Colder climate and roasting in garage or shed


#3

Thanks for the experience!

So far not too bad here. I think I will continue to bring the Bullet inside after roasting. It adds time but that last thing I want to do is any damage to it as it warms, freezes, warms, freezes.

Last night was the coldest so far. Was about 36 degrees outside, 38 degrees inside. Space heaters for 30 minutes to bring it up to 50 degrees. By the time I got the Bullet set up and pre-heated, was up to 54 degrees. After 3 batches the space was at 60 degrees. if I can keep it above 50 for the winter, that is a win for me.


#4

I have a tiny shop which has just enough space for a Rubbermaid utility cart. The Bullet stays on the cart which I drag out, plug in the power distribution box, and fire up the roaster. (The folding table, chair, temp/humidity guage, note binder, scale, blah-blah-blah take much longer.)

The ‘shop’ is an unheated space but it shares an insulated wall with a climate controlled room. It probably doesn’t freeze in there on a really cold night so that’s home.

Bruce


#5

I emailed a similar question to Sweet Maria’s. A representative informed me that the Bullet will not withstand cold temperatures, especially below freezing. I believe it’s likely due to the electronics.

Ward


#6

Today was a true test as it was 26 degrees outside, sleeting and snowing. Where I roast was 28 degrees. Started up my 2 space heaters, let them sit for 30 minutes. Got my Bullet and beans and such and when I was ready, it was 52 degrees inside. Unplugged one and kept the other on the table with the Bullet. There was a chill on the other side but where the Bullet was maintained 52 degrees and I am sure around the Bullet was warmer with the it running and the heater heating. Roasted my 3 lbs., packed it up and brought her inside the house.

It is a PITA to carry all the stuff every time but it is only for a few months and it allows me to roast so if anyone is in the same situation, my 10x10 space heats up nicely with a 1250w and a 750w heater in NJ, as far down as 26 degrees outside, so far. I am sure I don’t need 2 but it is only to pre-heat the space, then I leave only the 1250w running.


#7

Glad to know there are more than a couple of us driven by the ‘need’ for good coffee!! :slight_smile:

Bruce


#8

Right! I tested the Mexican honey process I roasted yesterday… so good on a snow day! Afternoon cup will be a Flores Wolo Bobo. I also roasted a pound of Brazilian for my dad. He is crazy and if everything isn’t just right, he dumps it and starts over. I usually get him a pound a week for his craziness. Freaking retired people! LOL


#9

Hah! Those are my people!! :rofl:

I have a neighbor I tried to tempt with some really nice dark-roasted Guatemalan. He didn’t say ‘yuk’, but then he didn’t need to! After 3 more tries I gave him some Liquid Amber (an espresso blend from SM’s). He thought it was the best pour-over he’d ever had. Whatever works!

And yes… he’s retired! :slight_smile:

Bruce


#10

Lotus, my Bullet lives in a dry, unfinished basement where the coldest temps are no less than 60F in the winter. My basement has no heating or cooling, but I do run a dehumidifier that manages with summertime humidity to ~45%. It is 32F outside now and the basement is at 62F. The Bullet is performing well in that environment, but it is also better protected versus if I stored it in a non-climatized shed in my backyard.

Your thought about using the space heater with your Bullet in cold weather is correct. Electric roasters are very much affected by ambient temps (extreme hot and cold). At my age, it also about comfort when I roast. If I’m comfortable, the roaster is too and it is a lot more enjoyable to roast is an environment that isn’t harsh on me or the Bullet.

I’ve roasted for many years outdoors, in all seasons with both electric and gas roasters. Electric roasters just don’t fare well in outdoor cold weather use (from my experience) due to ambient temp effects upon the electronics. I’ve sent (3) lesser cost electric roasters to early graves by using them that way and they usually lasted about 2yrs. Those electric roasters were no where near as expensive as the Bullet and I decided not “test the waters” again on a $2,700 product. I can say that setting up the Bullet in my basement has been the best thing I’ve ever done. I have everything right there with the roaster and all I hafta do is roast and cleanup afterwards. The Bullet is performing very well with no indication of environmental effects upon the product.

You are on the right track and good luck with your solution.


#11

Thanks Papas for the great writeup of your experience! Man, I wish my basement was 62… more like 52, but not horrible. I have bilco doors which doesn’t help.

I won’t roast below 50F and even with temps in the 20s and whipping wind making it feel like sub 20, 2 space heaters get my space to right around 55F and when I roast I go down to 1 heater and the temps are static and it is very comfortable for me in sweats and a hoodie - my roasting gear. LOL I am looking forward to the spring again for sure but my process is working well. Maybe next year I will free up some space in the basement, run some ductwork and the roast there next winter.

thanks again!


#12

We have been lucky. A few days in the 50’s is not the norm. I’m new to roasting with the Bullet R2. Been trying a few batches at the 300g size and it rough to get a good consistent roast. Maybe you can give some suggestions. Buying lots of beans from Sweet Maria’s and would love to get one of those roasts that make you say. Awesome. They are okay roasts, but not ones that say. Awesome,. Maybe they are and I haven’t had a underdeveloped cup. :slightly_smiling_face:


#13

I have found that less than 350g makes it tough. I did some 228g batches (got 8 ounce samples from a local place) and noticed that the sensors were WAY off, anywhere from 10-30 degrees C. Had to roast by sight, sounds and smell as the graphing was next to useless. You should always work on those senses anyway, but the smaller charges demand it. I would stick to 350g or more. Sweet spot for me is 500g and 800g so far.

