Last week I received 3 Probat Sample Roasters to restore from Mr Caffenation, Rob Berghmans... I think this project caught me.. Very intriguing machines. Very basic, but everything is there. And the fact that I could keep one for myself persuaded me to put my heart in it!
They were in a terrible condition, none were working, one was burned through. But deep underneath the dirt lie some beautiful techniques. I have stripped them down totally, they needed one can of oven cleaner each! There was so much ash in the air extraction chimneys, they where totally blocked. And you wondered why the air-flow didn’t work?
I love these sort of projects. Cleaning up and polishing.. slowly you see the machines come to life again. It will turn into a sort of worshipping! for me that is..
They are clean now. Next on is testing the air fans, rotation motors and electrics. I will be changing the elements, they've had there time, these are from the early 70s, they use 1200 watts, but elements now are much more effective and efficient..
I am pretty confident that all 3 machine will grab live again. Really looking forward to start testing them, and see what they are capable of.
It seems like a proper setup. A thin barrel of 1 mm steal, the body is made of Casted aluminium. covered up in fresh isolation ( got rid of the Asbestos, no more of that please ) When you have a proper element underneath the barrel and a good temperature adjuster, I think it can react to temperature fluctuations quite fast. You will need some temperature gauges for Barrel temp and air flow temp. Then you are good to go.
After that I need my insite man Jeff Verellen, the master-roaster of Caffenation to help me understand al the finesses of the Craft of coffee roasting. We should start to play around with air flow and temperature adjustment on these little machines, and see how it reacts on the bean. Looking where to mount the temperature probes, see how to get as close to the roast profiles of a big batch Roaster.
It is at the end the challenge to test A roast on the sample Roaster; when you have found the perfect profiles, you should be able to copy it to the big batch roaster and have the same result..
Ofcourse everything I learn from this project will be the startingpoint for the development of my own Sample Roaster.
The development of my ES2 espresso machine told me a lot, and it seems like a small step to develop a Sample Roaster. The same materials are used (metals) the same sort of electrics, and the same product, the coffeebean! The same rules for heat transfer, temperature stability..
A project like this teaches me a lot. Trying to get your hands on as much different Sample Roasters as possible.. Looking at old techniques, testing them, trying out. Then take the good things, and bring them together. And use your immagination and creativity, and design skills.
-This is just the start..more will follow soon