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Thinking of starting - need suggestions for winter garage roasting
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JWK
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Joined: 25 Nov 2013
Posts: 21
Location: central New York
Expertise: I love coffee

Grinder: OE Pharos
Drip: French Press
Roaster: Behmor 1600
Posted Tue Dec 10, 2013, 7:07am
Subject: Thinking of starting - need suggestions for winter garage roasting
 

I've done a whole lot of reading here and other places about  home roasting for the past few weeks.  I could use some information and suggestions.  The following describes my thoughts as of now and my circumstances.

I was almost sold on the Behmor.  I knew I could live with the limitations, but two things are bothering me too much.
  1.  Life expectancy - I can't seem to find any real info on what I can expect out of this machine, but if two or three years are pretty much it, then forget it.  We go through 12 - 14 oz. of roasted beans a week for the french press.
  2.  Smoke.  The only way I could use this inside would be on the stove, BUT I don't have a hood vented to the outside.  It's just one of those things with the filter that throws the air out the top of the hood.  And no, there is no way for me to vent to the outside right now.  It's just not possible.
    If someone could address these two issues with the Behmor, I would really appreciate it.

It is obvious to me at this point that if I could have what I would really want for the long haul, it would be a Hottop "B".  However, because of finances and not being sure enough about home roasting, that is not going to happen right now.

IF the above two machines are eliminated, then I really only  have one choice: Some kind of pan roasting in the garage.  I live in central New York and 20 degrees F is a typical day.  Yes, I am willing to do that, but only if it is realistic to significantly surpass store bought coffee.  We get our coffee beans from BJ's Warehouse (sort of like a  Costco).  It comes in 2.5 lb. bags and the "use before" stamp on the back is obviously (to me) dated to a YEAR from the MONTH the beans were roasted.  This being December, the freshest I can usually get is something dated for November 2014.  So it is weeks old from roasting by the time we can buy it.  The coffee is supposedly "estate coffee".  We get the Sumatra, Guatemalan French Roast or the Costa Rica.  No other specifics about the coffee are given.  To be fair, it is still better than any other store coffee I have ever had.

So given all that, I'm thinking an option would be to roast in a pan in the garage with a propane burner.
  1.  14" Matfer carbon steel pan
  2.  14" carbon steel wok
  3.  Either of the above along with a heat gun.  I came up with that thinking of how cold it was and then reading about people doing the HGBM thing.

Viable idea?  Could this primitive setup do better than my store-bought coffee?

If so, what would I need for a propane burner?  I'm not positive, but I think I would only need a low pressure setup, not high pressure like the bayou classic stuff.  Would I run into propane tank low pressure problems because of the cold?  Anyone use a propane burner outside?

Any info, thoughts, suggestions would be really appreciated here.
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Burner0000
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Joined: 28 Jul 2011
Posts: 1,090
Location: Cambridge, Ontario Canada
Expertise: Professional

Espresso: Rancilio Silvia, VFA Expres...
Grinder: Macap MX/VFA N1464/Kyocera...
Drip: Manual Drip, French Press
Roaster: Behmor 1600 / Sonofresco
Posted Tue Dec 10, 2013, 7:27am
Subject: Re: Thinking of starting - need suggestions for winter garage roasting
 

Ok so.. The Behmor.  I used to own one and I was pretty much able to eliminate 80-90% of the smoke by roasting in front of an open window with a fan pointing outside to suck out any smoke.  I was able to roast a pound in a bedroom no problem.  As for life expectancy  the roaster is built pretty durable.  Eventually you will have to replace the parts.  Same with any roaster.  The usual parts (elements and control board) are dirt cheap and easy to replace. I got both shipped to Canada for a whapping $30 total.  I would honestly go with the Behmor and roast indoors. It's possible to roast outside with the Behmor but nobody wants to stand out there and watch it for 20-30min.  

Roasting in a pan works well. I used to do that before moving up to a Behmor.  If you choose to go that route use a thicker pan.  Slower heat transfer prevents scorching and produces a more even roast. A 700W electric burner will suffice for 1/2 roasts.  I got good results in cold weather roasting with an electric burner + Stanless steel Whirley pop.
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kboom1
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kboom1
Joined: 31 Aug 2009
Posts: 310
Location: Northeastern Pennsylvania
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Alex2HX,Alex Duetto,Rancilio...
Grinder: Rancilio Rocky,Vario
Roaster: Behmor x2 / USRC Sample...
Posted Thu Dec 12, 2013, 6:40am
Subject: Re: Thinking of starting - need suggestions for winter garage roasting
 

