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Roaster and Temp. Mod. for the Budget CoffeeGeek
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Discussions > Coffee > Home Roast > Roaster and...  
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SlipperyJim
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Joined: 5 Aug 2003
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Espresso: Moka Pots, Krups Novo,...
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Posted Sun Aug 31, 2003, 3:35pm
Subject: Roaster and Temp. Mod. for the Budget CoffeeGeek
 

If you are a CoffeeGeek on a Budget and have been waiting to get into home roasting, this may be you lucky weekend.

For Labor Day the Linens and Things store at my local mall is having a clearance on Toastmaster Hot Air Popcorn Poppers for $7.49.

I use these to roast green coffee, so I can tell you they work - they require attention because they are so fast, but they work.

If you don't have a Linens and Things store nearby, but have a Bed, Bath and Beyond store within range, they (B,B,&B) sell the same popper, usually for $9.99.

I found a "Down Home Cookin'" Deep Fry Thermometer (Young America Group) at a local Big Lots store for $1.99. The probe is very long and the dial registers up to 550 degrees F.

If you are interested in mod-ing your air popper for temperature monitoring and have a Big Lots nearby, check it out.

Slippery Me

P.S. - I do not work for, or have any affiliation with the above stores (or any other store or seller of goods, for that matter). Simply passing on insanely low prices for those who want in on the fun, but don't have a ton of money to play with.
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CraigA
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CraigA
Joined: 19 Dec 2001
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Location: Rexdale, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
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Posted Sun Aug 31, 2003, 3:57pm
Subject: Re: Roaster and Temp. Mod. for the Budget CoffeeGeek
 

P.S. - I do not work for, or have any affiliation with the above stores (or any other store or seller of goods, for that matter). Simply passing on insanely low prices for those who want in on the fun, but don't have a ton of money to play with.


Very nice of you to do that Kevin! {:-D

 
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SlipperyJim
Senior Member


Joined: 5 Aug 2003
Posts: 36
Expertise: Intermediate

Espresso: Moka Pots, Krups Novo,...
Grinder: Braun Whirley Blades, Braun...
Vac Pot: Not Yet
Drip: Braun; Bodum (press pot)
Roaster: Thermometer Equipped...
Posted Sun Aug 31, 2003, 6:07pm
Subject: Re: Roaster and Temp. Mod. for the Budget CoffeeGeek
 

I'm glad to do it, Craig.

I know how confusing it all can be for people who are just getting in to coffee and who are looking for good information on what they need to get themselves up and running.

Sites like this one, Coffekid, and others are great places to pick up information on technique and everything else. Lot's of info, lots of good people about - but the sheer amount of information can induce mental overload !

Not only is there maybe sometimes too much information, but a lot of us tend to get....well..... carried away with the mechanisims and machines that our passion revolves around.

Some times I think that newcomers get the impression that they have to be ready to drop several thousand dollars for a Livia, Mazzer Mini, Alpenroast (or Hot Top), etc, etc, just to be able to get a decent shot.

Well, we know it ain't so, but we need to tell them too !! Sometimes I think there should be more articles and sections devoted to newcomers and more information on set-ups and systems for those who want as much of the good coffee experience as they can get, but who have a limited amount of cash they can throw into it - the Budget CoffeeGeek.

Slip
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CraigA
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CraigA
Joined: 19 Dec 2001
Posts: 11,243
Location: Rexdale, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: PID/PressureMod 2001...
Grinder: BUNN FPG-2 DBC, Baratza...
Vac Pot: Bodum Santos manual, Yama 5...
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Posted Sun Aug 31, 2003, 6:43pm
Subject: Re: Roaster and Temp. Mod. for the Budget CoffeeGeek
 

I totally agree with you 100% Kevin! {:-)

 
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MarkPrince
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Posted Sun Aug 31, 2003, 6:56pm
Subject: Re: Roaster and Temp. Mod. for the Budget CoffeeGeek
 

Folks... this thread gives me the opportunity to talk about something I've been thinking about for some time...

Posting the definitive, how to article to using a popcorn popper to roast coffee.

There's a reason why I don't have one on this site at the moment, and a reason why you see sites like SweetMarias and Coffee Project and others skirt around the issue:

Howard Gell.

(for more on this fellow, check out this groups.google search)

I had a talk with my company's lawyers last spring about writing up a full article about this verbotten subject, and the advice was, don't do it. But I think it needs to be written up, presented in a definitive way, because I'm 100% sure Gell is laying claim to things that were "prior art", as in ideas others had before he patented them.

Plus I'm in Canada and a Canadian, so he would have to come up here to fight the fight if he wanted to.

It's an article I've written a fair amount of already - even a series of photos showing how to mod various poppers, step by step processes for roasting, and what cheapo accessories to get to make it smooth and easy. The question is, to post or not to post it.

After the vaporware V2 rollout is real, I may just do it. In the meantime, if anyone wants to write stuff in the forums, eg, a newbie's guide to home roasting with a popcorn popper, I'd welcome it :)

Mark

 
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Ian
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Posted Sun Aug 31, 2003, 8:55pm
Subject: Re: Roaster and Temp. Mod. for the Budget CoffeeGeek
 

CoffeeKid Said:

Folks... this thread gives me the opportunity to talk about something I've been thinking about for some time...

Posting the definitive, how to article to using a popcorn popper to roast coffee.

There's a reason why I don't have one on this site at the moment, and a reason why you see sites like SweetMarias and Coffee Project and others skirt around the issue:

Howard Gell.

