Behmor 1600: first look

Roasters and roasting

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Postby voice_of_reason » Tue Sep 01, 2009 9:05 am

Tried my first roast - it didn't go too well. Managed to completely incinerate the beans. And the manual was right, if you're going to try a dark roast (and believe me, this was WELL past a dark roast!) then you WILL get a lot of smoke. ;-)

Tried a Costa Rican the following day, more successful this time. Although the roast was very uneven, and a lot of the chaff stayed stuck to the beans. Perhaps it was because I tried a P3 profile, maybe I'd have been better off sticking to a steady rise to maximum temperature on P1? It seemed like a medium roast, but tasted a little 'green' when I tried it the following day. To be fair on the roaster, I had similar problems with a Costa Rican bean before when I roasted in a popcorn maker, so it's probably more a nuance of the bean rather than anything to do with the Behmor.

Anyway, it's looking promising and I'm definitely looking forward to trying some more roasts!
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Postby bruceb » Tue Sep 01, 2009 9:14 am

voice_of_reason wrote:
motoman wrote:Next week: how to plug it in.

What? You mean I have to plug it in too? I thought my roasts tasted a little under-done.....


Reminds me of the man who returns a chain saw to the store complaining that it is much too slow. The salesman looks somewhat bewildered, gets a log and pulls the starter, brummm, brummmmmmmmmmmm. The customer jumps back and says "What's that sound?"
Three Francesconi (CMA) espresso machines - Rossi, San Marco, LaCimbali, Faema and 2 Mazzer Major grinders- CoffeeTech Maggionlino, Hottop, Alpenröst and HW Precision roasters.
I decided I needed a bit of a change so I roasted some Monsooned Malabar. That was a change!
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Postby Axel2803 » Tue Sep 01, 2009 12:05 pm

voice_of_reason wrote:Tried my first roast - it didn't go too well. Managed to completely incinerate the beans. And the manual was right, if you're going to try a dark roast (and believe me, this was WELL past a dark roast!) then you WILL get a lot of smoke. ;-)

Tried a Costa Rican the following day, more successful this time. Although the roast was very uneven, and a lot of the chaff stayed stuck to the beans. Perhaps it was because I tried a P3 profile, maybe I'd have been better off sticking to a steady rise to maximum temperature on P1? It seemed like a medium roast, but tasted a little 'green' when I tried it the following day. To be fair on the roaster, I had similar problems with a Costa Rican bean before when I roasted in a popcorn maker, so it's probably more a nuance of the bean rather than anything to do with the Behmor.

Anyway, it's looking promising and I'm definitely looking forward to trying some more roasts!


during the few roasts i did i learned that you have to really stay alert after the first crack. I tryed some batches of 1/2lb Monsooned Malabar with P4 Profile and D Setting. My first result was burned with lots of smoke :D , second and third went better cause i managed to start cooling directly before 2nd crack. The beans entered 2nd crack directly after that and i ended up with a very good result.

Regards, Axel
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Postby bruceb » Tue Sep 01, 2009 12:12 pm

Axel2803 wrote:during the few roasts i did i learned that you have to really stay alert after the first crack.

This could probably be the "Roasters Rule No. 2" (after "Never leave the roaster when it is running."). :wink:
Three Francesconi (CMA) espresso machines - Rossi, San Marco, LaCimbali, Faema and 2 Mazzer Major grinders- CoffeeTech Maggionlino, Hottop, Alpenröst and HW Precision roasters.
I decided I needed a bit of a change so I roasted some Monsooned Malabar. That was a change!
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Postby voice_of_reason » Tue Sep 01, 2009 3:43 pm

Thanks. The problem I had with the Costa Rican was that I'm not sure first crack ever happened. It was getting pretty close to the end of the timer, but I'd only had one or two pops. The beans were looking pretty well done though, and they were on the verge of kicking out quite a bit of smoke, so I chickened out (from fear of incinerating a second batch!) and started the cooling manually. So possibly the pops I heard were second crack starting, and first crack never happened?

