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Date: 21 Dec 2006 23:59:00
From: drsluggo
Subject: Home roaster suggestions?
My 3 1/2 year old Zach and Dani's roaster self-immolated over the
weekend. I am now looking for a new roaster. I was satisfied with the
coffee from the Z&D, but perhaps I can do better. I am considering the
iRoast-2 (are there still quality control issues?) or another Z&D (are they
about to come out with a new model right after I buy?). Or maybe I should
really bite the bullet and go for the Gene Cafe.
Opinions?
Suggestions?

Thanks.
Steve
drsluggo@sc.rr.com






 
Date: 05 Jan 2007 12:14:09
From: finding z0
Subject: Re: Home roaster suggestions?

Bradley wrote:
> On 3 Jan 2007 09:57:17 -0800, "finding z0" <jsk2@excite.com> wrote:
>
> >I started with a Z&D (decent) then acquired a Fresh Roast(ugh!), and
> >have been roasting for 2 yrs with an IRoast1 and think it is the best
> >of the 3. I do about 2 roasts a week. I'm not ready to spend the bucks
> >for a Gene unless someone can convince me that the results are
> >consistently stupendous. Imafrugalkindaguy....... good luck!!
>
> I can assure you that my GC results are rekably consistent to the
> point of predictable. And that I have found the predictable quality
> to provide an excellent frame of reference for learning/improving
> roasts. As far as stupendous is concerned, surely you would have to
> convince yourself of that. <;-)
>
> Best, Brad

The predictability of the lesser air roasters (ZD, FR, IR) depends upon
the experience of the user. Certainly the machines themselves won't
necessarily produce a consistent roast using the same beans, mass,
time, temp. With these rigs, sound and color cues (and maybe odor) are
essential. I suspect the GC can produce, as you say, a consistent
roast. I look to you to first claim some stupendous roasts b4 I chime
in....Cheers



 
Date: 04 Jan 2007 21:00:47
From: bardogg
Subject: Re: Home roaster suggestions?
Sorry for the ambiguity; I also use the iroast in the garage now (once
my wife banished part of the operation she refused to let any of it
back in -- even in the depths of winter when I'm forced to order Tom's
roasts). I find that it does pretty well even into the mid-40s but
below that I really need the alp to prevent risk of baking; I can roast
into the 30s with the alp and still get good results, although I tend
to err on the darker side during colder weather.

jw wrote:
> It came to pass that on 02 Jan 2007, bardogg scribed thusly to all in
> alt.coffee the following inspiration:
>
> > The iroast does much better indoors.
>
> Quick question about this comment--when you say the iRoast does better
> indoors, do you mean it roasts better indoors? Or just doesn't blow as
> much smoke as the larger capacity roasters. I currently have my iRoast in
> the garage, and I'm getting good results, but it is pretty cold out there
> (usually in the 50-60 degrees when roasting).
>
> --
> jw
>
> "Although prepared for tyrdom, I preferred that it be postponed."
> -- Sir Winston Churchill



  
Date: 05 Jan 2007 18:53:27
From: Mike Hartigan
Subject: Re: Home roaster suggestions?
In my experience, ambient temperature affects the iRoast by changing
the rate at which it achieves the programmed temp. Indeed, much
below 40F and it is not uncommon that it can't even reach the
programmed temp. An odd behavior that I've observed is that the fan
speed is slowed only when the programmed temp is high, say, above
400F (I haven't noted the exact temp that this occurs). It's slower,
still, at 450F. The slower fan speed allows it to reach higher
temperatures, even in cold weather. I exploit this in the profiles
that I use for low ambient temps. For example, at a low enough
ambient temp, if I program it to 375F, it can't get past 340F, due to
the high fan speed. However, if I program it to 400F, the fan slows,
and it reaches 375F. Knowing this, I've created profiles that
parallel my preferred profiles, but for use at low ambient temps. I
play games with the temp settings so as to approximate the temp curve
I get a higher ambient temp. It's not perfect, but it works well
enough. I've also found that preheating it helps in cold weather.


