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Old 02-07-2010, 10:50 AM   #1
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Default Behmor on the way

Well, after much thought, I decided to give the Behmor 1600 a try.

Most of the "limitations" I read about aren't an issue at the moment for me and the other, like limited visibility to the roasting drum seem to have been addressed with the new chaff collector.

I was very close to the Hottop B programmable, but was having a hard time letting go of 1000 bucks so easily with the economy being bad and all.

Roastmasters included a 5 pound bag of Brasil Beija Flor and free shipping, so the price was a lot easier to swallow, although I am sure the Hottop is better built. I pushed my luck a little bit and asked if they could keep the 5 pounds of Brasil and substitute just 2 pounds of Kona, which comes out about the same pricewise.

I'll do a review on the machine once I get it and roast a few pounds and can give it a relatively fair assessment.

I always seem to see very limited praise around here regarding Behmors, but CG has a real loyal following, which is interesting.

I will definitely keep the Freshroast around for small batches and a change of roast, but it had gotten to the point where the small roast size and my espresso consumption was requiring a half day dedicated to roasting, which lost its fun after a few months.

Having a drum roaster capable of 1 pound roasts and some flexibility in roast times is very appealing to me, although perhaps all the extra tweaking of the Hottop will be something I crave in a year or so. If so, I'll buy the Hottop or whatever may come out by then.

The "famous" smoke suppression on the Behmor will also be a welcome addition for the couple weeks a year it's too cold on my patio to roast and am stuck in the kitchen.

Quick question for Behmor owners; do you have a preset roast profile you normally use for a dark espresso roast?

Most of the stuff I read over on Coffeegeek seems to have P3 as the most popular..
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Old 02-07-2010, 12:05 PM   #2
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Default Re: Behmor on the way

I really need to get a home roaster. Let us know how the coffee comes out
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Old 02-08-2010, 06:47 AM   #3
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Default Re: Behmor on the way

The Hottop B is $750 not $1000 and I wouldn't suggest any one get the Hottop P which is $1000 unless they really knew what was going on in every stage of the roast.

P3 should be a good starting place for your espresso roasts. Changing batch size is the best way to fine tune your roasts with the Behmor. P2 can be very handy as well to get long finishes.
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Old 02-08-2010, 09:12 AM   #4
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Default Re: Behmor on the way

You're right Rob, I mistook the B for the P model, so my price was a bit off.

In any event, hopefully the Behmor won't dissapoint, which I don't think it will.

From what I can tell, adjusting batch sizes means putting, say, 3/4 pound beans in and telling the roaster you put in 1 pound, right?

The roast curve thing will take some getting used to as I am used to cranking the Freshroast to the full 8 and turning it off once second crack starts, then dumping the beans into a collander over a fan. I'll be interested in seeing what the "brighter" roast from the air roaster is compared to the more "developed" roast from the drum roaster.

Probably never will though, as I never could figure out what all these "muted mouthfeels" and such are that they describe on some beans.

Not very scientific, but very satisfying.
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Old 02-08-2010, 09:40 AM   #5
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Default Re: Behmor on the way

I got my sife a Behmor for our anniversary in November, and she won't go back to store bought at all now. It's very easy to use and clean, and we've had no issues with ours, so far. As we get more experience with it, we'll know when to push thengs and when to back off, but for us beginners, it has been very east to use so far. Since you already have raosting experience, I'm sure you'll have no problems with yours.
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Old 02-08-2010, 10:09 AM   #6
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Default Re: Behmor on the way

You will be fine. 10-12oz batch sizes work the best and yes use the 1# setting. Read up on the changes to Behmor profiling at CG, good stuff in there.

Getting the most from a roast takes more control then the Behmor will give but I am trying to learn most people don't need this or will ever taste this. Look at how few will actually buy from artisan roasters, most just can't justify the cost, same with buying a home roaster. My Hottop is capable of giving end results that will be very close to the commercial roaster I will buy and it has taken me 3 years to get to this point with a lot of hard work, tons of batches, and tons of reading.

