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Sorry I'm late to the party...
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Discussions > Coffee > Home Roast > Sorry I'm late...  
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stevebythebay
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Joined: 8 Jul 2012
Posts: 5
Location: SF Bay Area
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Sun Jul 8, 2012, 2:27pm
Subject: Sorry I'm late to the party...
 

I've been a Hottop roaster for about 9 years, modding the base to a D and later a B.  Since I tend to lighter roasts (you won't find me at a Starbucks unless it's to replace a coffee mug) with many varied coffee types I've generally stuck with the baseline profile.  There just seem to be so many variables to contend with.  As it is, I see challenges in dealing with DP based Ethiopians that throw tons of chaff and seem to have a very lengthy first crack (I usually kill the roast well before it ends since the beans are rarely consistent in their characteristics).  On the other hand the Kenyans and Colombians and many other WP beans have a far narrower window of first crack.  I most often kill the roast about 15-20 seconds after what my ears tell me as first crack.  Rarely do I bother peering into the window at the beans since I don't trust that I can visually guess at their true nature.  And, let's face it, green beans change over time, and each harvest varies from year to year.  So, there's going to be variation in abundance.  

Happening upon your Profile #2 for the K-based unit, I'm tempted to give it a go for some of the coffees with less acidity.  If you've any recommended varietals that will benefit I'll try them out.  Luckily Tom and Maria are about 15 minutes away in Oakland, and Sweet Maria's has an abundance of green beans throughout the year.

And having had Michael's help recently with getting some noise diagnostics solved on my B unit (replacing my original drum, along with a rather elderly heating coil, and button sensor), I'm wondering whether it would be wise to consider modding from the current heat sensor on my unit to the K-thermocouple.  Since it seems the B unit is controlled merely by time in its functions (fan level, heat level) it might prove beneficial to have a more accurate/faster bean temp reading.  However I'm not sure this new design really will do the job since it's still not within the drum area, even if it is faster and more accurate.  I know this might prove a rather costly mod I'm not sure the benefits are cost effective.

In any case, I've been a happy camper with the Hottop.  Having started with pan roasting, and later various fluid bed types from modified popcorn poppers, etc.  I really appreciate the more consistent and slower roasting process, and clearly expressed flavors I can have with the Hottop.
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frcn
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frcn
Joined: 23 Dec 2001
Posts: 3,354
Location: Northern California
Expertise: Professional

Espresso: Vibiemme Domobar Double
Grinder: Mazzer Kony, Baratza...
Vac Pot: Hario, 2 Cory pots, 1 Cory...
Drip: Behmor Brazen, Bunn A10 mod...
Roaster: computer controlled Hottop,...
Posted Wed Jul 11, 2012, 4:01pm
Subject: Re: Sorry I'm late to the party...
 

Upgrading to the K thermocouple is expensive and will not do much to improve the roasts. In a few(?) weeks there will be an add-on solution that will cost less and do more, using RoastLogger for computer control of your machine.

 
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stevebythebay
Senior Member


Joined: 8 Jul 2012
Posts: 5
Location: SF Bay Area
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Wed Jul 11, 2012, 5:14pm
Subject: Re: Sorry I'm late to the party...
 

Sounds intriguing.  I looked at RoastLogger and it's slick.  Lots of supported input devices.  Impressed that Arduino type is in the mix (just viewed this presentation by one of the inventors,  which exposed me to the wonders of Arduino  http://www.ted.com/talks/massimo_banzi_how_arduino_is_open_sourcing_imagination.html)

In any case I look forward to hearing more about the add-on.  My biggest concern is whether it would be overkill for the Hottop, especially since the unit has an inherently slow reaction time (electrically driven coil) rather than gas heat, like the big boys.  But I figure you've done enough experimentation along those lines to confirm its value.
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frcn
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frcn
Joined: 23 Dec 2001
Posts: 3,354
Location: Northern California
Expertise: Professional

Espresso: Vibiemme Domobar Double
Grinder: Mazzer Kony, Baratza...
Vac Pot: Hario, 2 Cory pots, 1 Cory...
Drip: Behmor Brazen, Bunn A10 mod...
Roaster: computer controlled Hottop,...
Posted Thu Jul 12, 2012, 6:04am
Subject: Re: Sorry I'm late to the party...
 

stevebythebay Said:

In any case I look forward to hearing more about the add-on.  My biggest concern is whether it would be overkill for the Hottop, especially since the unit has an inherently slow reaction time (electrically driven coil) rather than gas heat, like the big boys.  But I figure you've done enough experimentation along those lines to confirm its value.

Posted July 11, 2012 link

I think that the longer the reaction time the more value a control program would have. RoastLogger has a number of options that allow you to program it to do things in regards to controlling the roasted based on simple entries such as at "x" seconds after first crack (marked by pushing a button when 1st begins) set the heat to X% and the fan to X%. There are others as well, but say that you know that 1st starts at X degrees. The new board will allow RoastLogger to control the heat and fan like that not only through programming but through the sliders in the RoastLogger interface.

 
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stevebythebay
Senior Member


Joined: 8 Jul 2012
Posts: 5
Location: SF Bay Area
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Thu Jul 12, 2012, 9:04am
Subject: Re: Sorry I'm late to the party...
 

frcn Said:

I think that the longer the reaction time the more value a control program would have. RoastLogger has a number of options that allow you to program it to do things in regards to controlling the roasted based on simple entries such as at "x" seconds after first crack (marked by pushing a button when 1st begins) set the heat to X% and the fan to X%. There are others as well, but say that you know that 1st starts at X degrees. The new board will allow RoastLogger to control the heat and fan like that not only through programming but through the sliders in the RoastLogger interface.

Posted July 12, 2012 link

Guess, as they say, the proof is in the pudding (eating).  By the way, for the Hottop, what probe is advised, and how will it be implemented?  Or is that going to come when the new add-on is revealed?
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