only place such a rule exists is in the heads of a few people who continue to perpetuate the falsehood that such a rule exists. A quick look around the site will immediately dispel the myth that such a rule is in place. There are many thousands if not tens of thousands of external links scattered around the forum. The only rules against using external links are laid out in the simple and straightforward Site Posting Policy.


    Java "For the umpteenth time" phile
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    Toys! I must have new toys!!!

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    Thanks Javaphile. Sorry, my grammar was about as average as my effort searching for the Site Posting Policy!
    I meant that...
    1. I wasn't sure about referencing external sites, but your link cleared that up... cheers, and
    2. I can't find a link to the origin of the Staub quote I pasted in. It's referenced as being from an SCAA transcript, but I can't find the transcript anywhere.

  11. #11
    Senior Member LeroyC's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by moff View Post
    There's a quote floating about the interwebs that suggests sugar is lost if the cool process takes longer than 4 minutes. It's about the most scientific explanation I've found for connecting cool time with taste, not sure what the deal is referencing external sites around here...(I can't find the origin anyway)

    This dude Staub seems to know stuff about coffee...


    from SCAA Conference Transcript 2002 (Newall, Lee,Diedrich, Staub)
    Yes, that all sounds plausible. But this is where people come unstuck - they take the conclusions reached by one roaster conducting a fairly non-scientific, subjective experiment on a commercial drum roaster and make them gospel. They then say they apply to all roasters including tiny little domestic roasters like the Behmor. There's no doubt that if you're using a big commercial drum roaster that has a huge thermal mass and you're roasting kilos of coffee rather than a few hundred grams at a time it's probably a good idea to cool the coffee as quickly as possible. Whether that's within 4min or not is yet to be proven in my opinion. And I'm a bit dubious of the comments about sucrose presence. My understanding is that the 'sweetness' we taste in coffee is merely a perception of sweetness that's created thanks to the presence of aromatics, rather than any actual sugars as these are either all gone by the time first crack is finished or are beginning to caramelise.
    When using a Behmor that has very little thermal mass and a bean mass of just a few hundred grams that also doesn't hold much latent heat I would have to agree with Joe Behm who says that it's less important to cool externally. For the record he assists cooling by opening the door of his Behmor and has a vacuum handy for the chaff. His experiments show that using this method brings a 450g batch of coffee down to room temperature in about 8min. Me personally, I cool externally, but that's as much about chaff management and the overall process as it is about a desperate need to cool the beans within 4min. I'd suggest to the OP that they assist cooling somehow by opening the door at least and maybe blowing a fan in there, but don't get too stressed about feeling like you need to cool externally.
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  12. #12
    Senior Member WhatEverBeansNecessary's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LeroyC View Post
    Yes, that all sounds plausible. But this is where people come unstuck - they take the conclusions reached by one roaster conducting a fairly non-scientific, subjective experiment on a commercial drum roaster and make them gospel. They then say they apply to all roasters including tiny little domestic roasters like the Behmor. ....
    Ahmen. I believe that personal experimentation with your own roaster is really the only way to get truly great roasts time after time. Each individuals circumstances will be different, most notably the temperature and humidity of the environment will be different. It is very difficult to apply some techniques between size and type of operations.
    Go ahead and just muck up a few roasts or take them wayyyy to far or take them out wayyy to early so you know what to look for and what not to look for. I am sure I speak for many of us when I say there have been a few batches go straight into the bin - or maybe a cheeky taste first to see how bad it really was.
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    Quote Originally Posted by LeroyC View Post
    I would have to agree with Joe Behm who says that it's less important to cool externally. For the record he assists cooling by opening the door of his Behmor and has a vacuum handy for the chaff. His experiments show that using this method brings a 450g batch of coffee down to room temperature in about 8min. Me personally, I cool externally, but that's as much about chaff management and the overall process as it is about a desperate need to cool the beans within 4min. I'd suggest to the OP that they assist cooling somehow by opening the door at least and maybe blowing a fan in there, but don't get too stressed about feeling like you need to cool externally.
    Thanks LeroyC. I cool with a fan at the moment, and coincidentally agree with Joe Behm,I found some stuff he said on cooling. But for me, the opinion of the inventor, the dude with the most investment in selling his own machines is NEVER going to suggest the cooling in his unit is so bad that users should cool using another method. I am also not suggesting that's the case either, just speculating that his opinion would probably be the most biased in the world.

    I completely agree with your logic on the context of his claims and the comparable micro-size batches using the Behmor. And I have no idea about sugar content in coffee, and appreciate your input. Thanks for you post. I think I am leaning towards continuing the fan-cooled method.

    Out of interest...
    Quote Originally Posted by LeroyC View Post
    Me personally, I cool externally,
    How do you manage this? Do you just press [OFF], pull out the tray and drum, and then close up the door and hit [COOL]?

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    Quote Originally Posted by moff View Post

    How do you manage this? Do you just press [OFF], pull out the tray and drum, and then close up the door and hit [COOL]?
    No need to close up the door. FWIW, I pull out the tray before pressing off.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JojoS View Post
    No need to close up the door. FWIW, I pull out the tray before pressing off.
    So, to clarify... you decide the roast is finished, and you...
    1. hit [COOL]
    2. open door
    3. remove chaff tray.
    4. press [OFF]
    5. remove drum, dump beans into cooler or whatever etc.
    6. leave door open, and press [COOL] - which turns on the machine and runs cool cycle.

