[Homeroast] Drum Roaster Question

Sandy Andina sandraandina at mac.com
Mon Feb 13 13:11:49 CST 2012

I've been using a Behmor since it came out, and agree that it does best with batches of half a pound (maybe up to 12 oz. in a pinch) or smaller. Yes, it does put out smoke--ever since I upgraded my smoke detectors I must roast with the window screens open and the ceiling fan going, even in the dead of winter--but less than even the little i-Roast and i-Roast 2 and MUCH less than the Stir-Crazy/Turbo Oven combo I use for one-pound batches outside in summer.  (BTW, if you insist on roasting outdoors, don't get a Behmor, since it's designed to be used indoors).  

You mentioned you need to reach "espresso/Italian roast" level now that you bought an espresso machine.  If you can vent heavily, there are tweaks you can do while roasting in the Behmor to get well into second crack without charring the beans. I find that matching profiles to bean texture, choosing a 1 lb. setting for an 8 to 10-oz batch and manipulating the "+" and cooling buttons I can get a dark roast without hitting the dreaded "third crack." BUT, where is it written that espresso must be a dark roast?  My local roaster, Metropolis, roasts its famous Red Line Blend to a medium level, not-quite-full-city (ditto re Caffe d'Arte's Firenze blend), in the Lombard/Tuscan style; and Intelligentsia's Black Cat and Kid O espressos aren't much darker.  I've roasted Metropolis' Green Line and SM's Liquid Amber and Monkey Blends only a few seconds into second crack before starting to cool (and Donkey Blend only a tad longer). Unless you are wedded to a dark, smoky Neapolitan/Sicilian style cup, you'll find the lighter espresso roasts will produce a more complex shot--caramel, different kinds of chocolate, even anisette notes. I used to prefer Torrefazione Italia's Sicilian roast and even Medaglia d'Oro or Cafe Bustelo; now that I've gotten used to lighter espressos I don't even like New Orleans chicory coffee black.  

Remember:  "espresso" is a brewing process, a blend, or the finished product in your cup--NOT a roast!!!

On Feb 12, 2012, at 11:14 PM, Matthew D. Kaufman wrote:

> Hi guys n' gals!
> I've been lurking for quite a while and been home roasting for a bit over a
> year on a FreshRoast SR500.  I absolutely love being able to roast my own
> coffee - fresh taste, much higher quality than even expensive stuff from the
> grocery store, and making our place smell like roasted coffee is just
> amazing.  I'm getting to a point where I want to be able to make a bit
> bigger batch size, and have a more uniform roast.  One thing I've noticed
> about the FreshRoast is that my roasts are rarely uniform throughout; some
> beans are noticeably lighter and darker, even in the same batch.  I roast in
> my kitchen at a pretty average temperature (room temp anywhere from 70 to
> 75) - I think it's just a function of air roasting being an imperfect
> medium.  I'm looking at drum roasters, and had some questions for the folks
> on the list.
> I like a good City Roast (maybe a tad darker), and I don't think that any
> drum roasters have issues with that.  However, we recently bought an
> espresso machine, so I'd also like a machine that can handle an
> Espresso/Italian Roast.  In reading about the Behmor 1600, it sounds like it
> is not a good model to get if you want darker roasts due to smoke and fire
> hazard.  I was hoping that wouldn't be the case given the attractive price
> point for the Behmor over other drum roasters, but there seems to be
> consensus on the reputable sites I check (Sweet Maria's, The Coffee
> Project), so who am I to question that.
> Do you guys have any suggestions on a reasonably priced drum roasters that
> could handle what I'm looking for?  Batch size isn't super important - I'd
> be happy with a half-pound at a time (though more is better, I care more
> about the roast quality than a gigantic batch size).  Any advice would be
> appreciated!
> Thanks,
> --Matt
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Peace & song, 

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