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Behmor roast confusion: Any guidance?
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craiginNZ
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Joined: 27 Jun 2012
Posts: 5
Location: NZ
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Sat Aug 11, 2012, 4:16pm
Subject: Behmor roast confusion: Any guidance?
 

To give some context, for the last 3-4 years I've been roasting with a Freshroast machine. The little guy never gave up on me, and I got some fantastic coffee out of it. A trans-Pacific move (USA to New Zealand) meant leaving the FR behind and starting fresh.

So, I bought a Behmor 1600. I've had it two months and still haven't managed (after 12-15 roasts) to get coffee anywhere near as delicious as I did with the cheap little air roaster. It's not even consistently crappy: Sometimes it's unexpectedly burned tasting, sometimes it tastes way under-roasted.

My problem might sound crazy, but I just can't separate first crack from second crack. For instance, I just let a 1/2lb roast go for a long time on P5 because I thought I was fighting to push the roast even through first crack. A couple of glimpses of sparkling beans later and it's clear that it was well into 2nd. But I just couldn't tell. Even on P1 with 1/2 lb batches I'm getting to 11-11.30 and not feeling confident I've heard 1C.

On my old little roaster there was a very obvious first crack and an equally obvious second. I occasionally hear very slight 'pops' on the Behmor and I'm now wondering if those quiet, occasional little pops are the start first crack that I'm writing off as just mechanical noise or something (it doesn't seem like there are enough pops for this to be the case).

I know there are enough very happy Behmor users that this isn't a problem with the machine (unless I have a dud...and I *did* have a slight suspicion that I might have been sent a refurb) - can anyone suggest how I can correct my user error?
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Prof
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Prof
Joined: 10 Sep 2004
Posts: 717
Location: Seattle
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Espresso: PV Lusso
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Drip: Aeropress
Roaster: Behmor 1600+
Posted Sun Aug 12, 2012, 6:41am
Subject: Re: Behmor roast confusion: Any guidance?
 

Could it be a voltage issure?  I'm not sure since I don't know if 220V is what you have and if 220V can be as troublesome as 120V in regards to low voltage.

Perhaps the beans are old?

The Behmor is great for giving the user the ability to hear the sounds of the cracks.  But perhaps the FR's higher heat gives more distinct pops and snaps.

 
LMWDP # 010
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onthemoors
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Posted Sun Aug 12, 2012, 7:56am
Subject: Re: Behmor roast confusion: Any guidance?
 

Two suggestions

Read the f'ing manual and follow the tip pertaining to the readjusting of the timer once you hear the first crack/pop. Learn from it and adjust.

It's that simple really.
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gregr
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Posted Sun Aug 12, 2012, 9:06am
Subject: Re: Behmor roast confusion: Any guidance?
 

First suggestion is to use the appropriate profile for the beans you're roasting. I can't find Joe's original post but it's in the manual-- this is off the top of my head:
P1 for high grown and or/hard beans like Centrals
P2 for same once you've figured out when first crack will be and you want to stretch out the final stage of the roast
P3,4 for low grown soft beans like SE Asians and espresso
P5 for beans like Kona, JBM, etc.

I might have some of that not precisely correct but the point is P5 is hardly ever used and even P4 gets used rarely.
Since you loved the beans from the FR I'd suggest you aim for faster roast times to highlight brightness (slower roasts highlight body more). P1 will do that for you. Here's a very basic way to get a good bright roast with minimal input-- roast your 1/2# on the 1#/P1 setting, preferably a high grown and or hard bean like Centrals, Columbians, etc. Listen for first crack and end the roast 30s or so after it ends.  
Read that manual- it'll save you a lot of headaches and wasted beans!
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howseth
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howseth
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Posted Sun Aug 12, 2012, 10:09am
Subject: Re: Behmor roast confusion: Any guidance?
 

I also went from a Fresh Roast to a Behmor. I much prefer the Behmor for it's capacity and it's more solid construction. I have been using my Behmor for 3 1/2 years. Yeah, it may be harder to hear the cracks. I roast outdoors all year I and often open the Behmor door between cracks for a few seconds at a time to both slow roast a bit - and to hear the cracks. Because I do this door opening, I have found it easier to just always use P1 profile. (I have used other profiles in the past, before settling on P1. I usually roast 12 oz. at the pound setting and add time, as well to get a Full City+ on most bean blends.
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JKalpin
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Roaster: Freshroast+8, Behmor 1600+
Posted Sun Aug 12, 2012, 12:01pm
Subject: Re: Behmor roast confusion: Any guidance?
 

onthemoors Said:

Two suggestions

Read the f'ing manual and follow the tip pertaining to the readjusting of the timer once you hear the first crack/pop. Learn from it and adjust.

Posted August 12, 2012 link

I think Craiginnz is entitled to a longer explanation:

Sometimes coffee has a very sparse 1CR.  Sometimes the 1CR goes directly into the 2CR with hardly any 'rest' between them.  But ALWAYS coffee will continue to roast (and crackle) for a couple of minutes after I go to cool.  Therefore, it is impossible to predict when the 1CR will conclude and the 2CR will begin.