I know with some beans, and depending on what profile you use, you can end up with little or no first crack which just runs into second crack. As already discussed here, the times are only guidelines and at the end of the day you have to use your eyes, ears and nose and just start the cooling cycle manually when you think it's ready (unless you're roasting the same bean time and time again, in which case I guess you can get repeatable results with a bit of practice).
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Postby bruceb » Tue Sep 01, 2009 6:12 pm

I have never not heard first crack with any of my roasters. Sometimes it is difficult to say for sure if first has ended and second has begun, but the amount of smoke is usually a pretty good indication of that. In an ideal case first and second crack sound different and are distinguishable, but that is not always the case. I trust my sense of smell more than the sound.

In fact, second crack cannot happen until first crack has taken place as the inner membrane cannot come off until the outer one has done so. What is irritating to me is that I am not always certain when first crack has finished.
Three Francesconi (CMA) espresso machines - Rossi, San Marco, LaCimbali, Faema and 2 Mazzer Major grinders- CoffeeTech Maggionlino, Hottop, Alpenröst and HW Precision roasters.
I decided I needed a bit of a change so I roasted some Monsooned Malabar. That was a change!
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Postby JulieJayne » Tue Sep 01, 2009 8:34 pm

bruceb wrote:I have never not heard first crack with any of my roasters. Sometimes it is difficult to say for sure if first has ended and second has begun, but the amount of smoke is usually a pretty good indication of that. In an ideal case first and second crack sound different and are distinguishable, but that is not always the case. I trust my sense of smell more than the sound.

In fact, second crack cannot happen until first crack has taken place as the inner membrane cannot come off until the outer one has done so. What is irritating to me is that I am not always certain when first crack has finished.
Are you sure ? Try roasting Decafe. Definately no chaff, no first crack, and very good chance of charcoal results if you don't watch them like a hawk! Though you of course say that it is the 2nd crack that is missing.
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Postby bruceb » Tue Sep 01, 2009 9:15 pm

Checkmate. I've never even tasted a decafe much less roasted one. I pass.
Three Francesconi (CMA) espresso machines - Rossi, San Marco, LaCimbali, Faema and 2 Mazzer Major grinders- CoffeeTech Maggionlino, Hottop, Alpenröst and HW Precision roasters.
I decided I needed a bit of a change so I roasted some Monsooned Malabar. That was a change!
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Postby Gouezeri » Tue Sep 01, 2009 10:16 pm

I have roasted a Swiss Water Decaf as one of my first roasts in the Behmor, and it was an experience I can tell you. They seemed to go straight into a rolling second very quickly. I've roasted them again using a more appropriate profile and it was all fine, but they are definitely not easy to roast.
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Postby motoman » Wed Sep 02, 2009 8:55 am

bruceb wrote:
Axel2803 wrote:during the few roasts i did i learned that you have to really stay alert after the first crack.

This could probably be the "Roasters Rule No. 2" (after "Never leave the roaster when it is running."). :wink:


Sorry Bruce, you have it wrong

Rule No. 1 RTFM
Rule No. 2 RTFM again
Rule No. 3 Ensure the gap between your ears is set to minimum.
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Postby bruceb » Wed Sep 02, 2009 10:32 am

I've never seen the FM from the Behmor, but the FMs from the other roasters I've had certainly were not that helpful (or really that necessary) in learning to roast well. Either the Behmor is much more difficult to operate or Joe has put together some excellent instructions. :lol:
Three Francesconi (CMA) espresso machines - Rossi, San Marco, LaCimbali, Faema and 2 Mazzer Major grinders- CoffeeTech Maggionlino, Hottop, Alpenröst and HW Precision roasters.
I decided I needed a bit of a change so I roasted some Monsooned Malabar. That was a change!
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Postby voice_of_reason » Wed Sep 02, 2009 11:47 am

motoman wrote:Rule No. 1 RTFM
Rule No. 2 RTFM again
Rule No. 3 Ensure the gap between your ears is set to minimum.

