[Homeroast] Behmor frustrations

Yakster yakster at gmail.com
Wed Oct 20 15:42:36 CDT 2010

Sorry I haven't been able to reply before today, it's been pretty busy

Hank, I never quite got what your looking for in the roast or what you feel
your missing.  Do you enjoy bright, fruity espresso or more mellow,
chocolaty flavors?  You mentioned that you'd gotten a 14 oz roast into
second crack for upwards of 1:10 or something to that effect, to me that
seems pretty dark and I would expect this coffee to be dominated by roast
flavors as opposed to the unique flavors of the particular bean.  Maybe I
misunderstood.  Except for Liquid Amber and other blends that Tom would
suggest a darker roast on, I almost always try and stop either just short of
second crack or a few seconds in.  With the Behold, you're going to coast
and the beans will continue to roast after you hit cool.

As others have stated, one of the easiest ways to adjust the performance of
your roaster is to adjust your bean mass size. I used to roast 10 oz batches
or 13 oz batches in the Behmor on the 1 pound setting.  Lately I've been
pushing it closer to a full pound, but if your having trouble getting to
where you want to be in a reasonable time, lowering the batch size is a
great suggestion.  Also, get rid of any plug strips and extension cords and
try and plug directly into an outlet close to the breaker box.  For me, I
plug into the 120 V outlet behind my washer/dryer in the garage and ran a
short, very heavy gauge extension cord to my bench.  it would be better
without the cord, though.

Other tricks I have heard is making sure that the inside of the Behmor and
the Chaff tray are clean and shiny.  Not only can a build-up on the side
where the thermocouple prevent proper readings, but a shiny metal surface
will reflect more heat back to the beans. I've even heard of some folks
lining the front of the chaff tray with a sheet of aluminum foil either 1/3
of the way up or all the way up to prevent heat loss through the door and
also reflect back more heat into the beans.  Be careful with aluminum foil,
I tried this and sucked it up into my shop vac when I tried to clean up the
chaff.  Also, it can make slowing the roast during first crack more
difficult, instead of opening the door, you may have to pull the chaff tray
partially out to affect the cooling.  This is a trick I only tried once.  I
keep my Behmor pretty clean with Simple Green, but I think I'll try and
shine it up some more.  There's also been mention of Behmor bent metal mod.
I got the directions for this by contacting Behmor Tech Support and they
provided me the instructions.  When I went in to perform the mod, I found
out it had already been done because I had purchased the Behmor as a refurb
from Alchemist John.  This is probably worth checking into, though, and I
would recommend contacting Behmor for the instructions for this procedure
which can be undone if you choose.  One other thing you may want to check is
to make sure that your afterburner is working.  If you turn down the lights
and start the cool cycle (no need to be roasting for this test) you should
see an orange glow come from the ceiling of the Behmor roasting chamber.  If
you don't the afterburner may need to be repaired or replaced.  I've had the
wire break due to nicks where the insulation was stripped off and have fixed
this by re-crimping into the circle lug.  I've also replaced the afterburner
as well.  If you have a problem, contact Behmor technical support and they
can give you more information.

Regarding pre-heating (what I call running the Behmor without beans) versus
pre-roasting (what I call running the Behmor with beans for up to two
minutes then restarting), I used to pre-roast for two minutes to try and
accomplish two things, push out the time when the afterburner kicks in and
increases the airflow by two minutes to increase the heat ramp and extend
the amount of roast time.  I've actually stopped pre-roasting in favor of
pre-heating.  Since I roast in the garage with California weather (not
extreme, but we have seasonal changes) pre-heating the Behmor with my Chaff
tray for a minute helps me even out my profile differences between summer
and winter and also gives me a drop-in temp of about 200 degrees.  Get a
pair of safety gloves like Ove Gloves to protect your hands.

Beyond these suggestions, there's more extreme mods and techniques for the
extreme roaster such as replacing the motor with a faster one, de-coupling
the heating elements form the control board and running fully manual, and
feeding your Behmor or at least your heating elements from a variac to
ensure that you have enough voltage for the heat.  I haven't gone down this
path and I'm not sure that I will any time soon, but I enjoy hearing about
these extreme adventures in roasting from others.  I'm pretty happy with the
results that I get day in and day out from y Behmor.


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