"I wonder how good the Nano 7 would be at dry roasting Almonds?"
So, after a bit of research and playing with profiles, I can safely say that the Nano is brilliant for roasting almonds. As you can see they look great, and I promise that they taste fantastic too.
I have taken to not having the range hood's fan on during the roast as my wife likes the smell of the roast. Think gently baking bread with a pleasant touch of nuttiness.
A critical question you may be asking is:
"Does any of this hurt the Nano or the coffee beans it roasts?"
Having done about 10 almond roasts mixed in with 20 coffee roasts, and having talked with Chris Hilder, I believe the answer is a simple No.
Chris and his team thought the risk of damage is low, with the three biggest risks being:
- A nut getting stuck in the internals of the Nano after squeezing through an air vent from the roasting chamber.
- The air being completely blocked off causing the heater to trip it's safety fuse.
- Nut residue in the roast chamber might affect the flavour of the coffee, especially if the nuts get burnt.
- Any thing smaller than a coffee bean like chaff or tiny chips of almond tends to be blown out the top, particularly as the fan is being run at 100% to keep the nuts dancing.
- On every occasion the almonds stop dancing there has been plenty of air blowing through. The nuts seem to have grouped together and left holes for the air to blow past the groups.
- None of my almond roasts have burnt or even spotted any nuts. This includes the first few roasts that shutdown early a couple of times due to heating to fast warnings. Also, very little oil passed from the almonds to the roasting chamber as the nuts tend to keep their skins on. To date, the flavour of the coffee coming out of the Nano continues to be great, and to the best of my ability to tell, has not changed. I suppose I might be up for a deep clean of the roasting chamber in 5 years time, but it will be worth it if this coffee and these nuts are anything to go by.
The plateau at 130 degrees C gives time for the nuts internal structure to settle during the Maillard reaction, and the 180 degree peak gives a nice mid range roasted taste and colour. While the profile as it stands is reliably giving me great results, there are two areas I see for improvement.
First up, on occasion the nuts will stop dancing in the hot air.
This is easy to fix by gently jiggling the roaster to get the nuts moving again. Leave the char chimney off so you can see if the nuts are dancing isn't a problem because there is no char coming off the nuts. The problem is having to check the nuts ever 30 seconds or so through the whole nine minute roast. The fan is already at 100%, so we can't get more help there. Reducing the batch size so the nuts stay just below the probe might help keep the dance going, but what does that do to the temperature readings?
Secondly, It would be nice to get rid of the oscillation in the actual rate of temp rise curve.
This needs more tuning of the PID, but is pretty much a nice to have as the heating curve is following the profile reasonable closely, and most importantly the nuts are tasting fantastic.
I look forward to hearing your thoughts and experiences with roasting almonds,
and hopefully suggested improvements of the profile.