In article <1167973247.813490.213190@q40g2000cwq.googlegroups.com >,
onerobeonebowl@gmail.com says...
> Sorry for the ambiguity; I also use the iroast in the garage now (once
> my wife banished part of the operation she refused to let any of it
> back in -- even in the depths of winter when I'm forced to order Tom's
> roasts). I find that it does pretty well even into the mid-40s but
> below that I really need the alp to prevent risk of baking; I can roast
> into the 30s with the alp and still get good results, although I tend
> to err on the darker side during colder weather.
>
> jw wrote:
> > It came to pass that on 02 Jan 2007, bardogg scribed thusly to all in
> > alt.coffee the following inspiration:
> >
> > > The iroast does much better indoors.
> >
> > Quick question about this comment--when you say the iRoast does better
> > indoors, do you mean it roasts better indoors? Or just doesn't blow as
> > much smoke as the larger capacity roasters. I currently have my iRoast in
> > the garage, and I'm getting good results, but it is pretty cold out there
> > (usually in the 50-60 degrees when roasting).
> >
> > --
> > jw
> >
> > "Although prepared for tyrdom, I preferred that it be postponed."
> > -- Sir Winston Churchill
>
>

--
-Mike


   
Date: 05 Jan 2007 22:08:51
From: Russell Patterson
Subject: Re: Home roaster suggestions?
On Fri, 5 Jan 2007 18:53:27 -0600, Mike Hartigan
<mike@hartigan.dot.com > wrote:

>In my experience, ambient temperature affects the iRoast by changing
>the rate at which it achieves the programmed temp. Indeed, much
>below 40F and it is not uncommon that it can't even reach the
>programmed temp. An odd behavior that I've observed is that the fan
>speed is slowed only when the programmed temp is high, say, above
>400F (I haven't noted the exact temp that this occurs). It's slower,
>still, at 450F. The slower fan speed allows it to reach higher
>temperatures, even in cold weather. I exploit this in the profiles
>that I use for low ambient temps. For example, at a low enough
>ambient temp, if I program it to 375F, it can't get past 340F, due to
>the high fan speed. However, if I program it to 400F, the fan slows,
>and it reaches 375F. Knowing this, I've created profiles that
>parallel my preferred profiles, but for use at low ambient temps. I
>play games with the temp settings so as to approximate the temp curve
>I get a higher ambient temp. It's not perfect, but it works well
>enough. I've also found that preheating it helps in cold weather.
>
Is it programmed to do that or is it just the high current draw by the
heaters lowering the voltage overall such that the fan runs slower?


    
Date: 06 Jan 2007 07:46:16
From: Mike Hartigan
Subject: Re: Home roaster suggestions?
In article <lj4up214vq7m65lcrsoen6t3q2d5lgj13o@4ax.com >,
me@privacy.net says...
> On Fri, 5 Jan 2007 18:53:27 -0600, Mike Hartigan
> <mike@hartigan.dot.com> wrote:
>
> >In my experience, ambient temperature affects the iRoast by changing
> >the rate at which it achieves the programmed temp. Indeed, much
> >below 40F and it is not uncommon that it can't even reach the
> >programmed temp. An odd behavior that I've observed is that the fan
> >speed is slowed only when the programmed temp is high, say, above
> >400F (I haven't noted the exact temp that this occurs). It's slower,
> >still, at 450F. The slower fan speed allows it to reach higher
> >temperatures, even in cold weather. I exploit this in the profiles
> >that I use for low ambient temps. For example, at a low enough
> >ambient temp, if I program it to 375F, it can't get past 340F, due to
> >the high fan speed. However, if I program it to 400F, the fan slows,
> >and it reaches 375F. Knowing this, I've created profiles that
> >parallel my preferred profiles, but for use at low ambient temps. I
> >play games with the temp settings so as to approximate the temp curve
> >I get a higher ambient temp. It's not perfect, but it works well
> >enough. I've also found that preheating it helps in cold weather.
> >
> Is it programmed to do that or is it just the high current draw by the
> heaters lowering the voltage overall such that the fan runs slower?
>

