This is my new 1kg coffee roaster.
It's advertised on E-Bay as a "Model 100 1KG Electric," but the User's Manual calls it a Roaster's Choice 1000. Whatever. It's about as big as anyone could possibly want for a home roaster. I'm not the first home-roaster in the US to buy one; maybe the second or third. I expect to get some help from the other guy, as well as the roast mavens on Home Barista and anyone else who can help. But because there's not much of a user base yet, it's going to need a lot of [cough] fooling around to establish baselines. It will either be fun, a waste of coffee, or both. Bet on both.
When we decided to replace our HotTop for something which could handle a little more volume, I mostly looked at the Huky 500 and Quest M3. Both are well made, and both lend themselves to computer analysis of electronic thermometry. But the gas fired Huky is too kludgy; and the Quest too mini and too technical. On top of that, their cooling trays lacked stirrers. Gotta have a stirrer. When you're spending the bucks, you want your roaster to look like a by-God roaster. Can I get an "Amen?"
There's another electric machine with the same capacity, but produces more heat, is supposedly heavier built, and is not that much more money. But that machine is huge. Ours weighs in at a trim and ready 115 lbs, the other beast is 200. The guy we bought from handles both lines, and strongly recommended ours over the other. It wasn't an easy sell. For one thing, the big one was also available in gas, gas is faster, and faster is better -- especially if you can slow it down. For another, nothing succeeds like excess. But at the end of the day I had to admit that I knew less than the seller, and besides... how much heavy duty can we use? In case it needs saying, we have no plans to use it commercially. It's just for the two of us, and gifts for family and friends. Even our svelte roaster is epic overkill. And the cooling tray stirrer... oh my!
The machine came to us as an unwanted cast-off. It was originally sold to a commercial coffee shop, but was damaged in transit (spelled U.P.S., but pronounced whoops!). I got it at a significant discount and without the usual eight week wait.
Damage aside, the cosmetics and fit and finish are a little rough. I got everything moving as it should move, and minimized some of the dents and dings. However, some of the scratches and dents are forever. Oh well. A short test showed that a normal 120V 15A line was sufficient... however the only circuit available to the location (covered patio) had a ton of other draw -- including the espresso machine and the electric kettle. We installed a dedicated 20A circuit to the location so we could over-caffeinate while roasting. It's the law.
The technology of coffee roasting is advancing, with all sorts of sophisticated measurements and controls becoming available. This machine is something of a throwback and is about as hands on as an electric machine of its size can be. I may or may not replace the (useless) analog thermometer with an electric probe later. As long as I can use the sights and sounds of roasting to recognize the basic sequence of roasting, that should be enough to use the crude ... erm ... make that ... simple dampers to control the timing.
Even though it's not as fool-proof, I find the sensorial approach more rewarding than the electronic. However, I'll do what's necessary to get consistently good results.
Predictably there were problems before starting the maiden roast. In this case, the machine wouldn't get past 150C. Finally discovering the problems were on my side of the control panel, I was too frazzled, relieved and excited to take anything like cogent notes. Or times. Or think clearly. Or think at all. Once they got going, things went apace. Things did. Me, not so much. I didn't do a great job at isolating the drying period, and didn't drag the time as much as I wanted between first and second cracks. And, if appearance means anything, I went a little deeper into FC+ than I wanted. Practice could possibly help. Y'think?
Considering it was the first roast, things went well. Roast times for the 660g load seemed close to those a 225g charge of similar beans roasted in my HotTop; maybe a bit faster (faster than a HotTop is a good thing). The roast itself looked attractive; smooth beans, even color, excellent chaff removal, etc.
It would be nice to tell you how that first batch of coffee tastes, but the beans won't be sufficiently rested to brew for French press or vacuum until Friday; and not ready until Sunday for espresso.
Edited by boar_d_laze - 5/22/13 at 8:53pm