Thursday, June 4, 2015

Does roasting coffee darker burn off and lessen the amount of caffeine?

My wife heard at Starbucks the other day that darker coffee has less caffeine because "caffeine burns off during roasting", but I was certain this is not true from my personal experience. I was researching some this morning and came across many roasters confirming that caffeine does NOT burn off during roasting. This page was most informative...
Let’s dispel the most common myth right off the bat: A dark-roast bean contains more caffeine than a light-roast bean due to its stronger flavor. Not true. Actually, the caffeine content in both is virtually the same. An opposing view held by many is that the darker the roast level, the lower a bean’s caffeine since much of it is lost or "burned off" during roasting. Yet caffeine changes very little during a roast. Any significant variation would require a roasting temperature above 600°F. Since temperatures rarely exceed 470°F, a bean’s caffeine remains relatively static across all roast levels.

How does one control the amount of caffeine in a cup of coffee?

As an amateur roaster, I learned to blend the coffee beans with a bean with higher caffeine content, such as robusta. Most coffee (or all?) is Arabica which has less caffeine than Robusta beans.  When I roast a batch for my "morning blend" coffee, I will toss in some Robusta beans for the extra kick.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Finally... Sarasota has a maker space

The maker's movement has expanded to Sarasota, FL... finally.  I've been remiss in updating this blog with my various projects and hacks, but my recent involvement with the Sarasota Makers has me excited to sharing my projects again.  The old G-Wiz Fab-Lab has been resurrected as the Sarasota Science Center near the SCTI campus in central Sarasota, FL.

For now, here are some pictures of the equipment available to the Sarasota Makers.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Hacking Santas Best GE-35 Christmas Lights

This last 2010 Christmas, I was reading about lights and decorations. I stumbled on some articles about hacking Santa's Best Craft GE-35 lights that are each RGB LED and individually addressable.

Darco hacked the details of the bus timing for the controller and remote control (string lights) and was my original inspiration to dig deeper into these lights.

Scott Harris used an Arduino for his project. I like the Arduino platform and would consider using it.

I found these 36-LED GE-35 yard decorations from Santa's Best at Sears for $24 on clearance. Oddly, mine are 36-LED as shown on the box, instead of 50-LED count. Either way, I bought several sets and removed the lights from the yard sculpture frame.

The Disassembly

The controller box uses security triangle screws, which are a pain to remove.

I used a grinder to modify an old hex wrench into the security triangle bit necessary to open the controller.

I couldn't find these bits anywhere, so I decide to make my own. It works well!

If you try this, use goggles and protection since sparks fly everywhere.

The yard sculptures appear to have the same controller board assembly and 8051-based micro controller as the string lights., except it's missing the RF controller (epoxy blob).

Most people seem to give up on trying to read or modify the 8051 compatible CPU. Instead, most are using PIC or AVR (Arduino).

The RGB LED Assembly

Each LED node in the yard sculpture appears to be the same as the light string.

However, the yard decoration is using white wire instead of green, which would look better on my white rain gutter. This lens is also flatter, like a squat oval shape instead of longer like the lens on the string lights.

I used my Celestron Digital Microscope (#44302) to take some close-ups of the LED Assembly. You can see the +5V, DataIn, GND on the left, and +5V, DataOut, GND on the right:

Here is a close-up of the RGB LED itself. You can see the 3 LED elements (Red, Green, Blue) in the LED housing. I'm not sure what brand it is.

Several people are hacking these lights into fantastic creative projects. I plan to develop my own light show platform using a geometric sculpture and custom controller using an Atmel AVR microcontroller. I'll post more details as that project evolves.

Hopefully this information serves to help others to hack these great lights!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Roasting Coffee...sigh.

I roasted some Colombian and Kenya AA coffee this weekend using my Gene Cafe roaster. It works pretty well, except that it was designed for 220v systems, not 110 like in the U.S. I purchased the right model (for use in the U.S.) but it seems to heat and roast slowly. Most batches take 17-18 minutes to reach a slow first-crack. I've been running for 5 minutes to preheat the roaster which seems to help. My only complaint is that coffee ends up tasting "baked" with muted flavors. I enjoy that it's much more quiet than the "i roar" I used for a few years, and it handles larger batches. If I had it over, I would spend the extra money for a better drum roaster. Oh well, these are my luxury problems.

Friday, February 5, 2010

funtoo -- Daniel Robbins, gentoo, linux, keychain, metro, articles

I've bee using Gentoo Linux for several years, and have been looking to switch to this variant from the original creator of Gentoo. I'm in the process of setting up a simple, low-power MythTV box using an old Dell P3 and PVR-350 card. So far so good.

funtoo -- Daniel Robbins, gentoo, linux, keychain, metro, articles

Sunday, August 23, 2009

It turns out that this is a pepper weevil.

I found a dead branch on the green pepper plant, and when cutting the branch, I got down to the hollow core where there was a small insect.

Here you can see the "woody" texture to the green pepper branch, along with the hollow core for of the branch. The core was actually filled with something like saw-dust. Presumably, this was eatten by the insect, and the sawdust was its waste.

While looking at this under the microscope, it started walking around. I was able to get a video of this thing waking up and walking around.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Larva inside green pepper plant stem (maybe thrip)

I think my green pepper plant in one of the Earth Box sets has contracted a mosaic virus. Several stems are dead and look like wood.

I was trimming back these stems and noticed they were hollow -- I kept trimming back to the end of the dead steam that meets the live part of the plant. I noticed what looks like a small worm or larva in the stem.

I wonder what this is? It looks like it could become a moth (or thrip)?