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Toper Cafemino vs Coffee-Tech Eng Artgiano, Torrefattore, SOLAR... Thoughts?
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Discussions > Coffee > Home Roast > Toper Cafemino...  
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alylea
Senior Member
alylea
Joined: 19 Feb 2004
Posts: 10
Location: NY
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Saeco Royal Coffee Bar
Grinder: Bunn G-3
Drip: Capresso Coffee Tech
Roaster: Coffee-Tech Solar
Posted Thu Nov 5, 2009, 9:03am
Subject: Re: Coffee-Tech Eng SOLAR... Easy To Service
 

nathanjohn Said:

This may be just the roaster for me. Thanks to all the owners who have provided such useful info.

Lyle, since you are in the US, what kind of circuitry is required to operate the Solar 2kg? It seems to come from the factory with the more universal (but not US) standard of 230v.

Did you need to make modifications? How big a deal is this for a home with 110v circuits and maybe one (220v??) washer/dryer circuit?

Also, some of the descriptions of these roasters talk about a PC cable and software for unlimited user defined profiles. Has anyone tried this and if so can you explain how it works?

Cheers,
Nathan

Posted November 4, 2009 link

Hi Nathan,

220v is just fine.  A dryer circuit has pleanty of ameperage available just don't use both at the same time.  The Solar comes with a cord but no plug so use whatever you want. I have mine on a 20amp circuit and have never had an issue.

The Solar has no PC interface at this time.  It has 3 built-in profiles for light, medium and dark roasts and the results are fine.

You need to vent the Solar to the outside!!!!  The chaff collector works great but roasting 5lbs at a time creates smoke.  You have been warned! Do not try to send the smoke out via a range hood.  None of them can handle the qty. of smoke.  

What part of the US do you live in?

Lyle
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nathanjohn
Senior Member


Joined: 4 Nov 2009
Posts: 2
Location: SF Bay Area
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Thu Nov 5, 2009, 4:19pm
Subject: Re: Coffee-Tech Eng SOLAR... Easy To Service
 

I'm just north of San Francisco and the roaster will be in the garage, vented to the outside!

But my 220v circuit is in the kitchen. So I'll have to have an electrician figure out how to get 220v to the subpanel in the garage. I guess it's doable.

I hear so much about "profile roasting" and "manual control" that although I'm atttracted to this roaster for it's automatic roasting, I was hoping there might be room for experimentation should I want to override the 3 built-in profiles by playing around and recording unique profiles for certain coffees.

The 2 lb Sonofresco fluid bed roaster has 9 built in profiles, but in practice it sounds like the three of the SOLAR are plenty.

The pdf manual explains how one can adjust the roast by +/- a degree at each setting. So I guess this really gives the SOLAR more than 3. You may have light, light +, medium -, medium, meduim+, dark-, etc., etc.

Is that correct?
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alylea
Senior Member
alylea
Joined: 19 Feb 2004
Posts: 10
Location: NY
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Saeco Royal Coffee Bar
Grinder: Bunn G-3
Drip: Capresso Coffee Tech
Roaster: Coffee-Tech Solar
Posted Fri Nov 6, 2009, 11:43am
Subject: Re: Coffee-Tech Eng SOLAR... Easy To Service
 

You don't need a sub-panel, just a 220v outlet.  

I often run mine in manual by setting the high temp 20 degrees above the auto trip level.   I roast by sound and view color through the window. You press the buttons on the controller to shut down the heaters and again to turn on the blowers. The machine is not a true manual as you can't turn the heaters on, off , and on again. Only one cycle of on and off per roast. But you get a great auto machine that takes the guess work out of the equation.  I have been thinking about replacing the controller with one that lets me program it via front panel or PC interface. That's a couple of hundred dollars.  The big issue is figuring out the ramp time for the electric elements.  They are slow heating but quick cooling.  It will just take some time to figure it out including the recovery time to heat them back up.  A gas roaster is better for this but I don't have a gas and it sounds like you don't either.

If you like to roast you will out-grow the 2lb machine quickly. Trust me on this as it happened to me within 16 months of geting my Royal Max which was a 2.5lb drum roaster. If you plan to sell, a 5lb roaster is the minimum size. If the Sonofresco is the one with the glass chiminey I've heard complaints about how fragile the glass is. A lot say it is and some say it isn't.  Stainless steel doesn't break.
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Breeze
Senior Member
Breeze
Joined: 3 Dec 2006
Posts: 766
Location: St. Croix, V.I.
Expertise: Pro Roaster

Espresso: Bezzera Strega
Grinder: Mazzer Mini
Drip: TechniVorm/Krups MB
Roaster: Toper 1 kilo
Posted Sat Nov 7, 2009, 5:24am
Subject: Re: Toper Cafemino vs Coffee-Tech Eng Artgiano, Torrefattore, SOLAR... Thoughts?
 

