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Thread: Coffee roasting in my gas grille

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    JoyfulNoise's Avatar
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    Question Coffee roasting in my gas grille

    Haha...a perfect topic for The Coffee Bar forum

    So I'm about to launch into a new area of personal interest, namely roasting my own coffee. I know there are lots of DIY as well as commercially available roasting apparati out there. Since I don't want to fumigate my house with intense coffee aroma (although I have no problem with it) and I don't want to setup a complicated exhaust system, I figured I would use the rotisserie on my gas grille to do the job. I happened to find on the "inter-webs" a site where they sell coffee bean roasting drums specifically designed for this purpose.

    Has anyone ever purchased from this vendor before - http://www.rkdrums.com ?

    I'm thinking all I probably need is a 4-lb drum although, given the size of my grille and the extra infrared back burner on it, I could easily accommodate an 8-lb drum.

    I welcome any and all comments/suggestions (including a good source for green coffee beans) from folks with coffee roasting expertise.

    Thanks.
    Matt
    16k IG PebbleTec pool, 650gal spa, spillway and waterfall, 3HP IntelliFlo VS / 1.5HP WhisperFlo, Pentair QuadDE-100 filter, IC40 SWCG, MasterTemp 400k BTU/hr NG heater, KreepyKrauly suction-side cleaner Dolphin S300i robot, EasyTouch controls, city water, K-1001, K-2006 and K-1766 test kits, Mannitol test for borates

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    JoyfulNoise's Avatar
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    Re: Coffee roasting in my gas grille

    Oh, and according to the site rules -

    4. No strongly positive or negative posts about a product or company are permitted from members with little involvement on the forum. We simply cannot determine the accuracy of your post. Further, any post for the sole reason of defaming another party or presenting only your side of a disagreement will be deleted without notice.
    So if you do have anything to say about the RKDrums that is even remotely bad or that could be construed as "promoting their product", you need to PM me your comments rather than post them generally. The RKDrums website is not some big, nationally known retailer. It's a very niche product and, honestly, it looks like something someone is doing as a side business. It's a very well-designed website, but I'd just like to know if anyone out on TFP has ever ordered one of their drums. I don't want to pay upfront for something only to find out later it's a really lousy retailer to work with or, worse, a scam.
    Matt
    16k IG PebbleTec pool, 650gal spa, spillway and waterfall, 3HP IntelliFlo VS / 1.5HP WhisperFlo, Pentair QuadDE-100 filter, IC40 SWCG, MasterTemp 400k BTU/hr NG heater, KreepyKrauly suction-side cleaner Dolphin S300i robot, EasyTouch controls, city water, K-1001, K-2006 and K-1766 test kits, Mannitol test for borates

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    Re: Coffee roasting in my gas grille

    I have seen the website for RKDrums,but I have always considered gas grill roasting a poor idea for me. Typically, I use about a pound and a half of roasted coffee a week, which means roasting about three 230 gram batches each week in my Gene Café. When I was considering gas grill roasting, I figured I'd have to have a dedicated grill just for coffee because I was concerned that a grill used for barbecue would add unwanted flavor to the beans. Roasting a large amount of coffee that will last several weeks seems to defeat the purpose of having fresh roasted coffee. I guess it all depends on how much you use and whether you roast for other people.

    When I had a basement, I'd roast there and use a flexible dryer vent--the Gene Café chaff chamber is designed for these--to vent the smoke through a small basement window. I'd just slide the window closed to the vent and stuff rags in the gaps. You really do not want to roast indoors without directly venting the smoke outside. Since I live in a warmer climate now, I roast in the garage with the doors and windows open and a fan blowing the smoke toward an open window.

    If you are just now looking into home roasting, check out sweetmarias.com. It's a good source for beans, for roasters, and for good information. I bought my Gene Café from them, and I buy all my green beans from them.
    16K gallon IG exposed aggregate pool with Aquarite SWG T15 cell, Hayward C1750 filter, EcoStar SP3400VSP pump, H400FD pool/spa heater, Polaris PB4-60 booster pump, 280 pressure cleaner, Hayward Super II spa pump and Air Supply Silencer spa blower

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    Re: Coffee roasting in my gas grille

    That is really interesting! Looks like their product's usefulness is not limited to coffee, too!

