Using home coffee roasters outside USA

We offer a selection of the best home coffee roasters and we receive occasional orders for them from customers outside the USA. All of our home roasters are powered by electricity and electric supply varies by country. The USA electric supply is 120 volts, 60 hertz. The following countries have the same electric supply although in some cases plug configuration may differ:

American Samoa
Bahamas
Bermuda
Canada
Cayman Islands
Costa Rica
Ecuador
Guatemala
Micronesia
Nicaragua
Palau
Venezuela

In other words, roasters made for the US market should work in this group of countries without modification.

Please understand that home coffee roasters, particularly those with timed roasting cycles like Behmor and Hottop, have a defined maximum period during which roasting must complete.  This feature is designed for your safety.  If the voltage supply is not sufficient than you will run out of time before roasting completes; if there is too much voltage than internal parts may burn up, destroying your roaster.  Roasters purchased from us have guarantees for the US only so any purchase for use out of country is not covered.

Roasters heading anywhere else in the world will either not work or may, in some cases, work with voltage regulation and plug adapters.  The very best thing that you can do is purchase a roaster that was built for your electric supply rather than buying one made for another country and attempting to convert it.  This latter approach usually leads to dissatisfaction.

It is critical to deliver the correct voltage and frequency (hertz) to your roaster.  Even if it’s made for the US market there are many locations and situations when voltage is inadequate.  During summer heat waves electric companies reduce the output of the electric grid and voltage will drop to save electricity.  Also, for voltage sensitive equipment you should not use an extension cord which will reduce the delivered voltage; plug the appliance directly into a wall socket.  You can use a voltage regulator to even out and to some extent boost voltage moderately.  For example, if your voltage supply is 117 volts (a simple volt meter or Kill-a-Watt device will inform you) you can set use a voltage regulator, like the Variac that we sell, to increase voltage to 120 and the device will keep the supply steady.  The frequency of electricity, expressed in Hertz, must be matched to the electric supply.  Otherwise timing of motors and clock/timers, where applicable, will not function properly.

 

Behmor 1600 Plus in the works

When the current USA supply of Behmor 1600 roasters are exhausted they will be replaced with the Behmor 1600 Plus, expected late summer.  The only changes to the roaster will be a new Control Board (aka PCB) that will provide additional roasting controls and information, and, a new price.  The PCB will allow home roasters to switch between the original automatic profiles and new manual settings.  Users will be able to read thermistor and exhaust temperatures and also switch between two drum speeds.  New MSRP is $399 and we will offer the Plus at the minimum selling price of $369.  It should be noted that Behmor has not had a price increase since the roaster was first introduced 7 years ago.

SETTINGS WHEN IN MANUAL MODE

Keypad controls in manual mode

Behmor Plus keypad instructions

Do you need to upgrade?
If you have an existing Behmor 1600, you are happy with it and see no need to have manual overrides, than there is no need to upgrade by purchasing the upgrade kit or even a new roaster.  When the time comes to purchase your next Behmor this is what you will get – exactly the same roaster that works as before when you want it to, but, has added features if and when you want them.  You can continue to use the 1600 Plus just as did the 1600 when in its automatic (standard) mode.

Control Panel Upgrade only
Prior to the release of the Behmor Plus you will be able to purchase an upgrade kit consisting of the control panel and instructions for conversion. The selling price of this kit is $49.99.  We expect to have upgrade kits in early to mid July.  By upgrading your existing Behmor 1600 with this kit you will end up with a Behmor Plus – there are no other differences.

MORE DETAIL

All the time: Auto or Manual
1) Press C (for crack as in first) and it resets timer according to weight to our “Rosetta Stone” times which are associated with approximate time it takes to go from the first crack of 1C to start of 2C. It is merely an approximation.
2) Auto Safe/ Unattended Switch – at 75% into set time of a roast the timer will start blinking un:30..29, 28 etc.. The user has 30 seconds to press START otherwise it will automatically go into cool flashing err7.

