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  #1  
Old 09-18-2012, 11:02 PM
Ilovemycar Ilovemycar is offline
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Coffee Talk - Coffee Roaster on its way

So I finally started to continue my roaster research tonight after my initial research of the Behmor, and after only some modest research and shopping around, I already pulled the trigger on the 1600, for $299 out the door. The only other units that seemed to compete for my attention were the HotTop's, but those are like $820-1000. Here is what I bought:



http://www.behmor.com/behmor-1600.php

I was originally intending to purchase through Sweet Maria's, but after seeing that they added tax and shipping costs, I found that Roastmasters doesn't add either, at least for me.

Then what really made me very trigger happy, what pushed me over the edge in an instant, was the complimentary 8 lbs coffee bean sampler pack, offered at both SM and RM, but not offered with some other vendors, so far as I could tell. (Interestingly, with the considerably more expensive HotTop's, I would actually have to pay extra to get a coffee sampler pack, and not only that, it would be of a smaller size too, I think maybe 5 lbs or something.)

If MatWiz's rough estimate that 20 lbs would "pay off" the machine, well maybe now it would only take 12 lbs (or even faster since I don't pay anything at all for these beans). This is all roughly speaking of course.

Oh, and I think I get a $10 coupon for my next order of beans from RM as well, with a $25 min purchase. I wasn't paying any attention to the details of how to follow through with this coupon, oops, as I was only thinking about the roaster purchase, heh.

There is a set of 9 reviews at one Amazon listing, 8 being top rated, but I'm pretty sure I saw a different and significantly smaller set of reviews for a different listing of the same item, but with less glowing reviews, pretty mixed I think they were. Anyway, the first two reviews here were pretty helpful to me at this listing, and it was particularly the second one which was informative as to where to find its shortcomings and how I might get around them (thankfully I do like light roasts, so I hopefully won't have to compromise with smaller roasting batches, for instance):

Quote:
Great roaster but........ June 30, 2010
By Matt Wiens

I received the roaster as a christmas present in 2008. I am a homebrewer, home cheesemaker, general do-it-yourselfer and roasting my own coffee was inevitable. After using this roaster, I was hooked. Since then my wife and I have bought about 2-3 lbs of pre-roasted coffee (only when i forget to roast or am on a trip and can't), we love home roasting and really have found commercial coffees to be over-roasted or under-roasted and generally lacking in flavor. Especially, OUR FLAVOR, the way WE want it. I love the size and toaster-oven style of the behmor, it really could sit on your counter (I roast on the back patio for smoke considerations). It has great controls with a great variety of roasting programs so that you can vary the temperature of the beans for different times to give the beans a different flavor. then of course, you can start cool down when you need to, to ensure you get the roast you desire. Once you find YOUR FLAVOR, you'll be hooked too.

Price is great, when compared to most of the other roasters... especially automated ones (some are $900 plus). With the price of green beans about 1/2 to 1/3 what you'll pay for "charbucks" or anything else in the store, i figure I paid for the roaster in the first year easily. Ease of use is outstanding. Keeping it clean is a snap (simple green on the inside and the 1/2lb setting and start while it is empty). I don't mind the little smoke that it makes (hello, your roasting coffee!!) but I wouldn't do it indoors.

shortcomings... well, if i buy something that says i can roast 1 lb of coffee... i kind of expect to roast 1 lb of coffee. not 9 oz. and oh by the way, i have to do a 2 minute warm up (not in the directions) to get the 9 oz roasted to my desire. but even after a 2 minute warm up, sometimes, i still don't reach the second crack before the "you must cool down and start over" time is reached. I have followed the cleaning directions from the start (to ensure longevity), but still have trouble getting 9 oz of coffee roasted to the second crack.

To explain, for safety reasons, the engineers have designed a mandatory cooldown (complete cooldown) prior to starting another batch, so if you don't get to the second crack... too bad... you have to start all over. I got it, we need to be safe. there are people (maybe im one of them) that would start fires if given the ability to roast for as long as they want, but there are so many times when my second crack just starts and i have 2 seconds left before cool down. Insert your own inuendo here. Its just disappointing.

regardless... If your looking to REALLY try home roasting, this is a nice entry level machine that will give you time to learn the process and enjoy YOUR flavor!! Just do smaller batches and you won't be disappointed.
http://www.amazon.com/Behmor-1600-Co...coffee+roaster

After reading the review above, along with other bits I've read, I will probably move the roaster on top of my gas range, so that it can sit below the vent. I admit I wish I didn't have to do this. Maybe I'll move it outside like the reviewer does, but I will probably make that decision after observing just how intense the smoke and/or odor might be.

