HotTop or Gene Cafe?

Discussions about roaster hardware and the finer points of their use
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chas
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Post by chas » Tue Oct 23, 2007 12:18 pm

Niko wrote:
chas wrote:OK, I'm convinced. I just bought 10lbs of Brazil Fazenda Jacaranda from Ono Beano aka Russ at CBC.
Did ya' try the beans yet?
Oh man, this is one awesome bean. Smooth!
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Post by coffeeowl » Tue Oct 23, 2007 5:29 pm

Bravi,

I'd like to watch the beans while they roast.
Thank you anyway:-)

bbqnut,

I read your articles earlier and what I don't like about the Benhmor are the profiles. It lacks ability of making adjustments (with Hottop is the same case, unless you pay for the latest).

And finally, I think it's better to have the mix of conductive and convective roasting...
http://217.67.96.62/index.php?id=275&L=1

Niko

Post by Niko » Tue Oct 23, 2007 6:30 pm

Funny you say that....about watching the roast.
Ever since I got the Hottop, I hardly ever look at the roasts! I mean, yeah I take a glance once in a while but not like I do with the iRoast where I physically watch the damn thing every second.
With the Hottop, you get so busy keeping an eye and ear on everything else and having a lot more fun doing it, you can lose track of things if you get carried away. The profiles can be tweaked on the Hottop 8828B as well, which is Hottop's standard model now, worth the money in my opinion when compared to what else is out there. I love the "P" model, ain't no jury out on this one for me - it was a damn fine purchase in my opinion and I'm only just beginning to play with the profiles.
The Behmor is still a pretty interesting roaster, I'm taking a drive down to Santa Cruz next month to take a serious look at one - who knows...I might end up with one for the garage :headbang: :headbang: :headbang:
Anyone wanna' visit for a roastin' session?

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Post by coffeeowl » Tue Oct 23, 2007 7:32 pm

sure Niko, ... :-)
but it will take me a visit to US Embassy first :-)

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Post by bbqnut » Tue Oct 23, 2007 11:30 pm

coffeeowl wrote:
bbqnut,

I read your articles earlier and what I don't like about the Benhmor are the profiles. It lacks ability of making adjustments (with Hottop is the same case, unless you pay for the latest).
Then the Behmor is not for you.

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Post by Weska » Wed Oct 24, 2007 4:30 pm

Yeah, Niko, it sounds as if you've gone the next step. I do feel that I must watch the Gene. (Of course, I'm writing down temps every minute at this stage.) Theoretically, I could probably neglect watching until the roast gets into the lower 200s centigrade. In practice, I'm right there through the whole thing.

That, however, is such an increase of freedom over the Whirley-Pop that I can hardly believe my luck. (With that kind of background pushing that kind of feeling, maybe my opinions need to be discounted a bit.)

Still, not watching a roast is a completely different level of technique. I'm impressed.

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Hesitation

Post by coffeeowl » Fri Oct 26, 2007 2:43 pm

Well, I'm still hesitating between the Behmor and Gene. I'm afraid that I may be dissapointed with the Gene, and on the other hand the Behmor is much cheaper and well... a truly drum roaster.
Could you guys please enlighten me about the profiles and what are the eventual fallbacks of them and what's the big deal about the new Hottop adjustability?

From my personal point the one important improvement in Behmor would be a glass through which I could see the beans. Then, maybe a preheat cycle (I don't remember if it doeasn't have it already) and maybe hot air flow, if the mix of coduction and convection is really better. And then of course the adjustability, if you explain why I will be greatful (Yes I am a truly green in roasting even theoretically) :newb: :binky:

edit: oh yes actually it has a viewing glass!!!

Niko

Re: Hesitation

Post by Niko » Fri Oct 26, 2007 3:30 pm

coffeeowl wrote: edit: oh yes actually it has a viewing glass!!!
sort of...you can't really get a good look at the beans like you can with an iRoast, Hottop or the Gene. Which reminds me, I need to clean the glass on my Hottop - it's been several roasts since and it's so fouled up that you'd need a diving lamp just see some beans.

As for the Behmor, I'm going to go check it out in person (hopefully) next month down in Santa Cruz, anyone in the Bay Area then who wants to join me let me know.

The profile-ability is pretty awesome on the Hottop P model, I had almost a Godlike roast the other night...it would've been the Roast of all Roasts for me but I blew it in the end. It was at the point where it finished 1st crack and I had the thing sailing really smooth, a nice long pause between the cracks (I had a serious Game Face going on) and then those damn beeps! I struck out with the bases loaded...the beeps really mess up my game.
I'll be drinking that roast later tonight but I know it's not perfect.

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Post by bbqnut » Fri Oct 26, 2007 3:30 pm

I will try to help:

GeneCafe
You can set a a target time and temp, and let it go. Otherwise, you need to manually turn knobs whenever you want to change the time or temp. So it is quite a manual roaster. You can see the beans as it is glass. The build quality is excellent, and has a small footprint. I found it not to be capable of a shorter brighter roast most of the time. Cooling cycle is pretty long. $500

Behmor
You can select one of 5 pre-programmed profiles. You can see the beans as it is glass, but not very well IMO. The build quality is OK, and has a medium footprint. I found it not to be capable of a shorter brighter roast most of the time. 1st and 2nd crack many times ran together. Cooling cycle is pretty long. $300?