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    JoyfulNoise's Avatar
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    Re: Coffee roasting in my gas grille

    Quote Originally Posted by ThomasG View Post
    I have seen the website for RKDrums,but I have always considered gas grill roasting a poor idea for me. Typically, I use about a pound and a half of roasted coffee a week, which means roasting about three 230 gram batches each week in my Gene Café. When I was considering gas grill roasting, I figured I'd have to have a dedicated grill just for coffee because I was concerned that a grill used for barbecue would add unwanted flavor to the beans. Roasting a large amount of coffee that will last several weeks seems to defeat the purpose of having fresh roasted coffee. I guess it all depends on how much you use and whether you roast for other people.

    When I had a basement, I'd roast there and use a flexible dryer vent--the Gene Café chaff chamber is designed for these--to vent the smoke through a small basement window. I'd just slide the window closed to the vent and stuff rags in the gaps. You really do not want to roast indoors without directly venting the smoke outside. Since I live in a warmer climate now, I roast in the garage with the doors and windows open and a fan blowing the smoke toward an open window.

    If you are just now looking into home roasting, check out sweetmarias.com. It's a good source for beans, for roasters, and for good information. I bought my Gene Café from them, and I buy all my green beans from them.
    Thanks for the info. I remember you mentioning sweetmarias in another post. It looks/sounds like a 4lbs drum would be more than enough for me.

    I'm not worried about the grille as I keep it exceptionally clean. If everything is heated up and burned off properly, cross contamination should be low. I don't want to go the Gene Cafe route as that's just too much money in my opinion and gas is super cheap for me. Plus I don't have a good space indoors to roast so doing it outside appeals to me.


    Matt
    16k IG PebbleTec pool, 650gal spa, spillway and waterfall, 3HP IntelliFlo VS / 1.5HP WhisperFlo, Pentair QuadDE-100 filter, IC40 SWCG, MasterTemp 400k BTU/hr NG heater, KreepyKrauly suction-side cleaner Dolphin S300i robot, EasyTouch controls, city water, K-1001, K-2006 and K-1766 test kits, Mannitol test for borates

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    Re: Coffee roasting in my gas grille

    I have been home roasting for about 14 years.
    Over that time I have learnt a thing or two about it.
    I have seen the rkdrum system and some other home grown drum roasters over that time and the first thing is 4lb is a lot of coffee.
    Sweet Marias is my vendor of choice for greens the place quality over hype for the most part.
    I find I like a little variety in both my bean and my roast level.
    When you are starting out small batches means less waste when you totally blow your roast profile.
    Even when you get a little experience, when you buy a new bean, it takes a couple of roasts to dial in on the best roast for the bean and your taste buds.
    With all that I settled on roasting 1/2# batches once or twice a week.
    Presently I use a Gene Cafe.
    In the past I have used fluid bed roasters, popcorn poppers, even home made drums with a heat gun.

    As for the intense coffee aroma, well that does not turn up till the roasted beans have rested for a day.
    During roasting there is just the smoke in the later portion of the roast cycle.
    Being in Texas I just roast on the back patio, but if it is really cold (Texas cold, in the 30s tee hee) I can roast under the range hood as it vents outside.

    If you are going to the trouble of roasting, make sure you have a decent burr grinder. It improves the quality of your cup no end.
    Reason being the beans are all ground to the same level of fineness and they are not overheated by the process.
    40k gal freeform, IG pebblesheen, 9'x'6' raised spa, 2-1/2 hp Whisperflo, 520 sq/ft cartridge, Legend w/ booster, Intellibrite 5g in pool @ spa, Rainbow 320 Chlorinator(retired),
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    Re: Coffee roasting in my gas grille

    Quote Originally Posted by ozdiver View Post
    I have been home roasting for about 14 years.

    ....

    If you are going to the trouble of roasting, make sure you have a decent burr grinder. It improves the quality of your cup no end.
    Reason being the beans are all ground to the same level of fineness and they are not overheated by the process.
    Thanks!! Yup, I figured I'd probably roast in small batches.

    So it sounds like sweetmarias is the place to go for beans. CHECK.

    I have a Bodum burr grinder (5 years old and still works perfectly) so I'm all set there.