There was a brand that was "in-between" the Hot Tops and Behmor, called the Gene Cafe, but I have a feeling it is probably discontinued. I don't mind, even if this was maybe the upper budget limit I may have had in mind, because a couple of reviews scared me off a little, and frankly the plastic build screams cheap to me, from the little bit of time I spent looking at it. I realize there might be a reason why it costs hundreds more than the Behmor, but I'm just not seeing it yet, not that it matters anymore.

Here is a nice roaster comparison from SM's site (thanks again MW).

http://www.sweetmarias.com/roastercomparisonchart.php

I have to admit I'm pretty excited!
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  #2  
Old 09-19-2012, 06:09 AM
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When will you start growing your own beans?
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  #3  
Old 09-19-2012, 07:20 AM
Ilovemycar Ilovemycar is offline
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Hey, that's an idea!
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Old 09-19-2012, 07:57 AM
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Hey, that's an idea!
CA should have a fairly favorable climate for bean growing.
Then you can change your name to Juan.
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  #5  
Old 09-19-2012, 08:58 AM
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Congratulations!! <--- (pretend these are coffee mugs..) LOL

You are going to learn so much about coffee beans, origins, flavor profiles, roasting profiles... buy doing your own roasting. Not to talk about the huge saving and the freshness and quality over store bought roasted beans.

You're going to keep this thread alive with impressions and results, right?
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Old 09-19-2012, 12:59 PM
Ilovemycar Ilovemycar is offline
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Originally Posted by Sportsdad View Post
CA should have a fairly favorable climate for bean growing.
I actually looked into this idea just a little, and as I suspected, I don't think it will work out. Either the batches are so tiny, or I need to somehow put a greenhouse on my property.

Quote:
Then you can change your name to Juan.
But there are so many more interesting choices out there! How about Xaverius? Poedjakesuma? Hakizimana? Yeshiemebet? A'amakualenalena? Yes, that's it, A'amakualenalena! Say my name, b!tch!

Quote:
Originally Posted by MatWiz View Post
Congratulations!! <--- (pretend these are coffee mugs..) LOL

You are going to learn so much about coffee beans, origins, flavor profiles, roasting profiles... buy doing your own roasting. Not to talk about the huge saving and the freshness and quality over store bought roasted beans.

You're going to keep this thread alive with impressions and results, right?
Thanks! I will hopefully oblige you on one or more occasions. Hopefully, the roasts will fall somewhere between bright green, and plumes of smoke from beans burning on fire. I have to warn you though that I am terrible at explaining taste. I just know when something tastes excellent, and when it doesn't, and while I could probably say a tad bit more than that, keep your expectations very low.

BTW, I read more of the other Amazon reviews, and this set of reviews might be the most informative for anything I've seen on Amazon, as a whole. Whether it's a described technique to achieve a dark roast, to a bit of an explanation of the five different preprogrammed flavor profiles, etc.

MW, from the other thread, I knew about 200F for French press, but didn't know about 1:17 ratio by weight, +/- 1. What I did before was just listen to the developing sound of the water in my electric boiler, cutting it off maybe 20-30 secs before full boil, but when I measured the temp with both my liquid and IR thermometers, I was well below ideal temp (I want to say 180 or so, but don't remember so well now). Interestingly, I pretty much need to reach the beginning of a boil to hit the 200F mark. So that's what I do now, thanks.

I use an otherwise useless espresso cup to scoop consistent amounts of beans to my liking, but I never before weighed out the ratio. I am well below 1:17, I forget where exactly, but that's ok because as long as it tastes good to me I'm good, and after all I'm being more economical as a result. However, I often go quite past the 4 min brew time, because of whatever else I'm taking care of during this time. The only time when I actually watch the clock on brew time is with the vacuum coffee maker. Anyway, I just wanted to report back on all that info.
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Old 09-19-2012, 01:51 PM
Ilovemycar Ilovemycar is offline
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So I just received some shipping updates. Here is what the free coffee bean sampler consists of, looks like 1 lb of each:

Shipped: 1 Bolivia Fair Trade - Organic $0.00 = $0.00
Shipped: 1 Brazil Yellow Bourbon Natural $0.00 = $0.00
Shipped: 1 Burundi Biziraguhindwa Washing Station $0.00 = $0.00
Shipped: 1 Colombia Supremo $0.00 = $0.00
Shipped: 1 Costa Rica SHB $0.00 = $0.00
Shipped: 1 Guatemala SHB $0.00 = $0.00
Shipped: 1 Peru La Florida Fair Trade & Organic $0.00 = $0.00
Shipped: 1 Papua New Guinea Sigri $0.00 = $0.00
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  #8  
Old 09-19-2012, 03:36 PM
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You'd want to buy a 0.1g mini scale. Here are a few ideas, you can most likely find at Amazon or maybe directly from American Weigh Scales.