    Have you been doing this for a long time with your Behmor JojoS? Do you let any of the first cool cycle run before opening up? I've been concerned that opening the door straight-away would cause a "sudden" drop in temp for the heating elements and that would be an issue. At least the Behmor docco seems to indicate that.

    If I was to externally cool, I was thinking leave it 2 mins of cooling cycle between 1 and 2 above. Using an external cooler with less than 400g, beans should cool super fast. I guess with a 2 min wait for the elements, that kind of defeats the point of mucking about with externally cooling though, as the total cool time might be ~3mins vs ~5mins in the Behmor with fan (this difference may or may not be significant). I might have to just get a bean temp probe and do artman's mod: http://coffeesnobs.com.au/roasters/4...tml#post578429 to experiment myself.

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    I wait a minute after hitting COOL before I open the door and remove the tray. I've been doing it this way for many years now. I roast every 2 weeks and do 3 or 4 batches back to back with just the 13 minute COOL cycle in between.
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    Senior Member LeroyC's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by moff View Post
    just speculating that his opinion would probably be the most biased in the world.


    Out of interest...


    How do you manage this? Do you just press [OFF], pull out the tray and drum, and then close up the door and hit [COOL]?

    Yes there's no doubt that Joe would be somewhat biased, hence why I've settled in my own methods. However he's open minded enough to admit that opening the door at the very least is probably not a bad idea and that's part of the reason I don't totally dismiss what he says. There was a similar discussion on the Behmor users Facebook page where Joe admitted that hitting stop straight after cool to remove the beans was unlikely to kill the roaster on the spot. He did however suggest that if you insist on doing this you hit the cool button again asap to make sure the machine cools at a decent pace. He said that there's plenty of electronics in there that are likely to last much longer if you do so. So finally, in answer to your question, yes that's exactly what I do - hit 'cool' then get myself organised and usually between 30-60secs later I hit 'off' and remove the tray and drum. I hit 'cool' again straight away and close the door to stop any remaining chaff getting blown around before dumping my beans in my cooling tower.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by LeroyC View Post
    yes that's exactly what I do - hit 'cool' then get myself organised and usually between 30-60secs later I hit 'off' and remove the tray and drum. I hit 'cool' again straight away and close the door to stop any remaining chaff getting blown around before dumping my beans in my cooling tower.
    Thanks. I might do myself two roasts, one leaving Behmor to do it's own thing, door closed, full cool-down with beans in drum. Then repeat the roast again, as close as possible to the same conditions, and dump them out onto a flat surface and blow a fan. That ought to be a reasonable comparison to prove the concept and decide if I should build a cooler (part of me wants to build one for the fun of it, the other part doesn't want to add to a process if it doesn't see an improvement in my beans)
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  19. #19
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    I cool externally. I have a 5 gal bucket with a shop vac sized hole cut near the bottom and a large plastic colander. My process goes:

    1) hit cool
    2) wait 1 minute
    3) start shopvac with angled brush tip
    4) hit stop
    5) open door, pull tray and drum, dump into colander
    6) shop vac chaff out of roaster for a few seconds
    7) hit cool and close door
    8) plug vac into bucket cooler system
    9) in 2 minutes beans are ambient, then use shop vac with brush to clean tray and drum.

    I wait the one minute after cool to give the elements a chance to cool a bit before the door opens and chaff goes all over the inside of the roaster.

    FWIW I've never let the beans cool by a regular cycle, I've pulled them early since day 1 of the behmor. I used a corretto prior and kept the same external cooling system. Actually, I "downgraded", I had a laugh. Previously used a woodworking dust collector with a 4" hose that pulled 600cfm of air and cooled within 30 seconds. After reading a bit about the possibility of cooling too fast, I made a new setup with the shopvac. And no, I haven't done a head to head with the shop vac and dust collector- though my gut feeling is the coffee was brighter/less developed with the ultra rapid (30 second) cool.

    Best,
    C.

  20. #20
    Senior Member simonsk8r's Avatar
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    Behmor Coffee Roaster
    Yeah I do pretty much that, only very slightly different:

    1) Hit "Cool" when I feel the roast is done and open door immediately (chaff blows everywhere but I don't mind)
    2) Wait a minute (whilst vacuuming up chaff)
    3) Press "Off" and remove tray and drum
    4) Tip beans into bowl and transfer beans between two bowls only a couple of times
    5) Quickly vacuum out chaff inside at the back of the roaster then hit "Cool"
    6) Let the roaster do its thang while I go outside to my fan setup and transfer beans between bowls in front of the fan.

    I've found it a good process as it a) Doesn't allow the Behmor to sit too long without it going through the cooling stage (only the time it takes to quickly dump the beans and vacuum out the chaff), and b) Gets the beans rapidly cooled so I have a more accurately timed roast (I don't wanna leave them in the roaster to cool, it's still quite hot in there even the first few mins of the cooling stage!)



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