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Kaldi Wide with Camp Chef stove
Nilewoods Roaster
While considering an upgrade from my flour sifter roaster I was searching for information about the Kaldi Wide. Here are some details that other potential upgraders might find helpful.

Amazon delivered the KW, from Korea, 3 days after it was ordered, well boxed.

The current English instructions are apparently better than those others have received; they are helpful and decipherable with a bit of effort.

The roaster's drum is separated from the chaff hopper unit by about 1/8"; that gap is useful to let chaff settle into the intended tray. Mine was gapped a bit too big on arrival, so during trial bean loading some beans fell thru and didn't make it into the drum. You'll become more familiar with the KW as you disassemble it to adjust the gap. I did not find it difficult.

The supplied analogue thermometer has received some criticism from others. I found it quite helpful, and have yet to install the digital probe that I ordered. The factory thermometer seems sturdy and responsive (though my only previous roasting experience was with the flour sifter, using a handheld infra-red thermometer). I roast largely by sound.

One point I debated was what heat source to use. I roast outside, temps now range from 15 to 35 F in daytime. The heat gun I used with the flour sifter was adequate, but unexpectedly cut out a couple times, leaving a keen appreciation for a reliable and sufficient and easily controllable heat source. Presumably the KW would need more BTUs; and I'd read about some of the small gas stoves being marginal and tippy. So the 30,000 BTU Camp SB30D Pro Single Burner Stove looked attractive. The unknown was whether it would be too hot, or the burner too wide. For $60 it seemed a worthwhile gamble, and in the end I find it works great.

The only mod I built for the stove is a welded frame that sits on the Camp Chef grate, leaving a rectangular opening sized just for the KW: that automatically locates the KW in just the right centered spot over the round burner. It also serves as a heat shield & sink to protect the KW motor; and to keep the chaff tray from falling out backwards when I tilt the KW back when removing the front part prior to bean dump; and as a lateral guide & forward stop when I tip the KW forward to dump beans; and as a support for the mast which holds the motor's power cord up to prevent melting. The frame is simple to cut & weld if you have access to those tools; and is easily seasoned in an oven with some cooking oil (I used avocado oil with its higher smoke point) rather than using paint. It means you are not lifting the KW during bean dump, just tilting it (using the KW's built in wooden handle) while it sits on the frame. Much easier to handle a hot roaster this way.

During the roast, the quiet of a gas burner is wonderful compared to the noise of the electric heat gun, and the rotating drum is a more pleasant sound than the flour sifter. First crack is easy to hear, clearly evident. While I prefer roasting shy of 2nd crack, I found it also easy to hear.)

The Camp Chef burner comes with a very nice gas adjuster, marked with High, Medium and Low. The flame height changes smoothly and gradually. I will not be upgrading to a separate control or gauge, as I had planned.

I used a combination of Low and Medium-Low to heat the drum to 200 C, then Medium-Low to dry the beans, then switching to Low when first crack began at 10.7 minutes and 205 C, stopping the roast at the end of FC at 13.1 minutes and 220 C. So, the Camp Chef burner clearly has lots of reserve power, and I may need to resort to the Warm setting during hotter weather.

This system provides great stability for the KW. There's no concern about anything being tippy or on edge. I conclude that the KW and Camp Chef are well matched, particularly if you add the welded frame that I designed.

One note about bean loading: I saw a video where the trier was left in place while loading beans, and person had to keep fussing with it to get the beans in. The manual now supplied with the KW recommends leaving the trier out during loading. I tried both, and found that leaving it out works best. Also, I marked the trier's wooden handle with a Sharpie to make it more obvious whether the trier is turned up, or down.

Chaff does not fly away from the roasting beans near as easily as it did with the flour sifter. So, your roasting area is much cleaner, but you need to later separate out the chaff (not difficult).

The KW is marketed as a 300 gram roaster. I found it handled 300 grams very well. I did take the precaution of tilting the KW back while removing the front part just before bean dump, to avoid spilling any beans.

Another comparison to the flour sifter: the KW has more thermal mass, thus requires a pre-heat and a cool down. But it is more stable when roasting a smaller batch (say, 160 grams) than the relatively flashy flour sifter.

Cooling: I'll try to attach a photo which shows the rectangular sieve I am using. It sits on a cardboard box, cut out to lower the sieve to just the right depth for the 300 grams bean load, so air goes thru the beans, not thru empty sieve holes. The rectangular shape offers more square inches of flat sieve surface for air to be sucked thru, than did my previous rounded sieve. It cools very efficiently in winter air.

