Posted on January 13 2016
We occasionally have prospective customers reach out to us with questions about the "life expectancy" of the Gene Cafe CBR-101. From time to time, we also have new - or even seasoned - home roasters ask about why a certain component of the roaster failed earlier than expected or why they are not getting the desired results from their CBR-101.
Whether you are just considering purchasing your first Gene Cafe or you've already been roasting on one for a few years, here are some key things to know about optimizing the performance of your machine and preserving its life:
- WEIGH YOUR BEANS. The maximum capacity of the CBR-101 is 250g (a little over 8oz), but for optimum performance and heater life, we recommend using about 80% of that (200g / 6.5oz).
- KNOW YOUR COFFEE. Many natural process coffees produce high levels of chaff, and therefore may need to be roasted in smaller batches. If you're not sure whether your coffee is natural process, it might be worth asking your supplier. They are generally quite helpful in providing information about the beans they sell.
- CLEAN YOUR ROASTER. Ensure that the roaster and all of its components are kept as clean as possible. Specifically, the chaff collector, blow fan, and dust net should be kept free of chaff and dust buildup. If debris is allowed to build up, it can inhibit air flow and have a negative affect on the life of the heater...and the taste of the coffee!
- ALLOW YOUR ROASTS TO COOL. Do not cut your roasts short using the emergency stop function (unless of course there is an actual emergency). Your roaster and heating element will last longer if you allow the beans to go through the full cool cycle.
- VENT NATURALLY. Using your roaster in a well-ventilated area (such as outside, next to an open window, or under and exhaust fan) is important. Using after-market ventilation such as dryer hose to vent your roaster can restrict air flow and affect roast times and heater life.
In addition, here are some very important safety reminders:
- WATCH YOUR ROASTS. NEVER leave a roast unattended! Many people think that because the CBR-101 is so easy to use, they can set the machine to roast and then leave it while they go attend to something else. The roaster of course becomes hotter as the roast progresses, so walking away from the roaster is like putting a pan of oil on a hot stove and then going out to do an errand. In addition to the safety factor, watching your beans also ensures that they are roasted according to your desired profile.
- DON'T PREHEAT THE AIR. NEVER preheat the roaster without the chamber in place. Doing this has no benefit to the roast, and will often cause the left side cover to melt.
We hope these tips are helpful as you get up and running with your Gene Cafe CBR-101! As always, don't hesitate to reach out to us with questions anytime. Just email firstname.lastname@example.org, or click the Help button on any page on our website.