Home roasters?

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Postby Monsignore » Thu Jun 04, 2015 11:59 am

I am considering buying a home roaster.

In my professional role, I don't exactly have the freedom or resources to mess around with our roaster and experiment. I have a constant production schedule, with high customer service interactions, so I can't really just chuck a coupla pounds of beans into our roaster just to see what happens.

So, I was thinking of getting a home roaster for fooling around with all the various variables that make roasting fun, and to, hopefully, up my sklz & knowledge.

Do y'all have any recommendations on brands & models I should look for or avoid? Any features I should concentrate on?

I live in an NYC apartment, so smoke & smell would be issues I'd like to minimize. And cost-wise, I'd like to get the most bang for my buck, obviously.

Posts: 1
Joined: Mon Mar 17, 2014 7:48 pm
First Name: Matt
Last Name: Perelli
City: Astoria
State: NY
Zip Code: 11103
Company: Allegro Coffee
Occupation: Roaster
Roasting Since (Year): 1997

Postby hartcoffee » Thu Aug 20, 2015 12:48 pm

I started as a home roaster before making it a career; because of that, I've played with a bunch of them. I really love the Quest m3, it's easily the most controllable home roaster I've used. It's mega analog/manual, like to the point where if you turned it on and left it alone it would most-likely catch on fire. It's super straightforward so you can mod it to your heart's content. The panel gives you amperage control (heat), fan speed (airflow), and a on/off timer dial.
There are a couple drawbacks though. The first is that because of its simplicity, it has no smoke suppression of any kind. I have seen mods of attaching venting off it (an out a window), but haven't seen them in action, so I can't speak to their effectiveness. The second is that the cooling system is poor. It utilizes the drum's airflow fan and takes 5+ minutes to cool. I built a little table with a computer fan cooling bin to rectify this ( https://instagram.com/p/sKakv1kxDF/?taken-by=hartcoffee ) which cools it super-fast, but if you're looking for out-of-the-box perfection, cooling is something of a worry. All things considered, however, it's the best I've had the opportunity to play with in its class.

Some others of note:

The Behmor 1300 is a great first big step for a lot of home roasters and might be the best in-class as far as the smoke suppression, but it's super minimal in terms of the customizability. I used to open the door to manipulate conduction/convection but if you're trying to replicate the control and elements of a classic drum roaster, you'll be disappointed as it is very much a cleverly modified coffee-specific toaster oven.

The Hottop is also a popular choice, but I've only played on an older model of the programmable version and found it just all right for the price. Even with a clean filter, I've found it very smokey. I also had problems attaining roasts less than 14 minutes or so. It does, however, do a great job roasting for traditional espresso coffee roasting and excels in terms of the cooling bin.

I have not had the opportunity to play on the Gene Cafe, but have heard good things about it. If you have questions about it, I'd contact sweetmarias, they're dynamite at answering questions about this sort of thing

Hope this helped.
Posts: 1
Joined: Thu Aug 20, 2015 11:23 am
First Name: Matthew
Last Name: Ehresman
City: Seattle
State: WA
Zip Code: 98105
Company: Hart Coffee Co.
Occupation: Roaster
Roasting Since (Year): 2009

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