Posted Thu Nov 7, 2013, 6:56pm Subject: yet another behmor 1600 question...
Hi, I want to get into home roasting. So far we adore the lavazza crema e aroma we get from the local costco: $13 for 2,2lbs. Another option would be local roaster which comes at about $40-45 for the same quantity, but we don't like them as much. Yes they are fresh, but we couldn't just find one we like as much as the lavazza... So home rosating seems like the reasonable choice for reasonable priced fresh coffe which we can get in a lot of choices and even create our own blend;-) I was eyeballing the sweet maria's behmor and the sampler. We manly consume coffee in cappucino's (gaggia carezza) and bialetti moka stove top. Now the question: would we be able to find something which would taste as good as the lavazza? Is this something reasnably easy to acheive with the b 1600? Thanks for any input PS: plan is to roast weekly...
Posted Sun Nov 10, 2013, 9:14am Subject: Re: yet another behmor 1600 question...
First of all home roasting results will blow what you are currently drinking out of the water! The best coffee I have ever tasted was what roasted myself. The Behmor is also a great starter roaster. :) I promise you that home roasting will taste 1000 times better than supermarket bought coffee. The bottom line is supermarket coffee can sit on the shelf for months or longer. In my experience coffee tastes the best within 2 weeks of roasting and no later than a month. After that it goes stale. With the Behmor you can just roast to the amount you drink. :)
Posted Sun Nov 10, 2013, 6:55pm Subject: Re: yet another behmor 1600 question...
I buy most of my greens from Sweet Maria's. I buy 12 lbs at a time in a USPS flat-rate shipper and the total cost, including S&H is around $100. It does not attract HST at the border. The shipment in Canada is handled by ExpressPost and shipping time is reliably 2 weeks.
Even with the high shipping cost (around $30) it averages out to $8.33/lb. That is about 1/3 the cost of equivalent premium coffee from a local roaster. Bear in mind, though, that you must count in the cost of a roaster and other equipment. A quality grinder is a 'must'. So is a Kill-A-Watt meter.
You might never find the equivalent of Costco's Lavezza Crema. You will find better (and worse) but even mediocre coffees taste better when you brew them within the 2-week-from-roasting window. Also you would get to experiment over a wide range of countries and varieties that you could never do when buying coffee from Costco.
While there are many choices of roasters, I highly recommend the Behmor 1600, for the following reasons:
It can roast as much as 1 lb at a time (although my preferred batch-size is 10 oz which nets out to 1/2 lb 'as roasted').
It resembles a microwave oven and looks good in your kitchen. Also, you can roast in the kitchen if you have a stove exhaust fan.
Behmor has one of the best service policies I have found in any company.
Posted Sat Nov 16, 2013, 8:14pm Subject: Re: yet another behmor 1600 question...
thans for the replys will definately grab one. I have experimented with another lavaza. gran aroma bar. I can say that I don't like it more than the costco one... that beeing said, it may be that this may have been an old batch. I trust costco has a huge volume so it may be very fresh (well 2months old fresh vs 6months old...) still old can't wait to grab the behmor and try all these awesome coffees;-) thx again;-)
Posted Mon Nov 18, 2013, 10:48am Subject: Re: yet another behmor 1600 question...
If your primary purpose in home roasting is to save money, the money saved isn't worth the effort involved for most people.
The Behmor is a good starter roaster. It has a nominal 16oz capacity, but it's sweet spot is really in the 8 - 10 oz range. Any charge greater than 12oz taken beyond first crack (aka "City," aka "light-medium" will taste flat and baked.
The Behmor's strengths are (a) cost effectiveness; (b) easy learning curve; (c) ease of use; and actual capacity (which is very high for the price). The Behmor's weaknesses are (a) speed (it's slow); (b) difficulty involved for the user to exercise meaningful control; and (c) difficulty involved in installing a "BT" thermocouple.