So far, I'm very pleased with this roaster. Having contemplated building one from scratch, I appreciate all the work which went into its design and the sturdy manufacture. I can't speak to how good a start point it would provide for a computerized roasting setup, but for my chosen path it is a good fit.
Nilewoods Roaster attached the following images:
img_8694e.jpg img_8692e.jpg

Edited by Nilewoods Roaster on 12/28/2017 6:37 PM
Hi Bob, Thanks for posting such a detailed report on the KW! Sounds like a fantastic roasting setup and looks great too.

As you put more miles on this, let us know how the coffee is coming out and any further mods you find beneficial.

1/2 lb and 1 lb drum, Siemens Sirocco fluidbed, presspot, chemex, cajun biggin brewer from the backwoods of Louisiana
Nilewoods Roaster
Here's an update after 21 roasts with the Kaldi Wide:

To make the propane pressure levels more repeatable, I added a yellow expander to the factory dial. It's made from a jar lid. The copper indicator identifies the reading number. There's some slop in the factory valve, so all readings are taken as the pressure increases (not decreases) for repeatability.

To give more work space, I added the drop leaf tray to the left of the Camp Chef burner.

To make the whole unit more mobile, I added a frame with wheels under the burner.

To blow chaff out during cooling, I reversed the fan under the cooling tray.

Regarding use, I've found that to minimize beans sticking in the loading chute crevices it helps to wash out the inside of the chute occasionally, scrubbing with a tooth brush. During roasting, keeping a small flashlight handy to check after charging makes seeing inside the chute easier.

I continue to use the factory thermometer. It does have some lag, but that effect is minimized because I reduce the burner to coast into the 200 C charging temp, and after a pretty strong ROR I drop the gas again when approaching FC for a slow ROR during FC.

None of my Second Crack roasts have been to my liking, in general the end-of-FC roasts taste best across a variety of beans.

Decaf has proven as good as regular, to my surprise. But it's trickier to roast, since decaf's FC is much quieter and has fewer cracks. I had to inadvertently roast into SC to learn that smokey lesson.

I'm very happy with this Kaldi Wide.
Nilewoods Roaster attached the following images:
img_9183e.jpg img_9170e.jpg
I recently ordered a Kaldi Wide and a Camp Chef stove like the one you have. Can someone please tell me the dimensions of the pieces that make up the metal frame and the finished dimension? I would like to make one before it arrives so I’m ready to go upon arrival!
Nilewoods Roaster
The Kaldi Wide base measures 7 & 5/16” front to back, and 6 & 5/16” side to side.

The frame to center it over the burner should have an opening that’s 1/8” longer in each dimension, since during heating the rates of steel expansion vary between the roaster and the frame.

Any scrap steel that creates a square opening that size will work fine. Extend the outside dimensions of the frame to fit loosely inside the stove top. Outside dimensions of 16 & 1/8” wide and 13 & 5/8” front to back fit well inside my stove top.

The two steel pieces running front to back work best if they have a bit of height to contain the roaster when it tilts during unloading. I used 1” x 1” angle iron.

The rear steel piece serves two other functions: it stops the ash tray from falling out when you tilt the KW backwards during the unloading process; and it holds the mast which keeps your motor cord from getting burned. I used 3” x 3” angle iron, but other dimensions could work too.

Originally I cut an angle in the back steel, so the stove’s red shelf could be folded up partly over the KW, thus decreasing the overall size, for easier storage. But that mod became obsolete when I put the stove on wheels with the propane tank included.

The wheeled cart also carries an added left shelf, which is quite handy for holding the propane lighter, timer, flashlight (to check that no beans hung up in the loading chute), glove, propane scale, pen. When it drops down, the box catches and holds those small items.

I appreciate that you want to get things started before your KW and stove arrive, but I recommend waiting until you have them in hand since some dimensions could vary.

I continue to find that putting the yellow plastic lid on the stove valve dial is very helpful, in making possible repeated roasts and known settings. It’s less precise than an inches-of-pressure meter, but I find it adequate. It costs almost nothing to add. Cut a hole in the plastic lid, glue it to the back of the black dial, then slip them back onto the valve shaft.

Good luck with your project. I'll be doing roast # 34 on the KW this morning. I continue to find it a great machine to use and experiment with.
Nilewoods Roaster attached the following image:

Edited by Nilewoods Roaster on 02/05/2018 1:10 PM
Nilewoods Roaster
Here are a few more photos showing the frame and the cart.
Nilewoods Roaster attached the following images:
img_9331.jpg img_9330.jpg img_9329.jpg img_9328.jpg img_9327.jpg
Nilewoods Roaster
7 photos of the steel frame that I wasn't able to get to post before:

Edit: I've tried 3 times to upload them, no success, sorry.
Edited by Nilewoods Roaster on 02/05/2018 1:42 PM
Thank you very much and I sure will! I will hopefully have the basics regarding what I need to to set roasting which will be the stove and a decent bean cooling solution (which I have plans to improve upon when money becomes more available!!!). I am hoping I will be able to pick up the ability to creat some good coffee with the Kaldi. How many seasoning batches did you run?
Nilewoods Roaster
Seasoning runs: none by intention. But just getting used to the gas burner system (after only having used a heat gun roaster before) took some time. First roast was mediocre; the second one I intentionally took past 2nd crack (yuk) just to learn the ropes. Third roast rated 10/10 in my book.

