Catastrophe and the Cure

August 27, 2007

OK, not quite catastrophe, but still. You remember Toby. Well, he had a few problems, some of which we’ve taken care of. We’ll start with the actual problem. There’s a pressure sensor in the roaster that gauges the air flow, sort of like your nerves on your GI tract telling you something has to go. And if something is wrong

then the pilot light shuts off. Thank God for Sherman, otherwise I might not have any eyebrows. That thing up there is the lid for our chimney, and all those little holes are not supposed to be filled with chaff. Since the air couldn’t really get out, the pilot light shut off, thereby preventing me from roasting on two roasters (which turned into an eleven hour day, which was awesome). The object lesson being, KEEP A MAINTENANCE LOG AND HAVE ROUTINE MAINTENANCE OR YOUR THINGS WILL NO LONGER FUNCTION PROPERLY.

But. Having Toby’s guts out let me see something up close and personal that I had only suspected before. Rumor had it that our old roaster-in-charge type person had become frustrated by Toby’s relative “slowness” and had decided to take some decisive action by increasing the size of the holes in the burners where the fire comes out. Which means this now happens:

Which is bad. See all those big orange flames? Well, they don’t play nice. They make certain parts of the drum get hotter, which leads to uneven roasts and beans that have burn spots. Which is bad.

We have burners on order.

Aaaaaaaand, one last gratuitous self-portrait from the ride back to Pittsburgh from Detroit on Sunday, where I had some very bad espresso in Royal Oak. Why do I keep ordering espresso when I’m almost sure it’s going to be really, really bad? Do I just have to make sure? Does anybody else just want to walk behind espresso bars and grab the portafilter and just demonstrate how to make espresso? Is that so wrong? Sure, maybe it violates health code or employee safety or breaks any number of social mores, but mightn’t it be better for everyone? Let me know, because I’m more and more tempted to do it.

I picked this picture because the way my tongue sticks out is very becoming. And proper. Here you go.

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2 Responses to “Catastrophe and the Cure”

  1. db said

    Is this a coffee blog?

  2. Philip said

    Hi! I am interested in the San Franciscan roasting equipment – just curious if I could ask you a few questions about it? I have a small shop roastery just outside of Seattle.

    Philip
    shoes26@hotmail.com

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