After a visit from the Bullet inventor Jonas Lille I put together more information on cleaning and maintenance for the Aillio Bullet Coffee Roaster.
The Aillio Bullet R1 Roaster needs your attention … but luckily not all the time. Before starting a roast session it’s wise to check your removable Chaff is paper-like skin that comes off the coffee in the roasting process. Chaff from roasting is part of the innermost skin (the silverskin) of the coffee fruit that still cling to the beans after compartment in the back, and the cooling tray filter. If you’re doing several back-to-back roasts it’s a good idea to check the chaff compartment at some point, and the rubber plug for chaff removal in the back, used with a shop vac, is a great way to pull out chaff between roasts without taking anything apart.
But what about weekly, monthly, yearly maintenance? Well, we have found that the buyers of the Aillio Bullet are a diverse group, some who are very casual, occasional roasters who like the features, the control and the batch capacity; others who are running a business with the Bullet! Those varying uses, a couple roasts a week versus a hundred roasts a month, are going to require different foci on cleaning. But for anyone using a Bullet, if you see, hear or smell something unusual, don’t keep roasting! Take a pause and check it out.
If your Bullet is running fine, here is what we recommend for cleaning. Do NOT overclean … your chaff filter does not need to be sparkly all the time, and if it is you will likely dissolve it in cleaning fluid, ending its usable life far earlier than necessary.
Note: This article is from late 2018 and some of the information might not apply to the latest Aillio Bullet V2 Model.
You should deep-clean your Aillio Bullet R1 at least once a year if you don’t roast too often (let’s say 15 batches a month) and monthly if you roast heavily (100+ batches a month). Coffee oils, dust and chaff particles will cake itself onto internal surfaces inside your vent system. This build-up can lead to reduced airflow.
You can allow your roaster parts to brown up and cake with roast residue up to a point. For the front IR sensor, the machine is going to indicate when you should clean it. For the fan and vent components in the rear, I believe that 50-80 roasts is a fine span without cleaning, perhaps longer. It really depends on how dark you roast and what coffees you are roasting.
The rear chaff filter basket does not need to be shiny, but ideally it is allowing air to pass through. More important than its appearance, it’s color, is what you see when you hold it up to a light source. Does the screen look clogged? If it does, we tap it against a hard surfafce and clean it with a shop vac. If it is still looking clogged, we use a fine brass-bristle brush, (it looks like a toothbrush).
For a deeper cleaning we soak the components in Tabz, or Cleancaf, two types of coffee machine cleaners. These are the type used to run through an automatic drip coffee maker. They are more gentle than the more aggressive A small coffee beverage, about 20 ml, prepared on an espresso machine where pressurized hot water extracted through compressed coffee.: In its most stripped-down, basic form, this is a working definition for espresso: A small machine cleaners. See our video or the images below…
A good soak in a solution made from Tabz will loosen up a lot of the coffee fuzz and build-up from the Bullet’s mesh chaff basket and impeller. Tabz are originally for cleaning coffee carafes but we find them useful for cleaning other coffee items like brewers and roasters. Don’t soak aluminum parts in espresso machine cleaners since they will eat away at the aluminum. You can also use sodium percarbonate. If you brew your own beer, you should be familiar with this as a way to clean and sanitize brewing equipment. I also like Sodium Percarbonate, an oxygen cleaner used by home brewers. But that’s me.
If your entire rear housing has roast residue on it, you should definitely take the whole thing off the roaster Associated with and sensed by mouthfeel, body is sense of weight and thickness of the brew, caused by the percentage of soluble solids in the cup, including all organic compounds that are extracted from brewing, remove the motor and electronics from it, and soak. That may be required once a year! To clean the transfer tube (shorter arrow), we use a shapeable cleaning brush we sell for coffee pots. (Link is below). We don’t use any liquid solution to clean transfer tube!
Cleaning the Aillio Bullet R1 IR Sensor
The InfraRed sensor on the first and second build of the Bullet measures the drum temperature (it points upward at drum). The Bullet will give you a warning when it needs to be wiped off (a Q-Tip and Alcohol is ideal).
(UPDATE: Jan. 2019) Roasters purchased during and after 2019 are equipped with an updated IR sensor that self-cleans using jets of clean air. The updated IR sensor will not have a glass cover.
Jonas, the Bullet creator, recommends Tipping refers to a roast error that can be discerned by inspecting the roasted coffee, where the ends of the elongated bean appear burnt. It can easily be tasted in the cup too; burnt or your roaster when it’s cooled down, to see if any extra chaff or trapped beans might come loose. This can get coffee out of the transfer tube that gets stuck when you charge the roaster with a batch, and any excess chaff.
Also see our Aillio Cleaning Guide PDF:
Our Aillio Bullet Cleaning Videos
Cleaning the Bullet: The video repeats the information above but might make it easier to visualize!