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Discussions > Coffee > Home Roast > Upgrade HotTop...  
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ECM
Senior Member
ECM
Joined: 11 Oct 2003
Posts: 476
Location: Halifax, Nova Scotia Canada
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: Quick Mill Vetrano 2B
Grinder: Mazzer Robour E
Vac Pot: French Press
Drip: no
Roaster: Fresh Roast+8,  i-roast and...
Posted Tue Dec 25, 2012, 5:12pm
Subject: Upgrade HotTop to Pro Roaster - Questions
 

Hello everyone and marry Christmas to you all!

I have been using a HotTop (p) roaster now for about five years to roast for my espresso setup.  While I have enjoyed the roaster I feel I have outgrown it.  I am seriously thinking about upgrading to a 1kg electric or gas Toper cafemino or similar roaster.  

I would be very interested to hear from anyone that upgraded from a HotTop to a toper or similar model of roaster.  Specifically, I am interested to know if the Cafemino is capable of doing a better quality tasting roast then the HotTop.  

My other question concerns the use of a gas roaster in a high rise apartment building.  How difficult would it be to operate a 1kg gas roaster in a two bedroom apartment?  What considerations and or steps will be necessary to implement before attempting this?

Iím thinking that I could probably roast in my dining room and vent the roaster by running some flexible ductwork out the patio door.  
Would this be an adequate setup to disperse the smoke and spent propane fumes from my environment?  
Are there other concerns that I need to be aware of from a health perspective?

I would appreciate any assistance you can provide.

Thank you,

Rob
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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 Tue Dec 25, 2012, 5:45pm
Subject: Re: Upgrade HotTop to Pro Roaster - Questions
 

I'll take a stab at a reply.

I upgraded from a small appliance to a Toper 1 kilo gas drum.  I would probably not approach the upgrade from the taste standpoint, but from the desire for greater quantity.  While it is my belief that a larger quantity being roasted is perhaps more stable and if the roast is controlled properly, might produce more consistently proper coffee, the small appliances can and do roast very fine coffee.  If you are roasting only for yourself, it's up to you to decide if a six or seven thousand dollar investment in a drum is OK.

What really caught my eye was your intention to install a kilo drum in a high rise apartment building.  While the smoke production is not out of control, all it would take is one person to object and you'd be in a jam.  First stop is going to have to be your local code "friends" to determine if this would be allowed, in the first place.  You're going to need 220V power and at least a gas BBQ sized bottle, in the apartment.  Even if the government would allow it, the landlord might not.  

Hope this helps......
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ECM
Senior Member
ECM
Joined: 11 Oct 2003
Posts: 476
Location: Halifax, Nova Scotia Canada
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: Quick Mill Vetrano 2B
Grinder: Mazzer Robour E
Vac Pot: French Press
Drip: no
Roaster: Fresh Roast+8,  i-roast and...
Posted Tue Dec 25, 2012, 8:11pm
Subject: Re: Upgrade HotTop to Pro Roaster - Questions
 

Thanks for your reply.  

To my knowledge the electric version of the toper is now available in 110 or 220 formats.  I guess from a practical point of view the electric version of this roaster would be a much easier way to go for me.  Naturally, given the choice I would really prefer gas as the ability to profile is more attainable then it would be on the electric; especially given the fact that the new Toper now has adjustable flame capability.

The other reason I am thinking of a larger style roaster is to roast larger quantities of coffee.  The challenge in roasting a Ĺ Lb batch of coffee on the HotTop is I find with each batch is never quite roasted to the same degree no matter how observant I am.  This often results in frequent grinder adjustments to get the grinder dialed in properly.  By time I get the grind dialed in just right Iím on to my next Ĺ Lb batch and the whole process is repeated again.   If I were able to roast 1-1/2 Lb batches I could spend more time enjoying the espresso and less time making so many adjustments with the grinder.  I also have a lot of friends that I roast for as well so having the larger capacity would be a real plus for me.  Iím also thinking that perhaps itís a bit easier to get repeatable results with a larger professional roaster then it is with the HotTop.  I just assumed probably incorrectly, that a professional roaster would give me a better tasting product as well.  

Wouldnít the Toper provide a greater opportunity to control ventilation and thus, the roasting quality?

On this form there is a lot of discussion regarding the importance of a quality grinder and espresso machine.  What about the importance a quality roast?  

Obviously I donít want to be kicked out of my home for braking any laws or tenant agreements.  I guess the gas option is probably out but I was just wondering from a venting perspective if it was even possible to vent the gas version out the patio door.  

I donít mean to be difficult Iím just attempting to elevate my espresso experience to the next level.

Thanks so much
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germantownrob
Senior Member
germantownrob
Joined: 2 Dec 2007
Posts: 2,156
Location: Philadelphia
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Duetto 3, A Dead Oscar
Grinder: Vario-W, Preciso w/Esatto,...
Drip: Brazen
Roaster: Diedrich IR-1, HT B
Posted Wed Dec 26, 2012, 6:19am
Subject: Re: Upgrade HotTop to Pro Roaster - Questions
 

A few years back when I was shopping for a 1kg machine the Cafemino did not have control over the heat for gas or electric, briefly looking at the specs now it appear both and electric have digital heat control.

