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Toper Cafemino vs Coffee-Tech Eng Artgiano, Torrefattore, SOLAR... Thoughts?
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Discussions > Coffee > Home Roast > Toper Cafemino...  
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jworlledge
Senior Member


Joined: 15 Sep 2009
Posts: 25
Location: Lodz
Expertise: I live coffee

Posted Sat Sep 19, 2009, 7:52am
Subject: Re: Toper Cafemino vs Coffee-Tech Eng Artgiano, Torrefattore, SOLAR... Thoughts?
 

Oolooloo Said:

Hi,
I am in a similar position to you. I have a cafe in Fiji and want to start roasting beans for our own consupmtion and also to retail to our local market.
I was wondering how you have progressed in your choice of roaster, any advise would be very helpful.
At this point I have shortlisted the Toper Cafemino 1kg electric and the Coffee Tech Solar 2kg Automatic and am trying to finalise my decision.
I do not have any roasting experience, but am committed to learning how to do it well and creatng good profiles and blends. that is why I am taking the plunge and not starting out with a small roaster like a hottop to learn on- I figure Ill learn on the roaster I will use -which should have the capacity to meet my needs for a couple of years. Once I am confident using the roaster, and happy with the roast quality, then i will train my staff on now to do it, this means that the machine should be as simple and user freindly as possible. (yes I know that the process is not as simple as put the beans in and come back in 20min...)
We currently consume about 12-15kg per week, and I hope to retail an additional 10kg per week.
I have also read many of the posts/review from DavecUK, about the Toper. However i have not heard many reviews or comments about the CT Solar. DavecUK, do you have any comments on the solar vs. the toper?
If anyone else has experience with either roaster could please post your comments.
Also, as Im not in a position to travel and attend a roasting course, does anyone know of a good online tutorial that would be helpful?
Thanks,
Mike

Posted September 18, 2009 link

Hi Mike,

I have been looking everywhere for reviews on the Coffee-Tech SOLAR et al. and just can't find a damn thing. I mean NOTHING!

The Toper has been reviewed by DavecUK and Breezer I believe if you search for their posts, but I want something a bit bigger, which has lead me to prefer the Coffee-Tech machine, but I am also a bit leery about buying one without some sort of feedback on it... Please PM me if you are able to find anything I have missed or overlooked.

The Cafemimo is pretty solid and, as DavecUK described it, a brick sh*thouse.... good one that.
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DavecUK
Senior Member


Joined: 21 Sep 2005
Posts: 1,392
Location: UK
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Sat Sep 19, 2009, 12:39pm
Subject: Re: Toper Cafemino vs Coffee-Tech Eng Artgiano, Torrefattore, SOLAR... Thoughts?
 

As I haven't used any of the Coffee-tech roasters I cannot draw any comparisons, the only thing I went on was the specifications and my concern about the relatively light weight of the Coffee-tech units. However they could be really good. I think it wise to get some feedback from someone who has actually used one!

I did know someone on a forum who had the Maggliono or whatever it's called, the smaller 500g Coffeetech roaster....they seemed happy enough with it, but I think sold it after a year??
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dangert
Senior Member


Joined: 9 Nov 2005
Posts: 1
Location: Israel
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Fiorenzato Bricoletta...
Grinder: Mazzer Mini Electronic,...
Vac Pot: Hario DA-1
Roaster: Coffee-Tech Torrefattore
Posted Sat Sep 19, 2009, 3:05pm
Subject: Re: Toper Cafemino vs Coffee-Tech Eng Artgiano, Torrefattore, SOLAR... Thoughts?
 

jworlledge Said:

Has anyone experience with either of these two companies, especially the Coffee-Tech?

