Here are some of the key benefits of the Alpenrost
Note: This info is from 2002! Alpenrost is long gone, as well as the Swissmar Bravi. They are found on eBay sometimes. Be careful using them! 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... ...more fires are very likely…
This is an end-view of the Alpenrost drum –you can see the tines that drive the coffee just like they do in a full-size drum A machine for roasting coffee. Or the person operating it! The basic requirements for a coffee roaster are a heating element that gets suitably hot and a mechanism... ...more. If they were not there, the coffee would settle at the bottom of the drum and not truly agitate. They are also flared on the ends so when the Alpenrost is finished cooling, the motor reverses and drives the roasted coffee out into the bean collecting hopper and the end of the machine
And this is what the drum sits upon –a view of the roast chamber with the lid open. You can see the squiggly heating coil (very substantial) and at the bottom the chaff tray. The blue arrows point to the sprocket that drives the drum. You will notice rollers in each corner. When you put the drum into the roaster, be sure you have it aligned on the sprocket. The white arrows indicate the two vanes that open up when the cooling cycle begins, venting the hot air rapidly from the roast chamber. They are in the open position in this image.
This view shows the drum mounted in the roaster with the lid open. The chaff tray is pulled out several inches (white arrow) and the bean collector hopper is not in place (it would be where the chaff tray is). You notice that the drum material is a rather large screen opening, which does cause some trouble for very small bean coffees…
And here is the opposite end from the image above. The fan is of very high quality … the exhaust directional piece is in the foreground, and it mounts in front of the fan in the image. You can direct it down if you have a Jennair type stovetop exhaust vent, or upward into an overhead exhaust vent. You need an outdoor exhaust to a fan of some kind to use this roaster –or to roast outdoors in fair weather. It is very Usually a defect of roasting, or of green coffee processing, smokey notes are sometimes found as a positive flavor in a few exotic coffees; This smell and flavor... ...more due to the large capacity! Roasting in cold outdoor environments poses problems too. Cold intake air temperatures stall the roast. There are ways to create a warm air baffle around the roaster by redirecting its hot exhaust air back through it (a large box works!) but be aware of this limitation. Another solution for smoke control is that a 6″ Aluminum Laundry Vent Hose ($6 at any hardware store) can slip on the end of the black exhaust directional piece in the image to send the smoke where you want it to go!
- The Alpenrost has a 1/2 lb. (225 gram) capacity, almost 3x the capacity of other home roasters. You want to be consistent with the batch size. The low-cost digital gram scale we sell would be a nice accessory to have with the Alpenrost. Roasting less requires adjusting the roast time to a lower number to compensate. That could get tricky to control. For example: on my roaster, a 1/2 lb batch at “10” roast setting produces a nice A coffee that has been roasted to the brink of second crack.: A coffee that has been roasted to the brink of second crack. The internal bean temperature... ...more, but a 1/4 lb batch at “10” is a Sugars are heavily caramelized (read as burned) and are degraded; the woody bean structure is carbonizing, the seed continues to expand and loose mass, the body of the... ...more. So I would urge you to use a full 8 oz. every time –that’s the whole reason for buying this roaster anyway!
- The Alpenrost is a rotary drum coffee roaster, all others on the market currently are air roasters (or fluid-bed type roasters). The Alpenrost is the only The transfer of heat between matter. In coffee, conduction heating is contrasted with convection heating, which occurs in a moving fluid. ...more/convective air roaster. (The Unimax was a conduction roaster too, but it is not being sold currently).
- Conduction/convective roasting requires more time to transfer the heat from to the coffee by convective airflow and by conduction via the hot metal surfaces.
- In this way, the Alpenrost IS an electric, automated, modern design of the traditional coffee roaster’s sample roaster. (Which, incidentally, still cost over $3000!)
- The controls are simple and sure-footed –uh, fingered. There is a digital touchpad for roast settings 1 to 15 with 8 being medium roast. These are roast settings, not minutes! There is a start button, and a cool button so you can manually override roast cycle and start the cooling.
- There is no other control of roast cycle -no heat or airflow controls.
- Very Dark Roasts: I don’t think this is that machine for you. I would say it comfortably gets to a Light French Roast, certainly good for 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... ...more. And I imagine you could cut back on the amount of coffee …or preheat it a bit, or find some way to get a slightly darker roast.
