eds Senior Member Joined: 14 Dec 2013 Posts: 1 Location: Illinois Expertise: I love coffee
Posted Sat Dec 14, 2013, 7:50pm Subject: Even roasts with heat gun?
I'm a home-roasting newbie - using both a hot-air popcorn popper and the "Dogbowl-Heatgun" method.
I can get pretty even roasts with the popper but I'm afraid it heats too quickly - I get to first crack in about 3 minutes and most of my roasts are around 5 minutes or under. The results have been okay, but I'm looking to improve.
Using the heat-gun method, I use a steel dog bowl with beans filled to 1/4 of its total capacity (so if the bowl holds 4 cups, I'll use 1 cup of beans.)
While I feel like I can control the roast much more, the results have been somewhat uneven in color. These usually take about 10+ minutes and I constantly stir the beans while heating.
I'm wondering - is it normal to have some under-roasted beans in this approach?
Buckley Senior Member Joined: 25 Jan 2011 Posts: 412 Location: Baltimore, USA Expertise: I love coffee
Espresso: Londinium I, Olympia Maxima,... Grinder: Compak K-10 WBC, Gaggia MDF Drip: Hario V60 Roaster: Nondescript popper
Posted Sun Dec 15, 2013, 7:59am Subject: Re: Even roasts with heat gun?
Dear eds, I do popper roasting and not HG/DB roasting (just because of what I can find cheaply - no other reason). Uneven roasting is normal for the start of a learning curve but not normal for the mastery of the learning curve - I am offering this observation second-hand from what I have seen online since, as I said, I do not do HG/DB roasting.
What I am really replying to is your problem with the heat control of your popper - something I do have some experience with.
A dedicated popper roaster would buy a cheap or used variac to control the voltage going in to the popper. If you read enough online, you will find the suggestion to attach about one dozen cheap electrical extension cords in series between the wall outlet and the popper so that the increased resistance will tone down the heat some. You will know this because the fan sound will become lower, as well.
This is the method that I use to control my popper, and it works well for me. Currently, I am pre-heating the beans (about 1/4 lb.) for one minute at the low heat setting to dry them out somewhat uniformly before plugging directly into the wall and continuing on normal (high) heat. Predictably, I get to first crack in 4 - 1/2 minutes using this method.
One caveat: do not buy or use a large gauge 100 ft. extension cord instead of the cheapies. The larger gauge wires in it will not supply the resistance necessary. The cheap ones work better because they are cheap.
Alternatively, one could cut one wire of an extension cord, attach the ends to a female outlet and plug a household clothes iron into the socket to run the popper in series with the iron's heater, but I have not tried this, yet.
Posted Sun Dec 15, 2013, 9:07am Subject: Re: Even roasts with heat gun?
You may not be stirring the beans enough, also it's harder to get a good transfer of heat with an open bowl and HG. I have been using a heat gun with bread machine for over 6 years and get very consistent roasts with it. You would probably like the results much better than an air popper or the HG/DB method. You can find bread machines at thrift stores from $3 to $10 frequently.
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