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Thread: What small batch roaster produces closest to a Commercial roaster?

  1. #1
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    What small batch roaster produces closest to a Commercial roaster?

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    Having toyed around with all manners of home roasters (popper, corretto, baby roaster, a Korean one ( I forget it's name but it works just like a popper with more specific coffee roasting features) and now having a 2kg Solar roaster, I find myself needing a sample roaster. One which produces coffee as close to the solar but not a full on commercial sample roaster (can't afford another expensive toy). So, which do you reckon best emulates a commercial roaster?

  2. #2
    Senior Member GrahamK's Avatar
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    A Hottop is used by some commercial roasters as sample roaster

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    Senior Member chokkidog's Avatar
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    As is the Behmor 1600, which would be my (budget ??) sample roaster of choice.

    Behmor is probably closest result to a commercial drum roaster and extreme value for $$$$$.

    How small a batch can you do in your Solar? I don't particularly like samples less than (about) 500 gms.....

    some to cup, some to have as SO espresso and some to trial blend .....

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    Smallest I will do on the solar is 1.2kg green yielding just under 1kg roasted. Anything less than that gets hard to control and time between 1st and 2nd crack becomes too short.

    I was leaning towards the baby roaster being closest to a commercial and a good sampler. But the Baby is extremely manual and easily reproducible.

    The Behmor seems to have the specs ie. quartz heating elements like the Solar, drum, reproducible, but where it falls over is the lack of a preheating function, and somehow the taste of the final product is very different. Its not necessarily bad, its just different which makes it a poor sample roaster for a solar.

    Graham, interesting about the Hottop. I know of a roaster who's just sold his Behmor to buy a Hottop for a sample roaster because of the difference between the roasts coming out of the Behmor and that of a commercial roaster. If the Hottops weren't so darn expensive, I'd go that way too.

    That said, the Behmor is the best value-for-money home roaster available and it is capable to reproducing the same results over and over again. I've gotten some fantastic roasts out of the Behmor, but it seems to produce very different results to that of the Solar.

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    Super Moderator Javaphile's Avatar
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    Each type/design of roaster will have its own style of roast that will be different, and in some cases extremely different, from each of the other types/designs. Solid drum vs perforated drum vs fluid bed and gas vs electric vs infrared as examples. Some roasters are hybrids and combine types such as your Solar which uses a perforated drum but also incorporates some fluid bed roasting design/function. Lots of different roaster designs out there.

    I suspect that your Solar will lean towards the brighter end of the spectrum where the fluid bed style sits at one end while the Behmor will fall in the middle perforated drum region with a lean towards the solid drum end of the scale. So yeah, I can see how there would be a difference in the roast characteristics between the two.


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    I use the manual version of the Solar, the Torrefatore - happy doing 500g roasts with good control. Graduated from Hottop, not looking back.

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    Hi all, The only small roaster that can emulate a commercial roaster is the Hottop. Simply because, like a commercial roaster, you can rapidly stop the roast by dumping the beans from the hot drum onto a fan-driven rotating paddle cooling tray. Precise stopping is everything to well-controlled repeatable roasts. I've never used a Behmor but while a very economical unit, the beans remain in the hot drum which is a critical limitation. I have used a Hottop now for about eight years. It is expensive but I have now put about 100 kg of beans through it and it has never failed to deliver outstanding results.

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    Senior Member GrahamK's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mikef View Post
    Hi all, The only small roaster that can emulate a commercial roaster is the Hottop.
    I assume you what you mean by "only" relates to domestic style roasters. You can get commercial sample roasters that are small, and emulate a larger commercial roaster much better than a Hottop, but they are not cheap.

    GrahamK
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    Some would say that 1.2kg _is_ a sample roaster.

    Seriously, though, unless you're roasting geishas - why not just put 1.2kg through the Solar and taste it? You're going to waste less than $10 worth of beans per batch.
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    Life-long Learner DesigningByCoffee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hildy View Post
    Seriously, though, unless you're roasting geishas - why not just put 1.2kg through the Solar and taste it? You're going to waste less than $10 worth of beans per batch.
    Hi NtE
    I would second this. You will get quite different results from any other style of small roaster for sampling, which will be quite different in flavour/technique to your 2kg. You should be able to roast 500g-1kg fairly easily - I'd look at these batches as 'professional development'. For the cost of a professional roasting course, you'd get a heap of sample greens to play with

    Cheers Matt

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    Senior Member chokkidog's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mikef View Post
    Hi all, The only small roaster that can emulate a commercial roaster is the Hottop. Simply because, like a commercial roaster, you can rapidly stop the roast by dumping the beans from the hot drum onto a fan-driven rotating paddle cooling tray. Precise stopping is everything to well-controlled repeatable roasts. I've never used a Behmor but while a very economical unit, the beans remain in the hot drum which is a critical limitation.
    Rapid cooling is achievable with the Behmor, no problem.

