Coffee (rec.drink.coffee) Discussing coffee. This includes selection of brands, methods of making coffee, etc. Discussion about coffee in other forms (e.g. desserts) is acceptable.

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  #31 (permalink)   Report Post  
Old 07-01-2004, 05:01 PM
ljguitar
 
Posts: n/a
Default What roaster to buy?

I own an Alpenrost and 3 FR+ modded with aluminum bases and on
individual Variacs.

2 of our friends (at our recommendation) bought Z&Ds in the past few
months and love them...rave about them actually. No smoke/in the house
roasting in one case.

Another acquaintance has a 5 kilo Deidrich (sp?) and gets great results!
He also sells a bunch of coffee.

I store the Alp on a shelf most of the time, because every 2 months it has
to be opened and 'adjusted' using the volt ohm meter and an allen wrench...
and the roasts are too dull for my liking. I do have the benefit of comparing
the taste of the roasts between my setups. The Alp is limited to roasting
beans of adequate size as well...small beans stick/burn and fall through
the screen in the drum.

The throughput on the Alp is about the same as the 3 FR+. I can turn out a
pound an hour with the FR+ and slightly less with the Alp.

The FR+ have thousands of roasts on them now, and I have been toying with
the idea of looking into a 1 pound BBQ setup as long as it can handle smaller
loads... I only roast ˝ pound at a time, and prefer to have 2-3 types of beans
and 2 espresso blends on hand all the time. I have not seen an 8-12 oz
BBQ roaster.

L a r r Y

(Thomas Reat) wrote in message . com...
Is the Alpenrost a good roaster, or is the $250-$300 better spent? Is
the HotTop worth the $600? Is a Zach and Dani's so much worse (at
about $150, though infomercials make me suspicious)? I don't care how
big a batch it makes, but I do want a very good one.


  #32 (permalink)   Report Post  
Old 07-01-2004, 06:08 PM
Bruce B
 
Posts: n/a
Default What roaster to buy?

Well, not one to keep anything a secret, here are my two bits on
roasters. Much of what I have to say will either be redundant or
contradict what has been said here so far.

I lust after a big sample roaster, a Probat, Diedrich, etc. I could
easily sell 25 lbs of fresh roast beans per week. I have not found a
machine that I could afford, so this is just dream stuff.

The Hotpop looks lovely, but doesn't have a big enough capacity for the
price, AFAIAC.

I just did my 200th roast using a stock Hearthware Precision roaster.
Its bean capacity is too small for my taste and I don't like the noise
(sounds like a loud vacuum cleaner) but it has never failed me, two of
my friends own the same machine and are happy with theirs, and the roast
is reliable. I like being able to watch the beans while they are
roasting and have hundreds of pictures of roasts at 1, 4, 5, 6, 7
minutes. The results are excellent and are virtually independent of
ambient temperature and quantity of beans up to roasting capacity. For
most beans a very dark French roast takes 7'30'' and I usually don't go
anywhere near that far. It takes some time until you can recognise first
and second crack, but they are there and for most beans are discernable.
Second crack usually occurrs, depending on the bean, of course, at 6-7
minutes, whereby things happen very quickly after that (1 min. later you
may have charcoal). Real big beans are a problem as they are with all
fluid-bed roasters. You can only do about 40 g of Maragogype or they
won't be lifted adequately by the airstream and some will burn while
others stay green.

All-in-all I am happy with this roaster, which I bought from Ivo and
which (perhaps significantly) is a 240V model. I have read many horror
stories about these roasters not lasting for more than a few roasts, but
I can only say that after 200 roasts I have had no problems at all with
it. YMMV, obviously. This last sentence is true for almost anything, of
course. It is very important to keep it clean. Especially the chaff
collector on top should be cleaned after every roast and washed in
detergent after every 3 roasts. I always let mine cool for half an hour
at least before doing another roast. This probably has a lot to do with
length of useable life. It also severly limits the amount of beans you
can roast in an afternoon.

My main roaster is an Alp, which I snagged on eBay, brand new for $100,
complete with a few kilos of beans. Some poor guy bought it and died
before he ever got a chance to use it (probably died of stale coffee)
and his widow had someone sell it on eBay. I have owned it for 18 months
and have done 120 roasts in it so far.

The Alp deserves a few paragraphs. For my use it is almost perfect. It
is VERY touchy about two parameters: 1) quantity of beans, and 2)
ambient temperature/relative humidity. As has been noted here it does
not do a dark roast on it's own. It won't usually go past full-city
roast unless you coerce it, which is not difficult. I can turn beans to
charcoal if I want to (which I don't) and there is no real trick to it.
You just set the roast setting to maximum (15) and use 180 g of beans
instead of 230 g. The darkness the Alp will roast to is very easily
adjusted by adjusting the amount of beans to the gram. I use an old
analytical balance, but any good digital balance with an accuracy of 1 g
will do fine. The less beans the darker the roast.