Posted September 18, 2009 link

I think that I have enough experience to comment on Coffee-Tech roasters. I am a happy owner of manual modification of Torrefattore for 2 years (with cooling box). Since I am a home roaster, going for a huge 1kg Toper was not an option, as well as gas. For me, small footprint, low weight and zero installation was a big plus.  The workmanship of the roaster is very good, it's  outer shell is in part  powder painted and in part stainless steel.  The perforated steel drum is quite unique, I think and again, due to it's low weight doesn't require powerful motors and big bearings. The cooling box design is very efficient and 1 kg batch cools in about 5 minutes (in very hot Israeli summer!). Other good features of the roaster are that it allows to roast anything from 400g to full 1kg and doesn't have any problem with pre-blended beans.

When I was shopping for the roaster I have also tried Maggiolino, Solar and Artigiano and must confess that I liked Torrefattore and Solar the most - and they both use perforated drum design.

I haven't been in a need for service for the roaster, but have used Coffee Tech service for my other equipment and I am very happy with it .

I will second an opinion that you should go for a bigger roaster for your cafe, since 1kg batch yields about 800g of coffee and for 5kg you will spend about 2 hours roasting non-stop.
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TheCoffeeFactory
Senior Member


Joined: 20 Sep 2009
Posts: 1
Location: England,Devon
Expertise: Professional

Posted Sun Sep 20, 2009, 6:50am
Subject: Re: Toper Cafemino vs Coffee-Tech Eng Artgiano, Torrefattore, SOLAR... Thoughts?
 

Hi
I have a Coffee-Tech solar 2 kg roaster.  
Overall i am impressed with the quality of roast. The roaster itself is small and compact and looks pretty impressive in a small cafe or shop. it is easy to install and sits on a basic work top quite nicely.
I think this roaster is a great way to get started.
It roasts 2 kg of green and you get 1650 kg after roasting, you need to do all your cooling in the drum, if you continually roast, which you can do, you will need to do most of the cooling in the drum or you will end up with a bit of smoke, or on the other hand you could put a good extractor system in which i didn't have.
It takes about 20mins to roast stat to finish and the roast is of a good quality.
The only disadvantage for me is that i have progressed and out grown the roasters capacity and the ability of the roaster.
Its automatic which is fine at first but as you progress as a roaster, i found that i wanted to be able to control the roaster manually and this can be fidderly on the digital display, but this is an automatic roaster not a manual.
We are a small micro roaster in the uk and now have upgraded and are use a 15 kg coffee tech ghibli roaster.
which i am very pleased with as well.
Ram from coffee tech is very helpful and offers a great service.    

Danny
The Coffee Factory LTD
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alylea
Senior Member
alylea
Joined: 19 Feb 2004
Posts: 10
Location: NY
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Saeco Royal Coffee Bar
Grinder: Bunn G-3
Drip: Capresso Coffee Tech
Roaster: Coffee-Tech Solar
Posted Tue Sep 22, 2009, 4:32pm
Subject: Re:  Coffee-Tech Eng SOLAR ... I own one!
 

Hi All,

My name is Lyle and I have owned and used a Coffee-Tech Solar for almost 2 years now.  I use this for my personal roasting and although not in business, I have roasted close to 1,800 lbs for myself, friends, family, my wifes company and my company.

Ram and the people at CT are first class.  Very knowledgeable and responsive to questions / suggestions.  Trust me, I had many questions prior to transferring a great deal of money for a machine I had never touched.  It arrived by DHL in perfect condition which was a pleasant surprise.  These folks know how to pack a machine for a long trip.

The Solar has been great and has always functioned without a hitch.  Prior to using it I opened the case for a good look-see.  The construction is top shelf.  The use of gear motors means very long life and reliability.  The same goes for the Siemens controller.  I also looked into the dual set temperature controller.  This too is a top shelf brand and although the name escapes me, it is best of breed quality.  I would have liked to see the controllers in F instead of C since I am in the US but I got used to it quickly.

The fact that the Solar is stainless steel was a big selling point.  My dad owned bakeries and I am very sensitive to sanitation.  You never see green or red or black machines in a commercial environment, only stainless steel. The reason is simple; with stainless you can actually see if it is clean or not.  Also, you can use something stronger to clean and disinfect it if the need ever arises.  Be careful with a painted machine regardless of the paint as many cleaning agents can harm the finish.