    And yes, we have southern AZ cold ... Very similar to Texas cold


    Matt
    16k IG PebbleTec pool, 650gal spa, spillway and waterfall, 3HP IntelliFlo VS / 1.5HP WhisperFlo, Pentair QuadDE-100 filter, IC40 SWCG, MasterTemp 400k BTU/hr NG heater, KreepyKrauly suction-side cleaner Dolphin S300i robot, EasyTouch controls, city water, K-1001, K-2006 and K-1766 test kits, Mannitol test for borates

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    Re: Coffee roasting in my gas grille

    Ozdiver's comment about small batches meaning less waste when you blow your roast profile is worth attention. I started with an I-Roast II, a small batch (think one pot of coffee) air roaster, and my first roast in it was burned to charcoal. I would have been despondent to have to pitch four pounds of burnt coffee. I'd recommend taking your time to research and consider small, cheap roasting methods at first. Whatever you decide, enjoy the roasting experience and be prepared to be labeled a coffee snob (I tell my children I prefer to think of myself as a coffee evangelist).
    16K gallon IG exposed aggregate pool with Aquarite SWG T15 cell, Hayward C1750 filter, EcoStar SP3400VSP pump, H400FD pool/spa heater, Polaris PB4-60 booster pump, 280 pressure cleaner, Hayward Super II spa pump and Air Supply Silencer spa blower

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    Re: Coffee roasting in my gas grille

    I had an I-Roast, yes a 1/4 lb fluid bed roaster it taught me a lot.

    So what is your method of consumption.
    I have a WEGA Mininova single group espresso machine at home.
    When we're away from home we pack roasted beans, a hand burr grinder and a coffee plunger.
    Being Australian, filter coffee was never an acceptable way to imbibe, so I don't go that route.
    Have been known to throw a moka pot on a campfire to have pseudo espresso while camping.
    40k gal freeform, IG pebblesheen, 9'x'6' raised spa, 2-1/2 hp Whisperflo, 520 sq/ft cartridge, Legend w/ booster, Intellibrite 5g in pool @ spa, Rainbow 320 Chlorinator(retired),
    Mastertemp 400k BTU, 3x3 hp Whisperflo Swimjets, 2x2 hp Whisperflow for 15ton moss rock waterfall, Intelitouch Controller, 850 sq/ft Travertine deck, Gas/Wood firepit,
    Autofill, TF-100 test kit w/ SpeedStir

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    Re: Coffee roasting in my gas grille

    4lb roasts would be too much for my family's consumption. If you do blends, you'd want to roast each varietal separately. Blends are usually 2 or 3 bean types mixed together but roasted separately, so in the end I'd end up having 3 separate roasts as a minimum to make a couple of pounds of coffee (green weight) that would last a couple of weeks. I like the idea of a clean barbeque roaster, but I think a smaller drum would suit my roasting needs better.

    I'm still stuck on a home-made, modified (variac control of heater) popcorn popper setup. Works for me. Fortunately, good green bean supply is readily available locally here in Seattle. I find constant mixing during roasting to be a prime factor for success. As long as a barbecue roaster is constantly rotisserie agitated, I think it would be great.

    I use a La Pavoni Europiccola lever machine along with a commercial burr grinder modified for single shot grind.
    21K gal 16' x 40' in-ground pool built 1959, old school with Jacuzzi bronze pump, American Products 24" Sand Filter & Americana Multiport valve, Jandy Lite2 millivolt heater, Coverstar cover, and classic Kreepy Krauly.

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    Re: Coffee roasting in my gas grille

    A hot air popcorn popper works pretty well for small batch roasting.
    chiefwej
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    Re: Coffee roasting in my gas grille

    Quote Originally Posted by ozdiver View Post
    I had an I-Roast, yes a 1/4 lb fluid bed roaster it taught me a lot.

    So what is your method of consumption.
    I have a WEGA Mininova single group espresso machine at home.
    When we're away from home we pack roasted beans, a hand burr grinder and a coffee plunger.
    Being Australian, filter coffee was never an acceptable way to imbibe, so I don't go that route.
    Have been known to throw a moka pot on a campfire to have pseudo espresso while camping.
    Don't be horrified. I use a Jura ENA 4 for daily consumption. I briefly had a Breville espresso machine that never worked, and I decided I didn't want to be the family barista. The Jura works well and makes a consistent cup. I also occasionally use a Clever Coffee Dripper, a stainless steel moka pot, and a plain old pour over filter cone. I keep thinking about trying an ibrik.
    16K gallon IG exposed aggregate pool with Aquarite SWG T15 cell, Hayward C1750 filter, EcoStar SP3400VSP pump, H400FD pool/spa heater, Polaris PB4-60 booster pump, 280 pressure cleaner, Hayward Super II spa pump and Air Supply Silencer spa blower

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    Re: Coffee roasting in my gas grille

