BBQ Grill Coffee Roaster

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The Pol

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So someone bought me plans to convert a grill rotisserie to a coffee roaster bin. Anyone done this? They also gave me money to get the rivet gun, rivets etc... and the materials.

So, anyone? What temp and time would I be shooting for, for a Full City roast?
 

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My heat gun puts out air at about 500*F, exactly how hot I have no idea, it's not the temp that matters so much as the amount of time you roast the beans. The beans will heat to about 212*F until most of the moisture is driven off at which point they will heat quite rapidly to over 400*F. With the heat gun progress from the color of peanuts to being completely roasted is about 2-3 minutes. I would imagine it will take a little longer on a grill. Full city roast the beans are about 440*F so obviously the grill would have to be hotter than that. If you have a rotisserie burner that will certainly be no problem, those suckers are like cooking behind a GE CF-34. :D

City to full city roast is probably 45 seconds to 1 and a half minutes. You know when you are at City because the beans now smell like coffee rather than hay and they will be light brown and mottled looking, and you will be well into first crack. With my heat gun at first crack I start counting to 45 and I know I am just shy of full city which is where I usually stop. When I want full city I go for another 30 seconds.

It will take some trial and error to figure out what the roast times are on your system. I would suggest picking a moderate burner flame to start with, and adjusting on further runs until you get to first crack in about 10 minutes. If you ramp too quickly the beans will be unevenly roasted and grassy tasting, more than 10 minutes things seem like they are dragging on making you want another homebrew. ;)
 
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The Pol

The Pol

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CF-34 -8E5 (s) I am initmately familiar with...

It is going to take some time... to get it nailed down I am sure. Should I get some cheap beans to mess with first? I know little about roasting and this just adds more variables doing it on a grill.

I have a feeling that I will have to design some sort of temp probe to take the temp near the drum so that I can monitor what is actually going on where the beans are.
 

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It is going to take some time... to get it nailed down I am sure. Should I get some cheap beans to mess with first? I know little about roasting and this just adds more variables doing it on a grill.

I have a feeling that I will have to design some sort of temp probe to take the temp near the drum so that I can monitor what is actually going on where the beans are.
You could start with cheap beans but as long as you don't turn them into charcoal the coffee will still be good, if you do turn them into charcoal give them to friends and tell them it's Starbucks. :D My first few pounds were quite good actually even though I didn't know what I was doing.
 
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The Pol

The Pol

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Hopefully I have the bin constructed by next weekend. I am brewing then too, so it will be hard to get it all done. I need to get some beans coming this week so that I can start messing with small qtys. of beans at certain times and temps. Probably shoot for 500F at the beans, then just play with the times.
 
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The Pol

The Pol

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Tested my grill... I can hit 450F, that is all. SOOO I am thinking that this project is a NO GO. I will be spending my Bday money on a bean roaster. That will be cheaper than buying a bigger BTU grill... mine is new as it is.
 
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The Pol

The Pol

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I read that generally you want to be able to hit 500F in the grill to be able to get a good roast. So that you are not roasting for say... oh, 30 or 40 minutes.

I read some material on grill coffee roasters and they recommended 500F being a target if you want to be able to use this method effectively.
 

flyangler18

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You know, there's a similar demographic among homeroasters as there is among homebrewers - some employ infinitely simple though effective roasting methods like the ubiquitous hot air popper or DB/HG (my personal favorite!) and there are those that have purpose-made professional equipment capable of roasting much larger amounts of green beans with very accurate temperature gauges and degrees of automation.

I prefer to roast small batches and replenish as I run out. The beans are at the peak of freshness, I don't rush the roast and allow the profile to develop fully, and I rely on my senses rather than the cold hard temperature readout to gauge the completeness of the roast. Listen for the crack, look for changes in the smoke volume, etc.
 