Moving from a modded HotTop to a gas Diedrich IR-1 was not the improvement  in roasting I had imagined, yes going from the delay of electric elements to gas with much improved airflow does allow for a more refined roast but it was not night and day, this says a lot about the HotTop. I have not followed this much but it seems you can replace your board in the HotTop of a P or B to allow a lab top to control the roaster.

2lbs of beans creates a lot of smoke, yes you could use a flex line for venting the machines exhaust and that will take care of roasting smoke but when the beans are dropped in the cooling tray there is a big waft of smoke that will escape into the room before the cooling tray fan begins to exhaust it. This is not a huge problem for 1 or 2 batches but after two hours or more of roasting in a 40'x40'x15' garage the build of of smoke gets unbearable. In the summer I ran a large squirl cage fan to exhaust the room air but in winter this creates a negative pressure in the garage which brings in very cold air from outside. The solution for this year is a scrubbing soak filter, easiest place to find these is grow shops.

Apartment living and roasting may create a different problem, neighbors, even if you can keep the smell and smoke down in the apartment itself you are blowing it right out side where it may just blow in a neighbors apartment and I would bet a few complaints may bring up the issue that you are using an appliance that they may deem unsafe for apartment living. The closest homes to me are 500yds away, these folks all drink my beans and it was the aroma from roasting that got them hooked.
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ECM
Senior Member
ECM
Joined: 11 Oct 2003
Posts: 476
Location: Halifax, Nova Scotia Canada
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: Quick Mill Vetrano 2B
Grinder: Mazzer Robour E
Vac Pot: French Press
Drip: no
Roaster: Fresh Roast+8,  i-roast and...
Posted Wed Dec 26, 2012, 7:14am
Subject: Re: Upgrade HotTop to Pro Roaster - Questions
 

Thanks for your thoughts.

I may look into the B option on the HotTop.
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frcn
Senior Member
frcn
Joined: 23 Dec 2001
Posts: 3,450
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 Dec 26, 2012, 8:40am
Subject: Re: Upgrade HotTop to Pro Roaster - Questions
 

My "B" is now computer controlled using the HTC + TC4C boards and a laptop running RoastLogger. It is quite an amazing setup and gives great control. Still, only +/-250g. capacity.

 
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www.EspressoMyEspresso.com
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ECM
Senior Member
ECM
Joined: 11 Oct 2003
Posts: 476
Location: Halifax, Nova Scotia Canada
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: Quick Mill Vetrano 2B
Grinder: Mazzer Robour E
Vac Pot: French Press
Drip: no
Roaster: Fresh Roast+8,  i-roast and...
Posted Wed Dec 26, 2012, 9:36am
Subject: Re: Upgrade HotTop to Pro Roaster - Questions
 

Who sells the software and how much does it cost?

I know the board for the HotTop is about 250.
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germantownrob
Senior Member
germantownrob
Joined: 2 Dec 2007
Posts: 2,156
Location: Philadelphia
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Duetto 3, A Dead Oscar
Grinder: Vario-W, Preciso w/Esatto,...
Drip: Brazen
Roaster: Diedrich IR-1, HT B
Posted Wed Dec 26, 2012, 9:46am
Subject: Re: Upgrade HotTop to Pro Roaster - Questions
 

ECM Said:

Who sells the software and how much does it cost?

I know the board for the HotTop is about 250.

Posted December 26, 2012 link

Here is a thread at HB Click Here (www.home-barista.com)
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rgrosz
Senior Member


Joined: 4 Mar 2010
Posts: 134
Location: Atlanta, GA
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Gaggia Classic
Grinder: Baratza Vario, Capresso...
Vac Pot: Yama 5, Yama 8
Drip: TechniVorm, Hario
Roaster: HotTop B-2K, Behmor
Posted Wed Dec 26, 2012, 6:03pm
Subject: Re: Upgrade HotTop to Pro Roaster - Questions
 

ECM Said:

Who sells the software and how much does it cost?

I know the board for the HotTop is about 250.

Posted December 26, 2012 link

The RoastLogger software is free.

 
Life is too short to drink bad wine (or bad coffee)
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ECM
Senior Member
ECM
Joined: 11 Oct 2003
Posts: 476
Location: Halifax, Nova Scotia Canada
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: Quick Mill Vetrano 2B
Grinder: Mazzer Robour E
Vac Pot: French Press
Drip: no
Roaster: Fresh Roast+8,  i-roast and...
Posted Thu Dec 27, 2012, 10:09am
Subject: Re: Upgrade HotTop to Pro Roaster - Questions
 

I would love to hear from anyone who had a HotTop and later moved up to an electric Toper Cafemino.
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