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Homeroasters.org » ALL ABOUT ROASTERS » Other Roasters
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Kaldi Wide with Camp Chef stove
Nilewoods Roaster
While considering an upgrade from my flour sifter roaster I was searching for information about the Kaldi Wide. Here are some details that other potential upgraders might find helpful.

Amazon delivered the KW, from Korea, 3 days after it was ordered, well boxed.

The current English instructions are apparently better than those others have received; they are helpful and decipherable with a bit of effort.

The roaster's drum is separated from the chaff hopper unit by about 1/8"; that gap is useful to let chaff settle into the intended tray. Mine was gapped a bit too big on arrival, so during trial bean loading some beans fell thru and didn't make it into the drum. You'll become more familiar with the KW as you disassemble it to adjust the gap. I did not find it difficult.

The supplied analogue thermometer has received some criticism from others. I found it quite helpful, and have yet to install the digital probe that I ordered. The factory thermometer seems sturdy and responsive (though my only previous roasting experience was with the flour sifter, using a handheld infra-red thermometer). I roast largely by sound.

One point I debated was what heat source to use. I roast outside, temps now range from 15 to 35 F in daytime. The heat gun I used with the flour sifter was adequate, but unexpectedly cut out a couple times, leaving a keen appreciation for a reliable and sufficient and easily controllable heat source. Presumably the KW would need more BTUs; and I'd read about some of the small gas stoves being marginal and tippy. So the 30,000 BTU Camp SB30D Pro Single Burner Stove looked attractive. The unknown was whether it would be too hot, or the burner too wide. For $60 it seemed a worthwhile gamble, and in the end I find it works great.

The only mod I built for the stove is a welded frame that sits on the Camp Chef grate, leaving a rectangular opening sized just for the KW: that automatically locates the KW in just the right centered spot over the round burner. It also serves as a heat shield & sink to protect the KW motor; and to keep the chaff tray from falling out backwards when I tilt the KW back when removing the front part prior to bean dump; and as a lateral guide & forward stop when I tip the KW forward to dump beans; and as a support for the mast which holds the motor's power cord up to prevent melting. The frame is simple to cut & weld if you have access to those tools; and is easily seasoned in an oven with some cooking oil (I used avocado oil with its higher smoke point) rather than using paint. It means you are not lifting the KW during bean dump, just tilting it (using the KW's built in wooden handle) while it sits on the frame. Much easier to handle a hot roaster this way.

During the roast, the quiet of a gas burner is wonderful compared to the noise of the electric heat gun, and the rotating drum is a more pleasant sound than the flour sifter. First crack is easy to hear, clearly evident. While I prefer roasting shy of 2nd crack, I found it also easy to hear.)

The Camp Chef burner comes with a very nice gas adjuster, marked with High, Medium and Low. The flame height changes smoothly and gradually. I will not be upgrading to a separate control or gauge, as I had planned.

I used a combination of Low and Medium-Low to heat the drum to 200 C, then Medium-Low to dry the beans, then switching to Low when first crack began at 10.7 minutes and 205 C, stopping the roast at the end of FC at 13.1 minutes and 220 C. So, the Camp Chef burner clearly has lots of reserve power, and I may need to resort to the Warm setting during hotter weather.

This system provides great stability for the KW. There's no concern about anything being tippy or on edge. I conclude that the KW and Camp Chef are well matched, particularly if you add the welded frame that I designed.

One note about bean loading: I saw a video where the trier was left in place while loading beans, and person had to keep fussing with it to get the beans in. The manual now supplied with the KW recommends leaving the trier out during loading. I tried both, and found that leaving it out works best. Also, I marked the trier's wooden handle with a Sharpie to make it more obvious whether the trier is turned up, or down.

Chaff does not fly away from the roasting beans near as easily as it did with the flour sifter. So, your roasting area is much cleaner, but you need to later separate out the chaff (not difficult).

The KW is marketed as a 300 gram roaster. I found it handled 300 grams very well. I did take the precaution of tilting the KW back while removing the front part just before bean dump, to avoid spilling any beans.

Another comparison to the flour sifter: the KW has more thermal mass, thus requires a pre-heat and a cool down. But it is more stable when roasting a smaller batch (say, 160 grams) than the relatively flashy flour sifter.

Cooling: I'll try to attach a photo which shows the rectangular sieve I am using. It sits on a cardboard box, cut out to lower the sieve to just the right depth for the 300 grams bean load, so air goes thru the beans, not thru empty sieve holes. The rectangular shape offers more square inches of flat sieve surface for air to be sucked thru, than did my previous rounded sieve. It cools very efficiently in winter air.

So far, I'm very pleased with this roaster. Having contemplated building one from scratch, I appreciate all the work which went into its design and the sturdy manufacture. I can't speak to how good a start point it would provide for a computerized roasting setup, but for my chosen path it is a good fit.
Nilewoods Roaster attached the following images:
img_8694e.jpg img_8692e.jpg

Edited by Nilewoods Roaster on 12-28-2017 13:37
 
allenb
Hi Bob, Thanks for posting such a detailed report on the KW! Sounds like a fantastic roasting setup and looks great too.

As you put more miles on this, let us know how the coffee is coming out and any further mods you find beneficial.

Allen
1/2 lb and 1 lb drum, Siemens Sirocco fluidbed, presspot, chemex, cajun biggin brewer from the backwoods of Louisiana
 
Nilewoods Roaster
Here's an update after 21 roasts with the Kaldi Wide:

To make the propane pressure levels more repeatable, I added a yellow expander to the factory dial. It's made from a jar lid. The copper indicator identifies the reading number. There's some slop in the factory valve, so all readings are taken as the pressure increases (not decreases) for repeatability.

To give more work space, I added the drop leaf tray to the left of the Camp Chef burner.

To make the whole unit more mobile, I added a frame with wheels under the burner.

To blow chaff out during cooling, I reversed the fan under the cooling tray.

Regarding use, I've found that to minimize beans sticking in the loading chute crevices it helps to wash out the inside of the chute occasionally, scrubbing with a tooth brush. During roasting, keeping a small flashlight handy to check after charging makes seeing inside the chute easier.

I continue to use the factory thermometer. It does have some lag, but that effect is minimized because I reduce the burner to coast into the 200 C charging temp, and after a pretty strong ROR I drop the gas again when approaching FC for a slow ROR during FC.

None of my Second Crack roasts have been to my liking, in general the end-of-FC roasts taste best across a variety of beans.

Decaf has proven as good as regular, to my surprise. But it's trickier to roast, since decaf's FC is much quieter and has fewer cracks. I had to inadvertently roast into SC to learn that smokey lesson.

I'm very happy with this Kaldi Wide.
Nilewoods Roaster attached the following images:
img_9183e.jpg img_9170e.jpg
 
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