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Smokey Roasting
I switched from hot air Poppery roasting to modified SC/TO.

In fact I use a bread machine and a TO. B)

Never thought tooo much about the results of recirculating the heat in a closed environment until Tom Owen (from Sweet Maria's) emailed to his list these comments:

"As far as roast quality, that is an issue too, especially if there is no forced air movement and you are relying only on convection. I use propane for the 3 barrel sample roaster, but it has solid drums, and pulls air from the front to the back of the drum during the roast. But (while most burn natural gas) many old sample roasters are perforated drum, just like a bbq setup. The greater issue, in terms of flavor, with no air movement in a drum roaster is smoking the coffee in its own effluence. But I do think that even the smallest exchange of air could alleviate this. My .02 cents... Tom "

Well, I never taste all the flavors that Tom tastes in coffee, but I would like to taste the Blueberry in Harrar.
I never did, even with the Poppery. :(

Now my PGR (Pretty Good Roaster) is sealed quite well to conserve heat.
Hardly any smoke comes out unless I lift the top. It all just recirculates because that is what a turbo oven does.

Do any of you have any concerns about this recirulation if you are using a SC/TO?

For the last few roasts I have been placing a shim between the TO and the mixing bowl.
Lots of smoke and chaff come out during the roast, and the temp loss is not a problem, even for a 2# batch, but I was wondering if this is enough release.

You folks with heat guns and hot air poppers loose all the smoke very quickly.
Drums loose smoke little slower, but I think the smoke goes away with the natural draft from the grill.

The Puro Scuro I just roasted with the lid cocked seems to taste more bitter than when I have left it sealed.

Any thoughts on this?

I dont roast with SC/TO, but I have done a lot of roasting on all kinds of setups. In my humble experiance, I would do whatever I could to keep the smoke off the beans. I fact I built a bbq roaster, that has a heat gun assist for moving the smoke AND chaff out of the drum as quickly as possible. I tried fans and air compressor nozzles etc, etc. But all droped the temps too dramaticly. So I started by using my old popper unit to move the smoke and it improved the roast a lot. So trying differant forced air machines, including a torpedo heater, I finally decided that the heat gun gets up to 1000F., and moves the air enough to move all the smoke and chaff out of the drum (ok most of the chaff). Now the roasts are very consistent and bright, before they had a dull finish and taste, and were very smoky in taste and aroma. The other thing that helped alot was the introduction of a digital probe directly into the bean mass. After installing that I noticed that my old settings were way to high or to low, making it allmost impossible for a repeatable roast. Here is my point, in order to get a great roast at home, we have to duplicate a roasting enviorment that is as close to a commercial roaster as possible. The only two commercial types (that I know of anyway) are drum and fluid air bed. In short I am totally sold on evacuating the smoke off as fast as can be done. I have done it both ways and wont go back to smoking, bad for the lungs, bad for the beans. JUST SAY NO!!!!s:8
The beans fibers can definitely absorb the smoke. Think of how certain dark roasted coffees from well known chain present. Even novice drinkers notice burnt notes. The "burnt" notes come about through pyrolysis of the bean fibers themselves. It certainly occurs more frequently in darker roasts, when 2nd crack gets moving in particular. This is why the roast level is important to be noted in genuine cuppings. I believe that having a roasting method that doesn't easily ventilate the smoke will also accelerate the process infusing the smoke into the bean fibers.
Thanks to Jonathan and Javadude for the input.
Last roast I tried blasting with a heat gun into a slightly raised turbo oven, but this seemed to cool the chamber and quickly lower the temperature.

Maybe it needs a photo cell device that would turn on a variable fan when the smoke got thick.

I like the idea of the heat gun, I was going to use that to try to add heat and power to improve profiling, but need to make an adapter to limit heat loss.
The heat gun I have ($2.00 thrift store) blows way too much air it seems, but then I only tried to use it for less than a minute.


I will post a pic of my setup if you like but as in another thread, I stated that it is a prototype and I will be revamping in a new grill untill I can afford a 5kilo roaster, for the business. Jonathan thats a better way of putting it, the beans are very fragile at this point in the roast. The gun I bought was around 40$ but worth it, its adjustable with cool and hot ( I actually use all settings in the roast, profiling and all :) ). Also, the gun I bought has a changable heat element, they get weak and then go out, your may need a new one if you are cooling the roast off, just a thought!! Anyhow Cheers and let us know how its going.............
Edited by Javadude on 03/07/2007 6:01 PM
A while back my TC started reading up around 420F when first crack started, but 2nd still happened around 458F.
I got no answers as to why, so I just adjusted my roasting perception.
Today I propped the TO open about 5/8 inch along the windward side from the get go and lo... first crack happened at 403F
Shock Grin

WOW! Must have been when I got the PGR sealed there was too much heat and smoke trapped so the TC was reading the bias, not the tru bean temp s:6

Anyway, this roast let out lots of smoke and chaff
I am not sure if enough was released, but it is much better than sealing it up tight for sure!

Even with 640 Grams of green beans, the total roast time was 13 minutes. This is with cutting the power at first crack and jogging the power until 456F was reached. Not quite second crack.

This is a first such light roast with Harrar Green stripe. Usually I roast about 10 seconds into second crack.

Can't wait for it to age a bit and see if I get the blueberry everyone talks about :):)


c:3 c:2 c:1
Edited by peterz on 03/09/2007 12:58 PM
My thought has been that if there is no oxygen there can't be any smoke. Roasting in a slight vacuum with internal convection.
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