Mark, I find this sort of stuff as irritating as you do. From a purely selfish viewpoint I would say go ahead and publish, but, I know that a proportion of U.S. citizens have a reputation of being rather litigious.

My suggestion would be to present the article as a journalistic report of what people have done instead of producing an article telling people what to do.

It might seem to be a subtle difference but I don't see how an historical report can be regarded as a patent infringement. - There again I'm not a lawyer (whose prepared to argue that night is day as long as they're on 500 quid an hour).

Cheers

Ian

 
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SlipperyJim
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Joined: 5 Aug 2003
Posts: 36
Expertise: Intermediate

Espresso: Moka Pots, Krups Novo,...
Grinder: Braun Whirley Blades, Braun...
Vac Pot: Not Yet
Drip: Braun; Bodum (press pot)
Roaster: Thermometer Equipped...
Posted Mon Sep 1, 2003, 9:39am
Subject: Re: Roaster and Temp. Mod. for the Budget CoffeeGeek
 

Whoa - notice from the Moderator In Chief and Senior Members. I'm not worthy ! I'm not worthy !

With that heart-felt admonition out of the way, here is my two-cents worth on the subject:

I'm all for nuts-and-bolts how-to's. They give the struggling coffee hound his/her best shot at getting the most out of their coffee experience without spending a fortune doing it.

Hot air poppers and whirly poppers are the little guys best shot for at-home roasting fun, IMHO. The few simple mods most of us perform on them (mainly adding a thermometer so we can monitor roast temperature) are cheap and easy enough for just about anyone to do.

But when it comes to guys like Mr. Gell, his patent(s) and the law I am out of my leaque and for sure will say so. This is an area where I can't forward any comments that would mean anything.

Ian may be right when he says that there is a world of (legal) difference between telling people how to do something that may violate a patent, and reporting on how some people have done so.

Splitting hairs ? Sure - but that's what it's all about in the law biz, eh ?

There may also be big differences in selling such information vs. giving it away, as well as modifying existing poppers for personal or educational use as against commercial uses.

There is also the matter of how far one can go before getting into protected territory.

I can't see how it would be a violation of patent to just dump the beans in a popper, flip it on, then time it while watching for color change, smelling the smoke, and listening for the cracks.

You may not be using it as it was intended or designed, but you have changed nothing.

Is putting in a thermometer going too far and infringing on a patent ? How about putting in an additional switch to kill the heating coils while leaving the fan running ?

Now we are in an area where someone who knows how to do it must look at what the patent says against what they are doing to the machinery. Someone who knows the mech/engineering end of it as well as the law.

It is unfortunate, but this is an area where the lawyers simply must be listened to. It is their area of expertise.

If Mr. Gell has presented the developments of others as his own, or claimed that knowledge/technique that was known to the art beforehand are his, it may be possible to legally challenge his patent and get it, or parts of it, overturned.

Being in Canada, Mark may have a home-turf advantage there.

It all goes back to the law and the lawyers though.

Kevin
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MarkPrince
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Joined: 19 Dec 2001
Posts: 5,611
Location: Vancouver, BC
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Roaster: Hario Glass Retro Roaster
Posted Mon Sep 1, 2003, 10:50am
Subject: Re: Roaster and Temp. Mod. for the Budget CoffeeGeek
 

The problem is, Gell is a lawyer...

The worse problem is... Gell is a patent lawyer :( He knows all the tricks.

And the US Patent office is not known for their particular brilliance or dilligence in seeking prior art or in verifying originality. How about Amazon's one click patent? Or iPix claiming they came up with the concept of stitching together two spherical fisheye shots? Or Gell claiming he invented the popcorn popper as a coffee roaster... :)

Mark

 
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www.twitter.com/coffeegeek www.flickr.com/coffeegeek, www.instagram.com/coffeegeek (you get the picture)
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SlipperyJim
Senior Member


Joined: 5 Aug 2003
Posts: 36
Expertise: Intermediate

Espresso: Moka Pots, Krups Novo,...
Grinder: Braun Whirley Blades, Braun...
Vac Pot: Not Yet
Drip: Braun; Bodum (press pot)
Roaster: Thermometer Equipped...
Posted Tue Sep 2, 2003, 7:37am
Subject: Re: Roaster and Temp. Mod. for the Budget CoffeeGeek
 

All too true, though there is absolutely nothing unusual about a lawyer manipulating a legal system for his/her own advantage.

Still, being a lawyer and knowing all the tricks may not help in the long run against someone who has the time and money and is willing to make the effort and if the patent(s) he holds in this area should truly not have been granted.

Getting a patent revoked does not necessarily call for court action (see U.S. Code Title 35, Chapters 30, and 31). There is a process of reexamination by the patent office itself that, as far as I can tell, may be invoked by anyone who is willing to pay the fee.

There is so much legalise involved that some use of a lawyer is almost certain to be required - at least to improve the chances of the claim.

Even if the petition for reexamination is successful, the patent holder may appeal the decision.

If you are really interested, check out this link on Title 35:

http://uscode.house.gov/title_35.htm

There do seem to be particular requirements for patentability that Mr. Gell may have mis-stated to the Office.

What is really needed here is a lawyer with some knowledge in the area who would be willing to do some pro-bono work. If he or she is a CoffeeGeek, so much the better !!

You could take up a collection here to raise the fees for the reexamination (I'm in for a good $20.00 at a minimum, eh ?).

Slip
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