Hottop KN-8828P
You can select a program and let it go. You can also make your own programs that are very, very detailed, and store up to 10 of them. You can see the beans as it is glass. The build quality is good, and has a large footprint. It feels totally capable of doing a short or longer roast. Cooling is the best of all. $900

I say just buy the Behmor if you are unsure about whether you will continue to roast your own. Buy the Hottop if you plan on roasting coffee for awhile.
Last edited by bbqnut on Fri Oct 26, 2007 3:35 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Hesitation

Post by chas » Fri Oct 26, 2007 3:32 pm

Niko wrote: I need to clean the glass on my Hottop - it's been several roasts since and it's so fouled up that you'd need a diving lamp just see some beans.
Soak the end lid in a Cafiza bath for 30min or so and the coffee layer will peel right of in a sheet.
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Post by Niko » Fri Oct 26, 2007 3:37 pm

I was wondering what you do, Chas.
I was thinking along those lines with a Cafiza soakin' but my main concern was trapping the detergent in between the glass and the gasket space.
I'll give it a try...
I know Cafiza works really well with the iRoast parts.

woodchuck

Post by woodchuck » Sat Oct 27, 2007 10:41 am

Been following this thread with great interest. I have been considering getting into home roasting for awhile now. Counter Culture is just down the road so getting good coffee is not an issue as much as just being able to do it myself. I think that is one of the reasons I enjoy espresso so much is I am really part of the process. I will probably wait a couple of months, see how the Behmor feedback goes and then make a decision on Gene, Hottop or Behmor. Good info guys, thanks for sharing.

Ian

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Post by coffeeowl » Sat Oct 27, 2007 8:32 pm

How about the earlier Hottop model? On the site I'll probably buy there's the earlier one for a little more then half the price of the new.
I will homeroast for sure, but since the prices are a bit of concern (at the moment) it won't be earlier then half a year or more.[/url]

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Post by bbqnut » Sat Oct 27, 2007 9:53 pm

coffeeowl wrote:How about the earlier Hottop model? On the site I'll probably buy there's the earlier one for a little more then half the price of the new.
I will homeroast for sure, but since the prices are a bit of concern (at the moment) it won't be earlier then half a year or more.[/url]
There are two earlier models. Neither give a great deal of control.

This guy is worth checking out:

http://www.espressomyespresso.com/

Read all his articles on the various Hottop models, and that should help you decide.

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Post by chas » Sun Oct 28, 2007 11:11 am

When I got the HT upgrade to the P model they threw in a new heat sensor and heat coil. At the time I did the upgrade, I didn't feel like doing that much extra work since those parts were working fine.

Recently I've been getting a scraping sound when the unit is running. At first it stopped when the unit warmed up, now it is not as bad when warmed up but the noise is always there.

I think I have it figured out. It appears that the heater element has sagged downward and is now grazing the drum as it turns. Looks like it could probably continue like this for a while, but I guess I should get that new heater element installed ASAP unless I can figure out how to reposition the current heater element.
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Post by Niko » Sun Oct 28, 2007 12:45 pm

My Hottop (before it got replaced) had that same scraping sound you just described, the drum turned but it was hitting something and hanging up - at one point it stopped. I think you probably remember that...

Anyways, that's another reason why I went with the Hottop - you can keep them going forever by changing readily available parts.

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Post by chas » Sun Oct 28, 2007 12:57 pm

I torqued on the element as much as I could this morning and got back to the place where it only scrapes until it warms up. Probably be a couple of weeks before I find time to completely disassemble it to change the element. Shouldn't be an issue waiting.

I'll take some pix and post here after I get the old element out and before I put the new one back to show you how much it has deformed over time.
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Post by Niko » Sun Oct 28, 2007 1:45 pm

Please do!
I'd love to see it.
Also, I read somewhere about a Hottop that scraped and the motor took a good beating but kept on going with no issues after a tweak or two...more proof that those roasters can take some punishment.

UPDATE:
Forgot to ask...
How much do you tighten that brass bolt on the front cover? Just wondering if more time and wear over the years require more torque on that part.

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Post by coffeeowl » Sun Oct 28, 2007 2:59 pm

ok guys, you got me in :D
I want Hottop B.

Niko

Post by Niko » Sun Oct 28, 2007 4:14 pm

Ehhhxcellent...

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Post by bbqnut » Sun Oct 28, 2007 4:36 pm

My P model has been scraping lightly on and off since I got it. It changes slightly when changing the tightness of the brass screw, and also when it warms up it lessens or goes away completely.

I think I am going to call into Michael at Hottop and/or Russ at CBC.

Niko

Post by Niko » Sun Oct 28, 2007 4:46 pm

Yours is scraping, Chris?
I know you probably did this already but I'll ask anyway, did you check the drum for any stuck beans? Mine did a little scraping once and this was the cause, I couldn't see it until I completely removed it for closer inspection.

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Post by bbqnut » Sun Oct 28, 2007 5:04 pm

Not yet. What is involved in removing the drum?

I can pull out the manual I suppose, if it requires special attention.

Niko

Post by Niko » Sun Oct 28, 2007 5:09 pm

No special anything....

Get a phillips and remove the 4 front screws, then remove the front plate and the drum pulls straight out.

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Post by bbqnut » Sun Oct 28, 2007 5:29 pm

Well, I discovered something else - I only have 2 screws, which might explain the fact that mine leaks more smoke than some.

Didn't find any beans in there, but at least I know how to check it when it starts making the noise again.

Image
[/img]

Niko

Post by Niko » Sun Oct 28, 2007 5:33 pm

Woah!
Only 2 screws, sounds like a trip to the hardware store :shock:
They look like ordinary metal screws, I'd shoot Michael a call unless you can match the set with ones in a local store. I bet the scraping is from that! The plate holds pressure against the drum.

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Post by bbqnut » Mon Oct 29, 2007 1:19 pm

Michael is sending me out some screws. He also sent me this link regarding drum alignment:

http://www.hottopusa.com/drumalign.html

Niko

Post by Niko » Mon Oct 29, 2007 2:05 pm

Did you get the scraping to stop?

