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05/23/2022 10:46 AM
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Until I can build a fluid bed roaster.....
I burned out my popcorn popper the first week I started this hobby and after reading many, many posts of fellow builders, I came up with this set up using a variable temp/variable fan 1500 watt Porter Cable heat gun. A crank style flour sifter was used to agitate the beans. I cut 3 of the 4 "beaters" so I could bend them and prevent the sifter from jamming when cranking it. (If you cut 4, you just broke it!) I couldn't think of anyway to get a thermocouple into the beans to measure the bean temp. I did measure the temperature in the flour sifter(empty) at the closest point to the heat gun and adjusted the gun to give me 350 degrees there. I then adjusted the dial to give me a reading of 475. I marked both of those points on the dial. I start the roast at 350, hold for 4 minutes and gradually increase to the second mark over about 3 minutes and then hold at 475 till finished.
I'm roasting 100 grams of beans, hit first crack around 7 minutes and second crack around 9 to 9.5 minutes. The aluminum duct goes to an air to air heat exchanger I built for my workshop and ended up working well as a chaff collector and lets me recover some of the heat for my workshop!
The open frame design keeps everything pretty cool. The aluminum angle stock is 1X1X1/8 inch...everything else scrap plywood.
I'm pretty satisfied with it. Thanks to all of you for posting your ideas!

penger100 attached the following images:
finishedroast.jpg beancooler.jpg chaff_collector.jpg emptychaff.jpg modifiedcrankfloursifter.jpg exhaust.jpg sideviewsetup.jpg completesetup.jpg
That looks like a great way to roast coffee! I'm impressed by the ingenuity of our members!

Wow, + 1 on the ingenuity of this roaster! I've never seen this much put into a manual agitation/heatgun setup and should be an inspiration for others wanting to avoid dealing with motors/belts for tumbling the beans.

Make sure you post how the coffee comes out in the cup.

1/2 lb and 1 lb drum, Siemens Sirocco fluidbed, presspot, chemex, cajun biggin brewer from the backwoods of Louisiana
Report on roasting results and cupping.

In the operation of the roaster, I've found very consistent results from batch to batch. I'd say I reach 1st crack around 7 to 7.5 minutes consistently. There does seem to be some variation when I change to a different variety of bean, but not too much. I didn't mention it in my previous post the heat gun ran about $30 from Amazon and the SS flour sifter about $15. The rest was scrap materials I had in my shop.

In the cup, I'm still experimenting. I tend to like very dark roasts like French. I think I initially wasn't going far enough into the 2nd crack to get what I like and felt that the coffee tasted weak. My last roast I went much further into the 2nd crack and my wife and I feel it's as good as any coffee we have purchased. I have compared medium roasts I've done with medium roasts that were purchased from local roasters and found mine to be very similar. So I think I'm on the road to making some really excellent roasts with it...BUT am still trying to figure out the economics of it. I can't really say I'm saving alot of money by home roasting. I'm guessing only $1 or $2 a pound by the time you adjust for weight loss from roasting (about 17% on mine), add in shipping etc... It seems to be coming out around $9 a pound. ($6 for coffee X 1.2 for weight loss =$7.20/lb, plus $2 shipping. This from Sweet Marias. The coffee is good, but is there better/cheaper places to be buying?

Sweet Maria's is a top shelf supplier, no doubt. Their selection of coffees is excellent.

I have had good success with beans I have bought from Happy Mug>

I've had disappointing beans from several ebay sellers. There are some good ebay sellers out there, but I only know of one. Happy Mug will occasionally sell beans on ebay, but it's hit or miss to find an offering from him. On ebay, he sells as coffeeandteaforme. *** I just did a search on ebay and found an auction for Happy Mug> http://www.ebay.c...2a45ba07f8

It may be worth it to buy from a top shelf supplier at a slightly higher price, to avoid the disappointment and wasted money on crummy beans from a cheaper source. I've surely been burned a time or two. Or three.................

You're probably right about buying from a top shelf supplier, especially when being a newbie like me. If something was off, I wouldn't know whether it was my roasting or the beans. Better to eliminate one of the variables. Thanks for the link to Happy Mug. I actually had been to their website and was considering an order, but for now, I'll stick with Sweet Marias.


penger -

Very cool manual setup and times seem to be within reason although stretching 2C out a bit would be ideal. I really like the machine!

As far as the discussion regarding economics - SM has literally some of the consistently best green beans in the world... if they are roasted to the optimal roast level which is much lower than what you are roasting to. You mentioned that at lower roast levels the coffee tasted "weak". "Strength" of coffee is not related to roast level - it is a combination of consistency of grind and coffee to water ratio.

If you continue to roast to that dark of a level then buy cheap beans - you are primarily tasting roast flavor, not bean flavor.

Let us know your brew equipment/ procedure and we can probably help you dial everything in so you can taste the awesomeness of a properly roasted and brewed cup. I will bet that you will find that you can get the strength of coffee you crave with a ton of flavors you never imagined was in coffee!


Also - a little envious of the sheer volume of clamps in the garage ThumbsUp
Honey badger 1k, Bunn LPG-2E, Technivorm, Cimbali Max Hybrid, Vibiemme Double Domo V3
Hi jkoll42,
I'm really glad I joined this forum. I really appreciate the help in getting things "dialed in" I can easily stretch out 2C, but I don't really know what's an optimum profile. Do you have a profile you recommend roasting with? I'd be game to try it.

My brewing equipment is nothing special. I've got a krups blender type grinder (so there goes my grind consistency) and a Hamilton Beach drip brewer. I use about 3 generous tablespoons of unground beans in about 5 cups of water ( or whatever the 5 mark on the side of the tank is). I grind the beans pretty fine...static becomes an issue. Again it's sort of how I've always made coffee with the local roasts I've bought, but I'm open for suggestions.

yeah, about the clamps, believe it or not I usually run out when I'm doing glue-ups.
Just an update...
Increased my roast amount from 100 to 150 grams. Everything seemed to work fine. I didn't loose more than 2-3 beans from the flour sifter (5 cup), it increased my roast times by about 2 minutes. 1C is around 9 minutes now, and 2C now around 12-13 minutes. The heat gun is still capable of putting out a few more BTU's so for the cost of putting it together its pretty flexible, although completely manual. The biggest drawback is cranking the flour sifter. I could motorize it with an electric drill I suppose, but then I lose the advantage of being able to dump the beans in the cooler in about 2 seconds because of the coupling to the electric drill.
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