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Pan Roasting with Peter
Hello, I wanted to introduce myself. I've been a home roaster for about five weeks now. My equipment? A Weber charcoal grill and a Great Northern Popcorn Co. Pit-Popper, which is basically an aluminum frying pan with a two foot long handle. I shake the pan constantly, but the problem is inconsistent heat. Sometimes I make great coffee in four minutes, other times 14, once the coffee didn't even crack after 20,, just turned cinnamon flavor (the coals were dying.) anyway, it's been great fun, and I have had some great coffee, not quite as good as a master roaster, but certainly much better than Buckstar or Drunken Doughboys.
Edited by ginny on 06/17/2015 10:00 PM
Hi Peter, good to have you on board. We don't hear from many pan roasters.

Have you considered running a thermocouple into the pan running the wire down the side of the handle to a temperature meter. Even if it would be tough to keep the sensor tip always in the beans it would still give some good feedback of how fast the temperature is rising so you can hit your mark consistently.

If you get a moment, shoot a short video of a roast and post it for us.

1/2 lb and 1 lb drum, Siemens Sirocco fluidbed, presspot, chemex, cajun biggin brewer from the backwoods of Louisiana
allenb, thanks for your interest. I tried using a candy thermometer, but it was so inaccurate, I just use my eyes ears and nose. I'll try to get someone to videotape the next batch which I guess will be this weekend.
I've found after several years of roasting in pans or other low-tech devices that one needs to have either very tight and repeatable control over the heat applied to the beans or if this isn't possible then one must have good thermometry. Low tech site, smell and sound can give you great results but not if flying blind with both of those.

1/2 lb and 1 lb drum, Siemens Sirocco fluidbed, presspot, chemex, cajun biggin brewer from the backwoods of Louisiana
Like so many I have used a pan multiple times and with not much success. my grandmother would tell me of her mother roasting out on the porch, overlooking Post Street in San Francisco in the early 1900's...

but by the tie grandma was old enough they had canned coffee and she opted for that as pan roasting had zero allure.

the biggest factor for me and I am sure others is the control over the heat.

with so many other ways to roast with superior results, I gave up on the pan.


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