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Roaster's Choice Mini 1000 aka Model 100 1KG Electric Coffee Roaster

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 

This is my new 1kg coffee roaster. 

Processed By eBay with ImageMagick, R1.1.1.M2a


It's advertised on E-Bay as a "Model 100 1KG Electric," but the User's Manual calls it a Roaster's Choice 1000.  Whatever.  It's about as big as anyone could possibly want for a home roaster.   I'm not the first home-roaster in the US to buy one; maybe the second or third.  I expect to get some help from the other guy, as well as the roast mavens on Home Barista and anyone else who can help.  But because there's not much of a user base yet, it's going to need a lot of [cough] fooling around to establish baselines.  It will either be fun, a waste of coffee, or both.  Bet on both.

 

When we decided to replace our HotTop for something which could handle a little more volume, I mostly looked at the Huky 500 and Quest M3. Both are well made, and both lend themselves to computer analysis of electronic thermometry.  But the gas fired Huky is too kludgy; and the Quest too mini and too technical.   On top of that, their cooling trays lacked stirrers.  Gotta have a stirrer.  When you're spending the bucks, you want your roaster to look like a by-God roaster.  Can I get an "Amen?"  

 

There's another electric machine with the same capacity, but produces more heat, is supposedly heavier built, and is not that much more money.  But that machine is huge.  Ours weighs in at a trim and ready 115 lbs, the other beast is 200.   The guy we bought from handles both lines, and strongly recommended ours over the other.  It wasn't an easy sell.  For one thing, the big one was also available in gas, gas is faster, and faster is better -- especially if you can slow it down.  For another, nothing succeeds like excess.  But at the end of the day I had to admit that I knew less than the seller, and besides... how much heavy duty can we use?  In case it needs saying, we have no plans to use it commercially.  It's just for the two of us, and gifts for family and friends.  Even our svelte roaster is epic overkill.  And the cooling tray stirrer... oh my! 


The machine came to us as an unwanted cast-off.  It was originally sold to a commercial coffee shop, but was damaged in transit (spelled U.P.S., but pronounced whoops!).  I got it at a significant discount and without the usual eight week wait.


Damage aside, the cosmetics and fit and finish are a little rough.  I got everything moving as it should move, and minimized some of the dents and dings.  However, some of the scratches and dents are forever.  Oh well.  A short test showed that a normal 120V 15A line was sufficient... however the only circuit available to the location (covered patio) had a ton of other draw -- including the espresso machine and the electric kettle. We installed a dedicated 20A circuit to the location so we could over-caffeinate while roasting. It's the law.

 

The technology of coffee roasting is advancing, with all sorts of sophisticated measurements and controls becoming available.  This machine is something of a throwback and is about as hands on as an electric machine of its size can be.  I may or may not replace the (useless) analog thermometer with an electric probe later.  As long as I can use the sights and sounds of roasting to recognize the basic sequence of roasting, that should be enough to use the crude ... erm ... make that ... simple dampers to control the timing. 

 

Even though it's not as fool-proof, I find the sensorial approach more rewarding than the electronic.  However, I'll do what's necessary to get consistently good results. 

Predictably there were problems before starting the maiden roast. In this case, the machine wouldn't get past 150C.  Finally discovering the problems were on my side of the control panel, I was too frazzled, relieved and excited to take anything like cogent notes. Or times. Or think clearly. Or think at all.  Once they got going, things went apace.  Things did.  Me, not so much.  I didn't do a great job at isolating the drying period, and didn't drag the time as much as I wanted between first and second cracks.  And, if appearance means anything, I went a little deeper into FC+ than I wanted. Practice could possibly help. Y'think?

Considering it was the first roast, things went well.  Roast times for the 660g load seemed close to those a 225g charge of similar beans roasted in my HotTop; maybe a bit faster (faster than a HotTop is a good thing). The roast itself looked attractive; smooth beans, even color, excellent chaff removal, etc. 

 

It would be nice to tell you how that first batch of coffee tastes, but the beans won't be sufficiently rested to brew for French press or vacuum until Friday; and not ready until Sunday for espresso. 

 

BDL


Edited by boar_d_laze - 5/22/13 at 8:53pm
post #2 of 7
Thread Starter 

Roast:

FC+.  About half way into 2d Crack.

 

Blend:

Equal parts Guatemala Antigua Covadonga; El Salvador Rubi Honey; and Panama 1751 Carmen Estate.

 

Goal: 

A coffee which would work for espresso, French press and vacuum.  The intent of blend/roast was to bring out the fruit and milk-chocolate notes, straddling the line between "acidy" and sweet, with medium body. 

 

Brew Method:

The brew method was vacuum, which is forgiving.  Our siphon is the especially forgiving Royal:

CREATOR: gd-jpeg v1.0 (using IJG JPEG v62), quality = 100

 

 

First taste:

 

More to follow:

French Press tomorrow.  Espresso, Sunday. 

post #3 of 7

Delete delete delete as I found the Royal Siphon at Amazon.


Edited by kokopuffs - 5/24/13 at 9:29am

Best and I'm a foodie.   I know very little but the little that I know I want to know very well.

