For years I cooled my beans using a colander and a fan. It worked, but there were a few flaws with what I was doing. Among other things, I want to get more ‘professional’ in my roasting. My cooling method was fine to show a friend, but I’d be embarrassed to show a theoretical ‘paying customer’ what I was doing. I was hunched over on the ground trying to keep my colander balanced on the fan while using a wooden spoon to stir the beans a bit.
I came across a remarkably easy to make contraption that works better than I expected. You take a shop vac and connect the hose to a container. In the lid of the container you cut a hole just big enough for a colander. I made mine with the box that the shop vac came in and I used duct tape to hold everything in place. As I perfect my procedure I’ll switch to a plastic container, but cardboard and duct tape are easy to experiment with (and cheaper).
To use the contraption, you want to suck air into the shop vac (as opposed to blowing air out). In just a couple of minutes I am able to bring the beans down to the ambient temperature. To remove chaff, reverse airflow for a bit until there is nothing else to blow away.
Now that I have a device that can consistently cool the beans, I can experiment with taste. During one of my future roasts, I’ll pull out a cup of beans before cooling and then compare those beans with the beans that were properly cooled.