You should know this by now but don't walk away from the Behmor, at least not far or for a moment or two. Lots of small chaff fires but I had a couple of bean fires and so have many others. SAFTY FIRST. This is a big disadvantage for the quest M3, have a house fire because of that roaster and no insurance company is going to pay out since it has not been UL approved. The Hottop is full of annoying safety features but I am thankful for them at times.
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Old 02-08-2010, 10:37 AM   #7
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Default Re: Behmor on the way

Point taken. I roast on my patio so I doubt I'll burn too much, but have read horror stories about fires, including many from Hottop owners.

I normally fire up a cigar, sit outside, and enjoy the roasting with a spray bottle close by.

The whole experience is quite enjoyable to me and my patio is my refuge.
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Old 02-08-2010, 11:18 AM   #8
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Default Re: Behmor on the way

In 2 years I have only had one fire. And that was because I didnt do a good job of cleaning out the roaster. Either use a shop vac or dust buster for easier cleaning. And Yes as Mentioned Never Walk away from your roaster while roasting. Have a great time.
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Old 02-08-2010, 12:44 PM   #9
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Default Re: Behmor on the way

Quote:
Originally Posted by ashtonlady View Post
In 2 years I have only had one fire. And that was because I didnt do a good job of cleaning out the roaster. Either use a shop vac or dust buster for easier cleaning. And Yes as Mentioned Never Walk away from your roaster while roasting. Have a great time.
Good point about cleaning. I tear my machine down often to get the residue that builds up cleaned. The new chaff collector for the Behmor should be much better at preventing the chaff fires.



Quote:
Originally Posted by floydpink View Post
Point taken. I roast on my patio so I doubt I'll burn too much, but have read horror stories about fires, including many from Hottop owners.

I normally fire up a cigar, sit outside, and enjoy the roasting with a spray bottle close by.

The whole experience is quite enjoyable to me and my patio is my refuge.
I love to roast outside in better weather, I have 28" of snow on the ground and another 12"+ due starting tomorrow.

I do suggest adding a fire extinguisher to your arsenal, a co2 one won't hurt your equipment if it is ever needed.

Could you point me to the Hottop fires? Unless you are referring to when they first imported them into the country many years ago I have not seen any mention of one. Don't get me wrong, roasted beans are 30-40f away from an imminent fire once 2nd crack has happened, Danger Will Robinson, Danger .
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Old 02-08-2010, 04:15 PM   #10
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Default Re: Behmor on the way

Sorry Rob, can't point you to the Hottop fires but did read a few reports on Coffeegeek about them as well as somewhere else.

I'll have more time after the busy President's day weekend to research and validate my statement after the tourists leave.

Aw heck, I know it's skewed, but a quick Google revealed this>




Jim Algar (quality: 2.6) 10.12.2004 Rating: 0.0
Bottom Line: FIRE FIRE FIRE FIRE FIRE FIRE HAZADRD FIRE FIRE FIRE FIRE FIRE FIRE HAZARD FIRE FIRE FIRE FIRE FIRE FIRE HAZARD

Michael W (quality: 7.1) 05.18.2004 Rating: 8.6
Bottom Line: Consistent, easy-to-use, good-looking, large batch, excellent flavor and aroma. If you can afford it, it is a nice luxury.

Fred Langer (quality: 8.0) 03.05.2004 Rating: 7.0
Bottom Line: If you want 1/2 pound batches of repeatable roasts, don't mind the higher price (factor in the possible need for a variac if your voltage is wimpy) - this beats the Alpenrost hands down.

Jon Radoff (quality: 3.7) 02.27.2004 Rating: 4.6
Bottom Line: Dangerous fire-hazard, avoid!


My Bottom Line: Your Hottop blows away my Behmor and always will, and I am a cheap bastard who likes shiny E61 machines full of chrome and could have bought the Hottop easliy with the money I would have saved buying a cheaper machine!!!!
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Old 02-08-2010, 05:00 PM   #11
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Default Re: Behmor on the way

The fires you see mentioned refer to chaff fires, not bean or roaster fires. Alway's remember to fight the urge - Don't open the door if the chaff starts sparking! (if you open the door the extra air will jump-start the flames!) If the chaff actually starts burning in force, again, Don't open the door, just turn off the machine and the "fire" will suffocate.* (this generally only happens to the most chaffiest of coffee beans, dry-process Ethiopians in particular.