I have the 3rd one, but if I'd have to do it again I'd get the 1st one, for its larger weighing platform and no swing arm. Costed me about $11.

http://www.awscales.com/portable-pre...l-pocket-scale
http://www.awscales.com/portable-pre...l-pocket-scale
http://www.awscales.com/portable-pre...l-pocket-scale

You'd need it both for weighing the amount of beans you'll put for roasting, and for making your coffee. You need to know how much you put in there if you want to get consistent results or if you want to be able to adjust your roasting or brewing.

And the same for a thermometer. I got a simple digital cooking one from Beth Bath and Beyond. Brand is Polder. Costed about $10 maybe?

The cheapest 1g scales at Bed Bath and Beyond etc. cost about $30 and are useless. Don't touch that.
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Last edited by MatWiz; 09-19-2012 at 03:38 PM.
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Old 09-19-2012, 05:26 PM
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Quote:
I use an otherwise useless espresso cup to scoop consistent amounts of beans to my liking, but I never before weighed out the ratio. I am well below 1:17, I forget where exactly, but that's ok because as long as it tastes good to me I'm good, and after all I'm being more economical as a result. However, I often go quite past the 4 min brew time, because of whatever else I'm taking care of during this time. The only time when I actually watch the clock on brew time is with the vacuum coffee maker. Anyway, I just wanted to report back on all that info.
OK, not to get overly OCD or geeky over this, but this is a general good read. Also for anyone else who is using their regular kitchen coffee maker. A few simple adjustment could create a much better tasting coffee than what people are usually doing at home for years and years.

Just a side note. Making coffee is just like cooking or baking. If you follow a recipe closely, it will produce a much tastier food. But here's the thing, you can make a sandwich and it really doesn't matter that much if you just slap whatever ratio of cold cuts, mayo, tomatoes etc, and it will come out good.

If you are making a soup or BBQ, same thing, you can throw things in and you'll be OK. But you need to be a little more careful compared to making a sandwich.

BUT, if you are making a home made BBQ sauce, then you really want to follow the recipe more closely because if you don't, the taste will vary greatly.

Now go to baking, and everybody knows that in baking you need to be really exact with the measurements or you'll screw up the cake.

Point is, people make coffee like they are making a sandwich. All that happen after is that they get used to a horribly taste coffee (or tea!). Usually they need to add a tone of milk and/or sugar or in the case of Charbucks adding syrups, caramels, and whatever, all in an effort to mask and cover as much of the disgusting taste of their burnt coffee..

So, coffee should be made like someone is making a BBQ sauce or baking. Make the coffee according to a recipe and then adjust to your personal taste and according to the individual coffee beans that are being roasted.

Brewing Ratio:
Coffee tastes best when the ratio between water and coffee is between 1:16 and 1:18, so ideally is 1:17 - Not that it is a solid rule but a good starting point and then you adjust to 18 or 16 if the coffee tastes too strong or too weak for your taste.

What happens is that at the ideal brew ratio all the natural flavors of that particular bean come out. Otherwise, they will be masked by a too bitter taste or too sour taste. Just like in a recipe, if you put too much salt or too much nutmeg you will not taste the full flavor of the actual food that is in the dish. Logical right?

Brewing temperature is between 195F and 205F with at 200F is a safe bet. Too high a temperature will make bitter coffee. Too low will make the coffee sour. Too high temp will over extract the coffee. Too low will under extract..

Something that you wrote above caught my attention... You said that you use less than 1:16 but you are using more than 4 minutes brewing. See, what you are doing is over compensating and correcting. You are not using enough coffee, which will make your drink weak, so you are brewing longer time which will over extract to correct the low dose.. ... but what happens is that you are over extracting the bitter flavors from the grind.

Anyway, it sounds complicated. But after you are doing it a few times, you'd figure out something very easy, like using the 2oz plastic measuring cup that comes in many powdered drinks, fill it up almost to the top (20g) beans, to a mug of water (12oz), and that will put you in the 1:18 range. It's that simple.

Take a look at the graph in the attached PDF file. See the line that goes closest to the middle of the square for the Ideal / Optimum Balance? See that line is for 3.75oz coffee grind. The graph ratio lines are for the same half gallon (64oz water). Do the calculation, 64/3.75= ?

Cheers!
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Old 09-19-2012, 07:02 PM
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Originally Posted by MatWiz View Post
Holy baby jeezus
Screw top on a soda in the morning. and it's caffeine free diet. But I will confess that all of that made me think about brewing the best evar cup of coffee... and then, like totally letting it sit there. Caused no one I know would drink it.
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Old 09-19-2012, 08:10 PM
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Screw top on a soda in the morning. and it's caffeine free diet. But I will confess that all of that made me think about brewing the best evar cup of coffee... and then, like totally letting it sit there. Caused no one I know would drink it.
Hehe. OK, you got my curiosity going. Why wouldn't anyone you know drink it?
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Old 09-19-2012, 10:23 PM
Ilovemycar Ilovemycar is offline
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MW, I promise that I will soon oblige you and make some 1:17 coffee with a precise time of 4:00 at 200F. Okay?!