Dave's comments on Toper are Accurate.   My 2 cents:

  1.  Weight is good.  It represents mass and in a roasting environment mass is your friend.  

  2.  Gas fired is good.  Propane, where it is available in bottles which may be stored outside the building and tubed in to the machine, is just fine.   You can even run the 1kilo off the size bottles used for outdoor grills with a spare on hand.

  3.  A few beans do tend to want to hang in front of the sight glass, especially with a lot of chaff.   I have found that pulling the sample spoon partially out of the drum helps with that but overall it's not a huge issue.

  4.  Toper components are industrial strength and construction is robust.  

  5.  I'm roasting +/- 10 kilos a week with great convenience.  20 kilos a week would start calling for an increase in machine capacity.
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Breeze
Senior Member
Breeze
Joined: 3 Dec 2006
Posts: 766
Location: St. Croix, V.I.
Expertise: Pro Roaster

Espresso: Bezzera Strega
Grinder: Mazzer Mini
Drip: TechniVorm/Krups MB
Roaster: Toper 1 kilo
Posted Sat Nov 7, 2009, 5:36am
Subject: Re: Coffee-Tech Eng SOLAR... GREAT Customer Service!
 

alylea Said:

 Anyway, yesterday I pre-heated as usual and noticed a hot spot on the center heating element. Normally the heaters glow a medium intensity orange color but this was a small very bright orange spot.  I knew that this was indicative of a possible failure but decided to go ahead with the roast anyway.  I added the beans and the element failed.  Oh well, 5lbs of PNG Peaberry took forever to roast or should I say bake?  The roast finally went into 1st crack and finished.  I dry ran the Solar and confirmed my suspicions.  The center heater died but the other 2 were fine.

Posted September 29, 2009 link

Breeze (aka) DonTomas repeats:  Gas is Good!
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alylea
Senior Member
alylea
Joined: 19 Feb 2004
Posts: 10
Location: NY
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Saeco Royal Coffee Bar
Grinder: Bunn G-3
Drip: Capresso Coffee Tech
Roaster: Coffee-Tech Solar
Posted Sun Nov 8, 2009, 6:08pm
Subject: Re: Coffee-Tech Eng SOLAR... GREAT Customer Service!
 

Breeze Said:

Breeze (aka) DonTomas repeats:  Gas is Good!

Posted November 7, 2009 link

Don,

Yes, gas can be good provided;

  1. You have a good and easy to access supply. I have to travel 20 minutes to get tanks refilled.
  2. It is reasonable in cost. Gas is $20 for a BBQ cylinder in NY. Any idea how long it would last with a 1kg Toper?
  3. It is legal to pipe it in as you described.  In NY I need a licensed plumber, building permits and I am too close to my neighbor for it to be legal so gas is not an option.
  4. You use a small 1kg roaster as you mentioned.  The Solar is a 2.2kg.

Sometime you have to go with what is best for the situation. Gas is not and will never be an option for me where I currently live. Many others face similar legal and zoning issues.

Lyle
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coffeequester
Senior Member


Joined: 29 Oct 2008
Posts: 10
Location: Vancouver, BC
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Sun Nov 29, 2009, 10:40pm
Subject: Re: Coffee-Tech Eng SOLAR ... I own one!
 

Hi Lyle
I very much appreciated reading this thred and your post.  I am wondering if the solar is ble to produce dark roasts?  I haven't come across any comments about this - and I do like to blend with dark beans.  I am concerned as this seems to be an automatic machine and it may not allow me to roast as dark as I would like.  Could you let me now?  Much appreciated!
Margaret
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coffeequester
Senior Member


Joined: 29 Oct 2008
Posts: 10
Location: Vancouver, BC
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Sun Nov 29, 2009, 10:50pm
Subject: Re: Coffee-Tech Eng SOLAR ... I own one!
 