My process was as follows:

Rule No. 1 RTFM
Rule No. 2 RTFM again
Rule No. 3 RTFM yet AGAIN
Rule No. 4 Think you know better at the last minute
Rule No. 5 Incinerate your beans
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Postby triptogenetica » Wed Sep 02, 2009 12:58 pm

4 Think you know better at the last minute
Rule No. 5 Incinerate your beans



Yes! I thought I knew better than the manual's recommended timings, from 1st to 2nd. I added 15 secs or so, and... mmm, french roast!
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Postby Ziobeege » Wed Sep 02, 2009 12:58 pm

Well I've managed about 10 roasts on the Behmor and I think I am getting to a point where my coffees are on par with decent speciality roasters, with the added benefit of freshness and cost. I have used a combination of Brazils, Bolivian and Centrals beans. My experience to date:
- You should ensure that the voltage used by the machine is correct. Joe gives advice further up this thread on how to programme this into your Behmor.
- P2 setting for me seems to work best for a pound roast, with first crack at around the mark 17.30. The profile of full power followed by a resting stage seems to work best for high quality beans. I think the "soft/hard" defintion seems a little too black and white. I have used the P1, P3, P4 profiles in comparison. I guess I should give the P5 a spin at some point.
- The manual suggests to think "10 seconds" ahead. I think you need to be around 30-40 seconds. There is definitely a "coast time" in the cool down period where the roast continues. So I tend to wait for about 2.15 minutes after hearing the pops of the first crack to estimate when 2nd crack will hit (on P2) before either hitting the cool button or adjusting the time remaining so that the cool down kicks in automatically. The roast just touches on 2nd crack at about 30/40 seconds into the cool down and then stops, which works for me nicely
- As far as a UK cleaner, I use a high quality cleaning cloth and a gentle "environmental friendly" general cleaner. Ecocover seems to work well
- You dont need the brush, but you do need a portable hand held vacuum device
- There is much talk about the use of extension leads and how they are not recommended, added to that warning tab stickered to the (v short) power cord which seems to suggest instant death to you and your family if you were to use such a lead. Clearly this is for legal disclaimers only, and as long as you use a good conditioned, short cord (no more than 2 metres) with appropriate amp & voltage rating you will be fine. It works beautifully for me.
- Be careful when opening the door to help accelerate the cool down. If you open the door too wide, you might knock the chaff tray out of position, causing the drum to hit the tray, and the roasting process to stall. I did that once and almost lost my roast. I would say no huge need to open the door as you allow the coasting time - let the cool down do its thing.

All in all, a great roaster and am very happy with it. Adjustability (the relatively lack of) and the chaff tray are perhaps its' biggest weakness, but at the price there can be no complaints
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Postby voice_of_reason » Wed Sep 02, 2009 1:31 pm

Ziobeege wrote:So I tend to wait for about 2.15 minutes after hearing the pops of the first crack to estimate when 2nd crack will hit (on P2) before either hitting the cool button or adjusting the time remaining so that the cool down kicks in automatically. The roast just touches on 2nd crack at about 30/40 seconds into the cool down and then stops, which works for me nicely

You said you do a pound roast, but the 2:15 mins is the time from the start of first crack to the start of second for a half pound roast, isn't it? I thought it was 3:10 mins for a pound roast?

So do you actually wait 2:15 mins after the first pops of first crack before hitting cool, or do you hit cool at 1:45 mins after first crack starts so it has 30 seconds to stop roasting just as it enters second crack (assuming you want your roast to stop at the beginning of second crack)?

Or do you mean 2:15 mins plus 40 seconds, which brings you closer the the 3:10 mins it suggests in the manual for a pound roast?

It's all very trial and error! I'm just hoping to get some guidelines for a repeatable roast.

Also, do you find that roasting a 250g bag has a significant impact on the times suggested in the manual for a half pound roast, 250g obviously being that little bit more than half a pound.
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