Inanimate Objects Comics #47

Todd Zapoli


Roasting Routine vs. Roasting Profile

Learning to roast coffee had a long learning curve for me. I started out like an investigative reporter when I talked to the people who, when I could find them, roasted the coffee I was drinking. The discussion was a diatribe of roasting profiles and how much a good roaster cost. Never was I let in on the fact that he process took about fifteen to twenty minutes and usually was a formula (or roast profile) developed by someone else.

I amassed information over the years on profiles and roasting theory. Growing area information was a little easier to come by. It was not until the internet was unleashed that more information on the process of growing and brewing coffee was available to the average coffee drinker. The sharing of information on the internet, with blogs like ineedcoffee.com and others, has much improved the speed at which one can become knowledgeable and thereby educated in their areas of interest, such as brewing and drinking coffee.

Shortly after I first tried roasting a batch of green coffee beans, with a dog bowl and heat gun, it became apparent to me that a roasting profile did not mean much just by itself. When to turn up or down the heat and how long to hold the beans at a given temperature were just one part of the much bigger job of understanding the roasting process and getting set up to do it well.

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West Bend Popper 2 Rewire for Coffee Roasting

I was inspired to buy the West Bend Poppery 1 when I saw willbldrco’s video on YouTube entitled West Bend Poppery rewire for coffee roasting. What a masterful modification to simply solve the coffee roasting routine by changing one wire to another terminal.

By changing the fan wire to the hot terminal, so it would bypass the off-on switch and the fan would run all the time when the popper was plugged into the socket, is sheer genius. This means that the off-on switch, on the popper, can now be used to control the heat; thereby regulating the temperature and prolonging the roasting time of the beans.

An even better solution was provided by Jim West in his West Bend Poppery 2 modification effort. He put the fan on a separate DC current circuit using a transformer from Radio Shack. This allowed the heat to be controlled by a router speed control unit from Harbor Freight. He separated the small heating coil and the main heating coil into one circuit and put the fan on the other transformer circuit.

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Big Eastern Coffee Championships Heading to Durham Nov. 21-23

big eastern coffee championship

Photo courtesy of U.S. Coffee Championships

The SCAA and Barista Guild of America have confirmed the schedule for this year’s Big Eastern regional U.S. Coffee Championships, taking place Nov. 21-23 at the Durham Convention Center in Durham, N.C.

The Big Eastern is the last of three regional rounds leading up to the U.S. Coffee Championships — including the U.S. Barista Championship and the U.S. Brewers Cup — which will be held in Long Beach, Calif., on February 19-22 in 2015. The world championships are being held in conjunction with the SCAA Event in April in Seattle. Wilbur Curtis and Durham-based Counter Culture Coffee are the Big Eastern’s host sponsors.

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Starbucks Piloting Mobile Trucks at Three U.S. College Campuses

The Starbucks mobile truck on the Arizona State University campus.

The Starbucks mobile truck on the Arizona State University campus.

Starbucks is getting into the mobile game, unveiling three pilot trucks at college campuses this back-to-school season.

The trucks will be licensed and operated by Aramark, with which Starbucks has some longstanding relationships at college campuses throughout the country. Starbucks says the trucks will have a menu of drinks and food “nearly identical to what customers would find in their neighborhood Starbucks stores.”

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Nespresso Says It Will Invest $554 Million In Sustainability Over Next Six Years

Farmer drying coffee

Nespresso yesterday announced plans to invest 500 million Swiss francs ($554 million USD) in sustainability initiatives over the next six years.

Nespresso owner Nestle stopped reporting the brand’s sales figures in 2011, but it is widely regarded as Europe’s biggest capsule system brand, and this is certainly one of the largest corporate investments in in-house environmental and social programs the coffee world has ever seen.

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Nespresso Pixie Espresso Maker With Aeroccino Plus Milk Frother, Electric Titan

The Pixie machine features two pre-set cup settings with reprogrammable cup volumes. As with all of Nespresso machines, perfect in-cup results are assured with a 19 bar pressure pump and thermoblock heating unit producing a delicious and rich crema cup after cup. Includes the Nespresso Aeroccino Plus & Milk Frother. Perfect milk froth in seconds.


Mr. Coffee ECM160 4-Cup Steam Espresso Machine, Black

Make delicious coffeehouse style drinks at home with the Mr. Coffee® Café Espresso Steam Espresso and Cappuccino Maker. Be your own barista and create rich espresso, bold cappuccinos and creamy lattes. Brews 1-4 cups of espresso into easy-pour glass decanter with drip-free spout. Frother steams milk up light and creamy to top off your coffee drinks. Designed with removable drip tray and cord storage. Recipes and measuring scoop included.


Nespresso Pixie Espresso Maker, Electric Titan

Nespresso Pixie C60-US-TI-NE, Electric Titan -the pixie heats up in only 25-30-seconds.


De’Longhi BAR32 Retro 15 BAR Pump Espresso and Cappuccino Maker

Enjoy delicious espresso made your way with De’Longhi’s Retro pump espresso and cappuccino maker. Stylish and functional, you can choose to brew ground espresso or E.S.E pods with the unique patented dual filter holder. The choice is yours, making your espresso truly made to order. You can enjoy espresso or cappuccino at the perfect temperature with two separate thermostats. If you prefer cappuccino you’ll enjoy using the easy-to-use swivel jet frother, which makes perfect drinks every time. Other highlights include self-priming operation to eliminate pesky start-up preparation, removable water tank and drip tray and a durable, high-quality stainless steel boiler to ensure many years of delicious espresso. Clean the steam wand after each use to avoid the item getting stopped. If it is not cleaned, the steam hole can clog up.