I HIGHLY recommend having a Kill-a-watt outlet meter on hand to check your available voltage at every roast. Normal power fluctuations can play havoc with the Behmor because it wants to consume a full 1500 watts when the afterburner and heat bulbs are powered up. Knowing your line voltage allows for you to diagnose and compensate, if it happens to be on the low side.


* once the flames go out, hit start, then cool in quick succession and the beans can be saved
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Old 02-08-2010, 05:10 PM   #12
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Default Re: Behmor on the way

Don't worry to much Pete, I think you will find just like those reviews the machines will be the older models that had many bugs to still work out.

Don't be so harsh on your love of chrome, , we all have our thing.

You will love the Behmor, it will get you great roasts that can be tweaked enough to make nice improvements from roast to roast. The geek support for the Behmor is very high so lots of people to get advice from, and for the price it really is hard to beat. For the times you are forced to roast inside the afterburner is a really nice feature. Your voltage may be fine but the slightest change can make a difference so I suggest getting a Kill-a-Watt ($25) to see when there may be low voltage times during the day, not a bad utility to have to check other appliances and what they may be drawing in power.

See, I really am trying not to be such a roast Nazi. I recognize my insanity and acknowledge I can't change myself so I will try to limit what I impose on others and expect from them. After all it is the passion for the bean we share and I want as many people to get the most from every cup and you are doing this.

A few more things with the Behmor.
The new chaff collector seems to add a little time to the roast so folks have been doing a 1:30 minute preheat before starting their roast proper.

Opening the door after 1st crack is a good way to get a longer finish if coming into first to fast and hot.

Cracking the door during the cool down cycle and then opening completely will help cool the beans much quicker.

Ira's BehmorThing is a very handy tool for keeping track of your roasts. There is an apple app (if you have an ipod touch or iphone) that is rather nice called RoastTimer which I use even if I am not trying to track a roast just because it is a timer counting forward instead of backwards, a timer and note pad work just as well though.

I found that roasts in the Behmor are best when under 18 minutes, over that they just get baked tasting.

I think the new Behmor comes with the small grid drum standard, if not let me know and I will send you an extra one I have that is still in the box, I added it to the cart twice by accident.

After adding beans to the drum give it a good shake to get any small shards or beans out before the roast.

Happy Roasting .


Edit: Raisin beat me to the Kill-a-Watt info...that stuff in red is about the old Hottop and not the Behmor but great advice on what to do if there is a chaff fire in the behmor.
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Old 02-08-2010, 10:58 PM   #13
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Default Re: Behmor on the way

Ok gents. I took your sage advice and found and bought a Kill A Watt off Ebay.

Seems fairly straight forward, but do you just plug the roaster in and check the wattage in different outlets as well as different periods of the day?

Any special number I should look for?

Thanks as always for the great advice.
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Old 02-09-2010, 07:01 AM   #14
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Default Re: Behmor on the way

No need to have the roaster plugged in to check the voltage at the outlet, I always had 119-121volts except in the summer time around dinner it would drop to 118v. Raisin knows the more about what happens when the voltage drops below that and what point is not worth roasting. Check the outlets you would be using, your outside patio voltage may be effected if it is in a series and something else is running on that line or would be turned on (like a washer or something) during a roast.

The Kill-a-watt can also check watts so it is informative to be watch during a roast to see what happens where, plus you can check things like how many watts a TV on stand by uses in a 24 hr period.
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Old 02-10-2010, 07:37 AM   #15
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Default Re: Behmor on the way

Quote:
Originally Posted by germantown rob View Post
I think the new Behmor comes with the small grid drum standard, if not let me know and I will send you an extra one I have that is still in the box, I added it to the cart twice by accident.

After adding beans to the drum give it a good shake to get any small shards or beans out before the roast.
Yes, it does come with the smaller grid drum (mine did, anyways).

And that's GREAT advice!
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Old 02-10-2010, 12:19 PM   #16
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Default Re: Behmor on the way

There's two things to watch for with the kill-a-watt appliance, voltage supply and voltage drop.