I'm not sure what you think of my measuring tools, but I have many thermometers, and one digital weight scale, here it is (its most common usage for me is probably the measuring of ice for brine dilutions):

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00...hs_product_img

That said, I did notice in your cool link that with the coarse grinds, the brew time graph reads 6-8 minutes. Mine are almost as coarse as can be, right now just about a couple/few clicks below coarsest setting of 40 on my Baratza.

Also, it's not like I came up with the espresso cup's worth out of the blue. I have multiple sizes of espresso cups, and a variety of measuring tools, but it's an amount that I gravitated towards after time.

I appreciate your effort at the analogies, but I don't think following a recipe is required to make great food. It's surely required in a restaurant to give the customers consistency. Well, I'm a decent cook, and I measure often, but my brother and mother are better than I am, and they pretty much never measure at all. None of us bake anything though (outside of potatoes, fish, chicken, etc). I guess we never make BBQ sauce from scratch either, but I bet my bro probably has.

If there was any over-compensation, I highly doubt the longer brew time was to compensate for the smaller amount of coffee, because if anything it would likely have been the other way around. The main reason why the brew times are sometimes longer is because I'm probably taking care of certain bodily functions or executing some hygiene ritual, or whatever.

Lastly, I may just not have the refined taste for the nuances of coffee. I don't know. Sometimes I put more coffee, sometimes less, sometimes more water, sometimes less, sometimes longer brews, sometimes less, and usually the differences are somewhat subtle. Well, the differences are very subtle to me when compared to the differences in the coffee bean chosen, for example. Or the method of making coffee (drip vs french vs vacuum, etc).

But, maybe I will become a coffee-science-geek convert shortly, we shall see . . .
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Old 09-20-2012, 05:25 AM
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Hehe. OK, you got my curiosity going. Why wouldn't anyone you know drink it?
I don't know anyone who drinks coffee?
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Old 09-22-2012, 02:14 PM
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I don't know anyone who drinks coffee?
What a nightmare!

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Old 09-22-2012, 02:47 PM
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Originally Posted by Ilovemycar View Post
MW, I promise that I will soon oblige you and make some 1:17 coffee with a precise time of 4:00 at 200F. Okay?!

I'm not sure what you think of my measuring tools, but I have many thermometers, and one digital weight scale, here it is (its most common usage for me is probably the measuring of ice for brine dilutions):

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00...hs_product_img

That said, I did notice in your cool link that with the coarse grinds, the brew time graph reads 6-8 minutes. Mine are almost as coarse as can be, right now just about a couple/few clicks below coarsest setting of 40 on my Baratza.

Also, it's not like I came up with the espresso cup's worth out of the blue. I have multiple sizes of espresso cups, and a variety of measuring tools, but it's an amount that I gravitated towards after time.

I appreciate your effort at the analogies, but I don't think following a recipe is required to make great food. It's surely required in a restaurant to give the customers consistency. Well, I'm a decent cook, and I measure often, but my brother and mother are better than I am, and they pretty much never measure at all. None of us bake anything though (outside of potatoes, fish, chicken, etc). I guess we never make BBQ sauce from scratch either, but I bet my bro probably has.

If there was any over-compensation, I highly doubt the longer brew time was to compensate for the smaller amount of coffee, because if anything it would likely have been the other way around. The main reason why the brew times are sometimes longer is because I'm probably taking care of certain bodily functions or executing some hygiene ritual, or whatever.

Lastly, I may just not have the refined taste for the nuances of coffee. I don't know. Sometimes I put more coffee, sometimes less, sometimes more water, sometimes less, sometimes longer brews, sometimes less, and usually the differences are somewhat subtle. Well, the differences are very subtle to me when compared to the differences in the coffee bean chosen, for example. Or the method of making coffee (drip vs french vs vacuum, etc).

But, maybe I will become a coffee-science-geek convert shortly, we shall see . . .
I gave the link for general information and knowledge, as well as the 1:17 ratio. Want to spread the word out there to those who makes coffee at home, to know that there is a "golden standard".

Great that you have scales. I got mislead by the measuring with the espresso cup. LOL.

I was curious about BUNN's 6 minutes brew time myself too. I am guessing that this is for their commercial machines that do 1-2 gallons at a time, and also maybe have something to do with a drip machine. With a French Press the grounds are completely immerse in the water for the whole time, and the standard is 4 minutes.

