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keepin' cool on the road
Hoomin Bean
Bean' coolin that is. If you've satisfied your Health or Agriculture Department on the general concept of event roasting, they probably will give 2 ding-dongs about how, or if, you cool your beans. But who is the next guy headed your way with a clipboard? The Fire Marshal! A professional worrier with a badge! A species that is a near cousin of the Loss/Risk Adjuster from your insurance company. Don't give either of these guys a cup of coffee, they're nervous enough already. ;)

All kidding aside, responsibly handling food or fire in a place of public assembly is pretty important. I love the different homemade cooling systems I see here, even where they include flammable or meltable materials, and I'm confident that the general home roaster is all on top of what's going on, and the materials are not hot that long anyway. I'm hoping that at some of my shows this year, I will have to roast batch after batch, and hopefully will barely keep up with the clamoring public!

I had to pick where to start this, here or the cooler contest, and I picked here in case anyone has anecdotes or ruminations on this area of regulatory safety. If I finish in time, I'll consolidate the pics/notes and throw my hand in the competition. Any thoughts/experiences? Photos in a day or two!

- Ed
Edited by Hoomin Bean on 01/29/2008 5:02 PM
Don't forget the Department of Transportation big-wigs who have nothing better to do than drive down remote highways to hassle utility workers. This DOT guy parked in the middle of a 2 lane highway to chew me out for 45 minutes because I was parked 3 feet off the road in the shoulder and "causing a hazard". He had to wave several cars past him while he was parked there.

I've been to farmer's markets as a consumer. Are you sure that bureaucrats of any type actually go to those? I've seen some questionable foodservice practices myself... I just don't buy from "those" vendors.

For the record, does anyone care if you bring coffee already bagged?

Roaster: CoffeeAir II 2# DIY air roaster
Grinder: Vintage Grindmaster 500
Brewers: Vintage Cory DCU DCL, Aeropress, Press, Osaka Titanium pourover
Kaffee Bitte
So are you thinking of going all metal then? This would probably be optimal for cleaning and minimizing fire danger.

I know how you feel about the food inspectors and fire marshals. During the summer I have to water the entire region (at least a fifty foot semicircle) around my roaster two hours before beginning. This is rather labor intensive since I don't want to water my roaster as well.
The fire marshal also didn't like my cooler so much to begin with, but once I showed him how it functioned he was slightly less worried. (This is part of the reason for the design in my non-contest thread.) He allowed it provided I work on an alternate cooler, and have it ready within a year (this summer).

The food inspectors were much less stringent. They told me a few things that I had to do differently, but overall I think their view of roasted coffee was that it would be cooked again anyway, so tra la la. The state of Montana even considers it an unprocessed agricultural product, which means considerably different standards for food safety. I found this strange in the extreme, I mean it is most definitely processed! It is roasted! I am not selling it green!

Anyway I will be interested to see what you come up with.

"Some days it's spice, other days it's bitter dirt."
Hoomin Bean
Chad: Classic story on the DOT guy. I have to admit, if I had a mid level government job, a life with nothing but stomach aches, frustration, and ninnies above and below me, I wouldn't be this chill philosopher of the working class. lol.

Whether anyone shows up at these things or not depends on population density, size of department, current state of the inspector's marriage.... Like the loss/risk adjuster, I'm in the business of preventing long shots. I go to many events that are in the appalachian wilds of Pennsylvania and have never been inspected - but how do I know whether or not this year they hired a bright young clueless inspector just out of college to start doing food inspections more regularly, because of the housing development in the county and he/she wants to know why your fire extinguisher isn't rated for grease fires, since that thing is a BBQ...

Regarding the bagged coffee, I don't know for sure and I'll bet it depends on unpredictable variables, like above. I don't have a final yet whether I'm more food or more agriculture product, but labelling and shipping come in, somewhere. Which segues into -

Lynn: You point is well taken about food categories. In my case, I am incontestably involved in food service, milk products and all, with the beverage concession. It becomes a matter of whether or not they care about the roasting too, or give it a pass. For that reason, I'm using more stainless than seems necessary to me, because it lulls them into amiability, and they head off to read the temps in someone else's refrigerator. I'm mildly shaken by the ground watering, because I can remember one county where that could happen, but it comes down to what is conventionally done, or not, about many vendors cooking sausage, burgers, etc., usually with propane.

Overall, I notice that events are less scrutinized - especially because it means the inspector has to come out on the weekend - and anything recurring gets more attention. Makes sense, because you could spread a lot more illness around a repeating customer base.
Some of these people need to be told "Here's your Sign!"
Edited by MarkBart on 01/30/2008 4:42 PM
I'm so Bad, I'm Good! www.homeroasters.org/php/images/smiley/cool.gif
I'm putting the small back into Small Business!
Donut Dog
very funny MarkBart...

you guys are great.

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