The elements in the behmor will roast aprox. 200 lbs. of coffee before needing replaced. The good points about owning a bemor, parts are cheap and available and great tech support, option of roasting up to a lb of coffee at a time. (depending on voltage 10 to 12 oz. seems to be the sweet spot). The only parts I've had to replace in the past 4 years were elements, a control board once, and drums. redesigned drums are being produced now and I've not had to replace one since. I roast on 2 behmors back to back in my basement and roast about 3-10 lbs a week. Smoke will only become an issue if doing dark roast past FC. Example: taking a dp coffee past FC and (mainly because of chaff smoldering.)

kboom1: DSCF0059 (FILEminimizer).JPG
(Click for larger image)
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JWK
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Joined: 25 Nov 2013
Posts: 21
Location: central New York
Expertise: I love coffee

Grinder: OE Pharos
Drip: French Press
Roaster: Behmor 1600
Posted Thu Dec 12, 2013, 8:02am
Subject: Re: Thinking of starting - need suggestions for winter garage roasting
 

kboom1,

Thanks for the info.  That's very helpful.  I am considering a Behmor now.  I went on the Behmor website, but there is no info on replacement parts.  Could you tell me price of:
  1.  elements
  2.  control board
  3.  drum

I am still concerned about smoke, but I don't know what you mean by "dp coffee past FC".  Isn't everything roasted taken past first crack?  I don't anticipate going into vienna or french roast, but probably I would want to try everything up to full city+.  I have no way of venting to the outside from my basement.  However, that's not the biggest issue I have with the Behmor.  I've read more about this roaster and have heard you can carry it loaded from your home to your unheated garage and that would work for me.  The big issue for me is the lifespan and cost of maintenance.  If I can keep it alive with parts, that's good BUT I would like to know the cost of that.

Right now I'm thinking:

Wok, heat gun and propane burner -  I only have to buy the heat gun and propane burner and nothing will ever wear out (maybe the heat gun).  I've always wanted a propane burner for outside wok cooking and camping anyway, so it will have more than one purpose.

Behmor 1600 - Convenient and repeatable roasting profiles.

If I found I could really roast inside with the Behmor that would probably push me over the edge.  If not, then the trade-offs for me are pretty even and I could see going the primitive route because I love cooking so much.
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caffeinatedjen
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Joined: 28 Dec 2004
Posts: 319
Location: traverse city, michigan
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Bezzera Mitica
Grinder: Mazzer Mini
Roaster: Behmor
Posted Fri Dec 13, 2013, 10:59am
Subject: Re: Thinking of starting - need suggestions for winter garage roasting
 

If you can afford a Behmor, I would wholeheartedly recommend it over heatgun roasting. I did the heatgun/dogbowl method for five or six years before I got my Behmor, and it is really not too fun when it is 90 or so degrees. The roasts are much better on the Behmor than what I was doing with the heatgun too.I have heard people have better roasts with the heatgun/bread machine method, but I never got around to trying it.
I had to replace the circuit board recently on mine after three years. The Behmor tech people were really fast and helpful at diagnosing the problem, and sent it out quickly. It was about thirty bucks.  My husband said it wasn't too hard to put in since although there were ninety zillion connections, they were all differently shaped so it was easy to tell which one went where. I don't know about how much the elements are, but they sell the drums at Sweet Maria's for thirty bucks if you need a new one for some reason.
I roast on my inside porch, which has a heat duct because the washing machine and dryer are out there, but it is pretty cold out there in the winter. The behmor doesn't like being that cold so I bring it in for a while before I do a roast and let it warm up.
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kboom1
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kboom1
Joined: 31 Aug 2009
Posts: 310
Location: Northeastern Pennsylvania
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Alex2HX,Alex Duetto,Rancilio...
Grinder: Rancilio Rocky,Vario
Roaster: Behmor x2 / USRC Sample...
Posted Fri Dec 13, 2013, 11:23am
Subject: Re: Thinking of starting - need suggestions for winter garage roasting
 

I think 2 elements were 20 or 25 dollars , new drums I think are 35, and the control board was sent FOC. (free of charge) No price list shown on website for parts though need to contact Behmor for parts prices.  DP stands for dry processed coffee and is high in chaff. after first crack is considered city. right before 2nd crack is FC and this is when coffee will usually reach a smoking point. FC+(a few snaps of second crack) and beyond will produce smoke and that is a correct assumption for any type of roasting method you choose. Behmors do come with a afterburner which does control the smoke some what but not completly. using a wok and a heat gut you have no smoke control and less idea of temp ramps  or where exactly in the roasting process you are. The Behmor offers pre set roasting profiles that for a beginner can be helpful, but as you become a more experenced roaster the set profiles become a hinderence. There are work arounds in place to minipulate these set profiles to a certain extent once you become more seasoned roaster.
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JWK
Senior Member


