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Quick flare ups using new Hottop B
I have roasted 5 times on the Hottop and the past couple of times I noticed a quick flare up during the last minutes of the roast using Columbian beans, once at display temp of 408 and today at display temp of 413 and ejected at 415 after the flair. This is using the default programming. I vacuum and clean the roaster after each roast and removed the drum after the 4th roast. The roaster is spotlessly clean so I am assuming it is just a small flare of ignited chaff. Since I am not used to this roaster I wanted to make sure this happens to others and is a common occurance using the Hottop. I am at full power when it happens.

Thanks, Barbara
I've done almost 200 roasts on my HotTop and I've never once have had a flare up, either using the default, auto or custom profile. I mostly roast Guatemalan beans but have roasted many others including Colombian. I usually roast into the second crack and hit 421 degrees before dumping. I too clean it after every roast by removing the drum and vacuuming out the chaff. I remove the drum each time because it's easier to clean and to find any beans that has been caught in the drum. It's not unusual to find a trapped bean and it's just to hard to see or remove any trapped beans without removing the drum to inspect it. Perhaps you're got a bean(s) trapped from a previous roast that's causing the flare up?
Randy G
I would think you see it through the front glass and it is on the outside of the drum near the heating element. It is likely burning chaff, and if you carefully pull the chaff tray out AFTER the cooling cycle ends you will see some of chaff is black with some white ash where it burned. Yes, it happens, particularly with beans that produce a lot of chaff.

Life's too short to drink bad coffee.
use a shop vac nozzle and suck out all the chaff, I get flare ups like that all the time and I keep my machine very clean. it is simply chaff burning.

as with any other type of roaster the chaff burns. you see it more in the Hot Top I think simply by virtue of the glass on the front.


Thanks for the responses. I too believe its a small piece of chaff but its been in the same spot on the element. I plan to video tape the roast so I can get a better look at what is happening. No evidence of burned chaff.
I have roasted more than 40 batches in my Hottop. I commonly hear soft popping sounds, especially approaching and after first crack. These are distinctly different sounds than first or second crack. Looking through the window, I see chaff flakes igniting as they contact the heating element. They flash, and then are gone. It is not always in the same spot on the element. I never saw this during the summer, but I heard it, and didn't know what it was. This time of year I am roasting in the dark, so i can see the flashes. It is a little intimidating, but hasn't been a problem. I suspect it contributes to the smoking. As Randy G. Mentioned, it happens a lot with beans that produce a lot of chaff. Last week I roasted some decaf from SM, and didn't hear any such pops. There was almost no chaff in the tray afterwards.
Melitta drip, Bodum press pot, AeroPress, Baratza Vario-W, Rocket R-58, Hottop KN-8828B-2
depending on the bean you get chaff or almost none...

when the chaff catches fire and pops you really would not see any evidence since it burned away.

it is nothing to worry about at all, a simple common part of roasting.



is your Hot Top new, curious.


Ginny, yes the roaster was purchased new and I never had anything flare using an air roaster so I wanted to make sure it was normal. I am including a video link which shows it happen a couple times during the initial roast. I feel much more comfortable roasting with the Hottop now and really appreciate all the helpful replies. Video link below:


Thanks, Barbara
Edited by ginny on 03/03/2013 7:24 PM
Here is the screen shot showing the flare up.

Video Link didn't work
Hi Barbara:

what video link are you speaking of?

send me the video you wanted to use, send to:

[email protected]

let me have a look, many times it is simply the address that is not correct.


I see those flare up every time I roast...
not to worry.

I made you link above live but it is not a video only still.

the video link works fine, you had a jpg link and not the video link in your post.


Edited by ginny on 03/04/2013 7:14 AM
Thanks Ginny for correcting the video link.
Randy G
Those little "flashes" are normal, and the closer to the end of the roast the more likely they are to occur. ROAST ON! ...and maybe I should include that in the next draft of the manual!

Life's too short to drink bad coffee.
Thanks Randy I'm not sure including it in the manual is necessary but I am glad to know it can and does happen during roasting (glad I am using a low chaff coffee). I was very concerned when I first discovered it was happening and while I prefer it didn't happen you have all put my mind more at ease.

I now have to play around with some basic profiles and if any one wants to post a couple step by step basic profiles using Farenheit display temps on the Hottop to try, I would greatly appreciate itGrin. Thanks in advance, Barbara
Randy G
Well, being that I wrote the manual, I can basically put in anything I feel would be helpful. It does point towards keeping the innards of the machine clean, though. The roast chamber is all metal and even a small chaff fire in the tray is not worrisome, but more than that can be. You won't be ready for sometime, but I have included full disassembly procedures on the Hottop USA website you can use to remove the rear fan and rear cover to clean out the stray chaff from that rear area of the machine.

It terms of profiles, start simple. Leave the heat at 100%. fan at 25 % at the first sign of wafting smoke from the top filter.

