[Homeroast] Behmor frustrations

Tom & Maria - Sweet Maria's Coffee sweetmarias at sweetmarias.com
Thu Oct 21 11:52:00 CDT 2010


Catching up on emails here, and didn't weigh in on this thread. 
Luckily, Chris is there with basically everything I would say! I 
think he covered all points. Definitely sounds like darker roast 
levels we are talking about here, plus adding in the "coast" factor 
in Behmor cooling, that is dark. Coffee choice matters too. I think 
acidity level and whether a coffee is "clean:" or more rustic and 
earthy are probably the key defining factors in taste. Have someone 
taste a Sumatra wet-hulled coffee next to a Guatemala like La 
Soledad, and you will learn a lot about taste very quickly. Batch 
size in the Behmors makes a huge difference with roast times and 
profile. Even 20 grams difference in batch is quite noticeable.  -T

>Sorry I haven't been able to reply before today, it's been pretty busy
>lately.
>
>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.
>
>-Chris
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-- 
-Tom

____________________________________________________________________________
"Great coffee comes from little roasters" - Sweet Maria's Home Coffee Roasting
               Thompson & Maria - http://www.sweetmarias.com
____________________________________________________________________________
     Sweet Maria's Coffee - 1115 21st Street, Oakland, CA 94607 - USA
             phone/fax: 888 876 5917 - info_at_sweetmarias.com



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