Plug the KAW into an outlet and read the Line Voltage, this will generally vary during the day following the utilities ability to compensate for demand. (mine is 114v - 122v) This reading can also vary around your house, depending on the age, length, and traffic on that particular circuit. DON'T use an extension cord.
Voltage drop will occur when the outlet and/or it's associated circuit operates under load according to age, etc. (mine drops 3-5 volts when the Behmor is running full tilt, more when the original line voltage is low, less when voltage is abundant.)

In my experience ( i'm on my second Behmor, the first is 140 in dog-years!), this machine roasts best at 120v+ initial supply with the voltage drop at peak consumption never below 116v. The higher the voltage the hotter and faster the roast becomes, both desirable conditions for the Behmor.
For me, this meant a lot of late night roasting (1-3am) when everyone is asleep and the voltage rises above 120v. On cfgk you can read of folk who don't have the supply problems that i experience, if you are so blessed all of this might prove thankfully moot.


Once the roast has started, switch the KAW to read wattage so you can see what the Behmor is doing at any given moment. I usually see an initial consumption of ~950 watts as the motor and heating elements actuate. After a few minutes the wattage will hit ~1500w once the afterburner kicks in. From this point on the afterburner will stay on continuously until 9:30 remains on the cooling cycle.

Wattage will drop when the brain turns off the heating elements, so you can follow it's thinking by watching the KAW. These drops are determined by the peak temperature and by the profile chosen, so look at the profile charts in the manual and read the % total power applied at various stages of the roast. This is most important when using the workhorse P2 profile and you want to time the power decrease with the 1c, so as to lengthen the period between 1c-2c. A longish inter-crack time span will enhance and richen the roast flavors and it is highly desirable to time and control this particular part of the roast.

(i hate typing, this was an hour of composition!)
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Old 02-10-2010, 04:18 PM   #17
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Default Re: Behmor on the way

Thanks for that Raisin.

Both the KAW and Behmor should arrive tommorow, according to tracking and that made the process easier to grasp.

I explained to my wife I will be roasting all her coffee now and she can stop buying Cafe Bustello after all these years.

With the Freshroast, it really would have been tough roasting two different people's coffee.

I also said the KAW has something to do with global warming and reducing our carbon output.

These help when two boxes arrive for me at the same time and we're supposed to be cutting back.
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Old 02-10-2010, 06:55 PM   #18
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Default Re: Behmor on the way

The Kill-a-Watt can be great fun, find out how much energy the plasma tv uses, your computer on stand-by mode, your xmas lights (if they are still up... lol).

It has many handy features, you can leave it plugged in on a cyclical appliance (like a freezer) and it will tell you the average consumption on an hourly, daily, and monthly basis.

Even though the toy's arrive tomorrow, keep in mind that the roasted beans will not be ready to sample for 3-4 day's! They need that time to finish oxidizing in air for the chemical changes to complete and a full roast flavor to develop. (go ahead, you WILL see.) After this acclimation they will be best for an additional 7-10 days, you will find that different beans and roast levels will have disparate lifespans, all new things to learn...
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Old 02-11-2010, 10:45 AM   #19
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Default Re: Behmor on the way

Location Date Local Time DescriptionWhat's This?
ORLANDO, FL, US 02/11/2010 6:45 A.M. THE PACKAGE WAS NOT DISPATCHED




Damn snowstorms up North slowing down my package.

It's ok, I have a pound of Monkey Blend already roasted.
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Old 02-11-2010, 12:10 PM   #20
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Default Re: Behmor on the way

Oh snap! Looks like I am breaking in a Behmor tonight!

Status: In Transit - On Time
Your shipment is moving within the UPS network and should be delivered on the Scheduled Delivery Date. A shipment can remain in this status until it is delivered. Other than time-definite air deliveries, shipments are generally delivered anytime between the hours of 9 a.m. and 7 p.m. to residences, and by close of business for commercial addresses. UPS cannot schedule a specific delivery time within that window.



What should I do if I'm expecting a delivery?



In Transit - On Time Scheduled Delivery Date: 02/11/2010 Shipped To: ORLANDO, FL, US Shipped/Billed On: 02/08/2010 Type: Package Service: GROUND Weight: 30.30 Lbs
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