Posted Mon Mar 28, 2011, 1:03pm Subject: ‘Roastmaster’, the iPhone App
I did a search and cannot believe there is nothing here about ‘Roastmaster’, the iPhone App.
It is the brainchild of Danny Hall in his company Rainfrog Inc. Look here.
I just completed a roast and can tell you it is slick and smooth and I got more data using that app than I could otherwise record.
It is a relational data-base program (SQLite) and all the data-bases (there are many) talk to each other. It handles all the book-keeping you would ever need, in bean inventory, roasting, brewing, cupping, etc and all with little intervention from me. For example, my first ½ lb roast was a Brazil and my inventory was automatically decremented by ½ lb. I added my last delivery of greens and that is now shown available for roasting.
While expensive (for an app) there is a lot in it. It has excellent ‘help’ files and even more help on the website.
It presents live data while I am roasting. It displays total roasting (up) time, time from onset of the 1CR and time from onset of the 2CR.
It also presents graphs of previous roasts (while I am roasting) so I know, with that bean, (or any other criteria) where the 1CR and 2CR usually begin, foreknowledge of ‘exactly’ where I am in the roast. That is data-logging of a different kind. I know where I should be using data from previous roasts. However, it will also do data-logging of traditional variables such as temperatures.
The input choices are almost tailor-made for my Behmor 1600 but would work equally well with my Fresh Roast +8 and other roasters.
What is obvious is, as I read the help-screens, that the app designer is deep into coffee-culture. That is uncommon with app-writers.
My only relationship with Rainfrog Inc and Danny Hall is …that iTunes happily accepted my $10.
Posted Mon Mar 28, 2011, 5:01pm Subject: Re: ‘Roastmaster’, the iPhone App
I'm glad it works better than it looks. I'm a snobby aesthete, so I couldn't stand to drop the cash on "screen vomit." Reminds me of those old (circa 1998) Flash web sites, with little animated buttons for everything, no hierarchy, no cohesion, probably like five different typefaces at minimum... -shudder- To its credit, I did want to buy it based on features. I was looking for a robust app to....well no, I was looking for one more reason to pull out my iPod. Still, it really does look appealing before you see the screen shots.
morris Senior Member Joined: 29 Mar 2011 Posts: 1 Location: Mpls/St. Paul Expertise: I live coffee
Posted Tue Mar 29, 2011, 4:00pm Subject: Re: ‘Roastmaster’, the iPhone App
@Jkalpin, are you interested because it is an iphone app? Is it all manual data entry or is there a way to automate the data collection?
@Steve, as far as the design, there ought to be a way to change the background look and feel similar to changing the look and feel of a Wordpress site.
I'd like to know if anything has been developed for Android or better, multi-platform? Android is already outselling iPhone by leaps and bounds. Though Windows Mobile is less than 2% of the market, their plans to join forces with Nokia has potential to be a third contender.
The 'manual entry' was to enter shipments received into my stash.
After that, I have to enter: country, bean, weight, profile and program for each individual roast. At the end of the roast I enter 'quality'. That's just about it. All other data-base adjustments are done by the program.
I found the app when it was casually mentioned in this forum. I know the author is porting it to the iPad (current work).
While Android is another good platform, I have no knowledge of the author's intentions there. However, SQLite works with just about any system.
The idea being that you select what you're roasting from your inventory, the weight, conditions, what roaster you're using, the program and profile graphs etc. It's looks through the database of previous like roasts. You can widen or narrow the matching criteria at any time, before and during a roast.
It then shows an averaged graph of previous results, and shows the previous points of first and second crack. The idea then is that you progress with the roast without entering in anything. The assumption is that all things being the same, you're within the margin and the data would be similar. You just hit start, hit 1st crack, hit 2nd crack, and then end.
If however during the roast you see it deviate and you want to record the deviation, you can quickly take a snapshot of the existing profile, and then from that point in time forward to the end of the roast, adjust the temperature datapoints.
That roast will then, if you choose to keep the snapshot, be averaged into the sum of previous like roasts, modifying the graph for your next roast.
You're not locked into any of those decisions. It's strongly a database backend. You can review and post-edit or delete any roast or roast profile snapshot.
You can copy/paste entire roast profiles from one roast to another. You can make as many on-device backups of the the database as you like and switch between multiple databases. You can through iTunes, move databases between iPhone's/iPod Touch/iPad's (while I always roast on my iPad, I like to keep a copy of the database on my phone for reference).
I'll agree, the aesthetics didn't grab me, but being an IT guy, the depth of the features stood above most of the 200+ apps on my devices.
Posted Sun Apr 3, 2011, 6:55am Subject: Re: ‘Roastmaster’, the iPhone App
When I roast, I have the Behmor clock (which is a down-timer) and my wife's kitchen timer (up) in hand. When I reach the onset of the 1CR I zero my wife's timer and restart it again at zero. For half a lb, I expect the 2CR to commence around 2:10 minutes later but I watch the Behmor down-timer to see if I have enough time left before it goes to auto-cool.
With Roastmaster, all those times are displayed constantly, and at the conclusion of the roast I have a record of the 1CR onset time, the time to reach the 2CR onset, and how much time elapsed until I go to cool. At the conclusion of the roast, ALL those times stay on the screen for future reference. That, for me, is a big thing.
Then, I get to record the 'quality' of the roast. That could be anything but for me it is ...how close I get to ...dark, with a slight sheen, and dots of oil only appearing after 4 or 5 days. That 'quality' is displayed by the 'height' of the lines on the graph of previous roasts.
All-in-all it is a very useful app. It works on my iPod but the display is busy and it would be better on an iPad.
Not really. If there's not an iPad specific version, you can still download and use the app, but it shows up iPod/iPhone size with a 3" black border. You have the option to double the size but the solution doesn't change so it just looks bad. At $9.99 it's not an inexpensive app; at that price and no iPad version is why I haven't bought it.
I like this app as well. He is beta testing the app for ipad right now and I really like what Ive seen of it so far. If you have any questions he is great about responding.
Now, having done a dozen or 15 roasts using 'Roastmaster', I can say that it truly useful and I can't imagine roasting without it.
If nothing else, think about having 3 stop-watches running simultaneously: 1 from the start of the roast, 1 from the onset of the 1CR and 1 from the onset of the 2CR.
Also, consider the issue of pre-heating: I now pre-heat every roast by 1:30. When I 'stop' the roast I 'stop' the program time. When I re-set the weight, program and profile and start the roaster I 'start' the program and all the 3 stop-watches pick up from where they left off.
Also, if I open the file of the first (or any) roast, what I get is the control-panel with the condition of all three stop-watches at the conclusion of the roast, plus all the settings and notes that were entered for that roast, all neatly organized for me.
As I said previously, I have no relationship with Danny Hall or his company Rainfrog Inc. except that iTunes were happy to accept my $10. Anyway, I found a bug and contacted him. He said that the iPad version was almost ready for the road and the upgrade from iPhone to iPad (full-screen) would be free.
A few days later, a major upgrade to his (iPhone) program came through. I don't know yet what he added, but I'm sure it will be ...useful.
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