It's by design. When it reaches a desired temperature that is below
400 (fan at high speed), the fan speed change is the result of the
fluctuating current draw as the heating element is cycled on and off,
as you suggest. This is barely detectable by ear, but it's there.
At this point, using just this technique, the iRoast is very good at
maintaining the programmed temp (you can watch the on-board temp
display bouncing rythmically between, say, 376-380). Above 400, the
speed change is deliberate and it is very obvious. It's very good at
maintaining the desired temp using this technique, too. The trick is
to coax it up to the desired temp when the ambient temp is low.

--
-Mike


     
Date: 16 Jan 2007 14:32:22
From: Neal Reid
Subject: Re: Home roaster suggestions?
Stuff on ambient temp snipped...

I've had great success with my FreshRoast out in the garage at
temperatures around freezing. I just put the whole thing in a
cardboard box not too much bigger than the machine, preheat it a
minute or 2, and beans, set up, close box (mostly) and go.

Clearly, I stay close - but with the FreshRoast one has to anyway.
If anything, the box makes it easier. The echo chamber effect
makes the cracks clearer than they are in the open air!

--
M for N in address to mail reply


  
Date: 05 Jan 2007 09:46:39
From: Tony Verhulst
Subject: Re: Home roaster suggestions?
bardogg wrote:
> Sorry for the ambiguity; I also use the iroast in the garage now (once
> my wife banished part of the operation she refused to let any of it
> back in -- even in the depths of winter when I'm forced to order Tom's
> roasts).

Well, you could do worse than Tom's roasts :-), but it doesn't have to
be this way. My i-Roast vent is *very* effective.

http://home.comcast.net/~tony.verhulst/PICS/Misc/vent_window.JPG
http://home.comcast.net/~tony.verhulst/PICS/Misc/vent_fan.JPG
http://home.comcast.net/~tony.verhulst/PICS/Misc/vent_side.JPG

The long hose allows the exhaust to cool sufficiently so that by the
time it gets to the fan, you can comfortably put your hand on the
exhaust hose - thereby avoiding heat damaging the fan.

Tony V.


 
Date: 03 Jan 2007 09:57:17
From: finding z0
Subject: Re: Home roaster suggestions?

drsluggo wrote:
snip!.
> Opinions?
> Suggestions?
>
> Thanks.
> Steve



I started with a Z&D (decent) then acquired a Fresh Roast(ugh!), and
have been roasting for 2 yrs with an IRoast1 and think it is the best
of the 3. I do about 2 roasts a week. I'm not ready to spend the bucks
for a Gene unless someone can convince me that the results are
consistently stupendous. Imafrugalkindaguy....... good luck!!



  
Date: 03 Jan 2007 19:35:35
From: Bradley
Subject: Re: Home roaster suggestions?
On 3 Jan 2007 09:57:17 -0800, "finding z0" <jsk2@excite.com > wrote:

>I started with a Z&D (decent) then acquired a Fresh Roast(ugh!), and
>have been roasting for 2 yrs with an IRoast1 and think it is the best
>of the 3. I do about 2 roasts a week. I'm not ready to spend the bucks
>for a Gene unless someone can convince me that the results are
>consistently stupendous. Imafrugalkindaguy....... good luck!!

