Issues with the Behmor 1600
The Behmor 1600 is a great machine for home roasters, but it has some pitfalls. The two biggest problems with the Behmor 1600 is that its safety features can shut you down mid-roast and the cooling cycle takes far too long to complete.
There is no way around these factors, but I’ve gathered a list of tricks I’ve picked up over the years that help you get the most from your Behmor 1600 Plus.
1. Avoid these 4 things First
- Don’t use the Behmor 1600 with an extension cord. The cord cuts down on the amount of power your machine can produce and reduces your ability to control your roast.
- Don’t let the Behmor 1600 cool the beans on its own. The process takes far too long and bakes your coffee.
- Don’t roast with a full pound. While the Behmor can roast a full pound, it’s much more suited to a half pound or 250 gram charge. This will help you gain full control over your roast and allow you to react to the roast temperature.
- Don’t leave your roast. You should stay near your machine and watch the temperatures as you roast, especially if you’re going to use some of the tricks below.
2. Add Tin Foil
Adding tin foil to your Behmor 1600 is one of the biggest, easiest changes to make to raise the temperature of the roaster.
Add tin foil to the inside of the roasting door and around the chaff tray. Make sure the reflective side of the tin foil is pointed toward the beans, facing the heating element. Because the Behmor 1600 uses infrared heating, the tin foil helps bounce some of that heat back at the beans.
With this method, however, you really have to watch the temperatures. If your temp B reaches 325 at any point, the machine goes to emergency shut off and starts the cooling cycle.
But if you start to lower your power to 50% around 300 degrees, you should be able to avoid the safety feature. If you’re getting very close to 325, open the door and blow into the chamber. It’ll shoot chaff in your face, and you’ll look crazy, but you will save your roast.
3. Prop your machine on a block
This is another easy trick. Just prop your Behmor 1600 up on a wooden block. This makes it so that the beans roast with the heating element a little more toward the base where the beans fall. You’ll get more direct heat on the beans, and they’ll roast a bit faster. I’ve never scorched a bean in a Behmor, but if you’re worried about it, you can adjust the drum speed with the D button to turn the beans a bit faster.
4. Preheat for 2 minutes
The Behmor 1600 manual says that you should preheat for a minute, or a minute and a half if you’re feeling lucky. More preheating is always better, but with the Behmor, more preheating means you’re more likely to trip a safety feature and end your roast whether you like it or not.
I always preheat for 2 minutes with the tin foil in. It’s a lot of preheating for a Behmor, but I use this next trick to help me avoid the safety features.
5. The Wet Rag
This one is awesome: the temperature probe is located in the back of the Behmor 1600. When the Behmor starts to climb toward that 325 level, take a damp rag and wipe down the top and back of the roaster. This transfers some of the heat from where the probe is to the plastic casing, and then out from there as steam. Keep wiping it down. It’s a great trick to keep your Behmor running without starting an emergency cooling cycle.
6. Cooling Faster
One of the main issues with the Behmor 1600 is that its cooling cycle just doesn’t work fast enough. It turns on a fan, but the roasting chamber is already over 300 degrees. All your doing is blowing 300 degree air on to your beans, and while the roaster does a good job of releasing its hot air pretty quickly, you don’t really start cooling your beans for about 5 minutes, which is the amount of time it should take in total to cool.
I’ve tried many methods to cool my beans, and there are few good ways of doing it. Here are my top two.
I exclusively use this method now. It’s not perfect, but it’s the best way I’ve found without too much extra hassle.
Get a fan ready. You can also use a blow dryer with a cool setting, but then you’d need a buddy to help you. Start the fan as you’re getting ready to pull your roast.
When you’ve reached the end point of your roast, turn your Behmor off. With oven mitts on, open the door and pull the chaff tray out. Set the chaff tray somewhere where it won’t burn you or whatever it’s near. Finagle the drum out of the roaster without opening the hatch and spilling burning hot beans everywhere.
Shake the drum vigorously for 3-5 minutes in front of the fan. I only recommend doing this outside because it will shoot chaff everywhere, including in your face, eyes, and mouth. It’s not glamorous, but you only need a fan and some oven mitts.
Method 2 doesn’t work quite as well as Method 1, but it’s far easier and still better than the Behmor 1600 cooling cycle.
Chill 2 cookie sheets in the freezer. When your roast is done, turn your Behmor off. Use oven mitts and finagle the drum out of the roaster without opening the hatch and spilling burning hot beans everywhere.
Dump your roast evenly on the two chilled cookie sheets. People worry about the moisture on the cookie sheets, but it shouldn’t be a problem. The beans come out hot enough that they’ll evaporate most moisture on the sheet anyway. If you’re really worried about moisture, go with Method 1! However, I’ve never noticed a difference in the flavor of my coffee because of freezer moisture on the cookie sheets.
7. Use the Drum to Remove Chaff
Chaff has a slight acidic flavor to it. You shouldn’t obsess about removing every bit of chaff from your coffee as it doesn’t really affect flavor unless there’s a substantial amount. I still like to do this trick to remove some of the chaff before I store my coffee away.
Depending on how you’ve cooled your coffee beans, add them back to the roasting drum. Vigorously shake the roasting drum, making sure you have a hand over the hatch so you don’t throw your meticulously cared for beans all over the place. This works even better with a fan blowing.
If you’ve cooled your beans with Cooling Method #1, the chaff should already be mostly removed!
Try these out!
Try some of these tricks with your Behmor 1600 and see how it works out. I’ve found that with these simple tricks, I’m able to have more control over my roast and avoid the safety shut-offs that can get in the way of the perfect roast.
If you have any other tricks that you use, let me know in the comments below!