Posted Thu Jan 13, 2005, 2:53pm Subject: Any High Quality Roasters Out There?
I have a 1890's Jabez Burns & Sons 5 lb. roaster. It's a drum roaster that I run on natural gas. I created a cooler using a large box fan. I was thinking I'd like to upgrade plus go down to a smaller size since I seldom sell coffee any longer. After doing a web search and reading through alt.coffee, there doesn't seem to be any very good machines out there that can do 1/2 to 1 lb. Am I missing any? I willing to pay over $1000 depending on what I get in exchange in the way of features.
Posted Thu Jan 13, 2005, 3:25pm Subject: Re: Any High Quality Roasters Out There?
That's what I was wondering. One hundred years of technology advancements and my old Jabez Burns is still right up there. Other than the fact it's hard to roast 1/2 pound of coffee in it, my main complaint is that it smokes like crazy when I do a French roast and all the smoke come out the front. It also doesn't have a built in thermometer. I only need this for French roasts to keep from turning them to charcoal. Right now, I use a multi-meter with a TC.
Posted Thu Jan 13, 2005, 5:59pm Subject: Re: Any High Quality Roasters Out There?
Do not throw rocks at me for what I am about to say...
Have you tried pan roasting? I have started it and am amazed at the results that I can achieve. It is all hand technique and does take practice. It is a skill and becoming a lost art. I can do a pound at a time, I hit first crack in 16 minutes and then second at 25-27 minutes. The cup is fantastic! The beans are even in color however the flats do become dark, not scorched, just dark. With practice and patience you can achieve some great results, and you can use things that you already have like a pan and a whisk. Cheap and delicious!
My decision and the reasoning which led to it were based on my personal criteria. No recommendation or disapproval implied: I just took delivery on a US Roaster Corp Sample Roaster, so you know what my conclusions are; thought the similarly priced Roaster Authority 1kg Victory was also very interesting, but didn't know about it until I'd already placed my order with USRC -- and still would have gone with USRC for its long track record; thought the San Franciscan was very nice but a little too pricey and a little too twee; had a bunch of reasons not to go torrefatore or torrecaf -- including but not limited to their high prices; and for all sorts of reasons decided to stay away from Asian made machines.
Your price limit of $1,000 net (after selling your J-B) kinda depends on what you can get for the J-B. Figuring out its worth is the best place to start.
If you want an inexpensive, damper-controlled, electric roaster which does a good (but slow) job in the 300 - 600g range, I'll sell you my Delian Amazon (1kg) at a very good price, and throw in a 20A Variac. The machine has its limitations, but if all you want are gentle, sweet roasts it does those extremely well. No shipping. Pick up only. I'm getting rid of it in favor of the USRC because of its inability to do fast profiles under the best of circumstances a further complicated by an unreliable local power supply.
You might also want to think about what you want to do in terms of electronics. Just because you're roasting by nose, ear, by guess and by gosh with the Jabez Burns doesn't mean you won't want some degree of computer control (or at least real time plotting) with your new roaster.
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