What Joe Behm says in his manual (...that he calls the 'Rosetta Stone Rule') is that you terminate the roast at X:XX minutes after the first crack or two of the 1CR.  I just completed a roast of 10 oz of Sweet Maria's Monkey Blend as follows:  I started a timer at the first pop or two of the 1CR and I went to cool exactly 2:30 minutes later.  As I listened there was ...nothing... no 1CR, no 2CR, but in 15 seconds the 2CR began and continued for around 30 seconds.  That's just what I wanted.  The roast came out as FC+.

I used Monkey Blend as my example because, as a blend of several beans, I expected there to be little or no silent period between the two kinds of cracks.  

After I go to 'cool' the batch continues to roast because the cooling rate is slow.  Fancier (read ...more expensive) roasters dump into a tray with much faster cooling.  

Using the Rosetta-Stone rule, I have never had an 'off' roast.

 
Jerry
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JPDyson
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Posted Mon Aug 13, 2012, 8:36am
Subject: Re: Behmor roast confusion: Any guidance?
 

I would suggest devoting a batch to one pedal-to-the-floor roast. That is, P1. If you don't get a defined, obvious first crack using P1, there's technical problem (perhaps excessive voltage drop). I think having a Kill-a-watt inline is a great idea. Watching it during the roast can tell you if you're getting enough power to the elements. If you seem to be getting at least 116V (though you'd love to see more) and still don't get a hard and fast first crack, contact Joe and ask for support. The Behmor with proper power is capable of burning the crap out of some coffee in no time.

P5 is a very, very gentle profile and can lead to a subtle first crack. If you're using dense beans, stick with P1. The manual has reasonable guidance for which profiles are best for which regions, but there are plenty of exceptions to the rule.

 
--Josh
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rarebear
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rarebear
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Posted Thu Aug 16, 2012, 12:14am
Subject: Re: Behmor roast confusion: Any guidance?
 

I had best luck with 8oz P1 C with a 1:30 per heat with out cage..
Add cage and beans and restart..
Roast 2:10 at least after 1C

Some beans snap very load some hardly at all..
1C most times loud spaced out snaps
2C faster low volume snaps like huge bowel of rice krispies vs pop corn pops for C1
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Burner0000
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Drip: Manual Drip, French Press
Roaster: Behmor 1600 / Sonofresco
Posted Thu Aug 16, 2012, 4:37am
Subject: Re: Behmor roast confusion: Any guidance?
 

craiginNZ Said:

To give some context, for the last 3-4 years I've been roasting with a Freshroast machine. The little guy never gave up on me, and I got some fantastic coffee out of it. A trans-Pacific move (USA to New Zealand) meant leaving the FR behind and starting fresh.

So, I bought a Behmor 1600. I've had it two months and still haven't managed (after 12-15 roasts) to get coffee anywhere near as delicious as I did with the cheap little air roaster. It's not even consistently crappy: Sometimes it's unexpectedly burned tasting, sometimes it tastes way under-roasted.

My problem might sound crazy, but I just can't separate first crack from second crack. For instance, I just let a 1/2lb roast go for a long time on P5 because I thought I was fighting to push the roast even through first crack. A couple of glimpses of sparkling beans later and it's clear that it was well into 2nd. But I just couldn't tell. Even on P1 with 1/2 lb batches I'm getting to 11-11.30 and not feeling confident I've heard 1C.

On my old little roaster there was a very obvious first crack and an equally obvious second. I occasionally hear very slight 'pops' on the Behmor and I'm now wondering if those quiet, occasional little pops are the start first crack that I'm writing off as just mechanical noise or something (it doesn't seem like there are enough pops for this to be the case).

I know there are enough very happy Behmor users that this isn't a problem with the machine (unless I have a dud...and I *did* have a slight suspicion that I might have been sent a refurb) - can anyone suggest how I can correct my user error?

Posted August 11, 2012 link

craiginNZ,

I would bet this is a voltage issue and or stale coffee beans.
  1. Test your voltage and see if you got anything suckin energy from the wall.
  2. Get some info such as storage and crop.
  3. Try P1, D and listen closely.  If you get OK coffee then roast by bean type.
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craiginNZ
Senior Member


Joined: 27 Jun 2012
Posts: 5
Location: NZ
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Fri Aug 17, 2012, 4:03am
Subject: Re: Behmor roast confusion: Any guidance?
 

I appreciate the helpful suggestions.

I also understand the tendency to tell folks to RTFM - though I promise you, my struggles here are not due to a lack of reading!

I measured the voltage at the outlet as being 237-238V, so I'd be surprised if that's the issue. Given the small market for home roasters in NZ, I'm more inclined to think the beans could be stale.

Still, I followed some of the tips here - e.g., started measuring from the first sound that could conceivably be 1C (even though I wouldn't have recognized it as such - and therein lies the problem). The roasts haven't really had long enough to rest for me to be sure of how they've turned out, but I'm trying the P1 profile again and doing just 1/4lb batches using the "Rosetta Stone". Hopefully I'll find some improvement.
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