I needed something more for my home coffee roasting.
May, 2003 -- I got it. Finally I decided that I just needed the Hottop. After re-reading most of the messages about the Hottop in the alt.coffee newsgroup and the Sweet Maria's Homeroast mailing list, I ordered mine. I bought it from Michael Anderson, one of the earliest dealers. I was very happy with the purchase and his service. Sweet Maria's now carries the Hottop roaster. By the way, the Phoenix gas grill in the picture's background and the swimming pool are not part of the coffee roasting equipment.
The Hottop is quiet. Let me say that again -- the Hottop is quiet! After the noise of a hot air roaster, which sounds similar to a hot air popcorn popper, the Hottop is wonderful. First crack and second crack are very obvious and noticeable. With my old Home Innovations Precision, second crack was similar and barely louder than the sound of the beans hitting the class of the chamber.
The coffee is much more mellow and flavorful. Not that the HIP was a slouch on flavor. I guess the HIP tended to roast the outside of the bean more than the inside. The HIP's five to eight minute roasting cycle (before its five minute cooling cycle) was just too quick. The Hottop runs more like seventeen to twenty-one minutes of heating before its cooling cycle.
The process: First, you hit the power button to turn on the Hottop, then the Temp button multiple times to select the roast profile (1 to 7, with 7 being the longest), then the power button again to start the process. I've found that a setting of 5 is good for a City roast on Panama or Costa Rica beans, while the 7 setting is best for my favorite espresso blends. You can always add up to five "Plus" presses as needed for longer heating, and you can eject whenever you want to eject the beans. If you don't hit the eject button, the roasting profile you selected will trigger it based on time.
The Hottop heats up quickly, and within several minutes, it beeps to tell you to add the beans. At that point, you can relax with a cup of coffee and a good book, or just sit there and watch the beans tumble. First crack starts about 15:40 at about 410º F on most of the beans I've roasted, and runs for a minute or so. After another minute, second crack starts. Pay close attention at this point because the temperature has ramped up significantly in the last couple of minutes. You can quickly over-roast the beans now. Also, remember, the beans will be very hot and will continue to darken after ejection before they cool enough to stop roasting.
Copyright © 2003-2006 Terry A. Stockdale