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Post by coffeeowl » Mon Oct 29, 2007 2:50 pm

Hey, unfortunately I got news that the B model can be hard to get in Europe.
I have a couple of questions regarding the P:
- doesn't that bother that it has shorter max roast time (22" instead of 25")
- doesn't the 3' spans bother?
- and in the end, still one has to monitor the roast and adjust the temperature manually after the first crack in order to extend the time between cracks, so what the heck is the use of the programability? looks like the comfort of preprogramming is priced by the 3' time spans.

Isn't just the B better then the P? (B stands for it :wink: )

Niko

Post by Niko » Mon Oct 29, 2007 3:28 pm

Why would it be better if they charge more for the "P" model? Well, like anything else you pay for programmability. The 3 minute spans are not an issue at all (for me at least) and I got mine to increase the time between the cracks easily. I don't think you're getting more roasting time out of the "B" model than you would with a "P", I think all Hottops have a set max time.

According to Randy G, the guy who wrote the manual...yeah he likes the "B" model better because of how manual it is. I like my old BMW with the stick shift but my newer 3 series with steptronic kicks its manual-ass all over the place.
In the end, Randy also mentioned that a cross between the Hottop "B" and "P" would be the better roaster, so again it's just another guys opinion.

You need to decide how you are going to use it and buy accordingly.
For me the "P" was the only choice.
...because "P" stands for PRETTIER :lol:

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Post by coffeeowl » Mon Oct 29, 2007 5:25 pm

From the roast-control point of view, the B has advantage over the P:
2 parameters are controllable all the time: fan speed and temperature vs temperature and preprogrammed fan speed in 3-minutes time spans.
The P has advantage over the B with its programmability: a profile may be preprogrammed and then saved vs the need of entering it all manually (unless you have just 3).
Still if you have more then 9 programs, you need a copybook and a pen.
So I'd rather choose the B for the ability to control it all...

EDIT: just typing it all here I realized I'm just crazy about the fan speed :colors: :color: and well - maybe the ability to change the profile on the spot (but it comes again to the fan speed, doesn't it?) :lol: :happy10: :fish:
Last edited by coffeeowl on Mon Oct 29, 2007 5:37 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by bbqnut » Mon Oct 29, 2007 5:28 pm

With the Variac, my hope is that with a certain bean, I can let the roast go completely on it's own (though I am near by in case of fire).

While that is also possible with the B model, it is not as easy to keep records and adjust on paper. And you really cannot share profiles very accurately.

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Post by bbqnut » Mon Oct 29, 2007 5:30 pm

coffeeowl wrote:From the roast-control point of view, the B has advantage over the P:
2 parameters are controllable all the time: fan speed and temperature vs temperature and preprogrammed fan speed in 3-minutes time spans.
The P has advantage over the B with its programmability: a profile may be preprogrammed and then saved.
Still if you have more then 9 programs, you need a copybook and a pen.
So I'd rather choose the B.
I find the fan to be of less value that other parameters. It's biggest advantage is to keep smoke from making the beans taste smokey later in the roast usually.

So far, 1 program I have works very well for about 4 different beans, so I may never realistically use all 9 programs.

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Post by coffeeowl » Mon Oct 29, 2007 5:45 pm

yes, bb, I managed finally to conclude on my own - and the emoticons were part of processing it.
The ability to preprogram a profile is a huge thing on its own, too
So I'll probably get the P, it's just a matter of time for I have to be prepared to pay some money on another pretty important thing - well, the most important in fact.
Discussing it all with you was a pleasure and brought clarification - Thank You!!! :angel5:
it saved me from many :banghead:
:)

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Post by Weska » Mon Oct 29, 2007 6:04 pm

It's been good to watch you work your way through this decision, coffeeowl. It would be good to see more people take it seriously but lightly, as you do, at the same time.

Niko

Post by Niko » Mon Oct 29, 2007 6:16 pm

:headbang: :headbang: :headbang: :headbang: :headbang: :headbang:

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Post by chas » Fri Nov 02, 2007 1:07 pm

chas wrote:
Niko wrote:
chas wrote:OK, I'm convinced. I just bought 10lbs of Brazil Fazenda Jacaranda from Ono Beano aka Russ at CBC.
Did ya' try the beans yet?
Oh man, this is one awesome bean. Smooth!
As further proof, only since getting the S1 has my wife been able to drink coffee and it still requires three shots of Monin syrup. I've tried secretly cutting her back to two shots and have immediately heard about it.

Today she made herself a latte with BFJ and forgot to put in any Monin. She says it was fine with no syrup. Quite a testimonial!
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Post by Niko » Fri Nov 02, 2007 2:31 pm

Yeah, that's awesome.
This is my favorite bean of 2007, I don't know what I'm going to do when I run out...


What's your total roast time?
Which profile do you use?

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Post by chas » Wed Nov 07, 2007 7:44 am

Niko wrote:Yeah, that's awesome.
What's your total roast time?
Which profile do you use?
I used the profile from Randy Glass' Hottop webpage and manually ejected in early 2nd. Probably around 16 minutes. I've been roasting 275g.
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Post by Niko » Wed Nov 07, 2007 12:45 pm

Do you roast 275g's all the time? I noticed on other forums people are mentioning 225g is their preferred but I paid for my Hottop to be used for significantly bigger batches than the iRoast.

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Post by chas » Wed Nov 07, 2007 1:04 pm

Niko wrote:Do you roast 275g's all the time? I noticed on other forums people are mentioning 225g is their preferred but I paid for my Hottop to be used for significantly bigger batches than the iRoast.
I never go below 250g.
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Post by Niko » Wed Nov 07, 2007 1:58 pm

Is there much difference in roast time between 250 and 275g's?