About 30 seconds before first crack turn the heat to about 70% and the fan to 50%. The goal is to have ABOUT four minutes from the beginning of first to the beginning of second. Don't get too scientific about that. It is difficult to know when that exactly happens because of the varying nature of the way coffee develops in roasting, due to moisture levels, line voltage, mass of beans being roasted (you are weighing the beans, I hope), etc.

I usually manually eject about 10-25 seconds into second crack, but of course, that depends on how the coffee will be brewed as well as the origin.

Life's too short to drink bad coffee.
Thanks Randy, the info is on the profile is appreciated. Yes, I am weighing each batch of coffee, using 230 Grams and have used the default /auto profile, plus the alternate profile in the Hottup manual once. I have searched for alternative profiles, including yours on your site and found a few I would like to try. I understand the programming of the machine but find sometimes the profile guidelines are slightly vague in regards to display temps. On my machine I seem to hear the beginnings of 1st crack start at 375 and be active at 385 ( or is it starting FC at 385) so I presume the temp change prior to 1st crack should happen at display temp of 365 to 370 or should the changes be made at 370 to 375 or possibly 380? I don't want to stall the roast. Same question re: 2nd crack I believe mine is dead on with the manual and the display temp starting at 403. This is what sometimes confuses me as to adjustments. I realize a bit of experimentation is needed but I like to have a little more detailed info w regards to display temps.

On the profile you posted above when do you consider FC starting, based on my temps above, so I can figure out what is approximately 30 seconds before FC. This would help me tremendously in my roasting endeavors. Thanks again for taking time to share a beginners profile.
NavyDoc, yes the flare can be quite intimidating especially for someone relatively new to roasting. I couldn't believe the noise that little flare makes.
I started with a popper, and the chaff just blows out as it is released from the beans. Messy, but not scary. I, too, was concerned when I first saw the flashes. While I was on the steep part of the learning curve, I thought the pops were the start of first crack. Now, they motivate me to keep the roaster clean. I don't want to have to deal with a fire.

Regarding profiles--the default Auto profile works fine. After much random tweaking, I found Ginny's suggestion to set the temp to 417, the time to 25:00, pre-heat to 350 before adding beans, and let it go. I do turn the fan on low when I see steam coming out of the chute, or condensate on the window when it is cold (I roast in the garage to ensure domestic tranquility; preheating eliminates the condensation) back off the heat to 50% when the indicated temp is approaching first crack (about 380 or so indicated). Run it once manually, then save it before powering down. Next batch select your saved profile and fine-tune. I always eject before the max time or temp.

For espresso I go well into second crack before ejecting, maybe 10-15 seconds. For other brewing techniques, I follow the recommendations from Sweet Maria's. Keep records...the Hottop web site has a nice form you can print. Your records will affect how you set up subsequent roasts.

Another thing...there is almost always one bean jammed somewhere in the drum after each batch. If I don't find it, it adds burned flavor to the next batch. I take off the cover and go hunting for the bean with a flashlight and a long screwdriver. This is easier when the roaster is cool, so it limits back-to-back batches.
Melitta drip, Bodum press pot, AeroPress, Baratza Vario-W, Rocket R-58, Hottop KN-8828B-2
NavyDoc, thank you, this is the step by step roasting directions I am looking for. I will add it to other profiles in my notes and try it soon. Do you find dropping the temp to 50% vs say 70% allows the beans to roast to 2nd crack?

I am obsessed with keeping the roaster clean as well and I use simple green on the glass and bean chute after every roast, vacuum after each roast and will remove the drum at least every 5 roasts if not sooner, probably overkill but I confident I have no residual chaff hiding in the roaster.
Randy G


Barbara wrote:On the profile you posted above when do you consider FC starting, based on my temps above, so I can figure out what is approximately 30 seconds before FC. This would help me tremendously in my roasting endeavors. Thanks again for taking time to share a beginners profile.

If you always know what temperature that 1st starts at then you can figure from that when to drop the temps. I never worried about getting that precise. You might even just listen carefully and drop the temp at the second stray click of 1st and I think that will be very close. Roasting just 230 grams things will happen quicker than most posted profiles since the "recommended" standard roast amount is 250 grams, so once you get a feel for that is happening then you can predict. For example, if first always happens at 375, then try dropping the temperature at 365 or 368 or so. Do a couple of roasts with that, timing the "dwell" time between the end of first and the beginning of second, then adjust accordingly to what you can quantify during the roast, and more importantly, what you can taste in the cup.

That seems to be the most difficult thing about roasting- being consistent enough with your brewing technique (and having quality equipment that can produce consistent results) to be able to sense how the roast profile changes the taste in the cup.

So for now, relax, keep roasting, work towards a reproducible profile, and continue to use that with the same beans or blend, then work from there.

Life's too short to drink bad coffee.
Thank you, Randy. I use approximately 235 grams because I have 1 Lb samples so I am dividing into 2 equal roasts. I realize the roast will progress quicker so that is why i have been looking for profiles using Hottop display temps as a guideline. I appreciate your explanations and I will do some experimentation. It was helpful for me to see the approximate temp difference between lowering the temp and 1st crack. I tend to be too technical and I will relax and enjoy the experienceBBQ grill
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