- There may be a few coffees that have very small seeds or peaberries that will catch and burn in the perforated metal drum of the Alpenrost. I will mention a few from our current list: Brazil is a coffee giant . As Frank Sinatra sang, "they grow an awful lot of coffee in Brazil".: Brazil is a coffee giant . As Frank Sinatra... ...more A coffee cultivar; a cross between Typica and Bourbon, originally grown in Brazil: Mundo Novo is a commercial coffee cultivar; a natural hybrid between "Sumatra" and Red Bourbon,... ...more Santos 14/16 screen, Maui Moka 15 screen, Ethiopian Yirgacheffe, Costa Rican Papagayo. These are just a few with small peaberries or elongated beans. Yes, they will roast (I put Maui Moka in and it does not fall through the screen) but a few beans might get stuck in the screen and char. It won’t destroy the roast, but it might impart a little smoky flavor….
- Even roasts? Visually, your Alpenrost will not produce coffee as even in color as the Hearthware Precision. That’s going to be true for all Fluid Bed vs. Conduction Roasters I believe. Evenness of color is not an indicator of the quality of roast though, and some coffees just DO NOT roast to an even color…
- No, you can not watch the coffee roast. You would loose all the heat in the roast chamber by lifting the lid.
- It might be possible to add a thermometer to probe the inside of the roast chamber (but not the beans) during the roast cycle –to give you a better idea of where the roast cycle is at and what the final temperatures are
- The Alpenrost has a much slower roast time than air roasters (it takes 20 minutes as opposed to an air roaster’s 6-8 minute roast) which results in more 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... ...more in the cup, a loss of A euphemistic term we use often to describe acidity in coffee. A bright coffee has more high, acidic notes. : A euphemistic term to describe acidity in coffee.... ...more, but perhaps a better roast for espresso
- So …this is a good roaster for people who like full-body, and low Acidity is a positive flavor attribute in coffee, also referred to as brightness or liveliness. It adds a brilliance to the cup, whereas low acid coffees can seem... ...more. It results in smooth, A general primary-to-secondary post gustatory flavor characterization, often called "rich" or alternately "smooth" Coffee that has been hanging out in the warehouse, but not really helping out with... ...more coffee. If you like Indonesian (Indonesians are available as a unique wet-hulled or dry-hulled (washed) coffees. Giling Basah is the name for the wet-hulling process in Bahasa language, and will have more body... ...more, There are several types of Abyssinia, but they are not from Ethiopia but rather Indonesia. Abyssinia 3 = AB3. PJS Cramer, a Dutch plant researcher, introduced this variety in 1928,... ...more, Sulawesi coffees are low-acid with great body and that deep, brooding cup profile akin to Sumatra. The coffee is sometimes known as Celebes, which was the Dutch colonial... ...more), balanced coffees (Premium Colombians, Nicaraguans, Island Coffees) you may be the right customer for the Alpenrost. It is not as good for those who like the higher-toned, brighter coffees. It is not as good for Kenya is the East African powerhouse of the coffee world. Both in the cup, and the way they run their trade, everything is topnotch.: Kenya is the East... ...more A "coffee estate" is used to imply a farm that has its own processing facility, a wet-mill. In Spanish this is called an Hacienda. A Finca (farm) does... ...more Coffees, Ethiopian Yirgacheffe, high-grown Centrals like Guatemalan and Costa Rican. Yes, it still works fine but you will get a cup that is milder and has more body, with less of the bright fruit notes and acidity.
- This is a long roast cycle! 16 minutes to First crack in one of two distinct heat-induced pyrolytic reactions in coffee. It is distinguished by a cracking or popping sound in the coffee, and occurs between 390... ...more with a very very slow warmup period. Then a fast Similar to aftertaste, but it refers to the impression as the coffee leaves the palate. Aftertaste is the sensations gathered after the coffee has left the mouth. We... ...more with 2nd An audible popping sound heard during roasting. In coffee, one refers to "first crack" and "second crack," which come from two different classes of chemical reactions.: An audible... ...more starting around 19 minutes. But we judge the cup, not the numbers. In terms of convenience, it’s not like you have to stand over it for 20 minutes –just hit the roast button and stay in the vicinity.
