[Homeroast] Storage with gasses; and the Behmor question

Mike Davis mldavis2 at sbcglobal.net
Wed Aug 27 12:57:15 CDT 2014


"If you fill a container with two gases of different densities, they will
mix, and fairly quickly.  The speed will depend a little bit on the
difference in density of the two.  Over a period of time, the mixture will
become a completely homogeneous mixture." - Mike Koenig

I won't disagree here on the scale in which we are storing coffee.  But of course gasses of different densities do in fact separate as we see in large scale with earth's atmosphere.  That's what causes a He-filled balloon to rise in our atmosphere of N2 and O2 and CO2.  A technicality.  My storage procedure takes into account the fact that CO2 is being given off which reduces the relative percentage of O2 and exerts a slight pressure thus forcing the mixture of atmospheric gas and CO2 out.  The resulting mix is higher in CO2 and lower in O2 and should reduce the rate of oxidation of the coffee during storage.  The obvious question is how much did you roast and how long must you store it?  Ar would work, and I believe that apples are stored under N2 for a considerable time.
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John Nordline asked what I would want to add to the Behmor that isn't there.  At this point with my roasting, I don't know of much.  There are some things that would be nice to be able to do that commercial roasters have available, but they aren't practical on small batches.  So I'll be overly picky and try to answer.

For example, the Behmor has temperature sensors in the roast chamber wall and the exhaust.  These are not the direct temperature of the bean mass which is what commercial roasters rely on.  But they can be used in a relative manner to profile roasts once the relation between them and the bean mass is established for a given roast weight.

Cooling is fairly efficient with the cooling fan blowing a good airstream through the roaster.  Faster cooling isn't really feasible unless you remove the cage and rig up a cooling fan system of your own.  This would eliminate having to cool both the bean mass and the interior chamber of the roaster.  There is some coast down as the heating elements switch off.  But you can cool manually if you think it really matters.  The Behmor delivers beans that are essentially room temperature in 12 minutes and that's been good enough for me.

The roast curves built into the Behmor have been criticized as not being tailored quite right for varying bean types.  Now with heating element controls (0%, 25%, 50%, 75% and 100%) you can create your own curves with a bit of experimentation.  No single curve is "right" for each of the hundreds of bean choices at SMs, so it's still as much art as science.  Even with the ability to program your own temperature on the iRoast2, I ended up using one program and stopping the roast manually by the bean color and time from 1C.

The Behmor is designed for safety which has frustrated some of the users who roast very dark batches by limiting total time on the timer.  That's really only a problem if you are trying to roast a full pound and want a Vienna roast because there are time limits beyond which the roaster will not run.  I suspect Behmor has done this for safety reasons because once past 2C, ignition can begin very quickly.  The new 1600-Plus, as I've mentioned, has a 75% safety feature that blinks the LED lights for 30 seconds.  You must press "Start" again to remove the flashing lights and return the timer to normal.  Some complain that the timers could be extended.  I haven't found that to be a problem and can easily over-roast a batch if I want to do so.  Typically I roast 1/2# on the 1# setting which gives more than enough time, and manually stop the roast at the moment I think is right for that particular bean.

Visibility of the beans is not really necessary, but it could be perhaps better.  You can see the beans clearly, but the actual color of the beans is distorted because of the red-orange glow of the heating elements.  Beans can appear lighter than they are toward the end of the roast.  I now rely on timing of the cracks and subsequent post-1C times nearing 2C, and little or none on bean appearance.

So I love my Behmor 1600-Plus.  It took me a bit of time to transition from my iRoast2 but I'm in control now.  It has good smoke control, good cooling, it's quiet and cracks are plainly audible.  It cleans easily with a vacuum cleaner.  I don't think you can beat it for the price.

My only complaint is that I bought the roaster at SMs, and they sent me 8# of coffee which overstocked my pantry and caused me to miss some of the great Africans that came in shortly thereafter.  :-)

Mike Davis






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