The drum is perforated which allows for very even heating and the vanes inside rotate the beans nicely.  I have roasted everything from the smallest Peaberry on up with never a problem of stuck beans.  I like to run a full pre-heat beanless roast prior to the first batch.  This extra time warms the case and in my opinion leads to even better results. The outer shell gets pretty warm but never really hot.  The exception is the front of the machine by the drum door but that makes perfect sense to me since the door is in contact with the beans as they roast.  Every roast I have done has always been uniform.  The view window is adequate in size and self cleans.  My previous roaster had a window that always required cleaning, talk about a PITA.  I use the Solar in my garage where the ambient temperature sometimes is below 50 degrees F.  Heating and roasting has never been a problem.  I have run as many as 5 consecutive roasts during the holidays as I give upwards of 120lbs as gifts. Again, never a problem with over or under heating the roasts.    

Prior to purchase I asked Ram why there was no round cooling tray with with a stirrer and he said that his design eliminated an extra motor and moving parts. Let me tell you that the aluminum (great heat conductor) tray and the 2 large internal boxer type fans do an excellent job of cooling 5lbs from 120 C to room temp in about 5 minutes. His claim of continuous roasting is accurate and true. The design also keeps the roaster smaller and quieter too.  I wouldn't trade this design for anything.

Yes, the Solar is an automatic roaster but I have also used it manually too.  You can do that by pushing the controller buttons to abort the roast.  This shuts off the heating elements and allows you to finish the roast very gently by temperature and by eye via the window.  When you activate the cooling mode don't be startled.  The cooling blower sounds like a small jet engine.  The instructions don't mention this and the first time it happened I had to change my shorts cause it scared the beans out of me.   :)   The blower also turns on at various times later in the roasting cycle to prevent over heating and to stabilize the temperature which in a sense profile roasts the batch.  The timer for this multiple blower-on mode seems to be based on the high limit you set.  

The cyclone is amazing.  Regardless of how dirty the greens are, the roasted beans come out clean and chaff free. I just did 5lbs of a Kenyan that was loaded with dust and the final result was spotless.  Do remember to empty the bucket ever 2 or 3 roasts.  It is so efficient that it will fill up quickly.  If it gets too full it can restrict the exhaust airflow and create an overheat situation.  his happened once to me and although it didn't start a fire the cyclone got very hot - a little too hot to the point that the warning label partially lifted off the bucket.  I won't forget that lesson and knowing this now you can avoid it.   My only complaint about the cyclone is that it needs a gasket between the bucket and the assembly to prevent smoke leaks.  I made one from a piece of cork automotive gasket material and the problem was solved.

You are pretty much buying and automatic roaster with the Solar.  Since it is microprocessor controlled I would like to see a PC interface that allows me to run  it automatic or as a true profile roaster.  Beyond that that I have to say that the Solar is a great value for those of us who have no access to gas lines or supplies.  I would be hard pressed to say anything negative about it or to recommend anything else.

Please feel free to contact me with any questions.

Lyle
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aromatic
Senior Member


Joined: 26 Sep 2009
Posts: 1
Location: Singapore
Expertise: Pro Roaster

Espresso: La San Marco
Grinder: Mezzer
Roaster: Ghibli R-15 from Coffee-Tech...
Posted Sun Sep 27, 2009, 12:06am
Subject: Re: Toper Cafemino vs Coffee-Tech Eng Artgiano, Torrefattore, SOLAR... Thoughts?
 

jworlledge Said:

Hey everyone!

I have been reading up on this subject for about a week straight now, and there has been some useful posts out there, but thought I would start my thread and ask my question specifically.

I own a coffee shop in Poland and I have experience home roasting. I have an OK supplier of beans, but not amazed with them and don;t trust their freshness. I would like too bring a shop roaster into my business to accomplish two things; intrigue the customers with the roasting process and smell of fresh roasted coffee and begin supplying my roasted beans. I am working into my business plan an integration process that would take maybe 1 to 3 months to get some profiles sorted and find a good blend.