Manual Mode
After pressing Start to begin a roast, press either P1 – P5 to begin manual mode (It is best to start with P5 – 100%.)
1) Change Motor speed – press D (drum)
2) Reset time to weight (Rosetta Stone) – press C
3) Press P1 – P5 to change power- whatever is pressed “blinks” to denote which setting.
4) Press 1 at any time to return to Auto

Recap
In Auto (default) all buttons act the same as in current system except ABC, for temp readings and time reset.
In Manual (only functional after starting a roast)
Button 1: Returns system from Manual mode to Auto (defaults).
Buttons A – C same as in auto
Button D – drum / cylinder motor speed toggle from standard (8 rpm) to high (16rpm)
Buttons P1 – P5 power to elements: P1- 0, P2-25%, P3-50%, P4-75%, P5-100%
All other buttons ¼, ½, +, -, Cooling, Light, Off remain the same in either / original program.

BraZen carafe dribble – Spout Replacement Kit

If you were an early adopter to Brazen brewers you may have a carafe that dribbles when you pour coffee. Joe Behm, head of the company, is offering to send a Spout Replacement Kit to resolve this problem. If you read the instructions and/or watch the video than you will find the replacement pretty easy to do. Future builds of the Brazen and any purchased from us after 10/9/13 will have the newest spout.

Joe wrote:

Earlier this year, we were made aware of an issue concerning a relatively small percentage of carafes that dribbled. When the issue was brought to our attention, we brought it to the attention of the factory, which was surprised. Mr Coffee had used that carafe in over 200,000 units without any reports of this dribbling effect.

I want to personally apologize to every Behmor Brazen customer affected by this.

Despite the low overall percentage of carafes involved, we felt the best solution was to do a complete spout/upper portion redesign. The full vetting/testing is completed, and all involved are more than satisfied with the results. We hope you will be, too.

Starting Monday- September 20th, we will have a kit available for anyone interested (instruction sent via email) in swapping the old upper portion of the carafe with the new one. The swap requires two screwdrivers (small flat head and a Phillips) and about 5 minutes’ time.

Video of the procedure can be found at You Tube by doing a keyword search- Behmor Carafe Upper Portion or directly at:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=66Ma7kRehd0

If you have a carafe that has issues with dribbling, please send an email to: support@behmor.com

Please provide the following data:

Subject line: Carafe Kit

Body: Name, address, serial number and where purchased.  No P.O. Boxes, please.

I’d also like to thank all those who have assisted and displayed a great deal of patience while Behmor found a solution.

We’ll also be doing a swap on existing inventory, so all new units will ship with the corrected carafe and kits provided to distributors for distribution if needed.

Again, my personal and sincerest apologies for the issue and any inconvenience it has caused.

Best regards,

 

Joe Behm
 

A Taste for Expensive Coffee

The Best of Panama 2013 internet auction was held last Wednesday 7/3 and prices were overall very high and, in a number of instances, extremely so.  By way of disclosure, yours truly was one of sixteen international judges who cupped and scored these coffees in Boquete, Panama in May.  The competition and auction that followed is broken into three categories:  Geisha varietal, Traditional and  Natural process coffees.  The Geishas and Traditionals are all washed or ‘honey’ processed.  Indeed, some of the nicest coffees anywhere are being produced in Panama, though this origin does not signify magic to the American consumer.  Close to zero of the auction winners were from the United States, and this is often true of winners at Cup of Excellence auctions as well.

Almost all of this award winning, expensive coffee goes to Asia where a taste for rare and exotic foods is firmly implanted in the culture, albeit those with the wherewithal to afford them.  Witness Wagyu beef at $1,500 a pound, $1,000 a pound Matsutake mushrooms, the 1.76 million dollar bluefin tuna that was purchased in January, a mere $3,600 a pound or Fugu blowfish.  This quest for unique experiences extends throughout Asia and is also being witnessed in Australia.

At Best of Panama there were 47 coffees auctioned.  Four of them attained prices over $100 a pound and 17 more coffees achieved between $20 and $100.

Coffee
Price per pound
Category
Rank in category
Esmeralda Special Natural Cañas Verdes$350.25Natural1
Kotowa Don K Geisha Nat$170.25Natural3
Los Lajones Bambu Geisha$165.75Natural2
Ironman$160.25Geisha1
Esmeralda Special Cañas Verdes$85.25Geisha3
Esmeralda Special Jaramillo$48.15Geisha8
Kotowa Don K Geisha$45.25Geisha14

In all, 14,550 pounds of coffee were auctioned with an average price of $19.88 per pound.  Most of these were very small lots with 100 to 150 pounds.  But the questions remain 1) who buys and can afford the most expensive of these coffees? And 2) why is the US absent from the top earners?  Americans, even the wealthy ones, seemingly do not place a value on the experience, or, perhaps the experience does not live up to the price?