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Post by chas » Wed Nov 07, 2007 5:10 pm

Niko wrote:Is there much difference in roast time between 250 and 275g's?
53 seconds
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Post by Niko » Wed Nov 07, 2007 6:27 pm

Does the quality of the roast look the same? Is it even and so on, etc..?

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Post by chas » Wed Nov 07, 2007 8:07 pm

yes
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Post by Niko » Mon Nov 19, 2007 11:51 pm

I'm finally zeroing in on a profile for Brazils that I really like.
I've got the Hottop eating out of my hand now with control where I hold the puppet strings and make it dance like a marionette for me. I can stall a roast to make a really nice long pause between the cracks, so far the best cup was from a ghetto profile that went directly from 1st crack into second :? whatever... :shock:

All right, back to the circus to control my dancers :lol:

Funny thing is that this profile isn't much different from the factory one! Just goes to show what a little change here and a slight change there does. I'm willing to share with interested parties as soon as it's fine tuned.

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Right Decision???

Post by keithcutter » Tue Nov 20, 2007 7:40 pm

Niko,

I've been lovin the s1v2 I purchased over the summer. Even figured out how to get good steamed milk, praise God!

I've also been really lovin' roasting my own coffee beans. I guess I've been drinking from my own roasted beans for 4 months now. I've noticed I'm not saving as much $$$ on the beans as I thought I would as I seem to be drinking more coffee now. But the quality -- wow! I'm really glad I started roasting my own.

It goes pretty slow at 60 grams per batch on my Freshroast, but that's what I've got.

I've watched, with interest, your purchase process on the HotTop. I've read all the posts. I just have one question.

If you had it to do all over again...??? Would you have gone another way, or are you feeling you made the best choice with what you have?

Niko

Post by Niko » Tue Nov 20, 2007 8:39 pm

I'm pretty happy with the Hottop.
I like it enough to buy another one if I had the space :P

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Post by 4vDesmo » Thu Nov 29, 2007 2:28 am

Is anyone using one of new HotTop B models? Everyone here seems to have gone with and is pretty happy with their HT-P's. But I'm thinking the B would 'get me into one', and if I decide I really want it I can upgrade to the P by adding the $200 control panel, which happens to be the same as the retail price difference.

Anyone a B-model owner/user?

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Post by 4vDesmo » Fri Nov 30, 2007 8:15 pm

Hmm, this isn't good - no responses from HT-B users. It's sounding like there aren't any on here!

Maybe I should inquire in an independant thread, instead of burying it in here.

Niko

Post by Niko » Fri Nov 30, 2007 8:32 pm

Sorry Steve, I heard you...

I don't think anyone on this forum has a "B" model.
According to one guy, Randy Glass (I think he wrote the Hottop manual), he thinks it's better than the model "P" in some ways, then again he says that a better roaster would be a hybrid between the Models "P" and "B".
Just goes to show you that you can't have everything :lol:

I personally think that if the "B" interests you and the lower price will get you in there to start roasting larger, slower roasts in a drum - then go for it! Like you said, you can always upgrade the control panel later. But then again what they hey, it's only 200 bucks more and what's another half tank of gas in your plane, right? :lol:

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Post by 4vDesmo » Fri Nov 30, 2007 9:08 pm

Well there is a smokin' deal to be had right now via CBC's holiday special. Otherwise I'd still be waiting it out. But I don't believe I'll be able to let that offer go by without taking advantage of it in the form of a new roaster.

And maybe some Jamaican Blue Mtn, just for fun.

Only half a tank - pretty scary, huh?

Niko

Post by Niko » Fri Nov 30, 2007 9:12 pm

So are you getting the "P"?
..and YES, this is peer pressure!

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Post by 4vDesmo » Fri Nov 30, 2007 9:36 pm

Niko - Has anyone ever called you an instigator? A bad influence, maybe? Just don't call you late for dinner, right?

Niko

Post by Niko » Fri Nov 30, 2007 9:59 pm

4vDesmo wrote:Niko - Has anyone ever called you an instigator?
Yes.
I played Hockey for 20 years and having spent many minutes in the penalty box, yeah I've instigated a few things here and there...
4vDesmo wrote:A bad influence, maybe?
Maybe just once... :lol: ...maybe.
4vDesmo wrote:Just don't call you late for dinner, right?
You're welcome anytime for dinner, just make sure it's after 5:30pm - I'm busy having my Double Ristrettos then 8)



And yes, I still have all my teeth and a really good dentist...

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Post by earache » Sat Dec 01, 2007 8:35 am

So Niko, now that you've had some time getting to know the "P" what profiles are you using? You said earlier that you were having good luck on Auto.

Niko

Post by Niko » Sat Dec 01, 2007 12:46 pm

Auto is history, I stopped using it after the first 4 or 5 roasts.
I've been using a tweaked version of the factory profile. In the 7th segment, I extended it from 2:30 to the full 3:00 to prolong the time between the cracks. When the machine hits the last segment with 2:30 left, I cut down the heat with several pushes of the "-" button to shut off the element. The machine then coasts through to about 417F and stays there for while, in the last minute I crank it back up to finish the roast.
This extends the time to a little over 3 minutes between the cracks.
The temperature goes to about 419 to 421 depending how many times I hit the +/- buttons, I've rarely let it hit beyond that.

Niko

Post by Niko » Tue Dec 04, 2007 2:07 am

So guys...here's an update.
I've been Behmor'ing it lately so the Hottop is on the so called "backburner" for now because of my next project.
Heh heh.
Ready for this?
There's now a Gene Cafe in the family!
Stay tuned for upcoming videos on all the roasters...