Sorry Lyle
I just saw your previous post saying it has 3  profiles - light, medium, dark..
(how did I miss it?)
I have just started investigating the Solar as the Hottop is not nearly enough for me anymore (I am not in business of selling coffee but have much pleasure in giving away as gift.  Our family alone goes through a lot of coffee and I am finding I need to spend way too much time with just one Hottop as waiting for the cooling period take so much time for such a small batch.  Have you experienced any problems with fire using the solar?  I ws not planning to vent but to place the roaster on the same stand I have the Hottop on.  This is in an enclosed porch - behind the table is a 24" x 24" fan pulling the smoke out a slide-up wondow.  this seems to work well for the Hottop.  Any warnings I should know about the Solar?

Margaret
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alylea
Senior Member
alylea
Joined: 19 Feb 2004
Posts: 10
Location: NY
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Saeco Royal Coffee Bar
Grinder: Bunn G-3
Drip: Capresso Coffee Tech
Roaster: Coffee-Tech Solar
Posted Mon Nov 30, 2009, 3:57am
Subject: Re: Coffee-Tech Eng SOLAR ... I own one!
 

coffeequester Said:

Sorry Lyle
I just saw your previous post saying it has 3  profiles - light, medium, dark..
(how did I miss it?)
I have just started investigating the Solar as the Hottop is not nearly enough for me anymore (I am not in business of selling coffee but have much pleasure in giving away as gift.  Our family alone goes through a lot of coffee and I am finding I need to spend way too much time with just one Hottop as waiting for the cooling period take so much time for such a small batch.  Have you experienced any problems with fire using the solar?  I ws not planning to vent but to place the roaster on the same stand I have the Hottop on.  This is in an enclosed porch - behind the table is a 24" x 24" fan pulling the smoke out a slide-up wondow.  this seems to work well for the Hottop.  Any warnings I should know about the Solar?

Margaret

Posted November 29, 2009 link

Hi Margaret,

6:30 AM in NY and I'm drinking a Cap made with very nice dark roasted beans. Espresso level with a little oil showing.  This batch is is a combo roast of Sidamo & Brazil with a 30 hour rest period. Very tasty...

The Solar does a fine job of dark roasting.  I't's now winter here and I always run a pre-heat roast to warm up the roaster first since the ambient air is sub 45 degrees and the Solar always pulls in small amounts of air via a variable speed blower system.

As for the duct system; you are roasting 5lbs and that will create lots of smoke esp. if you are dark roasting. I use a recycled Jennair exhaust (310cfm)  blower.  I have a piece of 6" duct on the input side and I have the 4" exhaust feeding that via a flexible aluminum duct.  I have the 4 inserted into the 6 but not direct coupled.  This way some fresh air gets drawn in to and helps keep the temp down. You can try the fan method but I think a blower system will do a better job. You may end up with smoke on the porch via the fan method. I am also a little concerned with the draw of your fan affecting the roast profiles if you place an exhaust pipe from the Solar too close to the fan. The blower in the Solar is very serious and is designed to push the smoke out a stack system.  The blower seems to always run at a very low speed and automatically bumps up for a few seconds a number of times during the roast cycle.  It really cranks up during the cooling cycle and sounds like a jet engine.  Like I said, it scared the beans out of me the first time.

No fire problems with the Solar BUT any roaster can burn if you over-roast.  The manual says you should always be there and there's a reason for that. I run the dark roast cycle with the high-temp setting at 199 C.  It goes up about 3 to 4 more degrees before the cooling cycle kicks in which is by design to use the kinetic energy to gently finish the roast.  My biggest concern is roasting Sulawesi.  My old Royal Max would catch fire most of the time with these beans. It had to do with the high oil content and the very bad design of the Royal Max which had the heaters inside the drum.  The Solar keeps the heaters outside of the drum so that problem is eliminated.

I hope this answers your questions.  If not, feel free to write again.

Lyle
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magu
Senior Member


Joined: 13 Jan 2011
Posts: 2
Location: barcelona
Expertise: Pro Roaster

Posted Thu Jan 13, 2011, 4:07am
Subject: Re: Coffee-Tech Eng SOLAR ... I own one!
 

Hi Lyle

I just got a Solar roaster myself, i love it.

I was wondering if you could share some parameters for you different beans. I am trying to roast a Costa Rica, very hard and very good supposedly. I started with min in 155 and high in 178 to be on the safe side, but it was definitely to light. I pumed up a couple of degrees on the final and lowered one on the min, because beans are bit greeny too, so i though a longer roast with lower initial temp would reduce humidity before actual roast, but I am no t sure about anything.

Next batch I will try something like 155-182

best regards!
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