Fluid Bed Roaster, new edition 2

Last weekend we tested the Fluid Bed Roaster again. There were several improvements made to the machine. Tije has improved the thermal insulation and housing. Also he improved the internal airflow, this prevents beans from unintentionally ending into the chaff collector. Also some software changes were made. To prevent burn through of the heating coils, the fan now has to get a minimal of 60 percent power. Otherwise the heating element will get no power. To improve roasting performance it would be helpful to use different PID-settings during a roast. Tije tried to implement this, unfortunately this didn’t work. Frans Goddijn contacted Marko Luther, the maker of the more then excellent Artisan roast software. Marko is again very helpful and tries to fix this. Many thanks again for his outstanding help.
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Tiny Fluid Bed Roaster, new edition

Last week we tested the next version of The Fluid Bed Roaster prototype. Tije designed and constructed this new roaster. In the picture above, you can see him charging green coffee beans on the prototype. The roaster has a build in cooling, chaff collector, LCD screen and it uses a more powerful and less noisy blower. Also the roaster has a higher capacity (batch size) than the previous model. I worked on the Arduino TC4 control board and electronics. In this first test we encountered a technical problem. I got a much cheaper relay to drive the blower of the roaster. This relay blew immediately after powering up the device. We will switch back soon to Crydom 2425-10 relay that has proven to work solid in the previous prototype. For speed control we reverted back to manual Variac operation of the blower. The PID settings to control heater intensity also needed some work and Tije has already worked on a heat isolation of the roast chamber. The purpose of this insulation is to make the roaster more energy efficient and make it easier for the roaster to reach a desired finish temperature. Read More

Lasered Coffee Grading Kit

I recently got some Indonesian Mandeling coffee. This green coffee looks like a mess, some are large, lots are small, many are broken and a large number of them have defects. More than 12% of this coffee should not land in your cup of joe. But after proper sorting, this bean can really shine. The problem however is that this sorting is a tedious proces. It takes more than an hour to sort 750 grams of this coffee. Frans Goddijn uses a his own fan and a pan technique for sorting the beans. This is presumably a good and effective method. But because I was looking for my first Laser Cutting project I thought of something else. Read More

Just another Espresso dosing funnel

Here is another espresso funnel that I made. The bottom of the funnel is slightly curved, this creates a tight fit with an espresso basket. Want to try it? Just download the model from Sketchfab. The models doesn’t need to be scaled when printed in PLA. For the best results you need to print it upside down.

P120 Creator review: 3D printing for all

Two months ago I bought my first 3D printer, the PrimaCreator P120. This printer retails for less than 300 euro’s in the Netherlands. This small 3D printer has great looks and fits easily on your desktop. The printer is sold under different names under the world. You can also find it as the Malyan M200 and Monoprice Mini Select. I decided to buy the PrimaCreator P120 because that version was locally available and I wanted a fast shipping and a nearby shop in case of problems.

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Small 3D printed hopper for the EK43 grinder

Our little kitchen is crammed with cooking equipment and giant roaster, a huge EK43 grinder and a big espresso machine. A few months ago I bought a Londinium R lever machine. The machine is still unpacked but it will be installed in the coming days. The machine has a huge lever that makes the machine a bit taller than my previous La Marzocco GS3. I’m sure that my girlfriend will not be pleased because our tiny kitchen will look more crammed than ever before. The best thing to do would be a complete kitchen makeover or just move to another house. This, however isn’t very practical because we can’t afford any of those at the moment. I, however thought of a different solution that was much more practical. The idea was to make our EK43 grinder look a little smaller. How could we do that? Well, I recently bought a tiny lovely 3D printer. Read More

Measuring the effect of the Londinium Distribution Tool

The recently launched Londinium Espresso Distribution Tool promises to reward you with a very high level of consistency to your espresso extractions. What is the effect of using the LDT? Does an espresso made with this tool taste better? Frans is doing a series of experiments of the tool in combination with different Compak Grinders. Blind tasting is a great way to measure the effect of the LDT but a downside of this method is that it’s very time consuming. One would need many samples tasted and compared. Also this method is not completely objective. The selection of the espresso tasters would influence the result of the experiment. Read More

Easy brew head cleaning with the Espazzola

The cleanness of your espresso machine will highly influence the cup quality. Dirty water from the brew head will lead to a dirty cup, it’s as simple as that.

There several ways to clean the brew head. Methods include back flushing and cleaning with a stiff-bristled stick. Although important, I have to admit that these are not my favorite activities. Espazzola is a cleaning tool you can insert into your group head instead of a portafilter. The tool is supposed to make cleaning of the brew head much faster and easier. Instead of brushing out the group-head by hand, you can simply wash the dirt away. The designer of the Espezolla claims that by using it you will only need to back flush your machine once a week. I tested the Espazzola to find out if it does live up to its promises. Read More

Tiny Cheap Fluid Bed Roaster update 8 Feb 2017

Tije de Jong made a first housing for the Tiny Cheap Fluid Bed Roaster. He also made a part that improves the movement of coffee beans inside the roast chamber. This improvement is not finished yet but it already makes a slightly larger batch size possible (310 vs 250 grams). Tije also made an addition to the chaff collector that prevents beans from escaping out of the roast chamber. Another advantage of this adjustment is that the roaster seems to need needs less fan adjustments during the roast.

Movie by Frans Goddijn.

Tiny cheap fluid bed: PID tuning

Yesterday we worked again on our Tiny Little fluid bed roaster. On the menu was to further configure the PID-settings. This should make it possible to precisely and consistently execute roast profiles.

For our test we used again Indian Cherry Robusta. This cheap coffee produced lot’s of chaff during the roast. Although the roast results looked fine we don’t recommend anyone to drink the as a single origin espresso. The bean however was perfect for testing purposes.

There were several things that we changed after our last PID-testing attempt. At first Frans brought along an active usb extension cable. This cable is supposed to make the communication between the TC4 board and the Artisan roast software more reliable. That means minimization of spikes or other reading errors. After examining all previous PID configuration attempts Frans suggested to start using the I value of the PID settings. This was a great idea because after that the PID worked magically good as you can see the graph below.

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