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Post by coffeeowl » Tue Dec 04, 2007 12:34 pm

Are you also getting Gene Cafe?
Wow 8)
Someone should offer you a HUUUUUUUUUUUUUGE bargain on some greens for testings.
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Post by Niko » Tue Dec 04, 2007 2:10 pm

Someone in my family bought a Gene a couple of days ago.
What timing! More toys to play with now... :wink:

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Post by Weska » Tue Dec 04, 2007 4:03 pm

This will be interesting, Niko. I didn't have much choice when I had to do the deed, but I haven't been disappointed in the Gene. Your opinion on how it works compared to the others will be significant.

I wouldn't try to influence you, of course.

Niko

Post by Niko » Tue Dec 04, 2007 4:12 pm

I'm just as excited to try the Gene as I am for the Behmor and Hottop. I still use the iRoast2 once in a while just to suffer a little.
I really look forward to the last minutes of the roast to see how much darker the beans will get once the cooling starts.
I did notice on the Behmor that second crack kept going even though the cool button was hit already.
...and it kept going
...and going.
Now I see what they say about the Hottop, once you hit the cool button - the roasting STOPS dead where it stands.
So, for my 1st try on the Gene I plan on a nice bean that I already know so I can compare the flavors of all 4 roasters :wink:

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Post by coffeeowl » Tue Dec 04, 2007 4:55 pm

This is the best thing I could have ever dreamt about: that someone experienced would just get the Hottop, Behmor and Gene Cafe and compare them :D

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Post by 4vDesmo » Tue Dec 04, 2007 11:53 pm

Geez, I disappear for a day or two and Niko ends up with ALL the toys. What have you done to deserve all this?? And how will you decide which to use? And how will you drink all that newly roasted coffee?

I think you should take the next 4-5 days off work and do a roast-off, then report back here.

Oh, and....I'm flying up, I wanna see!

Niko

Post by Niko » Wed Dec 05, 2007 1:05 am

I'm flying without a plane :lol:
Can you guess what's fueling me?
No worries about all the excess coffee, I have several pounds from tonight's Behmor session to give away to co-workers tomorrow. The Behmor rocks for thinning the herd, I'll get rid of the 20lb pile of unwanted green in no time!
I just got the Behmor last night and a 5lb sack is history.

The Hottop is for Espresso (roasting is on Saturdays to get 1lb).
The Behmor is for drip and press coffee (roasting during the week).
The Gene Cafe is at my sister's house, I'll be the guest master roaster for them :lol:
The iRoar2 is to clean my ears out :wink:
I even have a stove top (XL Whirly Pop) to roast on gas if the power goes out. I think I'm covered....

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Post by 4vDesmo » Wed Dec 05, 2007 5:38 pm

Niko wrote:The Hottop is for Espresso (roasting is on Saturdays to get 1lb).
The Behmor is for drip and press coffee (roasting during the week).
The Gene Cafe is at my sister's house, I'll be the guest master roaster for them :lol:
Ok, I'm guessing that you're choosing:
the HT for espresso is for the control it gives you,
the Behmor for drip & press is for the volume it lets you roast, and
the Gene is just something to play with as the guest roaster.

Did I get any of these right? Or are there flavor issues at hand here?

I guess I'll be the one to ask the burning (roasting?) question: Now that you've seen/used them all, if you hadn't already bought and you could only have one of the above (and you're paying for it with your own $), which would it be?

Niko

Post by Niko » Wed Dec 05, 2007 6:54 pm

I cannot fairly answer that without trying the Gene this week.
I know exactly why you're asking this question...you have a new roaster itch that needs scratching and that loudmouth iRoar isn't scratching anymore...
did I get that right? :D

BTW, you got all 3 of those right.

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Post by 4vDesmo » Wed Dec 05, 2007 11:29 pm

Ah, interesting that it wasn't a slam-dunk answer.

And you are partly right - I do have a new toy itch, mostly because the CBC deal is making my wallet jump out of my pocket. But I've gotten to be a decent iRoar pilot. So it is working just fine, but.....

It doesn't help matters that you're the current King of Toys. :king: It's getting really hard to keep up with you. Color me envious :mrgreen:

Pretty much any of them are going to be fine. I'm just trying to decide much much fuel to forgo for this toy itch.

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Post by Niko » Wed Dec 05, 2007 11:29 pm

The Gene has appeared after I rubbed the lamp!
wforum/viewtopic.php?p=6074#6074

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Post by 4vDesmo » Mon Dec 17, 2007 1:07 am

All this roaster activity was killing me. So I followed suit and took the leap.

My HotTop has been ordered, but I went for the B model - sorry to let you down Niko! :(

As I said before, I figure I can play with this one for a while, and if I'm still compelled to spend I can always buy the control panel upgrade. Either way, it ought to be better than the iRoast!

Come on, UPS!

Niko

Post by Niko » Mon Dec 17, 2007 2:54 pm

You should be fine with the "B", probably won't ever need the upgrade to the "P" if you're happy with the way it flies 8)
Someday you'll upgrade to the next panel of the future in a few years :D

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Post by 4vDesmo » Wed Dec 26, 2007 5:56 pm

Santa got here with the new HotTop, but it appears I have a coffee bean waster on my hands, not a bean roaster. They only think they're being roasted - then OOPS, just kidding. :?

For some reason it wants to eject them before 1st crack. Time in is only about 8 minutes, temp is about 300-325, and out come the beans. So it can't be the max-temp eject. Even trying it again, roaster starts beeping & I push a button to cancel the eject - no luck, they're still out of there within a few minutes, barely a city roast. :(

Too bad nobody else is using the HT-B. Can you salvage half-roasted coffee beans?

