Gene Cafe Large Chaff Collector Paul L

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I am going to unashamedly keep my article "text-lite" because Wil97 has already written 90% of what I would say in his fine article here:

I really wanted to endorse his views and add a couple of pictures as they paint a thousand words, as they say. Ffor anyone discovering the delights of home roasting, it is always encouraging to see how well another person has managed to get things tied down to a slick solution when you are personally treading new ground. I pounced on the only large chaff collector that Bella Barista had left in Summer 2007 from their first Gene stock and it has been an absolute god-send.

My favourite roasting is still from late-spring to late-summer when (dry weather permitting) it's an outdoor activity in my garden, perhaps Dave C's garden, my Mother's patio. The Gene is very transportable as we know so roasting becomes a sociable activity and with a long drink or two in tow.

When the rain falls though or during those less co-operative months it's a different story.


In the pictures you can see how convenient my Gene set-up is and permanently left without needing to put it away. It's high up and so the safety issue is addressed for my daughter's benefit. I am lucky with this window sill because it means my Gene is at perfect height for adjustment and for observing the roast. So:

  • The radio (the little wooden Tivoli) usually keeps me company up until the cracks
  • I can make a drink as all my coffee set-up is close at hand
  • roast logs don't get weather beaten when recording what is going on
  • I can observe the voltage from the voltage plug
  • I can hook up a voltage meter if necessary
  • the alu ducting (mine was £5 from Wickes) keeps the kitchen clean.

You get the idea. The next picture is a little more up to date and captures all the things described above, taken at night so you've got a reflection in the window (and a lit Christmas decoration on the street-lamp as well in case you're wondering!).


I want to add a handful of points to Wil's in particular:

  • my ducting points nearly down to try and avoid suck-back on a windy day
  • more particularly, I find that the end of the tube acts like a microscope by which I mean that because the heat-haze and then the smoke are funnelled it becomes easier to see it at the exit of the chute than it is without ducting. This is visible even at night using the street-light across the road as a backlight, as it were
  • the window frames are crittle (look out for Dave C's article on how he will address heat at the window frame)
  • you can take the top off the large chaff collector, it doesn't open up the main metal chamber but it does help you in cleaning it
  • it is really important to clear the chaff collector after a handful of roasts, you will know by noticeable smoke early in the roast and it will affect a roast if not done
  • cleaning is quick and easy by vacuuming the chaff out (I keep a small cheap kitchen vacuum purposefully for the Gene and the Mazzer grinder)
  • about once a month I clean the entire chaff collector in soapy water, rinse and leave a day or so to dry

Although nothing in coffee is cheap as Wil points out, I have to describe the large chaff collector as worth every penny.

You will also see that I use a halogen lamp (nagged by Dave C for ages - quite rightly) to observe and use colour as a roast indicator. I'm hopeless at DIY but was really proud of myself when I attached a camera quick release plate enabling me to use one of my camera tripods. I even thought of this easily-disassembled solution all by myself!