As for some pointers, I am fairly new as well but love the Bullet for roasting. Haven’t gone any larger but my roast have been pretty consistent. If I am roasting for espresso/cappuccino and the sweeter/chocolatey notes, I take it right to 2nd crack and dump after the first few with a development of 25-30%. If I am roasting for drip/pour over and want a more origin profile, I have been dropping it right at the end of 1st crack or even a few seconds after it ends with a development of 20-25%. But every bean is different and surrounding conditions matter so always pay attention to them as well.

Good luck!


#14

Just glancing thru a few of your profiles I’m inclined to agree with @lotus that your bean load is light and as a consequence it’s harder to control. I’ll guess you’re reluctant to commit more beans unless you’re sure you can get a really good roast- been there! A larger bean load may help with consistency but it won’t guaranty a great roast.

As an aside, using the My Beans feature as well as editing the roast title & comments will help you keep track of what you’re doing so you can relate green beans to roast profiles. When you hit a home run you need to be able to duplicate it!

Bruce


#15

Always appreciate the advice. You know the path, thinking you can sample batch, but I found out as you said it seems to produce better results with a bit of a larger load. I have been tweaking each batch a little. It will come. I need to spend some more time thinking over what is happening and how can I control the temps a bit better. Rest has been straight D9, F3. Then working on the bean temp. Some good, some not, but always drink it to see if time makes it better. Never gotten to 2 crack that I can tell. I seem to be having trouble hearing the first/second crack, (not deaf) so I am mainly going by smell/ look and bean temp.

Anyone have trouble hearing first/second crack? I am roasting outside, so nothing to contain those sounds.


#16

is there an easy way to search through the profiles? I wasn’t able to see anything unless I hit “more” at the bottom and continue to scroll.

Unfortunately you have to do some larger batches for the consistency but maybe some advice is to start giving some coffee away (or selling it). That way it doesn’t go to waste and you get some reviews as well. And of course taste test yourself… a lot. LOL Last couple batches I have been playing with fan more to regulate temps around FC. Will taste in a day or 2.

The smaller the batch, the harder it will be to hear the cracks but they should still be audible. Sometimes it is easier to hear if you are eye/ear level with the window.


#17

A few thoughts about what @renfro.scott has written…

  • I haven’t found the secrets of drum speed adjustment. Some here swear by it as a significant part of temp management.
  • I find fan adjustment both effective and quick to respond. I start at F1 or F2 and have ended as high as F8. But high fan speeds I suspect are a result of poor power management on my part.
  • Hearing the crack is very difficult with a new drum and seems to get better with use. I have the feeling the crack causes a new(ish) drum to ring a tiny bit. The residue added to the drum thru use seems to dampen that ringing making the crack more distinguishable.
  • I found a sitting position that places my ear on the same level as the bottom of the door helped me. And yes, I wear hearing aids, so YMMV.
  • Sometimes removing the rubber plug from the bean chute has helped confirm SC but that affects temps so don’t leave it off.
  • You should find good correlation of crack with bean or drum temp (I rely most on the latter but it can vary as the IBTS lens gets dirty). If you know when to expect the crack it can help convince you of what you think you hear.
  • One user built a makeshift stethoscope that incorporated a short piece of metal tube to fit the tryer port. He felt it really helped.
  • I don’t mark either crack on the chart having heard just one or two instances. I want multiple pops/snaps before I click on the event flag.
  • re: small batches vs. hearing the crack… a larger bean load adds mass to the drum which absorbs some of the ringing sound from beans crashing inside the drum. So you’re right that it’s harder with a small load.

Bruce


#18

@lotus

If you know the User Name, modify the the URL when viewing your dashboard by replacing your own user name with theirs. Otherwise you have to use More. So far thete’s no Search facility.

That’s been my approach: give coffee away so I have an excuse to roast more. Got 3 folks here in the park that like what I turn out, so that finds a home for 3 lbs/week, plus a little for myself.

A 4th person just didn’t care for the taste… even my best Guat!! I finally gave him some of espresso blend I use for pulling shots. Loved it for his pour-over. Whatever works. Now he’s buying greens and I roast it for him.

Not sure roasting indoors necessarily improves the sound of the crack. Surrounding walls can reflect sound from the crack and from the beans crashing inside the drum. I think drum aging has helped, but… ??

The snap sound from SC is hard to pick out as it’s close to the sound I hear from the beans crashing. Easier if you use temp to correlate when SC should be happening. Also look for the tiny round ‘divets’ that pop off the bean during SC. I find a few in the cooling bowl (and more under the bowl when I vacuum later).

Bruce


#19

Thanks, that works in place of a search. hopefully they implement something sooner or later.


#20

The Bullet should actually work (start up without errors) if the temp is more than 36 Fahrenheit - give or take a few degrees. If anyone of you get the error again and have RoasTime connected, then please take a screenshot of the info panel and the log as well, then it will be easier to debug.
Electrolytic capacitors does not like cold temperatures so it is best not to start it up if it is below 32F.


#21

Thanks for the response Jacob. I am not concerned with it not starting up or working in the colder climates but because I use a heater to heat the space for when I roast, my concern is leaving it there and condensation forming, freezing, and then thawing. Rinse and repeat. Last time I did that in my garage my ratchets didn’t last too long.

The Bullet has been amazing and I want to do what I can to extend the life as long as I can. Plus, I want some consistency in roasting so I ensure I roast above 50F. nice to know it can handle the colder temps though!


#22

Yep. I agree. If the temperature in my unwarmed shed is below zero (Celcius, not Fahrenheit :slight_smile: ) I receive an error message which stands for “overheated”. After warming the drum with a hairdryer above zero degrees, it starts up the normal way. In winter I have to lower the fan and raise the power. Try to keep the focus on the IBTS, but that is not always reliable because I have to clean it after approximately 10-15 kilograms.