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Post by chas » Wed Dec 26, 2007 7:12 pm

Thanks to upgrades I've effectively had three models of the HT - everyone but the one you have. The overtemp eject is supposed to be 414F which can be manually overidden easily so it sounds like you got a bad one.

I think Niko shared your fate and got a replacement overnighted directly from Hottop USA.
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Post by Niko » Wed Dec 26, 2007 7:59 pm

Sorry to read about this, Steve. :(

You can try popping the control panel out to see if there's any loose (or unconnected) wiring.
I'd call Michael at Hottop first thing in the morning, if he can't guide you through a fix over the the phone, he'll send a replacement roaster pretty fast.
I don't remember exactly but I think he sent mine 3-Day Air to avoid any possible shipping damage.
Hottop's service is second to none, so you're in good hands....
:thumbleft:

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Post by 4vDesmo » Thu Dec 27, 2007 2:10 am

8828-B, Day 2 update:

I swapped email with Michael from HotTop USA. He gets B-I-G bonus points for answering email at 9:20pm Eastern time.

There are apparently 3 undocumented "safety points" programmed into the 8828B. :shock: These might have been useful to know beforehand, so here they are for prospective users:

1) If the KN-8828B displays a temperature of 356 F (180 C) within the first 8:30 of roasting time, the unit will alert you with warning beeps. If you do not press a button (other than EJECT) within 20 seconds, the beans will be automatically ejected. Pressing a button continues the roast as programmed.
2) When the KN-8828B displays a temperature of 410 F (210 C), the roaster will again alert you with warning beeps. If you do not press a button (other than EJECT) within 20 seconds, the beans will be automatically ejected. Pressing a button continues the roast as programmed.
3) When the KN-8828B displays a temperature of 428 F (220 C), the beans will be immediately ejected. There is no override for this safety function.

So it appears I was running into the 1st undocumented temperature safety. I found some beans I didn't much care about (wish I had thought of that the first time around! :roll: ) and did another roast.

Using the factory Auto program, I ran into safety #1 at 7:30 into the roast. I pressed a button to cancel the auto-eject, and started ramping up the fan (50% from 0) and ramping down the heat (70%, from 100). As I approached 400, I went to 75% fan and 60% heat. I ended the roast myself at 12 1/2 minutes into an 18 min program, about 20 seconds into second crack. Next time I'll start bringing in the fan and lowering heat sooner to try to lengthen the roast time.

A few early review points:
1) Can I hear the beans cracking? Definitely yes. Very nice. Not having to differentiate between incredible fan noise and bean noise was pleasant.
2) Can I see the beans? Definitely yes, though a flashlight helps.
3) Would I roast again in the house? Maybe not unless I get a better vent hood - DAMN that was a lot of smoke upon bean ejection!
4) Chaff collection? Well, sort of. Quite a bit left in with the beans though. A longer roast might help here. The iRoast did a superior job on the chaff with its high speed air flow, especially during cooling.
5) Did the beans cool well? Absolutely, yes.
6) I expected roast volume to be more....flexible? Less than 230gr is not recommended, per the manual. Have to use iRoast for small volumes.
7) The B needs MORE coverage in the manual. Yes, the P is more complex, but only two pages for the B? Not adequate, especially with such undocumented (but necessary) information like I discovered.

If you want to do back to back roasts, the machine has to cool to 166 degrees before it will allow another roast to be started. It would be useful if it actually did cool itself. Instead, it just shuts the fan off and retains the heat. Pushing start again keeps the fan running and cools it quicker, and if you decide NOT to do the next roast you can just push Eject and it will shut off a few seconds later.

I'll have to wait a few days to see what the roast flavors are like. I clearly won't be able to keep up with drinking all it can produce by myself. I don't generally consume coffee like some around here! It sure was nice to see a decent bag of coffee from one roast though.

I think I can figure this beast out in a few more roasts. It would be nice to be able to pre-program instead of doing it on the fly during a roast, but I guess that's what the P is for. The undocumented temp safeties are absolute BS, and should definitely BE documented asap.

But at least it isn't defective!

Niko

Post by Niko » Thu Dec 27, 2007 2:54 am

Great news!
Thanks for the update.

As for back to back roasts, no problem here with a trick up my sleeve...
I run a Vornado Fan (it's a nice trick fan) directed right at the Hottop after a roast. I remove the front cover, pull off the small top cover (with the dorsal fin handle) and slide out the chaff tray so the fan can blow through the entire chamber. This fan gets the roaster down to 70F in NO TIME FLAT. I can do back to back roasts all day long this way without the Hottop working too hard on cooling itself down.

As for the chaff, the iRoast does a better job 'cause the batch is smaller and the wind tunnel blows your eardrums off including the chaff :lol:
I dump the beans into a large screen (the kind you wash veggies over the sink in) - take them outside and place them on top of the handy dandy Vornado Fan (face up) and stir with the hands as the chaff flies off in seconds. The beans are completely clean and chafless, even more so than the iRoast.
Cleaning the Hottop is a snap, in fact I just cleaned my filter with a Cafiza bath to get more roasts out of it :wink:

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Post by 4vDesmo » Thu Dec 27, 2007 8:46 pm

Apparently the B model got these new safeties in the production units after 12/10 - so I guess I have a VERY new roaster. The P model will have the same in them very soon. Now that I know the temp alarms are in there I guess it isn't that big a deal, but if you want a P without the safeties now is the time to get it. BTW, the new manual with the documented alarm info is posted on the HotTop USA website at http://www.hottopusa.com/ManualBP_1E.pdf

Michael's email says the safeties are put in there to protect against too small a roast, which would rapidly rise in temperature. His example was that it was "to catch people roasting 80 grams and burning the machine".