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The Pol

The Pol

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Well, I have been looking to roast for a LONG time, so I ordered a roaster and 8 pounds of beans from Sweet Marias last night. Should be roasting by next weekend.
 

the_bird

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I've been thinking about asking the_Wife for a coffee roaster for x-mas next year. I've been perusing the Williams Brewing catalogue, and it doesn't seem THAT expensive a hobby to get into (and since Williams always seems to be the highest-cost provider, I've sure I can do it even cheaper). The roasters they were selling were pretty limited-capacity, though; I'd like to be able to roast enough in a couple of batches on the weekend to get me through the next week. So, I've got some research to do.
 
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The Pol

The Pol

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It takes me a month to use 1 lb of beans, so the limited capacity wont be a problem here
 

yermej

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Well, I have been looking to roast for a LONG time, so I ordered a roaster and 8 pounds of beans from Sweet Marias last night. Should be roasting by next weekend.
Would you mind commenting on which roaster you chose and why? I've been looking at them, but haven't decided if I want to go that route or try out the heat gun or hot air popper.
 
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The Pol

The Pol

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I bought the Fresh Roast Plus 8....

I read a lot of reviews on many different roasters and this fit what I wanted in a roaster.

#1 It had to be less than $200
#2 It had to be capable of City to Italian roast. I prefer Full City, but guests may like Starbucks.
#3 I wanted it to work... some models have chaff collectors that do not even work, so you still have to separate all of the chaff manually. If I am paying for it, I want it to work.
#4 I only use 1 pound of beans/mo. so the smaller batch size was actually GOOD for me. 12-72 hours is the best time to brew after the roast, so I have no desire to roast 1-5 pounds at a time.
#5 Although it is not digital, the reviews and TIPS on Sweet Marias are pretty simple to follow and state pretty clearly how easy it is to reach your specified roast level.
#6 Some roasters that they have tested they say that you cannot hear the crack... and I want to. That is ONE way of determining where you are in the roasting process, and I wanted to be able to experience that.

There are many reasons, these are some. I am looking forward to trying it, and I trust Sweet Marias reviews and TIPS.
 

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Let us know what you think of that little guy. You can't beat the price, and the small batch size is a plus in my book since I am the only coffee drinker in the house.

I have a friend who has a Gene Cafe roaster, looks really nice but pricey pricey pricey. I'd rather buy more bulk grains. ;)
 

flyangler18

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#6 Some roasters that they have tested they say that you cannot hear the crack... and I want to. That is ONE way of determining where you are in the roasting process, and I wanted to be able to experience that.
I have no direct experience with the Fresh Roast, but I've seen it referred to as the Fresh 'Roar' on the CoffeeGeek forums, FWIW.
 
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The Pol

The Pol

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I dont care if it is loud, Sweet Marias sayes you can easily hear the crack... so I dont care. I want to hear the crack, that is all. It uses a fan to move the beans and the air flow is what they attribute the good chaff removal to, so I will take it.

Some of the pricier roasters dont remove any chaff because the air flow is so anemic.
 

flyangler18

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I dont care if it is loud, Sweet Marias sayes you can easily hear the crack... so I dont care. I want to hear the crack, that is all. It uses a fan to move the beans and the air flow is what they attribute the good chaff removal to, so I will take it.

Some of the pricier roasters dont remove any chaff because the air flow is so anemic.
You should have no issues hearing the first crack, but second crack is much more subtle.

Report back once you give it a whirl - I'd love to hear what you think. I still dig my HG/DB combo though. :)
 
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The Pol

The Pol

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From what I am learning, I may not get to second crack on my regular roasts since I prefer City to City+ roasts. I will be playing with it though and will push it past second crack to see if it is noticeable etc.

I am really excited to get this thing... been wanting to roast for a while, dont need ALL the bells and whistles, but I dont want to get too pioneer like in this endeavor.
 
