Sweet Maria's Behmor Roaster Guide - v 1.0
1. Features, Purchase 2. Using the Behmor 3. Roast Quality/ Roast Curves 4. Maintenance, Longevity 5. Summary

The Behmor 1600 is fairly easy to use and we have some suggestions based on months of testing the unit with different varieties of coffee. This roaster excels at light roasts but it is a bit trickier to roast darker. Below is an image of the Control Panel and step by step instructions to get started.

 

Things You'll Need While Roasting

  1. A good quality scale to weigh the coffee. This is one of the main ways to achieve consistent results--you need a scale to weigh out each batch.
  2. Shop-vac/Dustbuster for chaff cleanup after every roast. A must.
  3. Patience. Do not leave the Behomr unattended until the cooling cycle begins, and even then wait a few minutes before walking away.
  4. Every five roasts you must peform a self-cleaning operation by inserting the empty drum and pushing 1/2 pound and start. Let the Behmor complete this entire cycle then resume roasting coffee.
  5. A short leash. Do not be fooled into thinking you can walk away just because you have lots of experience home roasting. Because of the larger batch size and the fact that the coffee is in with the heating element, you can have a fire really quick if you are not careful. SO STAY WITH THE ROASTER, especially at the end of the roast.

The Control Panel is a cinch to figure out and gives you command over three key factors:

  1. Batch Size: Essentially, the top 3 buttons on the panel tell the roaster how much coffee you are putting in and also turns the roaster on. (Note: The acutal amount of coffee you put in the drum affects the roast greatly. If you use the 1/2 Lb. setting, but are 20% under or over in the weight of coffee you put in, you will get dramatically different results. More on that later).
  2. Time Program( A, B, C, D): These four buttons are incremental roast times. You can always modify the amount of time for the roast before beginning the cycle or in the middle of the cylce.
  3. Profile (P1, P2, P3, P4, P5) : These five buttons toggle between the five power curves offered by the Behmor. Here's a nutshell breakdown:
  • P1--Hottest profile available, so hot in fact that the time limit is the shortest of all, meaning the C and D buttons don't even work when P1 is engaged. This is pretty much 100% power from start to finish.
  • Similarly P2 (also a hot one) is only available with A, B, and C time programs, if you press the D button nothing will change.
  • P3 and P4 are more middle of the road heatwise and the seem to work better than the other 3 profiles with a wide range of coffee varieties.
  • P5 is the coolest profile and is good for the lightest roasts.

Please see further data on the 5 profiles on the Roast Quality/Roast Curves page.

Additional Control Panel Features

  • Time Increment: The roaster gives you the capabilities to add or subtract time to the roast times either before starting the cycle or in the middle. Again, you won't be able to add more than a limited amount depending on which profile you use. So, don't get frustrated trying to add time to the P1 or P2 profiles because the safety conscious folks at Behmor have seriously limited the maximum time on such hot profiles .
  • Cool Button: Stops the roast immediately and begins the cooling cycle. Roasts will still have a bit of coasting time which you can shorten by opening the door and letting some fresh air in and some heat out.
  • Start Button: Uh, this button starts the roast cycle.
  • Light: A nice feature of the roaster is this internal light that gives you a much better look at the beans.
  • *Note: It is pretty annoying but you have to turn the roaster off after each roast in order to program the Behmor to do another batch. So hit the off button then one of the batch size selector buttons and you're back in business.

Quick Start with the Behmor 1600

  • Place the amount of coffee you wish to roast into the cylindrical cage and close it. Make sure the clasp is completely flat against the cage.
  • We think a 1/2 pound batch is a good place to start. The manual recommends a 1/4 batch to start with but we feel the roaster has some issues dealing with such small batches. See the Roast Quality/Roast Curves page for details on roasting 1/4 batches.
  • Now that the coffee is in, put the cage into the Behmor, insert the right side first making sure the square end of the axel is on the right. You'll need to hold the cage at a slight upward angle and then drop it into place with the round end of the axel on the left. It is critical that you mount the drum correctly. Every batch you roast, make sure the drum is seated correctly, and verify that it turns freely once you start the roast. Additionally, be very careful when removing the drum after a roast, if you force the drum out of the roaster you may damage the axel ends that hold the drum in place, if they are bent at all the roaster will not function properly so be gentle!
  • Now slide the chaff tray into place around the cage inside the roaster.
  • To turn on the LED display simply press the 1/4, 1/2, or 1 pound button located at the top of the control panel. The default setting for the roaster is the P1 profile and A time program button. *Important Note: As a safety feature the P1 profile has the lowest maximum time of any of the 5 profiles this means that both the "C" AND "D" time program buttons are not available. Behmor doesn't want you starting fires in your little roaster. See the maximum roast times associated with each profile table.
  • Select the P1 profile and the "B" time program. This will give you a total roast time of 13:00 minutes with the possibility to add another 30 seconds if you want, assuming you are doing a 1/2 pound batch.
  • It is crucial that you stay near the Behmor during the roast cycle to closely monitor the progression of your roast and be ready to hit the cool button if you hear second crack begin--the roaster can only go 20 seconds into second crack safely, after that fire is imminent!
  • Depending on the coffee you use you may just be hitting first crack as the cycle enters the final minute. Go ahead and hit the + button to add those extra 30 seconds.
  • You'll probably achieve a nice light roast using this setting but might be left wondering how can I adjust the machine to roast a bit darker if it won't let me add as much time as I want? The answer is: trick your roaster.