I can assure you that my GC results are rekably consistent to the
point of predictable. And that I have found the predictable quality
to provide an excellent frame of reference for learning/improving
roasts. As far as stupendous is concerned, surely you would have to
convince yourself of that. <;-)

Best, Brad


 
Date: 02 Jan 2007 19:22:47
From: bardogg
Subject: Re: Home roaster suggestions?
I forgot one important point to mention -- moving up to the larger
capacity roaster like the bravi or gc also meant moving my roasting
operation to the garage because the smoke was considerably greater and
even my large stove vent couldn't effectively deal with it. I even
tried venting the alp through the dryer vent in the basement but it
still left a pretty strong lingering roast smell (which I enjoyed but
my wife wasn't pleased with, since the laundry hangs there). The
iroast does much better indoors.

On Dec 21 2006, 11:59 pm, "drsluggo" <drslu...@comcast.net > wrote:
> My 3 1/2 year old Zach and Dani's roaster self-immolated over the
> weekend. I am now looking for a new roaster. I was satisfied with the
> coffee from the Z&D, but perhaps I can do better. I am considering the
> iRoast-2 (are there still quality control issues?) or another Z&D (are they
> about to come out with a new model right after I buy?). Or maybe I should
> really bite the bullet and go for the Gene Cafe.
> Opinions?
> Suggestions?
>
> Thanks.
> Steve
> drslu...@sc.rr.com



  
Date: 03 Jan 2007 21:19:44
From: Steve Johnson
Subject: Re: Home roaster suggestions?
On 2 Jan 2007 19:22:47 -0800, "bardogg" <onerobeonebowl@gmail.com >
wrote:

>I forgot one important point to mention -- moving up to the larger
>capacity roaster like the bravi or gc also meant moving my roasting
>operation to the garage because the smoke was considerably greater and
>even my large stove vent couldn't effectively deal with it. I even


One of the main reasons we initially went to Z&D was the relatively
smoke free -- we used to use Hearthware products and smoke / lack of
being able to roast one batch after another had us looking elsewhere.

Larger capacity is not a problem with us -- we ( my wife and I ) like
different kinds of beans and roasts. I travel a lot -- so small
batches fit our lifestyle better. I can knock off a batch first
thing in the morning before I head to the office.


  
Date: 04 Jan 2007 01:23:40
From: jw
Subject: Re: Home roaster suggestions?
It came to pass that on 02 Jan 2007, bardogg scribed thusly to all in
alt.coffee the following inspiration:

> The iroast does much better indoors.

Quick question about this comment--when you say the iRoast does better
indoors, do you mean it roasts better indoors? Or just doesn't blow as
much smoke as the larger capacity roasters. I currently have my iRoast in
the garage, and I'm getting good results, but it is pretty cold out there
(usually in the 50-60 degrees when roasting).

--
jw

"Although prepared for tyrdom, I preferred that it be postponed."
-- Sir Winston Churchill


 
Date: 02 Jan 2007 19:12:58
From: bardogg
Subject: Re: Home roaster suggestions?
Steve,

I used hearthware products, including the iroast for several years and
then switched to an alp because of volume. I liked hearthware and
still use my iroast ocassionally for smaller batches and it's a great
product -- many particularly like the ability to program the roast
profile and if you like fine control, that's probably your best bet.

But the alp (and the GC -- which I haven't tried) really kill the
iroast on volume. For me it makes a big difference to be able to roast
a larger volume of coffee. This way I'm only roasting a couple days a
week and can usually let the batches sit, whereas with the iroast,
unless I really got ahead on a weekend, I ended up roasting every day
and rarely letting the coffee sit like it should.

I also like the earthier coffees, sumatran in particular, a lot better
on the alp. Kenyans don't have the full range of high notes that I can
get on the iroast, but the lower end of the spectrum is more
pronounced.

Tom (SM) stopped carrying the alp because he doesn't think the upgrades
on what they now call the bravi are worth the increased cost. I was
able to get mine when my old alp died and they pretty much gave it to
me for slightly more than what the old alp cost. You might call them
and see if they're still offering deals on the bravi which might make
it competitive. Or go for the GC -- if Tom carries it you know it must
be good.

Good luck and happy roasting!