Here's from Stumptown Coffee: http://stumptowncoffee.com/guide/press-pot/#

Quote:
Youíre going to want to have a timer that counts down from 4 minutes and has an alarm at 4 minutes. Itís very important that you use a timer to guarantee high quality coffee.
....
At exactly 4 minutes, you should push the press (slowly) into the pot to force all grounds to the bottom.
But, nothing is set in stone, everything is adjustable to the individual taste.
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Old 09-23-2012, 10:54 AM
Ilovemycar Ilovemycar is offline
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It's all good MatWiz. Thanks for the reconfirmation about the French press timing. So, I've been following your instructions, it now looks like a science experiment with my thermometer, scale, timer, machines, vessels. I try to take care of other little things that might need doing in the kitchen during the 4 minutes, and will hopefully become more efficient with this small block of time, because over the course of a year, it will add up to be slightly over 24 hrs. That's not including my weighing time, but I hopefully will get the right amounts/proportions, and match that to X.X espresso cups for convenience.

I've followed your instructions accurately as I could, but experimented with the amount of total coffee/water, and even the type of coffee (have tried both Columbian La Plata light roast, and a Mocha Java medium roast).

At first I was pretty confused on what to think of the taste, but then over time realized the coffee was indeed stronger. The flavor does appear to be less bitter to me, but in fairness, I'm not sure how much of this is placebo. (I now realize the best way I can think of to compare is to do side by side batches simultaneously, but I don't have another press.) The flavor, however less bitter it may be, tastes more earthy at least on first impression.

The most immediate impression though is how much hotter the coffee is upon drinking because there is less time for it to cool down, oh yes and not only that, to obtain 200F at pouring pretty much means bring it right to the point of boiling, at least with my questionably accurate method. My press is a stainless steel, double walled insulated, so it really is still quite hot after only 4 min.

Today I tried for the first time 1:18 ratio, I think it's still plenty strong enough for me, quite frankly. Anyway, I thought your help was going to save me money, but for the moment I'm using way more beans and losing more time! J/K, it's worth it for the better coffee in the end I'm sure. I should go look up the tracking info on my latest purchase . . .

Last edited by Ilovemycar; 09-23-2012 at 10:57 AM.
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Old 09-29-2012, 06:27 PM
Ilovemycar Ilovemycar is offline
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I'm liking this machine. Even if the "foolproofing" of trying to stop the consumer from starting a fire makes this machine a lot more complicated than it needs to be. My first impression is that it errs on caution so much, that the consumer has to "cheat" the machine anyway, kind of defeating the point, depending on how I look at it. By the second 1/4 lb batch of coffee, I'm already very happy with the coffee I'm brewing. The first batch, well, I've actually roasted it three times! More on that to come, I've yet to make coffee with it after the 3rd roast (have tasted it once after 2nd).

So I'm obviously going to learn a lot about coffee in the foreseeable future. I didn't know that higher altitude meant higher temps are needed. Hawaiian coffee is from lowest altitudes, and so will require the lowest temp setting. For my first candidate, I was at first looking for something that called for 1st crack only, thinking hey let's go lighter where I am further away from the chances of fire. Well, there weren't any going by the descriptions, and if the possibility was even hinted at, it was confusing to me because a range of choices were available to the tastes of the consumer. I picked Bolivian Fair Trade organic, because I didn't have any choices to make, it simply said roast until 2nd crack. You know, let's K.I.S.S. right?

My first mistake was picking a temp profile that was too low. I couldn't help but have in mind how I sometimes cook meat, "low and slow", thinking that rare meat can always be cooked more, but I could never go back the other way. I think my first attempt probably just got into beginning of first crack. I didn't know how pronounced the crackings was supposed to be, so I was always thinking, "hey, did I hear it?!"- you see all my roasts were done outside where there is a higher ambient noise level, whether cars, planes, kids, AC units, etc. Well, the fact of the matter is that the cracking is not subtle at all, it's very discernible as I later learned.

Welp the very first roast was way too light, so I thought okay I'm good, right(?), we'll just cook it some more. Well even after 5 more minutes, this is the coffee it made (oops, scroll way down to the orange glass, haha). (I waited not quite the hour between roasts as instructed by the manual.) I was still using P3, the middle temp setting of five. So I thought, hmmmm, ok let's take a fresh batch again (just to keep this as a more "controlled" experiment") and use highest temp. Well, I got all the way through first crack, maybe 1 to maybe even 1.5 min past, but I didn't quite undoubtedly get to 2nd crack, as instructions said to. This was the first time the "foolproofing" gets in my way. The + adds 15 secs, and the - subtracts 10. There is a limit to how many times I can hit the +, and even after maxing out, I couldn't quite get to 2nd crack(?). How am I supposed to certainly get to 2nd crack in the future? I have to lie to the machine, and punch in a weight that is greater than what I'm actually putting in. Therefore my next roast will probably have about 1/3 lb, while I hit the 1/2 lb button.

My last roast was the 3rd go at the first batch, using highest temp profile, and this is just guessing, but I think I got well into 2nd crack (1st crack on this run, but pretty sure this had to represent 2nd as far as the beans were concerned). How do I know, well I cracked open the door as the cracking was subsiding, and there was a nice bit of smoke. I immediately hit the manual override cooldown button.