Problem 1: my business location is in an old factory building, very unique place, but there are no gas lines or rather the gas lines are buried about 1m below the floor and to dig in and bring a gas line up would cost far too much in closed time, permits and labor. Thousands of Euros. That leaves me with an electric option... for now (read on).

I have looked at two roasters, or rather one roaster from Toper, the Cafemino and then a couple of roasters from Coffee-Tech Engineering (Artigiano, Torrefattore, SOLAR). I have talked directly with both companies and they seem friendly enough, but business is business and selling requires a smile and friendliness. I like the maintenance claims that the CTE roasters have, that the parts are easily accessible anywhere in the world and that they will deliver it to your door if you can't find it. They also seem easy to repair and maintain.

The gas Topers seem a better route, but not a possibility now. In the near future, say 2 or 3 years, there is another development opening up that will have gas and we are already considering a move into this area (second opening). But that is neither here nor there.

As you are aware, all the technical specifications are listed on the web site of Coffee-Tech engineering Ltd's web site so, I will not waste time listing them here again.

Has anyone experience with either of these two companies, especially the Coffee-Tech?

Posted September 18, 2009 link

Hi jworlledge,

I had personally used the "Solar", from Coffee-Tech Engineering Ltd, over the past five months and, frankly, I am impressed by the roasting result.

It is very consistent and I particularly liked the smoky smell, and taste, which is preferred in Asia.

The only disadvantage is that the Solar is fully automatic so, manual interruptions are not encouraged.  However, because it is automatic, you also do not need to continuously monitor the roasting to gauge the exact time to discharge the roasted beans.  I think it is one of the best roaster for shops that don't have too bag an order to fill.

The range of electric driven coffee roasters, like Maggiolino, Torrefattore, Artigiano and Solar are all very well made and are definitely reliable.  I would certainly recommend you take a close examination or speak with someone who has one to verify my claims.

By the way, I had also purchased the Ghibli R-15 Gas roaster for my roasting plant in Malaysia.  It should be operational in a week's time.

Should you have further need of assistance, or questions, do e-mail me and I will try to help you resolve them as best I can.

My e-mail address is <aromatic@singnet.com.sg>

Happy roasting
Yee Chang
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Oolooloo
Senior Member


Joined: 18 Sep 2009
Posts: 2
Location: Fiji Islands
Expertise: I live coffee

Posted Tue Sep 29, 2009, 2:45am
Subject: Re: Toper Cafemino vs Coffee-Tech Eng Artgiano, Torrefattore, SOLAR... Thoughts?
 

HI again, how have you progressed in your decision?
Thus far I am leaning towards the CT Solar due mainly to its automated roasting cycles. Also, i have tried on several occasions to speak directly with Toper sales/technical reps with no luck, while Ram from CT was easy to reach and very helpful. This may also be an example of further customer/technical support.
Let me know when you make a purchase.
cheers,
Mike
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alylea
Senior Member
alylea
Joined: 19 Feb 2004
Posts: 10
Location: NY
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Saeco Royal Coffee Bar
Grinder: Bunn G-3
Drip: Capresso Coffee Tech
Roaster: Coffee-Tech Solar
Posted Tue Sep 29, 2009, 7:10am
Subject: Re: Coffee-Tech Eng SOLAR... GREAT Customer Service!
 

All,

Let me tell you about excellence in Customer Service...

As my earlier post / review said; my Coffee-Tech Solar is wonderful and has never given me a bit of trouble.  That is until yesterday.  For the record, the heating elements (all 3 of them) are visible through the perforations in the bottom and sides of the drum which is a nice design becaue it allows visual inspection every time you roast that the heaters are working properly.  Anyway, yesterday I pre-heated as usual and noticed a hot spot on the center heating element. Normally the heaters glow a medium intensity orange color but this was a small very bright orange spot.  I knew that this was indicative of a possible failure but decided to go ahead with the roast anyway.  I added the beans and the element failed.  Oh well, 5lbs of PNG Peaberry took forever to roast or should I say bake?  The roast finally went into 1st crack and finished.  I dry ran the Solar and confirmed my suspicions.  The center heater died but the other 2 were fine.

