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Break-in of roaster
snwcmpr
It seems the roaster improves with time.
There is a patina coating collecting inside, and the coffee keeps getting better.
I may be getting better at roasting, but I also tend to think the roaster is getting better, too.
Ken
--------------
Backwoods Roaster
"I wish I could taste as well as I wish I could roast."

As Abraham Lincoln said "Do not trust everything you read on the internet".
 
JimG
So failing to clean my roaster for all these months is actually improving my roasts? I love it!

Jim
 
snwcmpr
I clean it, just like the instructions say.
But I don't take the patina off, just periodically remove the chaff.

I only say this because my local roaster roasted 200 pounds in his San Franciscan before roasting for sale.
Even stainless steel can be cured, just like the cast iron.

Ken
--------------
Backwoods Roaster
"I wish I could taste as well as I wish I could roast."

As Abraham Lincoln said "Do not trust everything you read on the internet".
 
ginny
Ken:

What are you getting this patina in?

ginny
 
snwcmpr
I hope I am using the right word.
I mean by patina ... the coating of seasoning on the metal inside the roaster. A nice browning of the inside.
Like seasoning a cast iron roaster.

Ken
--------------
Backwoods Roaster
"I wish I could taste as well as I wish I could roast."

As Abraham Lincoln said "Do not trust everything you read on the internet".
 
Bhante

Quote

snwcmpr wrote:
It seems the roaster improves with time.
There is a patina coating collecting inside, and the coffee keeps getting better.


There is the world of difference between curing a cast iron drum in a large roaster and a roaster such as the hottop. It is inevitable that a brand new cast iron drum will give many off flavours to the coffee, and that a gradually built-up patina will help to protect the coffee from those flavours. At the same time the roast patina will give the drum a very necessary protection from rust. It may also be, in the case of a large and very heavy drum roaster, that a thick patina may play a very important part in the heat transfer qualities of the drum, and thereby reduce the scorching of the beans that would otherwise result when the beans are put into a heavy pre-heated drum. In this respect the patina may be important even for a heavy copper drum, let alone a stainless steel drum - however the critical factor is the weight of the drum. Pre-heating a heavy drum allows a large amount of heat to be held by the drum, and the heat dynamics are totally different from those of a small home roaster. (Probably you have such a heavy roaster, snwcmpr).

In the case of the hottop, however, the situation is very different. I would be very sceptical of a benefit of a patina on a small roaster such as the hottop. A brand-new stainless steel drum could hypothetically have initially a very slight patina of machine oil, and could well have traces of abrasive compounds such as rouge together with their wax carriers. I would imagine all such impurities would be lost from the surface of the stainless steel quite quickly after starting to roast. On the other hand the airflow dynamics of the hottop are highly sub-optimal, and heavy deposits of exhaust products are deposited in a large variety of different locations, some of which subsequently receive exposure to high temperatures and others not. When I first got my hottop within a very small number of roasts from new (probably around 5 or less) I was already starting to notice some off flavours from the exhaust deposits inside the machine. The machine itself also has a definite smell - a smell of old coffee oils and stale roasting.

(Drink up your coffee first Brad, before it gets cold)

This effect is certainly highly dependent on the style of roasting one adopts; I always make very dark espresso roasts, and pay the price in heavier exhaust deposits inside the machine. When one invariably makes very light filter roasts the deposits will be a tiny fraction of those I get - but I believe even with the lightest roasts there will be a slow build-up of waste products which will have a negative effect on the flavour of the coffee (especially since the lighter roasts will be more sensitive to such off flavours).

For almost 10 years before I got my hottop I was roasting with my self-built HotPot (which is a simple copper pot design with built-in agitation fins). After every roast I would first swish out the hot pot with tap water, then I would put the empty pot back on the gas flame and raise it to a high temperature (mostly around 260 to 290 degrees Centigrade). This would dry off all traces of the water, burn off any remains of coffee oils, and also all fragments of coffee beans (which are able to get lodged under the agitation device) get burnt to charcoal and are therefore unable to produce subsequent off flavours. In 10 years of use no other cleaning has been necessary - the copper has a fine deep black patina of burnt-off oils, and gives no off flavours. With this simple roaster I can get results far far better than anything that I can get with the hottop. This is partly because I (still!!) don't have full manual control of my hottop, but it is also in part due to the deposits of exhaust products which get deposited throughout the machine and are very difficult and time-consuming to clean off. The drum itself only receives a very light patina which I don't think is likely to cause any off flavour at all (I think it is effectively self-cleaned), but the worst culprit is the thick deposits on the inner surface of the outer shell in the regions near the top filter and the bean input chute. These deposits never get a burning off because they are not exposed to sufficiently high temperatures. Because the airflow through the hottop is very turbulent and with many countercurrents, this causes significant off flavours to the roast. These off flavours are completely absent from my HotPot roasts. The outer shell is difficult to access and therefore impractical to clean regularly, but I say must be cleaned from time to time because it can only get worse. This is the greatest deficiency of the hottop as built. The optimal solution is a rebuild of the hottop ventilation system.

Traces of burnt chaff can also give burnt flavours and it is well worth keeping the drum free from old chaff, but this is more of a problem with those beans where a lot of chaff sticks to the bean throughout the roast.

Bhante
 
ginny
Ken:

I know what patina is I am wondering if you are talking about getting this in your Hot Top roaster since I did not see another listed under your name!

After 3 Hot Tops I will tell you that you are not getting a nice patina or any patina at all; you are simply getting signs of use which will simply build up and only turn black, black and darker black as time goes on.

Ken I must say you really need to clean the drum as more time goes on and try to remember that if you are getting this nice patina on the inside of your drum guess what is happening behind the scenes??

There is a great strip down article/drum cleaning tips for the Hot Top by Randy. I will find the link and post it unless someone beats me too it.

As to your coffee tasting better:

1. you have evolved as a roaster
2. your water is getting better
3. your taste buds have change
4. you really do not want to clean it our ever, excuse time!!


it is not the patina in your drum.

ginnyGrin
 
snwcmpr
Roast times are not getting longer.

Here is the link to a discussion:
Cleaning the Hottop question

http://www.home-b...t5055.html
Edited by ginny on 06/12/2011 7:12 AM
--------------
Backwoods Roaster
"I wish I could taste as well as I wish I could roast."

As Abraham Lincoln said "Do not trust everything you read on the internet".
 
ginny
Ken:

I am not suggesting your roasts are getting longer simply that that keeping the Hot Hot clean is super important, a little brown will not hurt you at all but it can build up before you know it.

have a great day,

ginnyGrin
 
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