The buttons with A B C D appear to only be preset amounts of time (which are recommended/associated) with the diff temp profiles. These buttons, as well as the weight buttons, well all 7 of these would be unnecessary if there wasn't any attempts at "foolproofing", and assuming I had an adjustable knob. edit: I need to say that I'm probably wrong about that statement, as many of the profiles do roast at changing rates, but I still feel it's more complicated than need be, and if the consumer could control temp on the fly maybe I wouldn't be "wrong". I say why not just have the thing run with a total max time limit built in, depending on temp profile, and have the user simply listen to the cracks. It just seems more complicated than it needs to be to "dance around" the design of the machine. Maybe there is a more elegant way to "foolproof", but as far as I'm concerned, I must lie to the machine to even get close to what I want right now.

I will try tasting the (slightly overroasted?) batch #1 tomorrow.

Hm, some info that may be of interest to prospective buyers:

First impressions, there are spelling and/or grammatical mistakes on both the box, as well as the warning labels, which didn't inspire the greatest confidence (but the manual seemed to be decent). Also, the manual has a number of perfectly identical pages, making it seem more daunting than it really is. Additionally, there are a couple of other loose papers as well, a quick start guide, safeguards guide, and these are also perfectly redundant to the manual.

Near the end of the manual, there are graphs of power vs time for the 5 diff roast profiles. P1 flies to max and stays there, P3/P4/P5 get to max at different rates, with two intermediate steps, but the weird one is P2 that actually goes to max, then drops down dramatically, just to max out again real quick and just for a moment before cooldown.

The cooldown is always without exception slightly longer than the roast. The fastest possible cycle (1/4, A, P1) lasts 16:30 (not sure how much I can subtract; of course manual override cooldown makes it as short as you want it). As the lower temp profiles call for longer roasts, the longest possible roast/cooldown cycle would be at least 36 min (not sure how much you can add to that), which would be 1 lb, D, P5.

I had no idea there were so many roasts, wiki shows at least nine! This machine is not meant for the few darkest roasts.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coffee_roasting

Cheers. Feel free to ask a question, if I think I can answer it, I will.

Opening the box (double boxed).


Opening the Behmor 1600.


What it was holding (that brush is WAY more useful than I expected it to be). It does shed a little, but I also use it aggressively. One advantage of roasting outside for me, is that I just clean the chaff out right into my garden. As the chaff is featherweight, I can see it getting to unwanted places if I did that indoors.


Beans, beans, and more beans!


The first empty dry-burn; seasoning. (Shortest/hottest, 1/4 P1.)


After 2nd way-too-low-temp roast at P3. (This Bolivian is grown at over 4k ft, so hey I'm gaining experience aren't I?) As aforementioned, I gave it a 3rd roast, and will try it soon. Even weak tea tastes better than the below however :


Ah, now this is more like it, my 2nd batch, at least one min past 1st crack, my educated guess is that I made it to the cusp of 2nd crack, so perhaps a good execution, if not perfect. (This is 1:18 ratio, 4:00 on the clock, I'll have you know MW.)


For how dramatically different the two coffees above look, well these are the actual beans that produced such a huge difference. They are the same beans, just roasted differently. I for one wouldn't have guessed at how dramatic the outcomes would be.


Ah ok, the good 2nd batch, what it looks like. I take the time to upload this one here really because I want to show you the fins. They are sharper than they look, and gave me at least a couple of cuts while trying to maneuver a sponge in there. FWIW, the manual says to clean the inside of the machine every 5 roasts.


Parting thoughts that dawn on me now: the roasting doesn't smell as bad as some people make it out to, well at least not for me on this machine when outside, and I never detected any smoke ever except for the 3rd roast on batch #1, at end of 2nd crack. The machine appears to work as advertised.

EDIT: If there was one single improvement I could make, it wouldn't have to do with any of the finicky foolproofing. I wish I could read the timer display, as more often than not I can't make out any numbers whatsoever when doing this outside. Really, this would be the #1 design improvement, especially when a number of sources recommend to do this outside.

Last edited by Ilovemycar; 09-29-2012 at 06:49 PM.
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Old 09-29-2012, 08:24 PM
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Hey, nice job there!

First, let me say that I know next to nothing serious about roasting.

With that out of the way, just a couple of things that came to my mind while reading.

High elevation coffee farms. I didn't know that they need higher temperature. But what I do know is that high altitude beans are harder/denser. That would make sense that more heat is needed to penetrate and reach the center of the bean and roast it. Those high altitude beans are usually smaller too, but that is also depend of the specific varietal. I don't mean Arabica vs. Robusta (Robusta are large beans) but varietal between different Arabica.