I sent Ram an urgent email explaining my problem.  He replied within an hour saying replacement would take about 5 minutes installation time and that he would supply the pictures on how to do it.  I told him that I wanted to replace all 3 elements since I had the machine apart and that I would keep the 2 good elements as emergency spares.  I asked him how much for the parts including 3 day air from Israel to the US.  He came back to me with a price of $220.  Part of that went for 3 day shipping and in my mind $220 is a very fair price for all 3 heaters including 3-day shipping.  I told him to go ahead and ship.

The best part of the story is that he shipped them the same day as I ordered them. Total time from first email to ship was under 8 hours! Very few companiesí ship replacement parts out the same day. Nobody could ask for or expect better customer service. My Solar will be up and running with 96 hours including 3 days ship time.  

Ram and the Coffee-Tech team really care about their customers even out of warranty.  They are truly the best!
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alylea
Senior Member
alylea
Joined: 19 Feb 2004
Posts: 10
Location: NY
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Saeco Royal Coffee Bar
Grinder: Bunn G-3
Drip: Capresso Coffee Tech
Roaster: Coffee-Tech Solar
Posted Wed Oct 7, 2009, 12:02pm
Subject: Re: Coffee-Tech Eng SOLAR... Easy To Service
 

Please take a look at my earlier posts regarding this roaster:

So the new elements got to me from Israel in 3 days time which in and of itself was great. I also received a pdf of the service manual for the Solar.  I followed the easy to understand instructions step by step guided with good sized clear pictures.

First I removed 8 screws on the back panel followed by the 6 screws on the top.  Both panels came off the machine with no problem.  Next I took a adjustable wrench to the lock nut for the drive motor which is a beefy industrial gear motor.  I removed the nut and pulled the motor/gear housing off of the drum spindle.  Again, no problems.  I took the motor which was still cabled to the control system and placed it on the side of the cart, no wiring necessary to remove as the electrical cable was sufficiently long.  

Now it was time to remove and replace the element.  I removed the 2 electrical wires attached via push-on spade connectors from the heating element with my fingers.  Next I removed 2 small nuts that hold the heater to the chassis.  I used a small flat blade screwdriver to break the silicone seal that air seals the element to the roaster chassis.  Once done, the element simply slid out of its oval opening.

Reinstalling it was the exact opposite of the above steps and I used some high temperature automotive silicone to reseal the element to the chassis.  Total time was maybe 15 to 20 minutes including time for me to vacuum the interior and look everything over carefully for the sake of looking.

Over the years I have taken apart lots of different things (roasters & other machines/devices) to see how they were built and/or to service them.  This one is in the Top 3 from an overall design and from an ease of service standpoint.  

My Solar works great once again as evidenced by the 5lbs of Panama Panamaria that I roasted last Saturday.  I can say with total certainty that I know I made the right decision in purchasing this roaster.

Lyle
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nathanjohn
Senior Member


Joined: 4 Nov 2009
Posts: 2
Location: SF Bay Area
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Wed Nov 4, 2009, 4:38pm
Subject: Re: Coffee-Tech Eng SOLAR... Easy To Service
 

This may be just the roaster for me. Thanks to all the owners who have provided such useful info.

Lyle, since you are in the US, what kind of circuitry is required to operate the Solar 2kg? It seems to come from the factory with the more universal (but not US) standard of 230v.

Did you need to make modifications? How big a deal is this for a home with 110v circuits and maybe one (220v??) washer/dryer circuit?

Also, some of the descriptions of these roasters talk about a PC cable and software for unlimited user defined profiles. Has anyone tried this and if so can you explain how it works?

Cheers,
Nathan
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