 

-T

Brot und Wein
(1 photos)
 
Reply

Best and I'm a foodie.   I know very little but the little that I know I want to know very well.

 

-T

Brot und Wein
(1 photos)
 
Reply
post #4 of 7

lol, awesome! you are a mad scientist with that machine.

“After a good dinner one can forgive anybody, even one's own relations.”
Oscar Wilde

 

 

Reply
“After a good dinner one can forgive anybody, even one's own relations.”
Oscar Wilde

 

 

Reply
post #5 of 7
Thread Starter 

Ground some more beans from the first roast today.  This time, for a French press.  The method is a little more revealing and less forgiving than the vacuum brew done yesterday.  And today's "in the cup" results showed that. 

 

The blend didn't work out as well as it did yesterday.  It tasted a little too cooked, and possibly a little too strong as well.  Dosing and grinding were done as always, so neither contributed to the problems; and it's too soon to consider "freshness."  The unpleasant aspects could be artifacts of slightly over-roasting; from over-steeping (I went long on both pots); more likely from both; and/or stem from a variety of other possibilities.  It's a complex relationship between lots of inter-dynamics; isolating variables can be difficult, sometimes impossible.       

 

I had a long and very interesting conversation yesterday with Sean, a professional coffee roaster, who also has a Royal 1000 for his home use.  There were a few practical tips, some talk about the difference between pre and post rest blending; but one of the most important takeaways from our talk was roasting more beans than could be used to experiment with roasting techniques and blends.   Wotthehell, wotthehell, toujours gai and beans are cheap. 

 

Time's on my side.  Yes it is. 

 

BDL

post #6 of 7
Thread Starter 

The last couple of weeks of roasting had a few highs and plenty of lows.

 

It's not an easy roaster to master, because there's no direct control over fan or power.  Instead, temperature and air flow are controlled by manipulating dampers attached to control rods.  Primitive, and not terribly exact.  The "user's manual" which came with the machine is incomplete and poorly translated.  The seller has no personal experience roasting coffee.  

 

However, as I've done more roasting, not to mention a lot of dry runs, I'm beginning to gain some measure of control over air-flow and temperature, control over total roasting time by using a smaller charge (600g), and -- mostly importantly -- calmed down enough to make rational decisions during the roast while taking decent notes. 

 

My last roast, Roast 5, was yesterday.  Here's a picture of a few, unculled beans. 


The goal was splitting the boundary between "Full City" and "Full City+," (FC/FC+), which is my preferred target for general use (we use three brew methods).  This roast seems to be closer to City/Full City.  That's partly a function of it being a pre-roast blend (different beans don't roast exactly the same), and partly because I dropped the beans too quickly.  That said, the beans were not over-roasted; nor was there any aroma of smoke clinging to the beans. 

 

Still a long way to go, but much better.    

 

BDL

post #7 of 7
Thread Starter 

Sadly, after several dozen roasts, I've concluded that this roaster is not the right one for me.

 

Most of the roasts I've done have ended with very good to excellent results.  However, the Amazon has only borderline roasting power under the best of circumstances.  Those include a charge weight below 1kg, desiring a fairly slow roast, and a reliable, steady electric supply.  The first thing was no big deal.  I could make my peace with the second.  But no matter what I tried, I could not make the roaster work consistently with the power we get at our house during the hot months.   And going back to the second thing -- nearly all of the roasts really were very good.  The slow and gentle profile (at full power, fast as the roaster could go) brought out the sweetness and chocolates in ways that a more aggressive approach could not.  Even so, I  want the freedom to tweak.  

 

At the time I bought the Amazon, I knew I was one of those "going first," and promised myself then that if it didn't work out, I'd just eat the money loss and move on to something better -- without trying to pretend that it was better than it was, and without punishing myself for making a bad decision by denying myself what I really wanted (and can afford). 

 

Consequently the Amazon is out.  When thinking about its replacement, I had to choose between a more robust electric roaster, which would mean adding a new panel and another line to our electric service; or a gas-fired roaster.  

 

I decided on the US Coffee Roaster Corp Sample Roaster:

 

 

Mine won't be yellow, but forest green; will also with a black face; will be equipped with built in real-time datalogging of air and bean temperatures to PC; and will be fueled by an ordinary 5gal LPG (propane) tank of the type used for grills and RVs.  Delivery will take another seven weeks or so; with the roaster arriving a little before my birthday.  I placed the order last Monday, and the wait is already making me meshuggeh. rollsmile.gif  

 

The location will remain on the patio. After I've had the chance to do a few roasts I'll let you in on how it's going. But only if you'll hold still long enough.  In the meantime, I'll be happy to answer any questions about the old roaster, which is for sale.  There are a number of fairly detailed posts on Home Barista, and a few on Coffee Geek.  If you're thinking about a new or used Amazon for yourself, bear in mind that just because it wasn't right for me doesn't mean it won't keep someone very happy for a long time.  But I can't recommend it either.

 

If there's any interest, I'll be equally happy to discuss the less impulsive but  not entirely rational process which led me to choose the USRC over its competitors.  

 

Oh well,

BDL


Edited by boar_d_laze - 7/28/13 at 10:15pm
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