Joined: 25 Nov 2013
Posts: 21
Location: central New York
Expertise: I love coffee

Grinder: OE Pharos
Drip: French Press
Roaster: Behmor 1600
Posted Sun Dec 15, 2013, 12:52pm
Subject: Re: Thinking of starting - need suggestions for winter garage roasting
 

caffeinatedjen Said:

If you can afford a Behmor, I would wholeheartedly recommend it over heatgun roasting. I did the heatgun/dogbowl method for five or six years before I got my Behmor, and it is really not too fun when it is 90 or so degrees. The roasts are much better on the Behmor than what I was doing with the heatgun too.I have heard people have better roasts with the heatgun/bread machine method, but I never got around to trying it.
I had to replace the circuit board recently on mine after three years. The Behmor tech people were really fast and helpful at diagnosing the problem, and sent it out quickly. It was about thirty bucks.  My husband said it wasn't too hard to put in since although there were ninety zillion connections, they were all differently shaped so it was easy to tell which one went where. I don't know about how much the elements are, but they sell the drums at Sweet Maria's for thirty bucks if you need a new one for some reason.
I roast on my inside porch, which has a heat duct because the washing machine and dryer are out there, but it is pretty cold out there in the winter. The behmor doesn't like being that cold so I bring it in for a while before I do a roast and let it warm up.

Posted December 13, 2013 link

Thanks for the info.  I ordered a Behmor.
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JWK
Senior Member


Joined: 25 Nov 2013
Posts: 21
Location: central New York
Expertise: I love coffee

Grinder: OE Pharos
Drip: French Press
Roaster: Behmor 1600
Posted Sun Dec 15, 2013, 12:54pm
Subject: Re: Thinking of starting - need suggestions for winter garage roasting
 

kboom1 Said:

I think 2 elements were 20 or 25 dollars , new drums I think are 35, and the control board was sent FOC. (free of charge) No price list shown on website for parts though need to contact Behmor for parts prices.  DP stands for dry processed coffee and is high in chaff. after first crack is considered city. right before 2nd crack is FC and this is when coffee will usually reach a smoking point. FC+(a few snaps of second crack) and beyond will produce smoke and that is a correct assumption for any type of roasting method you choose. Behmors do come with a afterburner which does control the smoke some what but not completly. using a wok and a heat gut you have no smoke control and less idea of temp ramps  or where exactly in the roasting process you are. The Behmor offers pre set roasting profiles that for a beginner can be helpful, but as you become a more experenced roaster the set profiles become a hinderence. There are work arounds in place to minipulate these set profiles to a certain extent once you become more seasoned roaster.

Posted December 13, 2013 link

Those sound like really reasonable prices to me.  I ordered one and am starting a new thread to help me ease into the holiday season.  Thanks for the info!
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gregr
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Joined: 6 Mar 2010
Posts: 211
Location: Los Angeles, Ca
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Livia 90
Grinder: Moka
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Roaster: Huky
Posted Sun Dec 15, 2013, 7:29pm
Subject: Re: Thinking of starting - need suggestions for winter garage roasting
 

I think you made a great choice. I used a Behmor for two years, usually doing two roasts a week average. I didn't have to replace any parts at all in that time.
Not sure if you're aware but the Hottop produces more smoke than the Behmor. And although I loved the Hottop B while I had it- for about three years- I had to replace the motor and front panel. Customer service at both places is outstanding.
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OregonCityMan
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OregonCityMan
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 Sat Dec 21, 2013, 4:37pm
Subject: Re: Thinking of starting - need suggestions for winter garage roasting
 

If you do eliminate both roasters and are forced to roast in your garage, then you should consider something other than a pan. You can find another very viable and inexpensive option that in my opinion will last for years, and do an extremely good job of roasting coffee. I have been using this roaster in my garage for almost a year now. I live in the Portland, Or area, and two weeks ago we got a cold spell here that brought us down to 7F on one morning. I roast with this roaster every two days as it yields about 195 grams per roast and that gets my wife and I a two day supply. I roasted at 20 to 30F during that cold spell and the cold did add a couple of minutes to my roast time, but I still yielded a nice even Full City + as always.

Google this term: "Stainless Steel Manual Roaster", you should yield a link to a site that explains everything. If you can't find it, I'LL BE BACK.
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