The roasts I've done weren't what I would consider small - first was 230gr, second was 240gr, and both were hitting the first temp alarm within 8 1/2 min. This is probably somewhere way back in this thread, but what is the smallest you guys have successfully tried?

Niko

Post by Niko » Thu Dec 27, 2007 11:08 pm

The smallest batch I've ever roasted on the Hottop was 250 grams :D
Boy I'm glad not to have those extra safety features! I think the damn thing beeps enough as it is at 414 degrees.

Anyone who roasts anything less than 225 grams in a Hottop needs to get their priorities straight :wink:

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Post by chas » Thu Dec 27, 2007 11:14 pm

That blows. I don't think I'd buy a new one that had that feature. I hope their sales drop off a cliff and they rethink that one. The lawyers have gone too far this time!
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Post by Niko » Thu Dec 27, 2007 11:29 pm

And to think that the chaff tray safety switch was too much... :roll: ...they've really done allright!
But we all know how to defeat that one now, remember the jumper? :wink:

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Post by 4vDesmo » Fri Dec 28, 2007 12:48 pm

It all goes to the "don't leave a roast unattended" mantra, and in that regard it isn't a huge issue to monitor it I suppose. I'm pretty much standing there anyway. But given the choice, I'd prefer to NOT have it in there. A bunch of legal protection for THEIR safety and MY frustration. At least put a manual addendum in the box guys!

The 356 degrees within 8 1/2 minutes seems a bit random, I'd like to know how they arrived at those figures. And why is it the 414 alarm isn't adequate? If it reaches 356, it can easily reach 414 too. And why the time issue? We're going to regulate ourselves to death.

I think I'll go run with scissors to find some matches to play with....

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Post by chas » Fri Dec 28, 2007 1:12 pm

I see a "deadman's stick" on the next version.

:violent3:
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Post by Niko » Fri Dec 28, 2007 2:01 pm

I can find more creative ways to burn down my kitchen :lol:

I don't see the need to walk away from the Hottop longer than 1 minute, maybe to open the next bottle of beer 8)
Besides, with all the frantic note-taking with every segment who has the time to walk away :roll:
If I see any changes in the roast compared to previous roasts, it's time to clean or change the filter - all the notes help keep track of these kind of things.


BTW, I'm getting 30+ roasts out the current filter :thumbleft:

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Post by coffeeowl » Tue Jan 01, 2008 4:09 pm

We have a Hottop B user onboard, don't we? So let's have a little comparison between the P and B!
In the P, the heating goes fully on until the set temperature is attained. So if it reaches the temperature in the middle of the segment how does it further apply the heating power? In the B, one can reduce the heating, however it needs to be done manually and if one wants to keep the temperature at constant for some time, one has to set the heating output manually and keep an eye on it. In the P manual it is written the unit 'circulates its heating element' so that the temperature remains the same throughout segment(s). The big question is how? is it just turning the heating off and then on or is there any more intelligent programming invovled?
It is, from my point of view, crucial in my decision between P and B models.
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Post by Niko » Tue Jan 01, 2008 6:43 pm

If you get the "P" we can share profiles, Pawel :wink:

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Post by coffeeowl » Sun Jan 06, 2008 4:41 pm

Niko wrote:If you get the "P" we can share profiles, Pawel :wink:
With the B I can emulate all P profiles easily unless it operates the heater in some sophisticated way :tongue5: :)
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Post by Niko » Sun Jan 06, 2008 7:36 pm

But you can't save them all.
With the "P" you can save up to 9 profiles 8)

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Post by 4vDesmo » Mon Jan 07, 2008 12:59 pm

You can save three profiles with the B in addition to the factory Auto program. I think manually emulating a P roast to save into memory would be a bit of a challenge, and require some dedicated practice. The fan and heating element are the same, so they should respond the same - but are you a computer?

With the B you have control over fan speed (0, 25, 50, 75, or 100%) and the heating element (in 10% increments). The P may not be as coarse or have these steps with its computer control. Both roasters are going to ramp up the temps over time. Using either or both contols to keep temps in a given range for a given time can certainly be done. Having a 'feel' for how each control affects and balances the other is going take time and effort. But if thats what you want, why not just get it?

The B does a fine job of roasting, and I'm pretty happy with it. But if you really want or need the finer P control, then I'd say buy the P and be done with it. I figure the upgrade is available to me any time I want it, and the upgrade price is the same as the retail price difference so no harm in starting with the B. Plus I don't think upgrading requires returning any parts, so if I did decide to upgrade I would still have the B panel as a spare. 8)

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Post by Bigtwin » Mon Jan 07, 2008 7:12 pm

@4vDesmo,

I've got a Hottop B model coming with some Monkey and Donkey. If you have any tips for the roaster and these blends, they would be appreciated.
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Post by Niko » Mon Jan 07, 2008 7:32 pm

4vDesmo wrote:I figure the upgrade is available to me any time I want it, and the upgrade price is the same as the retail price difference so no harm in starting with the B. Plus I don't think upgrading requires returning any parts, so if I did decide to upgrade I would still have the B panel as a spare. 8)
That's the beauty of getting a Hottop, you can switch to any version! :P
Getting ANY version of the Hottop is upgradable to any future versions as well.
B or P, you can't go wrong :thumbleft:

...just pick your flavor and go.


Hey Steve,
Sounds like we should start a Hottop panel switchers swap meet. We meet once a month and trade panels back and forth :lol:

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Post by 4vDesmo » Mon Jan 07, 2008 7:51 pm

Bigtwin (I'm going to guess that's a motorcycle reference, like mine!),

Well its nice to know at least I won't be the only B-guy any more!