The reason for different "graphs" of temperature/time is all because of the way heat is roasting the different layers of the bean. Most mistakes roasters do is roasting the outside of the bean, while under-roasting the inner kernel. The result is a "grassy" flavor.

You know those coffee drinks that are OK when you start drinking them, but 15-20 minutes later they are bitter/sour like a root of a vegetable? That is an under roasted kernel. So all those up and down temperature is to get the best flavors out of the bean.
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Old 09-29-2012, 09:42 PM
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How did that orange coffee taste like???

Quote:
I had no idea there were so many roasts, wiki shows at least nine! This machine is not meant for the few darkest roasts.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coffee_roasting
Did you see this roast level chart? (Here is Sweet Maria's again. ) Very informative. Click the images to enlarge the pictures.

https://www.sweetmarias.com/library/...e-degree-roast

All the "useful" roast level range are in the Cities range. Meaning, City roast, City+, Full City, Full City +. (C, C+, FC, FC+). This is where you can taste the flavor of the bean (meaning you taste the coffee). Above that you start to taste the roast, not the coffee. This is supermarket level and Starbucks level, where they are over roasting to overcome the taste of the [their bad] coffee beans. Hence the nickname "Charbucks"...


I have these two charts for you. I think you'd like these.




And a standard coffee flavor wheel. It helps you when you taste that flavor but can't put your finger on what it is. This wheel can help you put it into words, and it also helps you developing your palette.

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Old 09-29-2012, 10:18 PM
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nice! a squirrel roaster.
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Old 09-30-2012, 12:29 PM
Ilovemycar Ilovemycar is offline
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Originally Posted by MatWiz View Post
High elevation coffee farms. I didn't know that they need higher temperature. But what I do know is that high altitude beans are harder/denser. That would make sense that more heat is needed to penetrate and reach the center of the bean and roast it. Those high altitude beans are usually smaller too, but that is also depend of the specific varietal. I don't mean Arabica vs. Robusta (Robusta are large beans) but varietal between different Arabica.

The reason for different "graphs" of temperature/time is all because of the way heat is roasting the different layers of the bean. Most mistakes roasters do is roasting the outside of the bean, while under-roasting the inner kernel. The result is a "grassy" flavor.

You know those coffee drinks that are OK when you start drinking them, but 15-20 minutes later they are bitter/sour like a root of a vegetable? That is an under roasted kernel. So all those up and down temperature is to get the best flavors out of the bean.
I'm pretty sure the inventor Joseph Behm wrote the manual, and this is what a part of it says: "8) Hard Bean- strictly hard bean or HG- high grown) v soft bean is based on the altitude beans are grown at. Bean suppliers often post data about grades, such as SHB, HG, etc when describing the bean characteristics. For me personally, my standard choices are: P1-2 All centrals, Peruvian and Columbians; P3... Brazilians, Africans, SE Asians, Malabar, Jamaican Blue Mtn, and Yauco Selecto (Puerto Rican); P4-5 Kona and other low grown island coffees, P4 just into 2nd crack, P5 for shy of 2nd crack."

Your info about the underroasted inner kernel is interesting news to me.

However, I actually don't know if I've had that vegetable root bitter coffee 15-20 min into drinking it. Also, just to reiterate, there is only one roast profile that goes down then up again, all the others go upward only. The "illustrative" graphs show them all reaching the same final power, however I'm convinced both the total and max heat given to the beans is very different. When roasting at P3, I had no problem at all immediately removing the chaff tray and roaster bin, while with P1 I had to wait a while.

I'm not a fan of my overroasted batch #1. I'll try batch #2 again tomorrow, and if it's a lot better like I remember, then I may throw #1 away. It's lost a good deal of its complexities/traits.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MatWiz View Post
How did that orange coffee taste like???

Did you see this roast level chart? (Here is Sweet Maria's again. ) Very informative. Click the images to enlarge the pictures.
I didn't even attempt to register the subtle flavors that may have been in there, because the first word that comes to mind when describing it, is flavorless. I didn't even care to see what the tiny bit of flavor was really about, but I guess I should have in retrospect.

I think I did see that chart, but I have read on a number of occasions that going by color alone is almost pointless. Maybe I misread, but I swear I even read that somewhere at SM too. But I'll say your link is really confusing me, because I think I did go to the end of 2nd crack with 3rd roast of batch #1, but it sure doesn't look anywhere near as burnt as Full French Roast or Carbonized. Did I only get through 1st crack, I don't think so, but this batch is an extremely uncontrolled situation (3x roasts!).

Quote:
All the "useful" roast level range are in the Cities range. Meaning, City roast, City+, Full City, Full City +. (C, C+, FC, FC+). This is where you can taste the flavor of the bean (meaning you taste the coffee). Above that you start to taste the roast, not the coffee. This is supermarket level and Starbucks level, where they are over roasting to overcome the taste of the [their bad] coffee beans. Hence the nickname "Charbucks"...

