Tuesday, February 19, 2008


The chaff collector on fire. Evidently, it happens.

With unseasonable weather in the upper 60s yesterday, I decided to pull open the garage doors and do some coffee roasting. Truth be told, I'm not an amazing roaster. I'm still trying to understand chops in order to build them. At least I've got a nice roaster.

A month or so ago, I decided that I really should use the chaff collector that came with the roaster. So far, I had just been running the roaster without it meaning that smoke and chaff would blow everywhere. Off to the local hardware store I went in search of flex vent tubing and clamps.

It's been hellaciously cold here in Maryland lately and since I have to roast outside, no roasting would be going on. Until yesterday when it was 66 degrees outside. I pulled everything out, connected the tubing to the collector and fired her up.

Things were moving along swimmingly for the first couple of hours. Doing 3 pound batches, I was able to complete six roasts before things got smoky. Five roasts of the Rancho San Francisco from Chiapas, Mexico and one roast of the Idido Misty Valley from Ethiopia.

The smoke seemed relatively normal as I dropped the Idido into the cooling tray but I noticed that even after the beans had cooled, the smoke coming out of the collector was getting thicker. What's going on here? Ooops!

Back in July when Marty came out to set up the roaster and we disassembled it to clean, I pulled out quite a bit of fabric material that mice had used to build nests within the interior of the roaster. I never cleaned out the chaff collector...

As the cool, white smoke started to pour out of the collector and turn a slight cream/tan color, I realized that it must be some other fabric matter on fire. Oh well, at least it wasn't spreading.

After waiting a little while, the smoke dissipated and the fire had burned itself out.

Next time, I gotta remember to clean the chaff collector. But now that the deep of winter has returned, it's gonna have to wait until Spring!