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The Pol

The Pol

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OKAY I got home at midnight and played with my roaster. It is actually really quiet... I was expecting something like a popcorn popper, but it is actually very quiet.
I did a "5" roast and I am going to do a "6" roast on the same beans tonight to taste the difference tomorrow.

I have some really cool beans from Sweet Marias, the roaster is VERY simple, no real complex parts, dial in the roast and let her go!

I love it, cant wait to report back once I have ground and brewed these beans! Just looking at the Full City roast, it is A LOT lighter than say a Starbucks bean... I mean, it isnt BLACK.

FWIW, they say that voltage can affect the roasts that you get from these roasters, mine is measured at 122VAC at the outlet.
 
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The Pol

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I have a pound of each:

El Salvador Siberia Estate Bourbon
Sulawesi Enkrang "Mount Alla"
Indonesian Flores Organic Manggarai
Burundi Kayanza Bwayi No 7
Kenya AB Auction Lot# 786 Rukira
Guatemala San Jose Pinula-La Trinidad
Bolivia FTO SHG EP Caranavi
Columbia Huila Valencia

I was not happy with the roasts last night... I didnt even hear the first crack, so I figured something was up. It was uneven, I had almost no chaff... something was awry.

Today I did a couple things:

Put the roaster on a NON GFCI outlet (I hear they can affect them)

Measured exactly 3oz of beans by weight, instead of ONLY using the scoop

Preheated the roaster for 2 mins. prior to roasting, just like we do with our MLTs

Turned the timer to "6"

THIS TIME at 4 minutes in I had my first crack start, it was VERY obvious. The beans looked VERY uniform in thier roast, the aroma was great. There was also a TON of chaff... good

The first crack ended at about 5 minutes, I roasted 30 sec. past this then turned it right to the cooling setting.

I removed the beans, placed them in a colunder and placed them in the freezer to cool them.

I will upload a pic of this roast, it is AMAZING!!! I love this machine... truely love it.

 

flyangler18

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Just placed an order for some more beans, my stores were running low:

Sumatra Takengon Classic
Ethiopia Organic Idido Misty Valley DP
Brazil Ipanema "Tree Dry-Process"
Bolivia FTO SHG EP Caranavi
Ethiopia Wet-Process Bonko
Sumatra Onan Ganjang Cultivar

If you like bittersweet chocolate roast notes with a dense, liquor-like body, the Brazil Ipanema is a winner. It's a popular bean at my house.
 
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The Pol

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Just placed an order for some more beans, my stores were running low:

Sumatra Takengon Classic
Ethiopia Organic Idido Misty Valley DP
Brazil Ipanema "Tree Dry-Process"
Bolivia FTO SHG EP Caranavi
Ethiopia Wet-Process Bonko
Sumatra Onan Ganjang Cultivar

If you like bittersweet chocolate roast notes with a dense, liquor-like body, the Brazil Ipanema is a winner. It's a popular bean at my house.
I will look into that bean, I really love the FreshRoast 8 Plus... I am enjoying coffee roasting immensely.
 

Saccharomyces

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Glad you are enjoying it! I just can't stomach most commercially roasted coffees now (save my local roaster).
Same here... the flagship Whole Foods in downtown Austin roasts fresh daily in the store, their coffees are VERY good... nothing else makes the cut anymore.

I'm really liking the Ethiopian dry process I'm drinking right now, but it has really small beans that jam up my conical grinder. I had to use the trusty ol' blade grinder. I also really liked the Columbian Organic that came in my sampler, but I don't see it listed on their site anymore. :(

Have you figured out a good way to remove chaff in the HGDB method? I'm happy with the roast, but it would be nice to get rid of more of the chaff.
 

flyangler18

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Have you figured out a good way to remove chaff in the HGDB method? I'm happy with the roast, but it would be nice to get rid of more of the chaff.
The movement of the air coming out of the gun blows most of it up and away (or all over me ;)); I quick-cool over a box fan with a colander - that removes the rest.
 
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