What makes it easy to learn, easy to use, and difficult to control is that it's pre-programmed and not set up for manual operation. The guy who programmed it was far more engineer than home roaster and the programming is not very good -- but you can work around it to some extent. That it's so difficult to get an accurate picture of what's going on inside the roaster in terms of "BT" (bean mass temperature), makes it more of a challenge than it might otherwise be. However, the sights, smells and sounds of roasting are good enough -- once you learn to recognize and use them.
If you haven't already ordered a Behmor you might want to think about something smaller and less expensive to see if home roasting is for you. There are a couple of air roaster in the $150 range, which -- although small -- are very easy to learn and use, and will give you some very good results: The FreshRoast SR500 and Nesco.
You can get into roasting for even less, by using a popcorn style roaster like the West Bend Air Crazy, a "dog bowl and heat gun," or a Whirley Pop.
For what it's worth, I started roasting with an iron skillet and then a Whirley Pop many years ago. My first drum roaster was a Behmor, which I purchased on the first day they became available. Although the Behmor is a wonderful roaster for many people, it took me less than a year to outgrow it.
Equipment aside, there are a lot of choices which go into becoming a good roast master, and a lot of knowledge to make those choices good ones. You seem to like blends, and blending is very much its own. On the other hand, there are some very good "pre-roast" blends available from two or three bean sellers -- and they may well satisfy you.
I suggest looking at the roasting wisdom and equipment available on the Sweet Maria's website. A lot of very good roasters got their start there.
Posted Mon Nov 18, 2013, 7:51pm Subject: Re: yet another behmor 1600 question...
ok, that's interesting... I know for sure that I can invest 20min/week to roast some coffee. now it's also true that if a sr500say may be a better learning tool than the b1600 I would be interested. 1/2lbs weekly is what we go thru. now the question: why would I need to upgrade from the sr500 to the behmor? less smoke? what is easier to get acceptable results out-of-the-box and easier to outgrow (between the sr500 and the b1600? is a popper pretty much a prerequisite before even moving to the sr500? thanks!
Figure forty five minutes minimum for multiple batches, clean up, packaging, record keeping, etc.
now it's also true that if a sr500say may be a better learning tool than the b1600 I would be interested.
In that sense one isn't better than the other.
1/2lbs weekly is what we go thru.
Count on your consumption going up once you start roasting, as coffee becomes more interesting. Also, plan on doing roasting for friends.
now the question: why would I need to upgrade from the sr500 to the behmor? less smoke?
If you did upgrade from the SR500, there's no guarantee you'd go to a Behmor. You might go to a Gene or a HotTop or something even bigger and more sophisticated. Who knows? However, the Behmor could do your 1/2lb in one roast, while the SR500 would take multiple batches.
Something else to think about is that different roasters have different taste signatures. The SR500 is very much an air roaster, while the Behmor produces a lot of very specific "drum" characteristics. I prefer drum over air roasts, but can't tell which you'd like best.
what is easier to get acceptable results out-of-the-box and easier to outgrow (between the sr500 and the b1600?
I don't know enough about the SR500 to make a meaningful comparison. It's pretty easy to get good results with a Behmor from jump street, it leaves you some room to grow, and the yield is respectable.
is a popper pretty much a prerequisite before even moving to the sr500?
Not at all. A popper is an inexpensive way to find out if you enjoy roasting. In the greater scheme of things, it's not a good roaster in terms of safety, consistency, control, time, or darn near anything else.
OregonCityMan Senior Member Joined: 30 Oct 2013 Posts: 40 Location: Portland, Oregon Expertise: I love coffee
Espresso: Salvatore SES Semi Grinder: Ascaso I-2 mini Roaster: Torrefattore 1KG, DIY 1/2lb
Posted Tue Nov 19, 2013, 2:39pm Subject: Re: yet another behmor 1600 question...
I have seen the Behmor 1600 on one of the Seattle Coffee Gear videos. They didn't get the roast right however (had to add time), and they even admitted it was their very first attempt at roasting with the machine. I like the price point, and the fact that it uses an electric heating element. The small fluid bed roasters are very expensive when you consider the small amount of beans you can roast.
I think the folks at Coffee Gear did the Behmor 1600 roaster a disservice, in that they should have done another take and tossed the first video.
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