You do want to practice loading and unloading several times, with no flame, just to get all the steps coordinated. Check that the loading chute box is firmly seated against the roaster front, else beans leak out. If you load too fast, the beans jam in the chute. I keep a gloved thumb or a trier handle up against the trier hold, during loading, so green beans won't bounce out.

I tend to roast mainly by sound and temp, rather than color. With the KW and its original thermometer, I find:
First Crack:
Starts: 200 to 214 C.
Lasts: 1.5 to 3 minutes.
End: 6 to 11 degrees above start

But Decaf is different:
FC is very quiet, can almost miss it, there are few cracks.
FC starts: around 206 to 209 C
FC ends: around 209 to 215 (3 to 6 degrees above start)

It does vary by bean type; and by how fast your Rate of Rise is (since there is some time lag on the thermometer).
I find it works best to heat at a somewhat high flame to warm up (just to take less time), then cut back when you reach 150 degrees C (so you won't be moving up too fast when you want to load beans), then load beans at 200 degrees, and after temp drops and turns around aim for a ROR of about 4 to 5 degrees C per each 30 seconds, I use that through the end of the roast, which usually means I have to cut back on the flame some around the time FC starts.

After loading beans, take off the hopper, and use a small flashlight to peer down into the loading chute. Look to make sure beans aren't stuck. If they are, knock them loose by inserting the trier with a thump. I found they don't stick at first, but after a number of roasts they do, because of build up of smoke and particles in those areas. A cleaning with a tooth brush under running water gets you back to smooth/clean.

The front two ball bearing rollers will need occasional oil. If you hear them squeak at all, be sure to oil them before your next roast. I use a toothpick to drop in a few drops of oil. I use avocado oil (a kind of cooking oil) because it has a higher smoke point than olive oil, but I don't know if that's necessary, probably it's overkill.

I did take out the roasting drum and wash it once, around roast 20, but based on what I saw I'm not inclined to do that again unless I really burn something very badly. However, I did find a couple of the bolts were loose, so occasionally tightening things up could be a good idea. They probably work loose due to the changes in heat and expansion.

The KW roasts use very little propane, they average .14 pounds per roast; this is in cold outside temps. I've roasted over 300 grams at once, but most are around 200 since I keep trying different profiles and beans and can't drink them fast enough. 150 grams works fine too.
My Kaldi came in the mail and I used it for the first time to today! Unfortunately it came with a foreign plug and non- English directions (I have heard this wasn’t true for purchasers. One thing I did was get a 24 volt power adapter for the motor. It should have doubled the drum speed from around 30-60 rpm theoretically. I have heard about the better results people were having with the Behmor 1600 with a higher drum speed do I figured it would benefit the Kaldi. The Motor is actually rated for 24 volts anyway. I Only had time to do one roast today which was a very dark roast. Though it may be unconventional, I like dark roast over light roast. Unfortunately though this roast took a total of 17 minutes! Maybe it was because of the wind or maybe I just wasn’t using enough heat. It was hard for me to hear the first crack though I thought it happened at around 13 minutes.
Nilewoods Roaster
Congrats, that's a good start with your KW.

One thing I did for Kaldi was help translate their "English" KW manual to be better understandable, I don't know that I can attach a Word file to this message but I'll try, if that doesn't work and you care to send me your email address I'll get it to you that way.

Regarding drum speed, I find the approximately 50 RPM to be ideal, that's what mine does if you use a physical adapter (just changing the plug shape) rather than a voltage adapter (changing the voltage).

Good luck with the darker roasts, it surely is a matter of preference. I'm extremely pleased today with yesterday's roast of a new bean, it hits a full 10/10 on my personal scale, my first 10 in a month of varied trials.
Nilewoods Roaster
Attached, photos of the power supply that came with my KW, and the adapter that came with it so fit US outlets.
They work well for me.
Nilewoods Roaster attached the following images:
img_9398.jpg img_9396.jpg


Catzforall wrote:

My email is [email protected] - I don’t know how to personally message you through here. Hopefully this is alright! Thank you for the information!

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KKTO Roaster.
Halogen Fluid
Just pulled the trigger on the Kaldi Wide. Awesome info in this thread. Will be "borrowing" some of your ideas for sure! ????
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