    No judgement coming from here ThomasG.
    If it brings the joy it's a winner.
    I did become the family barista.
    Until my wife defected to the dark side (tea drinking) I made her latte with a foam heart on to every day for years.
    If it were ever missing she knew there was something majorly wrong in our world and she might need to address it.
    Who said mean are bad communicators?
    40k gal freeform, IG pebblesheen, 9'x'6' raised spa, 2-1/2 hp Whisperflo, 520 sq/ft cartridge, Legend w/ booster, Intellibrite 5g in pool @ spa, Rainbow 320 Chlorinator(retired),
    Mastertemp 400k BTU, 3x3 hp Whisperflo Swimjets, 2x2 hp Whisperflow for 15ton moss rock waterfall, Intelitouch Controller, 850 sq/ft Travertine deck, Gas/Wood firepit,
    Autofill, TF-100 test kit w/ SpeedStir

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    JoyfulNoise's Avatar
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    Coffee roasting in my gas grille

    Wow, you guys are way too fancy for me

    For drip coffee, I have a Bunn drip coffee maker. I like it because they do a heat & release process where the upper chamber brings the water to right temperature (198F) and then the thermal valve opens to release the hot water into the grinds. The hot water hits the grinds really fast and there's a good flow rate. It makes a great cup of drip coffee. I also got it with the stainless steel vacuum carafe option so if I make an 8 cup pot of coffee at 8am, I can still pour a steaming hot cup at 4pm.

    When I'm feeling particularly coffee snobbish, I use my Bodum French press.

    No coffee baristas in this house


    Matt
    16k IG PebbleTec pool, 650gal spa, spillway and waterfall, 3HP IntelliFlo VS / 1.5HP WhisperFlo, Pentair QuadDE-100 filter, IC40 SWCG, MasterTemp 400k BTU/hr NG heater, KreepyKrauly suction-side cleaner Dolphin S300i robot, EasyTouch controls, city water, K-1001, K-2006 and K-1766 test kits, Mannitol test for borates

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    Re: Coffee roasting in my gas grille

    Well I have noticed they have started making vacuum carafe french presses, double wall stainless.
    Overcomes two of the french presses main problems; heat retention and smash resistance.
    Might be worth a bo-peep.
    40k gal freeform, IG pebblesheen, 9'x'6' raised spa, 2-1/2 hp Whisperflo, 520 sq/ft cartridge, Legend w/ booster, Intellibrite 5g in pool @ spa, Rainbow 320 Chlorinator(retired),
    Mastertemp 400k BTU, 3x3 hp Whisperflo Swimjets, 2x2 hp Whisperflow for 15ton moss rock waterfall, Intelitouch Controller, 850 sq/ft Travertine deck, Gas/Wood firepit,
    Autofill, TF-100 test kit w/ SpeedStir

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    Re: Coffee roasting in my gas grille

    Quote Originally Posted by JoyfulNoise View Post
    Haha...a perfect topic for The Coffee Bar forum

    I welcome any and all comments/suggestions (including a good source for green coffee beans) from folks with coffee roasting expertise.

    Thanks.
    I have a 5# drum and have found that 2 lb roasts work the best in it. I have never roasted more than 2 1/2 lbs at a time. 1 lb roast are too fast for me. But then too it depends on the temperature you roast at. And be aware that small roasts in the 5 lb drum can become large flaming torches very quickly. Another thing I have learned is to keep a large glass of water near the grill when you are roasting. A bean fire can be pretty spectacular and dumping the water on it will quench the fire before melting your drum. The only fire I have had was my very first roast with only 1/4 lb of beans in the drum and I wasn't ready for it. Thankfully there no videos of it.

    Coleman 16' x 48" power steel pool.

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    JoyfulNoise's Avatar
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    Re: Coffee roasting in my gas grille

    Thanks!!

    Good point about having water nearby! My closest spigot is a distance away so I'll remember to keep a bucket of water handy.

    So it sounds like I probably don't want anything larger than 4# drum and maybe I should consider starting off with a 2# drum (holds 2-1/2 # total)....lots to consider....


    Matt
    16k IG PebbleTec pool, 650gal spa, spillway and waterfall, 3HP IntelliFlo VS / 1.5HP WhisperFlo, Pentair QuadDE-100 filter, IC40 SWCG, MasterTemp 400k BTU/hr NG heater, KreepyKrauly suction-side cleaner Dolphin S300i robot, EasyTouch controls, city water, K-1001, K-2006 and K-1766 test kits, Mannitol test for borates

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