As to ambient temperature, at 30°C in the summer I can do 220 g as dark
as I like. At 16°C in the winter I can only do 200 g or less. Relative
humidity also has an effect; the higher the humidity the smaller the
mass of beans you can roast. It goes without saying that you need to
keep an accurate roast log with this roaster. Every parameter you can
think of should be noted and the results carefully studied so you can
repeat roasts.

Very small beans, peaberries, etc. will stick in the drum and burn and
smoke, but I have not noticed that such a roast tastes smoky or had any
other problems with it. I just knock the burnt beans out with a wooden
spoon and go on. I let the Alp cool down an hour before using again. I
worry about the plastic housing near the fan. It is becoming slightly
deformed and discolored. This roaster seems quite well designed and well
made, but I am put off by the amount of plastic material in the hot-air
path. The fan is also plastic. I have never taken the machine apart, but
probably will have to do so as I cannot get the fan shrouding clean
anymore and I am afraid the dust could catch fire. I have seen an Alp
that caught fire because of this and it was just so much rubbish.

After 3 or 4 roasts it is important to wash the chaff tray, vent screen
and outlet hood and the roast-bean hopper. After 5 0r 6 roasts the
reflecting inner liner of the door should be cleaned and polished. By
carefuly removing 2 self-tapping screws it can be removed and washed. I
do mine in the dishwasher. Of course, after every roast the chaff needs
to be removed from the tray and the roasting chamber, the fan and the
outlet hood.

I roast under a 1/2hp vent hood in the kitchen and it doesn't completely
get rid of the smoke problem, but my wife enjoys the smell, so what can
I say? If this is a problem for someone it sounds like the Ben and Jerry
(ummmm Zach, something) roaster might be a better solution. Both of my
roasters make LOTS of smoke. Also, a small vacuum cleaner is an absolute
necessity, especially with the Alp as you need to removed any chaff that
has gotten stuck in or around the heating element.

I love improving on espresso shots, enjoy the complements I get on milk
espresso drinks and get a kick out the look on people's faces when they
see my big commercial espresso machines, but the biggest joy I get out
of coffee is roasting. A well-roasted, carefully blended coffee has
become my own personal equivalent to the hígher-deity espresso shot so
many dream of.

Best wishes,

Bruce "ol' smokey joe" B

  #33 (permalink)   Report Post  
Old 07-01-2004, 06:08 PM
Bruce B
 
Posts: n/a
Default What roaster to buy?

Well, not one to keep anything a secret, here are my two bits on
roasters. Much of what I have to say will either be redundant or
contradict what has been said here so far.

I lust after a big sample roaster, a Probat, Diedrich, etc. I could
easily sell 25 lbs of fresh roast beans per week. I have not found a
machine that I could afford, so this is just dream stuff.

The Hotpop looks lovely, but doesn't have a big enough capacity for the
price, AFAIAC.

I just did my 200th roast using a stock Hearthware Precision roaster.
Its bean capacity is too small for my taste and I don't like the noise
(sounds like a loud vacuum cleaner) but it has never failed me, two of
my friends own the same machine and are happy with theirs, and the roast
is reliable. I like being able to watch the beans while they are
roasting and have hundreds of pictures of roasts at 1, 4, 5, 6, 7
minutes. The results are excellent and are virtually independent of
ambient temperature and quantity of beans up to roasting capacity. For
most beans a very dark French roast takes 7'30'' and I usually don't go
anywhere near that far. It takes some time until you can recognise first
and second crack, but they are there and for most beans are discernable.
Second crack usually occurrs, depending on the bean, of course, at 6-7
minutes, whereby things happen very quickly after that (1 min. later you
may have charcoal). Real big beans are a problem as they are with all
fluid-bed roasters. You can only do about 40 g of Maragogype or they
won't be lifted adequately by the airstream and some will burn while
others stay green.

All-in-all I am happy with this roaster, which I bought from Ivo and
which (perhaps significantly) is a 240V model. I have read many horror
stories about these roasters not lasting for more than a few roasts, but
I can only say that after 200 roasts I have had no problems at all with
it. YMMV, obviously. This last sentence is true for almost anything, of
course. It is very important to keep it clean. Especially the chaff
collector on top should be cleaned after every roast and washed in
detergent after every 3 roasts. I always let mine cool for half an hour
at least before doing another roast. This probably has a lot to do with
length of useable life. It also severly limits the amount of beans you
can roast in an afternoon.

My main roaster is an Alp, which I snagged on eBay, brand new for $100,
complete with a few kilos of beans. Some poor guy bought it and died
before he ever got a chance to use it (probably died of stale coffee)
and his widow had someone sell it on eBay. I have owned it for 18 months
and have done 120 roasts in it so far.

The Alp deserves a few paragraphs. For my use it is almost perfect. It
is VERY touchy about two parameters: 1) quantity of beans, and 2)
ambient temperature/relative humidity. As has been noted here it does
not do a dark roast on it's own. It won't usually go past full-city
roast unless you coerce it, which is not difficult. I can turn beans to
charcoal if I want to (which I don't) and there is no real trick to it.
You just set the roast setting to maximum (15) and use 180 g of beans
instead of 230 g. The darkness the Alp will roast to is very easily
adjusted by adjusting the amount of beans to the gram. I use an old
analytical balance, but any good digital balance with an accuracy of 1 g
will do fine. The less beans the darker the roast.