On Dec 21 2006, 11:59 pm, "drsluggo" <drslu...@comcast.net > wrote:
> My 3 1/2 year old Zach and Dani's roaster self-immolated over the
> weekend. I am now looking for a new roaster. I was satisfied with the
> coffee from the Z&D, but perhaps I can do better. I am considering the
> iRoast-2 (are there still quality control issues?) or another Z&D (are they
> about to come out with a new model right after I buy?). Or maybe I should
> really bite the bullet and go for the Gene Cafe.
> Opinions?
> Suggestions?
>
> Thanks.
> Steve
> drslu...@sc.rr.com



 
Date: 02 Jan 2007 14:54:06
From: Steve Johnson
Subject: Re: Home roaster suggestions?
I just bought a replacement for mine -- the people who made the
original are now keting it under the Nesco brand

http://www.nesco.com/products/?category=1000&id=315

I saved a few parts from my initial one ( I bought when Z&D first came
out ) and they are interchangeable.

I've been extremely pleased with the Zach and Dani's and stuck with
the design. There were some nice minor tweaks to the design from the
original.

I ordered it from an on-line third party initially who listed it as a
Z&D. The only difference I could see was that the lable and manual
now say Nesco.



On Thu, 21 Dec 2006 23:59:00 -0500, "drsluggo" <drsluggo@comcast.net >
wrote:

> My 3 1/2 year old Zach and Dani's roaster self-immolated over the
>weekend. I am now looking for a new roaster. I was satisfied with the
>coffee from the Z&D, but perhaps I can do better. I am considering the
>iRoast-2 (are there still quality control issues?) or another Z&D (are they
>about to come out with a new model right after I buy?). Or maybe I should
>really bite the bullet and go for the Gene Cafe.
> Opinions?
> Suggestions?
>
>Thanks.
>Steve
>drsluggo@sc.rr.com
>


 
Date: 25 Dec 2006 18:48:43
From: drsluggo
Subject: Re: Home roaster suggestions?
Thanks for the opinions. I read Randy's review and I am leaning toward the
Iroast2. Since Sweet ias is not open until after New Years, I will let
you know how it goes in late January. All further opinions graciously
accepted.
Steve
"drsluggo" <drsluggo@comcast.net > wrote in message
news:8KednXdlM-uP-xbYnZ2dnUVZ_qarnZ2d@giganews.com...
> My 3 1/2 year old Zach and Dani's roaster self-immolated over the
> weekend. I am now looking for a new roaster. I was satisfied with the
> coffee from the Z&D, but perhaps I can do better. I am considering the
> iRoast-2 (are there still quality control issues?) or another Z&D (are
> they about to come out with a new model right after I buy?). Or maybe I
> should really bite the bullet and go for the Gene Cafe.
> Opinions?
> Suggestions?
>
> Thanks.
> Steve
> drsluggo@sc.rr.com
>




 
Date: 22 Dec 2006 17:01:02
From: Flasherly
Subject: Re: Home roaster suggestions?

drsluggo wrote:
> My 3 1/2 year old Zach and Dani's roaster self-immolated over the
> weekend. I am now looking for a new roaster. I was satisfied with the
> coffee from the Z&D, but perhaps I can do better. I am considering the
> iRoast-2 (are there still quality control issues?) or another Z&D (are they
> about to come out with a new model right after I buy?). Or maybe I should
> really bite the bullet and go for the Gene Cafe.
> Opinions?
> Suggestions?
>
> Thanks.
> Steve
> drsluggo@sc.rr.com

Looks nice, the Gene Cafe. Thing I like about yours, the ZD is it
appears setup for optimizing a medium roast without the fast burn
characteristics from air roasters. Which the Gene Cafe ought to
compensate as well in varying temperature settings. Both are nice
units. Wouldn't mind something that on my IRoast, a variable rheostat
for the fan to it speed up after the first crack. 3.5 years would be a
strike to me, unless I felt I'd used it in ways unintended. Averaged
out, though, it's not that much to have roasted that long. Element or
motor go out? You could buy three more for the price of the CG, but
4oz. quantities aren't large. I run a couple small batches to last
most of the week. Don't know that I could go through a 1/2lb. Without
need for more, I like the looks of the ZD, and would be tempted to take
it apart for a fix. Maybe someone in a local electrical shop will
troubleshoot it, or ask what a factory representative wants to
refurbish the unit.



