West Bend Air Crazy Hot Air Roaster
The West Bend Air Crazy Hot Air Popper is my first home roasting device. I’ve been using it in a modified fashion since October of 2012. I tried a few roasts with an unmodified unit, but found I coulndn’t maintain enough heat to get much past 1st crack. I let a few batches run for more than 20 min and never achieved second crack. I removed the thermal shutoff switch from the side of the can and that let me reach second crack in a reasonable amount of time. Now I’m able to achieve a decent Vienna or French roast in about 10 minutes (bean dependent of course).
The machine has a very nice canister with serrated openings on the side which allows the air to circulate instead of just blowing straight up. This circular air flow allows me to roast with minimal intervention (e.g. stirring or shaking). I’ve also been using it with the plastic top attached. It is slightly curved and this allows the chaff to blow away from the unit and into my collection box.
Things have been working great; until today; I had a meltdown. The air popper has been showing signs of wear and tear from my weekly roast. I have been roasting about 3 to 4 cups of green beans per week for use at home and work. Each roast is usually 1/2 cup and I do back-to-back roasts. Today the temperatures in Denver were high (for January) and this may have attributed to the meltdown.
After the 3rd roast, I picked up the unit to dump the hot beans into my stainless steel bowl and my finger almost pushed through the side of the roaster! You can see the impression of my hand on the side of the unit! You can also see the the next photo that the inside of the unit is starting to melt also.
I really like the way this roaster works due to the circular airflow in the can, so I’m going to try to salvage it as best as possible.
I guess I just need to slow down a bit and let the thing cool down between roasts.
Nicaragua Acopio Suyatal
Hi All,The Acopio Suyatal beans are some of the biggest I have ever seen. I thought I’d post some comparative photos to show this. The photos show Nicaraguan beans compared to Yemen Mokha Matari, before roast and after roast. I roasted Nicaragua beans FC+ (few seconds/cracks into 2nd crack) and roasted the Yemen to C+ (~10 seconds after 1st crack). The Nicaraguan beans appear and are at least twice as big as the Yemen beans. The Yemen beans are rather small in the first place, being similar in size to some peaberries I have roasted. Perhaps next time I will compare them to Colombian beans, which are more “standard”.
I am not the best commentator on taste, as I don’t feel my taste buds are as developed as some. With that disclaimer out of the way, I will say that a FC –> FC+ roast for this bean is good, strong flavored and maybe slightly bitter. It is not very interesting beyond that. My friend Monty’s espresso roast of this bean however is wonderful.
The latest roasting venture was with an Ethiopian Dry Process bean from sweetmarias.com. I decided to roast it 2 different ways.
The first batch was taken to City+. I’m using a West Bend Air Crazy popper which has a nice clear top allowing me to watch the roast as it progresses. I kept a good eye on the beans and stopped the roast as they started to develop a deep carmel color as a little bit of oil. I nailed it pretty well and the beans were allowed to develop the full flavor by resting for 3 days before brewing.
The second batch was roasted to Vienna by allowing the beans to enter 2nd crack, then immediately stopping the roast. Once removed from the popper, I let the beans continue to crack in a stainless steel colander. They developed a deeper carmel color and more oil than the City+ roast. Again, I rested the beans 3 days before brewing.
Both roasts turned out as expected. The City+ roast developed fruity flavors and is excellent as a pour-over brew. The Vienna roast has more chocolaty taste and works well as a pour over or even espresso.
Colombia Narino Taminango
Ordered this from Sweet Maria’s (SM) last month, I think. There description of it being on the sweet smelling side is accurate. With regards the taste, it doesn’t really bowl me over. It is just there. Roasting to French/Italian roast makes for a nice cup of espresso, however.
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