A $350 pound coffee will yield 10 small Chemex pots each 36 ounces.  $350 is the price of the green, unroasted coffee, which when imported and roasted will be more like $425 per pound, so that pot of coffee has a cost of about $43.  How much would it be priced tableside – $100 or about $15 a cup.  Maybe high rollers would would pay that, maybe not, prefering to dole out the bucks for big name, rare champagnes or cognacs.  It will be interesting to see how this trend develops and whether it turns out to be good or bad for specialty coffee.  Share your thoughts.

 

New Flat Rate for green coffee

By popular request we have added flat shipping rates that will make it more economical to purchase green coffee, particularly in larger increments.  Because of our shipping volumes the vast majority of these shipments will travel via FedEx Ground Service.  You will benefit from very attractive negotiated rates they have provided.  For those instances where the weight and distance combination would provide customers with better service with USPS Priority Mail Flat Rate, then we will utilize that method.  Either way, you pay one flat rate as follows:

Weight
Flat Rate
up to 20 pounds$9.99
21 to 40 pounds$14.99
41 to 60 pounds$21.99

 

These rates apply to the 48 Continental US states only.   Sorry, no Alaska, Hawaii at this time.

 

BraZen about to ship

It’s really kind of silly to think that, until now, none of our home coffee brewers informed us of the temperature of the water used for brewing. Doesn’t it seem slightly unbelievable that by this juncture, when we are raising coffee brewing to an artisan level, that we don’t even know this basic information? Wouldn’t you think we would want to know the temperature of the water, since it happens to be just about all of a cup of coffee, except for one and a quarter percent? Well, the wait is nearly over as the BraZen Coffee Brewer is being shipped to customers the end of the week. Will your House Blend taste different at 196, 200 or 203 degrees? If the answer is yes” we’ll be kicking ourselves for not having this idea first!

BraZen Coffee Brew System

Features like temperature selection (1 degree increments from 190 to 210F) and pre-soak have been reserved for professional coffee brewers, and just the higher end ones at that. The BraZen puts brewing variations in your hand, giving you the tools to tweak your brewing, and doing so in an easy to use package that looks a little space age, but classy in an interesting way. Other features include temperature glide, temperature calibration with altitude correction, ‘auto’ setting for when you want to wake up to a fresh pot, a stainless steel, water heating reservoir, and, a host of other enhancements.

The BraZen Coffee Brewer is $199 including free shipping, a pound of coffee and more from our main site.  There you will also find a more in-depth discussion of features as well as photos.

As I am writing this I am in the Adirondack mountains at the home of friends, where I have brought a BraZen and a Technivorm brewer along with a pro digital thermometer.  I calibrated the thermometer to 208 degrees for this altitude after a minor adjustment for barometric pressure.  Altitude here is 1980 feet so I calibrated the BraZen to 2000 feet.  When calibration was complete the usable temperature range became 190 to 206 degrees (attainable temperature less 2 degrees).  I brewed a full pot of coffee with a target temp of 200 degrees, same as I had last done at home.  When the water reached its target temperature and started brewing I measured the water temp in the reservoir using the separate digital thermometer and found it to be precisely 200, verifying that the calibration process had perfectly done its job.  Separately, I brewed a pot on the Technivorm model and it was able to attain a brew temp of 197 degrees with an occasional spurt reaching 198.  This is very respectable and makes sense.  The target temperature range of Technivorms is 195 to 205 degrees but attempts to hold 200, so at this altitude that 200 was reduced by about 3 1/2 degrees.  The BraZen is accurate to within 2 degrees but was spot on during this test.  A point worth noting is that I could have cranked the Brazen brew temperature up as far as 206 degrees at this altitude, had I wanted.  In that case the coffee temperature would have been about 10 degrees more than the Technivorm, or for that matter, any fixed temperature brewer.

This somewhat unscientific experiment was conducted with the bewildered gaze of my friends, who wondered while the hell I came for a relaxing visit to their mountain home bearing an armada of coffee brewing and lab equipment.  But, all was well as we enjoyed some fine cups of coffee each day brewed with an accurately calibrated BraZen brewer, which was making coffee in the mountains to the exact recipe as that used at our sea level home.