My brief experience with the B has been outlined in this thread. As I indicated in previous posts, be aware there MAY be temperature alarms programmed into the roaster that are not documented in the manual. If your unit was manufactured after Dec 10, it has the temp alarms. But if SM's has had it in stock for a few weeks, yours may only have the 414 alarm. The HotTop USA web site has the new manual available for download that includes the temperature alarm details.

The advice I would offer is not to depend on the factory Auto roast profile to "just do it". I found that the 18 minute program ramps up the temps pretty quickly and will end the roast well short of 18 minutes if you aren't standing by to either continue roasting by cancelling the alarm, or slowing the ramp-up by backing down the heat and/or adding fan.

My last roast I started adding fan and backing off the heat at about 325 to slow things down a bit. I ended up at about 15 minutes total with the fan on 50% and the heat on 60%. Next time (tonight) I'll go a bit further to slow it, as I figure I can always turn up the heat or back off the fan if I need to get it hotter again.

And....don't forget, if you want to save the roast you've just created by modifying the Auto profile, you only have a short time to do so before it goes to profile heaven. I knew this, and I still forgot to do it.

Enjoy, and let us know how it turns out.

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Post by 4vDesmo » Mon Jan 07, 2008 7:54 pm

Niko wrote: Sounds like we should start a Hottop panel switchers swap meet. We meet once a month and trade panels back and forth :lol:
Niko - is your roaster ever sitting idle long enough to trade panels?? Hard to believe!

But I'm game to give it a try.

Niko

Post by Niko » Mon Jan 07, 2008 8:17 pm

4vDesmo wrote: Well its nice to know at least I won't be the only B-guy any more!
Now I totally feel left out!
...don't make me do it! I may just buy a "B" panel just so I can talk to you guys :(
4vDesmo wrote: And....don't forget, if you want to save the roast you've just created by modifying the Auto profile, you only have a short time to do so before it goes to profile heaven. I knew this, and I still forgot to do it.
:lol: Steve man, you had me laughing my ass off over this one!

I know this sounds a little nuts but in the past I've used a video cam to capture the last 4 minutes of my roasts. It was the only way to get really detailed notes...you see, I drink beer as I roast and it's hard to take notes after the 4th batch when you're tanked :wink:

By the way, if there's a profile heaven...there's certainly a profile hell - you ought to see some of the doozies I've got programmed in my Hottop P :shock:

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Post by 4vDesmo » Mon Jan 07, 2008 11:17 pm

Niko wrote:Now I totally feel left out!
...don't make me do it! I may just buy a "B" panel just so I can talk to you guys :(


DO IT! You know you want to. You know you NEED to!

Niko wrote: I drink beer as I roast and it's hard to take notes after the 4th batch
So do you drink coffee when you brew beer? Fair is fair.

:P

Niko

Post by Niko » Mon Jan 07, 2008 11:32 pm

4vDesmo wrote: So do you drink coffee when you brew beer? Fair is fair.
:P
Actually, not yet...
I have all the stuff to start brewing beer, it's the damn coffee that's taken over my life (if you want to call it a life). :D

And I'd probably drink beer when I make beer, I think I just drink beer when I do anything :lol:

EDIT:
Oh look at that...I just hit 1,700 posts while holding a beer :roll:
Something has to counteract the two triples I had earlier this evening...

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Post by chas » Tue Jan 08, 2008 7:51 am

Niko, I'm in the same boat. I have a large, overflowing double-wide cabinet in the basement with all my beer making gear plus a beer fridge with two taps. I haven't touched any of it since I got my S1. I keep thinking about trying a batch of Meade.

At this point I probably have more money in the espresso hobby equipment, but not by a lot!
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Post by Weska » Tue Jan 08, 2008 3:04 pm

Niko, yes, I have arrived at beer as an ideal lubricant for roasting. Seems to make the Gene's moves more visible to me.

And, chas, yes, in a previous life when I lived on earth instead of Planet Russia, I was a home brewer too. It's hard for me to imagine how things have changed since the 90's when the peak of homebrew gear was a grain grinder intended for tortilla corn from Medellin, and the main choice was whether to use plastic paint cans or mexican glass 5-gallon flagons for fermentation.

There was only a single dedicated brewing device--name escapes me--that might have cost four hundred dollars.

Please, don't get me started again. (But I loved that hobby!)

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Post by coffeeowl » Tue Jan 08, 2008 5:04 pm

4vDesmo wrote:
Niko wrote:Now I totally feel left out!
...don't make me do it! I may just buy a "B" panel just so I can talk to you guys :(


DO IT! You know you want to. You know you NEED to!
OK, Niko, you don't need to do it.
I stand up to declare I'm getting the P (as soon as I get the money :) )
After reading the replies (big thank you 4vDesmo and Mrgnomer!) I am finally decided: :color: -> :happy10: .
4vDesmo wrote:So do you drink coffee when you brew beer? Fair is fair.
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Joined: Fri Jun 02, 2006 12:33 pm
Location: Moscow

Post by Weska » Tue Jan 08, 2008 5:37 pm

Cooking is a big thing to me too, coffeeowl, and always was. But homebrewing was easy to incorporate into that.

It was all the Quest for Better Basics, as I saw it. Pizza from scratch. Bread too. Ice cream homemade. Noodles too. Beer homebrewed. Pesto from my own basil plants.

There is always room for another food prep ambition. :D

Niko

Post by Niko » Tue Jan 08, 2008 6:47 pm

I bought the Behmor to roast cocoa beans for chocolate.
Now I have several pounds of raw cocoa beans looking at me from across room, next to the sacks of green coffee.

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