Coffee Cup
"Espresso! My Espresso!"
An Ongoing Internet Novelette
by Randy Glass - Copyright 2014 - All rights reserved

Coffee Cup
It Could have Been Worse – Roasting Accident

Monday, August 4, 2014

    It should be fairly widely known by this point that I work for Hottop and I have been using their roasters long before I became employed under contract to them. My use predates my employment by about eleven years! While there are others who have likely roasted more batches of coffee on a Hottop, no one has been roasting in the US longer on Hottops than I. And as embarrassing as this story may be for me to relate, it is a good lesson for all who home roast.
    I had a very long day this past Saturday. I work out of the home all week and my wife works at her office, so the daily commute and full-time hours for her are tiring. She loves her job, but still.. So I made Saturday a shopping time to let her stay home and keep watch over the pup and to just relax. I left the house just after seven AM and hit the 24 hour grocery store, Wallyworld to pick up a pair of orthotics for my newly acquired planter fasciitis, then over to the craft store to get a couple of picture frames on sale (buy one, get one free plus a 20% off coupon!) for two posters I had printed at my next stop. Costco, to get gas and where I also did some food shopping. From there it was up the hill to visit mom in the care facility where she now resides. I was awake at just after five and it was around 12:30PM by the time I got home.

flying monkey poster
Keeping with the coffee theme, here is one of the posters I had printed.
The monkey image was from the Internet and then modified, so this one is for my personal use only.
The framed poster is 20" x 30"

    The humidity has been high, and the temperatures all week ran in the high 90's to around 100. I realized that I had to roast a batch of coffee if I wanted it to have its customary two or three days rest, so out to the garage at about 5:30 to get it done. As you likely know, my KN-8828B-2K Hottop is equipped with the the HTC+TC4C boards and I control it with my 10” laptop. When first plugged into the laptop and Roastlogger is started I know that communication is achieved when the temperatures sensed by the probes are displayed on the GUI in RoastLogger. Before the heating element was energized they read 100F! I have had a problem with the roasts getting away from me late in the profile so had to be particularly vigilant to keep the reins tight. I actually did pretty well and got a good total roast time.
    I hit the eject button a few seconds into second and looked away to bet my colander I use to remove the last bits of chaff and do a visual for burnt beans, stray green beans, and possible foreign objects. When I looked back I noticed that the beans were not being agitated because the cooling tray was askew and not properly engaged on the spindle. Beans were going all over. I quickly grabbed the cooling tray, set it on the workbench next to the roaster and rapidly scooped the beans into the tray, avoiding touching them any longer than I had to. Hot, hot, hot! I got the tray in place so the beans could cool a bit. I let that go for a minute or so then dumped them into the colander and brushed off the remainder of the beans that got left under the tray.
    Sure, we have all had worse roasting problems than that, but I am not done. When I removed the tray I saw that a good amount of beans were left in the ejection chute because of the way they all piled up on the tray without being distributed by the action of the agitation arm. I shook the roaster a bit the get them out of there and CAREFULLY used a finger to pull out the rest.
    I pushed the recovered beans off the base of the roaster and into the colander and it was then I noticed that the bean loading chute cover had been knocked off the top of the roaster when I was shaking the beans out of the ejection chute had fallen into the colander with the beans and was sitting in there upside down. In a very brief instant my mind thought, 'Benas hot. Must cool. Get cover out of beans.' I reached in and pulled the cover out. I have a very nice second-degree burn blister on the tip of the index finger and along the side of my thumb on my right hand from gripping the cover from the portion that blocks off the roast chamber when the cover is in place. I went through about 14 or fifteen ice cubes, one at a time until each had melted to quiet the burn down. A benzocaine topical spray was used before going to bed to be able to get some sleep. The burns were still a little tender the next morning.

burned finger tip   burned thumb
So the lesson should be as obvious as the aroma of Robusta (and the smell of seared flesh).
As Mom taught all of us, “Hot! Don't touch! HOT!”

Coffee Cup
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