As to ambient temperature, at 30°C in the summer I can do 220 g as dark
as I like. At 16°C in the winter I can only do 200 g or less. Relative
humidity also has an effect; the higher the humidity the smaller the
mass of beans you can roast. It goes without saying that you need to
keep an accurate roast log with this roaster. Every parameter you can
think of should be noted and the results carefully studied so you can
repeat roasts.

Very small beans, peaberries, etc. will stick in the drum and burn and
smoke, but I have not noticed that such a roast tastes smoky or had any
other problems with it. I just knock the burnt beans out with a wooden
spoon and go on. I let the Alp cool down an hour before using again. I
worry about the plastic housing near the fan. It is becoming slightly
deformed and discolored. This roaster seems quite well designed and well
made, but I am put off by the amount of plastic material in the hot-air
path. The fan is also plastic. I have never taken the machine apart, but
probably will have to do so as I cannot get the fan shrouding clean
anymore and I am afraid the dust could catch fire. I have seen an Alp
that caught fire because of this and it was just so much rubbish.

After 3 or 4 roasts it is important to wash the chaff tray, vent screen
and outlet hood and the roast-bean hopper. After 5 0r 6 roasts the
reflecting inner liner of the door should be cleaned and polished. By
carefuly removing 2 self-tapping screws it can be removed and washed. I
do mine in the dishwasher. Of course, after every roast the chaff needs
to be removed from the tray and the roasting chamber, the fan and the
outlet hood.

I roast under a 1/2hp vent hood in the kitchen and it doesn't completely
get rid of the smoke problem, but my wife enjoys the smell, so what can
I say? If this is a problem for someone it sounds like the Ben and Jerry
(ummmm Zach, something) roaster might be a better solution. Both of my
roasters make LOTS of smoke. Also, a small vacuum cleaner is an absolute
necessity, especially with the Alp as you need to removed any chaff that
has gotten stuck in or around the heating element.

I love improving on espresso shots, enjoy the complements I get on milk
espresso drinks and get a kick out the look on people's faces when they
see my big commercial espresso machines, but the biggest joy I get out
of coffee is roasting. A well-roasted, carefully blended coffee has
become my own personal equivalent to the hígher-deity espresso shot so
many dream of.

Best wishes,

Bruce "ol' smokey joe" B

  #34 (permalink)   Report Post  
Old 07-01-2004, 06:13 PM
Bruce B
 
Posts: n/a
Default What roaster to buy?



Bruce B wrote:


The Hotpop looks lovely, but doesn't have a big enough capacity for the
price, AFAIAC.


Aw heck! I meant Hoptop. Sorry about that. Or was that Pottop? Pophot?

Bruce "cold bottom" B

  #35 (permalink)   Report Post  
Old 07-01-2004, 06:13 PM
Bruce B
 
Posts: n/a
Default What roaster to buy?



Bruce B wrote:


The Hotpop looks lovely, but doesn't have a big enough capacity for the
price, AFAIAC.


Aw heck! I meant Hoptop. Sorry about that. Or was that Pottop? Pophot?

Bruce "cold bottom" B



  #36 (permalink)   Report Post  
Old 08-01-2004, 09:47 AM
Ivo van der Putten
 
Posts: n/a
Default What roaster to buy?

completely
get rid of the smoke problem, but my wife enjoys the smell, so what can
I say? If this is a problem for someone it sounds like the Ben and Jerry
(ummmm Zach, something) roaster might be a better solution. Both of my
roasters make LOTS of smoke. Also, a small vacuum cleaner is an absolute
necessity, especially with the Alp as you need to removed any chaff that
has gotten stuck in or around the heating element.


Best wishes,

Bruce "ol' smokey joe" B


Hi Bruce

Thanks for a well written essay on roasters.

Do not hesitate and open the Alp to clean the interior after 12 month of
use.
The first indication that the machine is becoming too dirty is the need to
increase the setting to a higher number to obtain the usual roast color.


--
Ivo van der Putten

www.ivanderputten.nl
www.ongebrand.nl


  #37 (permalink)   Report Post  
Old 08-01-2004, 09:47 AM
Ivo van der Putten
 
Posts: n/a
Default What roaster to buy?

completely
get rid of the smoke problem, but my wife enjoys the smell, so what can
I say? If this is a problem for someone it sounds like the Ben and Jerry
(ummmm Zach, something) roaster might be a better solution. Both of my
roasters make LOTS of smoke. Also, a small vacuum cleaner is an absolute
necessity, especially with the Alp as you need to removed any chaff that
has gotten stuck in or around the heating element.


Best wishes,

Bruce "ol' smokey joe" B


Hi Bruce

Thanks for a well written essay on roasters.

Do not hesitate and open the Alp to clean the interior after 12 month of
use.
The first indication that the machine is becoming too dirty is the need to
increase the setting to a higher number to obtain the usual roast color.


--
Ivo van der Putten

www.ivanderputten.nl
www.ongebrand.nl




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