Tips & Tricks for Hearthware Roasting in the Gourmet

After roasting hundreds of batches, there are a couple adjustments I have made to my Hearthware roast chamber. These are very simple, but please note that anything you do to your Hearthware is at your own risk, and may void your warantee too. Remember, the alternative to tweaking things is to simply buy another roast chamber, available from Sweet Maria’s at great prices! We also have another Hearthware Tip Sheet and FAQ for the Precision model.

Roast Chamber TabsI found after 100 roasts or so that my roast chamber wasn’t as tightly sealed to the base as it was initially. Actually, it may never have been that tight, since mine was one of the first Hearthwares, and all the ones of recent memory come very tightly sealed. Anyway, all you need to do if yours seems lose is to bend the little tabs upwards with needlenose pliers so they will lock into the base more effectively. I did it once, and 200 roasts later it is till tight.

Note how yellow my roast chamber is! That’s becase I dont wash it. I probably should, but coffee oils do no harm. Eventually, they will restrict air flow through the chaff collector screen, and that will shorten the roast times. But DON’T wash your chamber too often. You are just going to expose it to unncessary wear and tear.

All you need to do is brush out the chaff collector screen between roasts with the little brush mounted on the back of the roaster. It takes 10 seconds, and will keep the airflow (and therefore the roast times) consistent.

Chaff Collector TabsThe chaff collector snaps snugly onto the lip of the glass roast chamber with three elbowed tabs. If the chrome top-end is not snug, you need to redefine the elbows in these tabs with a pair of needlenose pliers. I adjusted them to make the fit tighter, but it really wasn’t very necessary …it was certainly airtight, and I wasn’t seeing any chaff blow between the glass and the metal collector. But sometimet like to putz with things…
Adding A Thermometer to the HearthwareI really really like having a 550 degree Pelouze thermometer installed on my Hearthware. With a glance you can see what yor finish temperature is, and exacty when the temperature begins to drop as the cooling cycle kicks in. You can even start to roast to a specfic finish temperature, and then manually advance the dial to the cooling cycle. Roasting to finish temperature is considered the most accurate way to roast by professionals (…nomatter what roast technology they use; drum or air). But please note that a thermometer is NOT necessary to successful and consistent roasts on the Hearthware.

Arrow 1 is the thermomter dial.

Arrow 2 is my snazzy reflection as I take the photo.

In this awful photo you can see the shaft of the thermometer angled into the center of the roast chamber. It hovers just above the beans, or the tip probes the beans …either way we get a good reading of the roast chambers environmental temperature.Can you believe that I have an MFA in photography?
So how do you add a thermometer? You buy a Pelouze 550 degree thermomter from me for $6.50. Then you get out your drill, and your #25 drill bit. Then you drill a hole. You can use a piece of metal to fashion a thermometer clip, to keep the thermomter snug, and to adjust its position. See the metal strip with 2 holes in it? Bend it into a horseshoe shape and slide it up the shaft of the thermometer. Click here to see image full size.If you have a Precision model and want to add a thermometer, it even easier. You simply enlarge one of the existing holes in the top of the chaff collector lid to fit the thermometer. Use the same drill bit as above, and you can either allow the proble to touch the bottom of the roast chamber …or you can suspend it so it doest touch with some washers.

Other Hearthware Tips

Please see our HearthwareTip Sheet, and FAQ

  • Roasts are too fast? Roast a bit less. Always be very consistent with the batch size.
  • Roasts too slow?
    • Are you roasting in a colder climate? That slows down the roast considerably!
    • Are you using an extension cord? That creates electrical resistance. Dont use it.
    • Is the electrical outlet and circuit OK? Try roasting on a different outlet and circuit.
    • Are you roasting too much or too little? Try the recommended 1/2 cup roast.
  • Want to improve cooling? If you are roasting outdoors and can make a mess, remove the chaff collector during cooling. You will see increased air flow. Sometimes larger batches of dry-processed coffees will overload the chaff collector, restricting the airflow during cooling. Removing the chaff collector really helps.
  • The Hearthware does a great job of arresting the roast and cooling the beans until they are warm to the touch. But I prefer to remove the beans from the roast chamber after the cooling cycle has stopped. It is better to put them into a metal collander or bowl to complete cooling, since the warm metal plate on the bottom of the Hearthware will tend to keep the coffee warm.
  • Roasts look uneven? It’s hard to imagine anything that roasts more evenly than the Hearthware. Some coffees, especially dry-processed African and Indonesian coffees just dont roast to a uniform color. Dont worry about it. Even roasts are not an indication of good roasts. In fact, uneven roasts can contribute to complexity in the cup.
  • Coffee tastes weak? Are you allowing it to rest for 12 hours at least? Sometimes a coffee actually tastes best on the 2nd or 3rd day out of the roaster. Give it time, especially darker roasts and roasts for espresso extraction.
  • Problems with the roaster …boy, you should really read their instruction book too. There are occasionally defective units …with a home appliance theres always going to be a few. Dont worry! You won’t ever get stuck with a dud! Just give Hearthware a call at their toll free number for Parts, Repairs, Replacements: Hearthware 888-287-0763(and send in the warraty card. Hearthware is INCREDIBLY supportive of the roaster!) Remember, you have a 1 year warranty to back you up too!
  • NOTE ON ALL AIR ROASTERS: All air roasters use the beans to trap the hot air, so while it may seem counterintuitive, more beans will actually roast darker and less beans lighter. A too small batch may mean that the hot air blows past the beans and does not roast them at all.
  • All the roasters can be sensitive to fluctuations in the power supply, so it can be helpful to check the voltage available at a the outlet you are using if possible. Otherwise, do no use the roaster with an extension cord if possible, this can reduce the voltage available. Do not use a GFIC (an outlet with a reset button) or a circuit with a dimmer switch on it – these can creat line noise that the machines are sensitive to.
  • Have any tips to add to this? Please let me know…


Please see our HearthwareTip Sheet, and FAQ