Breakin' the Law

The Following Suggestions Should Only Be Taken With Extreme Caution. You will most likely void your warranty by tricking the machine. The manual is explicit on dark roasting - and advises you to stop the roast 20 seconds into second crack. Roasting beyond ten seconds into second crack voids your warranty.:

The preset time programs and profiles are pretty good at yielding quality results, but the most common problem is roasts are just too darn light even when maxing out the time. We understand why Behmor put certain safety features into place; with the coffee and chaff in the drum, you can get a small chaff fire going easily. Read the manual and understand the cautions...then, if you want to try achieving Vienna or other darker roasts try the following tactics.

  • Load up 3/4 pound of beans and push the 1 pound button. Stay away from the P1 and P2 profiles when you do this and try either P3, P4, or P5. The "A" Time program button should be used since you want to start off with the least amount of time. This will allow you to get a darker roast but be careful! When we pushed a roast into second crack for longer than 10 seconds a little spark showed up, so watch out. If you do get a fire - don't open the door! Doing so feeds more oxygen to the flames. The roast ought to react to the fire and shut down on its own. Once the machine has shut down - unplug the roaster and move it outside.
  • Simliarly, to get a decent dark roast out of a 1/4 pound batch you have to use the 1/2 pound setting on the control panel and closely monitor the roast. You'll want to manually end the roast when you have reached the desired level.
  • Sounds the coffee makes during roasting are key to determining where you are in the roast cycle and a real benefit to the Behmor is how quiet it is during roasting. First crack is often very drawn out, especially with the cooler profiles, so it can be tricky to keep track of. If you are vigilant and stay with your roaster during operation you'll achieve much better results. Grab a book and hang out with the Behmor.
   
 
A Very Rough Estimate of Time Between 1st Crack and 2nd Crack
 
1/4 Lb
1/2 Lb
1 Lb
 
1:40 to 2 Minutes
2:20 to 2:40 minutes
3:40 to 4 minutes

 

Pre-programmed Roast Times A, B, C & D:
1/4 Lb
1/2 Lb
1 Lb
A
8.5 minutes
12 minutes
18 minutes
B
9.5 minutes
13 minutes
20 minutes
C
10 minutes
14 minutes
21.5 minutes
D
10.5 minutes
15 minutes
23 minutes


In order to prevent possible issues with over-roasting (and fire), there is a ceiling on the maximum times associated with each profile. For example, using P1 with 1 Lb of coffee, you cannot exceed 20.5 minutes roast time, whether that be assigned using the A, B, C, or D buttons or modifying the roast time on the fly using the + and - keys. Here's a chart of maximum roast times.

Maximum Behmor Roast Times for Programs P1 to P5
1/4 Lb
1/2 Lb
1 Lb
P1
10 minutes
13.5 minutes
20.5 minutes
P2
10.5 minutes
14.5 minutes
22.5 minutes
P3
11 minutes
15.5 minutes
23.5 minutes
P4
11.5 minutes
16.5 minutes
24.5 minutes
P5
12.5 minutes
17.5 minutes
25.5 minutes

For quicker cool down you can simply open the front door during the cool cycle. Doing this will facilitate a greater airflow over the beans. The one drawback is small amount of chaff will find its way past the chaff tray and onto your counter.

Don't stop the system immediately after completing a roast to pull the cylinder and do a bean dump for alternate cooling method. Doing a system stop before reasonable cooling could damage the system's components. Plus the cylinder will be totally hot.

Tips on Fine-Tuning Roast Times

  • Since the Behmor is designed to be easy to use the two programmable variables power and time can only be altered in limited ways. In other words there is not an infinite number of different roasts available, but rather a nice selection of roast profiles (power) and time programs (time).
  • One way the Behmor has organized the roast profiles is using 3 distinct "legs" or segments of the roast cycle, they break down this way:
  1. First Leg: Roaster begins heating up and in P1 or P2 mode this means you ramp right up to 100% power, on P3, P4, and P5 the first leg reaches about 70% power.
  2. Second Leg: This is where you'll start seeing yellowing of the beans and, again, in P1 or P2 you'll be at full power, P3, P4 and P5 second legs are around 85% power. You can make this leg shorter/longer by reducing/addding time before the roast cycle begins.
  3. Final Leg: Here is where you'll finish your roast. P1 stays at full power, P2 drops to 65% (and then goes back up to 100%), while P3, P4, and P5 finally reach 100%. You can make this leg shorter/longer by reducing/addding time after the roast cycle begins.
  • Profiles can be adjusted (to some degree) by time additions and subtractions. Adding or subtracting time after starting the roast cycle only effects the last leg of the roast - so if you shorten the last leg of the roast - you increase the middle leg. If you lengthen the last leg of the roast, you shorten the middle leg.
  • For example: P5 is 33% of each power application throughout the entire roast. So if you were to set the timer at 6:00 minutes each leg of the profile would last approximately 2:00 each.
    1. However if you were to set the timer for 6:00 minutes to start, then upon starting a roast add 2:00 minutes you will have immediately reduced the middle leg’s total percent of total roast to 25% versus the original 33%.
    2. Conversely let us say you want to lengthen the middle leg and shorten the end leg of the roast. Before starting press the timer to read 10:00. The system then reads it is to run approximately 3:20 per leg. Once starting however reduce the time to 8 and you will have the first legs of the roast at 3:20 each but the final leg at 1:20.
  • If this sounds totally bewildering you are not alone. Figure out which leg you want to increase before starting the roast cycle.
  • If you wish to shorten the roast's middle leg and lengthen the end leg, reduce times to start, then once started add time back.
  • If you wish to lengthen the roast's middle leg and reduce the end leg, add time to start, then once started reduce the time back.

The possible variations number in the hundreds once you understand the roaster and the beans you are roasting.

Interested in what Behmor users are saying about this machine? Check out the Sweet Maria's Coffee Home Roasting Forum for more conversation about this home roasting and other home roasting topics.