I have these two charts for you. I think you'd like these.

And a standard coffee flavor wheel. It helps you when you taste that flavor but can't put your finger on what it is. This wheel can help you put it into words, and it also helps you developing your palette.
The charts are crazy man. I can corroborate your reason for Charbucks' burning technique. I have a friend who used to manage an excellent little coffee shop that roasted their own (ironically, the shop has long since been taken over by Charbucks, and this friend moved his family up to WA outside of Seattle just a couple of years ago). He told me that a very long time ago before vacuum sealing, airplanes, what have you, the beans they got up there in WA were very flawed, past their prime, no longer fresh: simply bad beans. So what they did was over-roast the beans to hide all the flaws. It became the flavor that the customers became accustomed to, they didn't know any better, the marketing team must be the greatest coffee marketing team in world history, and you know the rest.

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Originally Posted by HW View Post
nice! a squirrel roaster.
I've never tasted squirrel. I can't find any squirrel roasters. Everyone seems to be cooking them on a stick.

Maybe we should all have some squirrel coffee!

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Old 09-30-2012, 01:52 PM
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I
Maybe we should all have some squirrel coffee!





I just made this!
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Old 09-30-2012, 02:02 PM
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Awww... Gone so quickly.

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Old 09-30-2012, 02:40 PM
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Quote:
I can corroborate your reason for Charbucks' burning technique. I have a friend who used to manage an excellent little coffee shop that roasted their own
You should bombard him with questions...

Quote:
I think I did see that chart, but I have read on a number of occasions that going by color alone is almost pointless. Maybe I misread, but I swear I even read that somewhere at SM too.
Yes, that's the first line in the link I posted. LOL

I posted the link not so much because of the colors, but because of the description, and for the closeup pictures of the visible changes to the surface of the bean, not so much the color of it. Besides, color can be so misleading over the internet and in photos. Also noticed that they say 15-30 seconds between first and second crack? (I've no idea about that, as I never roasted!), but you said you waited much longer.

Quote:
The "illustrative" graphs show them all reaching the same final power, however I'm convinced both the total and max heat given to the beans is very different.
That's right. Although they reach the same final temp, it is HOW they get there, (linear, below the linear and then go up, or go above the linear line), that all changes how the coffee will taste in the end. And the best roasters keep this as their most kept secret, because that's what makes their coffee better than the competition.

Quote:
I'm pretty sure the inventor Joseph Behm wrote the manual, and this is what a part of it says: "8) Hard Bean- strictly hard bean or HG- high grown) v soft bean is based on the altitude beans are grown at. Bean suppliers often post data about grades, such as SHB, HG, etc when describing the bean characteristics. For me personally, my standard choices are: P1-2 All centrals, Peruvian and Columbians; P3... Brazilians, Africans, SE Asians, Malabar, Jamaican Blue Mtn, and Yauco Selecto (Puerto Rican); P4-5 Kona and other low grown island coffees, P4 just into 2nd crack, P5 for shy of 2nd crack."
Not sure what you're trying to say here.. That he changes the roasting profile based on the bean hardness?

You really make me want to buy a roaster.
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Old 09-30-2012, 02:55 PM
Ilovemycar Ilovemycar is offline
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Originally Posted by MatWiz View Post

I just made this!
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Originally Posted by MatWiz View Post
Awww... Gone so quickly.


Quote:
Originally Posted by MatWiz View Post
I posted the link not so much because of the colors, but because of the description, and for the closeup pictures of the visible changes to the surface of the bean, not so much the color of it. Besides, color can be so misleading over the internet and in photos. Also noticed that they say 15-30 seconds between first and second crack? (I've no idea about that, as I never roasted!), but you said you waited much longer.
Yes, I did. The manual gives time guidelines for what to expect between 1st/2nd cracks: 1/4 = 1:30, 1/2 = 2:10, 1 lb = 3:10. They are obviously using something else besides a Behmor. The manual makes specific mention that knowing this info well is particularly important with P2 (the one that goes up/down), but it doesn't explain any further.

Quote:
That's right. Although they reach the same final temp, it is HOW they get there, (linear, below the linear and then go up, or go above the linear line), that all changes how the coffee will taste in the end. And the best roasters keep this as their most kept secret, because that's what makes their coffee better than the competition.
Oh. I see.

Quote:
Not sure what you're trying to say here.. That he changes the roasting profile based on the bean hardness?
Not trying to say anything specific, I just wanted to relay what I read, for you to interpret however you want, or even ignore.

Quote:
You really make me what to buy a roaster.
Part of my motivation to post all the photos and mini-review is also to kind of say a little thank you for your guidance. If it wasn't for you, there is a tiny chance that I would never have got to roasting my beans, an idea I've mulled over for years now at this point. A small chance, but a real one nevertheless, so thank you.

Now, go order one.
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