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Can Roasting Coffee be Killing us???
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Discussions > Coffee > Home Roast > Can Roasting...  
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ChuckViau
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Posted Sat Dec 3, 2005, 9:12pm
Subject: Can Roasting Coffee be Killing us???
 

I was reading Zgirl's post about roast smoke: "Smoke during roasting question, and roaster questions."

I posted that I tried to avoid my son's exposure to smoke because I felt it wasn't good for his health.

(Please take this with a grain of salt)

This prompted me to do some research and I found this post on the Roaster's Guild forum by Marty G Curtis:

"The roasting of coffee beans results in the emission of particulate matter, volatile organic compounds, organic acids, and natural gas combustion products. Green coffee beans contain a wide variety of chemical compounds including proteins, fats, sugars, dextrine, cellulose, caffeine, and organic acids. Some of these compounds volatize, oxidize, or decompose as part of the roasting process. Consequently, toxic compounds such as aldehydes (as formaldehyde), organic acids (as acetic acid) and acrolein are emitted as a result of the coffee roasting process.
Gaseous and particulate matter emissions occur during the roasting process. As stated earlier, the gaseous emissions result primarily from the breakdown of the sugars and oils present in the green coffee beans. These gaseous emissions include aldehydes, organic acids, phenols and other hydrocarbons. In addition, nitrogen oxides and carbon monoxide emissions occur as a result of the combustion of natural gas which is typically used to fuel the roaster. The particulate matter emissions are composed of coffee chaff (outer skin of coffee cherry) which is released when the coffee beans swell during the roasting process. Most of the chaff released during the roasting process is light enough to be carried off with the roaster exhaust. Although some chaff is emitted during the cooling process, the majority of chaff emissions occur at the roaster."


Info on VOC's: http://www.epa.gov/iaq/voc.html
Info on Hydrocarbons: Click Here (www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
Info on formaldehyde: http://www.epa.gov/iaq/formalde.html
Info on acrolein: http://www.epa.gov/ttn/atw/hlthef/acrolein.html

Now I believe that Mr. Curtis is referring to large commercial roasters but do we know what the long term effects of small amounts of smoke are on our respiratory systems?  We are exposed daily by much worse products but I just felt that people should be aware of the contents of roast smoke.  Roasting indoors might not be a great idea if there are people in the household with a pre-existing respiratory illness such as asthma.  I personally vent my iRoast2 outdoors to minimize smoke but I don't vent the Freshroast.  It gets thick in the room where I roast so I think I'll install a window mounted fan to help get rid of the excess.  

I personally don't believe that the little bit of smoke I'm exposed to in any given week won't be detrimental to my health but I'm sure it won't be improving it!

Just thought you should know...

Chuck

 
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bennybrew
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bennybrew
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Posted Sun Dec 4, 2005, 8:46am
Subject: Re: Can Roasting Coffee be Killing us???
 

does this mean i shouldn't be huffing coffee smoke? ;-)



thanks for the info though....

 
eatdrinkandbemerry
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steamer
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Posted Sun Dec 4, 2005, 8:57am
Subject: Re: Can Roasting Coffee be Killing us???
 

>>> formaldehyde<<<, read up the dangers of this product and you will have a house made of brick and mortor. There is more danger of formaldehyde in your household wood products than in coffee roasting. IMHO.
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CoffeeRoastersClub
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CoffeeRoastersClub
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Posted Sun Dec 4, 2005, 9:04am
Subject: Re: Can Roasting Coffee be Killing us???
 

ChuckViau Said:

I was reading Zgirl's post about roast smoke: "Smoke during roasting question, and roaster questions."
.....snip.....
Just thought you should know...

Chuck

Posted December 3, 2005 link

I think that you need to approach this issue with common sense.  A home roasters exposure to bean smoke is probably about twice a week, if that.  On top of that it is only for a very limited period of time.  If you are roasting indoors you are probably using a hot air type:  exposure = 15 minutes (at the most?)

If doing outdoors you are probably using drum; exposure longer but you have the smoke being dissipated more rapidly.

You probably get more exposure to toxins sitting next to your own fireplace, or driving in rush hour traffic, for sure.

Len
CoffeeRoastersClub.com

 
"Coffee leads men to trifle away their time, scald their chops, and spend their money, all for a little base, black, thick, nasty, bitter, stinking nauseous puddle water." ~The Women's Petition Against Coffee, 1674

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ChuckViau
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Joined: 2 May 2005
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Location: Sudbury, Ontario
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Posted Sun Dec 4, 2005, 10:25am
Subject: Re: Can Roasting Coffee be Killing us???
 

Hi Len!

CoffeeRoastersClub Said:

You probably get more exposure to toxins sitting next to your own fireplace, or driving in rush hour traffic, for sure.