 
Date: 22 Dec 2006 19:39:15
From: Bradley
Subject: Re: Home roaster suggestions?
On Thu, 21 Dec 2006 23:59:00 -0500, "drsluggo" <drsluggo@comcast.net >
wrote:

> My 3 1/2 year old Zach and Dani's roaster self-immolated over the
>weekend. I am now looking for a new roaster. I was satisfied with the
>coffee from the Z&D, but perhaps I can do better. I am considering the
>iRoast-2 (are there still quality control issues?) or another Z&D (are they
>about to come out with a new model right after I buy?). Or maybe I should
>really bite the bullet and go for the Gene Cafe.
> Opinions?
> Suggestions?
>
>Thanks.
>Steve
>drsluggo@sc.rr.com
>

HI, Steve,

I started with the Z&D and then moved to the Gene Cafe, which I've
been using since August. I can't compare it to the I-Roast, but you
can find lots of discussion on this at CoffeeGeek. The build quality
on the GC seems very good.

For my two cents, I am learning how to get repeatable, very good
resuts from the GC and have no regrets whatsoever. There are lots of
different approaches to profiles with the GC, but the point is that it
can be repeatedly, predictably profiled, once you've learned your
machine and your tastes in coffees. I pre-warm my GC a bit, and then
use a stepped profile, and then do my cooling outside the GC with a
colander and fan. It's a hands on operation and a bit of trouble, but
the upside is stopping the roast exactly where you want it.

For me, there's no comparison between the results of the Z&D and the
GC. I could never get any bottom or real body out of my Z&D, and the
only controls, w/o a variac, were the weight of the beans, the amount
of warm up time, and total time.

Unless you've been delighted with what you've been drinking from the
Z&D, I think you'd see benefits from upgrading, maybe even biting the
bullet. From my GC, I've gotten some totally memorable Ormomia at
city roast, which my wife noted was the most balanced cup of coffee
she'd ever tasted, as well as some pretty wonderful Moka Kadir taken
out to Vienna with chocolate notes that lasted hours on the palate.
Never would have gotten to those results with the Z&D.

Good wishes on your deliberations,

Brad


 
Date: 22 Dec 2006 09:17:47
From: Jorn W. Janneck
Subject: Re: Home roaster suggestions?
drsluggo wrote:

> My 3 1/2 year old Zach and Dani's roaster self-immolated over the
> weekend. I am now looking for a new roaster. I was satisfied with the
> coffee from the Z&D, but perhaps I can do better. I am considering the
> iRoast-2 (are there still quality control issues?) or another Z&D (are
> they
> about to come out with a new model right after I buy?). Or maybe I should
> really bite the bullet and go for the Gene Cafe.
> Opinions?
> Suggestions?

Hi sluggo.

The wife gave me an iRoast-2 about 2.5 months ago as a birthday present. I
couldnīt be happier. Since I only have it for a short time I cannot
authoritatively speak to its durability, but it seems pretty solid and at
least so far does well under pretty regular use (Iīd say we roast a batch
every other day, occasionally a lot more). I like the fact that you can set
(and store) roast curves---itīs admittedly somewhat of a geeky pleasure,
but it is nice and convenient.

I do admit to essentially total ignorance of competing products---my wife
did all the research before buying this one, so I would not know how to
compare it to anything else. But with that caveat, it gets two thumbs up
from me.

Good luck,

-- j