    2 mins into the cooling cycle remove drum ( with oven mitt) and dump beans into a colander/fan bean cooler.... (maybe the one on the Solar?)



    If the Behmor produces different results to your Solar, it may not be appropriate.

    A popper, i-roast or Corretto might be the cheaper alternative.

    Personally, I would explore using your Solar with an 750gm- 1 kg batch. If it's roasting dynamic produces a unique flavour

    profile it would be your most repeatable option. Although you may do 2 or 3 sample batches to get a handle on a new bean, it's still

    a cheaper option, with the costs spread over a longer time. Your only difficulty may be securing a large enough green sample

    from some merchants, who may only send out 200-300 gms of free sample beans. If you're using CS as your bean supply then

    the 2.5 kgs will split nicely into 2 or 3 batches.

  12. #12
    Super Moderator Javaphile's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mikef View Post
    Hi all, The only small roaster that can emulate a commercial roaster is the Hottop. Simply because, like a commercial roaster, you can rapidly stop the roast by dumping the beans from the hot drum onto a fan-driven rotating paddle cooling tray.
    Uuuummmmmm.....wrong, wrong, and wrong. A simple and cheap homemade bucket cooler will cool the beans from any small roaster homemade or commercial faster than the Hottop does. Using your logic every roaster out there no matter what its type or capabilities are emulates a commercial roaster better than a Hottop does, as long as there's a bucket cooler handy. Which is of course patently false. There is far more to emulating a commercial roaster than just being able to cool the beans quickly.


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    Quote Originally Posted by DesigningByCoffee View Post
    Hi NtE
    I would second this. You will get quite different results from any other style of small roaster for sampling, which will be quite different in flavour/technique to your 2kg. You should be able to roast 500g-1kg fairly easily - I'd look at these batches as 'professional development'. For the cost of a professional roasting course, you'd get a heap of sample greens to play with

    Cheers Matt
    I was having a quick look for a Hottop and they ain't cheap... Then I thought, the main reason I wanted a sample roaster is to not waste beans, but doing the math, it is way cheaper to roast 1.2kg of greens to sample 300g and give away/throw away the rest than buy a hottop. Plus I know exactly what the roast will taste like, not half guessing if the sample roaster will emulate the solar...

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    Senior Member GrahamK's Avatar
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    Good thinking, I can roast 650gms in my 1.5kg Proaster no probs. I kept my Hottop in case I needed a sample roaster but have never needed it since getting the Proaster.

    GrahamK

  15. #15
    Senior Member greenman's Avatar
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    Like beabeaner I roast as low as 300g and up to 2kg batches in my Torrefattore, very versatile!!
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  16. #16
    Senior Member chokkidog's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by NewToEspresso View Post
    it is way cheaper to roast 1.2kg of greens to sample 300g and give away/throw away the rest....
    Don't throw away what you can't give away, your ( or someone else's ) garden will love it, even the less than successful roasts!

    Great for acid loving plants like tomatoes, spuds, rhubarb and with some lime or wood ash.... everything else.

    And worms just thrive on chaff! :-D

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    In my opinion, if you re sampling beans from a behmor or other domestic roaster most likely you can't imitate the roast in your solar (not even close). For example, solar turns off the heat elements in final stage set and you can't really do that with a behmor or maybe others too. Solar is designed as an automatic shop roaster. You can probably get an overall bolpark taste but Domestic or household roasters are what they are, for domestic use.

    Have you tried reducing the preheat temp on your solar for lesser batch?

  18. #18
    Super Moderator Javaphile's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ahhhespressso View Post
    ...For example, solar turns off the heat elements in final stage set and you can't really do that with a behmor or maybe others too...
    Not to say the end result will be the same as the Solar, it may or may not, but on this point the new Behmor 1600 Plus allows you to turn the elements off at any point in the roasting cycle while in manual control mode.


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    yes i am aware of that but according to a friend of mine if you turn off or reduce the heat in behmor or hottop after first crack the temp goes down too fast

  20. #20
    Senior Member Barry O'Speedwagon's Avatar
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    Behmor Coffee Roaster
    So does your friend own the new version of the Behmor (1600 plus) or the old version?



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