Posted December 4, 2005 link

I totally agree with you!

CoffeeRoastersClub Said:

I think that you need to approach this issue with common sense.  

Posted December 4, 2005 link

Here's the common sense I'm proposing: If you roast indoors, consider venting if you have small children or people with asthma.  

These days so many kids have asthma because of environmental pollutants, I don't think we need to add anymore if we can avoid it.


CoffeeRoastersClub Said:

IIf you are roasting indoors you are probably using a hot air type:  exposure = 15 minutes (at the most?)

Posted December 4, 2005 link

Probably but I know I'm definitely above average.  I own a few roasters and I do a series of multiple batches more than twice a week.  If you're the typical home roaster, that's fine but if you roast more than that, I think health should be consideration.

steamer Said:

>>> formaldehyde<<<, read up the dangers of this product and you will have a house made of brick and mortor. There is more danger of formaldehyde in your household wood products than in coffee roasting. IMHO.

Posted December 4, 2005 link

Again, yes I agree.  And I used to get much more formaldehyde when I smoked but those days are over thank God!

And like I said before:

ChuckViau Said:

(Please take this with a grain of salt)

Posted December 3, 2005 link

My position is that I won't roast if my 16 month old is in the room and I won't roast if my asthmatic sister comes over to visit.

I just felt that this topic needed to be discussed because I doubt anyone ever considered roast smoke as something could be hazardous to someones health.

Keep the discussion going...

Chuck

 
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Ramblin
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Ramblin
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Posted Sun Dec 4, 2005, 11:31am
Subject: Re: Can Roasting Coffee be Killing us???
 

Maybe, but I'll die happy.
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Dooglas
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Dooglas
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Posted Sun Dec 4, 2005, 11:39am
Subject: Re: Can Roasting Coffee be Killing us???
 

I think a bit of context is needed here. No one disagrees that ventilation when roasting is a good idea (and to say it more clearly - necessary). On the other hand a little aroma from roasting coffee is probably the least of your worries. The chemical description of coffee roasting that started this thread could just as easily be applied to almost any cooking, especially frying, that most everyone does in their house. A similar description of char broiling meat would be even worse (and we eat that in a good sized dose). Then lets get on to paint fumes, glues, wood smoke, candles, trace amounts of PCBs in chicken and dairy products, etc. The list is pretty long.

And, oh by the way. We all are going to die anyway. Moderation in all things and live a good life. Fresh roasted coffee is part of mine.
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TimEggers
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TimEggers
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Posted Sun Dec 4, 2005, 11:43am
Subject: Re: Can Roasting Coffee be Killing us???
 

There are some very valid discussion points made in this topic.  I do believe that a proactive approach to health, especially to youngsters and those with respiratory ailments is a very commendable thing.  However I am uncertain to the affects of coffee roasting smoke so I can't comment either way.  It is something to really think about though.

I roast in my heated garage with all the doors closed using my Rk Drum and gas grill.  I do a pound and a half of beans at a time so smoke is present.  I have never had any trouble with it what so ever, but then again I don't have any health issues (yet).

When it comes to health better safe than sorry is a good approach.  Will coffee roasting hurt you?  I don't know.  What in this world doesn't?  Living is dying...

 
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CoffeeRoastersClub
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CoffeeRoastersClub
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Posted Sun Dec 4, 2005, 12:49pm
Subject: Re: Can Roasting Coffee be Killing us???
 

TimEggers Said:

...snip...
I roast in my heated garage with all the doors closed using my Rk Drum and gas grill.  I do a pound and a half of beans at a time so smoke is present.  I have never had any trouble with it what so ever, but then again I don't have any health issues (yet).

When it comes to health better safe than sorry is a good approach.  Will coffee roasting hurt you?  I don't know.  What in this world doesn't?  Living is dying...

Posted December 4, 2005 link

Tim,

Am I reading your post wrong?  Are you saying that you roast your beans in your garage with all doors closed?

That can't be right.  You have some ventilation going on there, correct?

Len
CoffeeRoastersClub.com

 
"Coffee leads men to trifle away their time, scald their chops, and spend their money, all for a little base, black, thick, nasty, bitter, stinking nauseous puddle water." ~The Women's Petition Against Coffee, 1674

www.CoffeeRoastersClub.com     www.javaPRO-CRC.com     www.KaffeeFrisch.com
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NewEnglandCliff
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NewEnglandCliff
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Posted Sun Dec 4, 2005, 1:25pm
Subject: Re: Can Roasting Coffee be Killing us???
 

Smoke from roasting coffee makes me nauseous and gives me a serious headache that lasts a couple hours. That was when I used an unvented popcorn popper with 1/4 cup of beans. I use a vented I-Roast now and, of course, no issues. Anyone else have these symptoms?

 
Dolce Vita,

NEC
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