- I had an early concern that chaff would fall through the perforated drum (as it is supposed to) and burn creating a smoky roast a la Unimax. I cannot detect much smokiness in the cup, even though some chaff does end up on the burner. Most falls through to the chaff collection tray under the burner as it is supposed to!
- Smoke: yes, it produces smoke. When you roast more coffee you get more smoke! And there’s a real puff of it that comes out when the flow-through vent opens. But the Alpenrost directs the smoke and if you are lucky enough to have a downdraft JennAir on your stovetop, you are all set! If not you will want an overhead vent or a way to channel the smoke outside. One easy modification: it is going to be a no-brainer to slip a piece of flexible laundry dryer venting hose on the end of the roaster and direct ALL the smoke wherever you want to: up into an overhead vent or out a window. My strong opinion: you must have good venting to the outdoors or actually roast outdoors or in a garage, etc. to use this machine.
- You will want to have a little vacuum to suck out errant chaff from the roast chamber after every few roasts.
- It is quieter than air roasters: they sound like hair dryers This sounds like a KitchenAid mixer set on a low speed. The flow-through ventilation separates chaff during the roast cycle and keeps the exterior of the machine cool to the touch during roasting.
- It is fully automated, one-touch roasting with effective chaff collection and removes the coffee from the drum at the end of the roast into a cup at the end of the unit. The coffee that dumps into roasted coffee bin when its all through is very clean of chaff –much better than the Unimax system.
- Devil’s Advocate: the above point about simple one-touch automation, ease of use, etc, may lead you to think the Alpenrost is for the busy person who wants to hit a button and get great coffee. Actually, I think the Alpenrost is a roaster for someone who wants to fiddle with the process more, because you may find yourself adding an aluminum laundry vent for smoke, maybe wanting a thermometer since you can’t watch the The application of heat to green coffee seeds (beans) to create palatable material for brewing a great cup!: Coffee roasting is a chemical process induced by heat, by... ...more, and maybe fiddling with the airflow through the roaster (by blocking some of the input vents in the roasted bean bin to raise the roast chamber temp. and roast darker). As with any roaster, you must never leave it unattended while it is operating!!!
- On the topic of playing Devil’s Advocate: One issue that comes up for most people is CLEANING. Because the roaster uses radiant heat the inside surfaces of the roaster need to be kept clean and shiny. If the inside is coated with oils, then the roaster will not get as hotter and not roast as dark. Darker roasts produce more oils – so again, if you like dark roasts, this is probably not the machine for you. In terms of cleaning, the machine is not that simple to clean, but elbow grease and soap does the job. You can use any grease-cutting solution, like Simple Green or a citrus cleaner. Someone told me that they undo the screws on the inside of the top lid and take this part and run it through the dishwasher, which really helps with cleaning.
- If I were you, I would buy an extra 1 lb. of a relatively inexpensive large bean coffee to use for your first 2 batches to get acquainted to the machine. I would suggest (and one of these will hopefully still be on our list when you read this): Myanmar Arabica refers to Coffea Arabica, the taxonomic species name of the genus responsible for around 75% of the worlds commercial coffee crop.: Arabica refers to Coffea Arabica, the... ...more, Brazil Oberon, Nicaraguan coffees from the Segovia, Jinotega, Ocotal and Matagalpa regions are nice balanced cups. They often possess interesting cup character along with body and balance, outperforming many other... ...more La Illusion, Mexican Loxicha –I am choosing these because they are larger bean coffees…
- Well-built …yes it is. I don’t think many people could open this box and think the money wasn’t well-spent. There is very little that could go wrong with this machine. The burner is right there in front of you, chaff is totally isolated from the rest on the unit Yes, they took forever to design this thing but obviously it was well spent. Swissmar is a Swiss-Canadian Importer to the housewares market, but they have the machine built in China (no current home roaster is made in the US). Swissmar is a member of the SCAA and has been around a while –I don’t think they will be pulling a “Unimax” on any of us!
- I am happy with the quality of manufacture. There are a few details that make this machine fine for some folks, not so fine for others. I hope my comments help you decide if the Alpenrost is right for you!