Posted Fri Mar 5, 2010, 7:04pm Subject: Behmor or Gene Caffee?
After 9 long months of no coffee (my wife was pregnant and couldn't have coffee), I can roast again!
I used to roast with a FreshRoast, but two things annoyed me: the batch size was very small and the coffee did not have that much body.
I'm planning to buy a drum roaster next week, and I'm considering my options. There's the Behmor, the Gene Caffee, and the Hottop. The Hottop is probably great, but due to the price, it is out of the running.
That leaves the Behmore and the Gene Caffee. I am undecided between the two. Here are my problems (solely based on online research, I haven't actually used them):
Behmor: * I am worried about the many posts and comments about it catching fire. The Sweet Maria's review really is a bit scary. I just know it's going to happen that I'm roasting and have to run out for a minute to something with the little one. How scary is it really? * I like darker roasts. That appears to be a problem with this machine? * not so much control? Is it `what you see is all you've got', or can you adjust and tweak things?
Gene Caffee: * I am mostly worried about it breaking at some point and not getting any support from the manufacturer. Are they really so bad at customer support? * it appears to smoke more than the Behmor? Is that a little bit more, or a lot?
Posted Fri Mar 5, 2010, 7:16pm Subject: Re: Behmor or Gene Caffee?
I have owned both.
Behmor and fires. Way overstated. Chaff flareups occur. Fires? Not in my house when instructions were followed. Note: Never leave any roast unattended, regardless of make. I always have a fire extinguisher at the ready every time I roast.
Gene and support: I have owned one going on 4 years. Have gone through 2 heaters (too many back to back roasts) and smallest gear. Though a bit mechanically challenged, even I could replace them. Tim Skaling with FreshBeans Inc services them and has been responsive every time. I would buy another tomorrow.
Gene smokes more than Behmor? Vent it out the window with the large chaff collector and a dryer hose. There is more residual smoke with Gene. Though the Behmor didn't have visible smoke, an odor lingered longer that was clearly related to the roast.
Your mileage may vary. You will get many opinions. Both will serve you well.
Posted Fri Mar 5, 2010, 10:00pm Subject: Re: Behmor or Gene Caffee?
I have owned a GC for two years. I use it inside in winter and vented outside the laundry room. In spring summer and fall outside. The machine comes with an exhaust that fits a dryer hose perfectly. Of course it smokes. That is great. It is also irrevelant. When beans crack for 1st time there is a tiny amount of smoke. 3-4 minutes later, if you want to take roast deep, they will crack a 2nd time and again beans will smoke. The smoke all vents to the outside thru the exhaust. Hearing the cracks makes roasting a joy. The definite smoking is also helpful signalling cracks. Have never had the slightest smoke from the machine itself, only the beans.
Have known Tim Skaling to mail parts to people long after warranty is out. I did overheat a heating element. Tim sent a new one gratis. Then repaired old element easily and now have a spare element. The old one has done 500+ roasts and is still going strong. I still have the new element in original package unopened. gene
Posted Sat Mar 6, 2010, 6:01am Subject: Re: Behmor or Gene Caffee?
Behmor: * I am worried about the many posts and comments about it catching fire. The Sweet Maria's review really is a bit scary. I just know it's going to happen that I'm roasting and have to run out for a minute to something with the little one. How scary is it really?
FEAR - False Evidence Appearing Real.
I own three Behmors. Yes .. one time the drum stoppoed moving and the beans were catching serious heat and started to turn pitch black and ready to ignite .. I hit the off button. No big deal.
You don't run out of the room with the little one when roasting .. it's like frying onions or driving your car. That is so for any roaster. Never leave it unattended.
I like darker roasts. That appears to be a problem with this machine?
No problem at all .. I prefer dark roast. I also like the darker side of dark where crossing the line from very dark to too dark is a fine line. No problem with the Behmor. I will say though that 1 pound roasting is not optimal. Most roast I do are between 8 to 10 ounces sometimes 6 ounces but also these size batches are just fine unless your going into the coffee business which ofcourse in that case would not buy a Behmor.
not so much control? Is it `what you see is all you've got', or can you adjust and tweak things?
Plenty of control for me. However .. I am a minamalist in general .. I don't believe one needs to roast coffee like one makes semi conductors withj all kinds of graphs looking like third semester Calculus. Though some feel this need .. having a technocrat side at times there is plenty of complexity for tweaking my roast when I feel the need.
Just look at the existing thread on the Behmor profiles .. apparently people are having a lot of fun varying the roast.
Posted Sat Mar 6, 2010, 10:39am Subject: Re: Behmor or Gene Caffee?
Gene Cafe: * I am mostly worried about it breaking at some point and not getting any support from the manufacturer. Are they really so bad at customer support? * it appears to smoke more than the Behmor? Is that a little bit more, or a lot?
No experience with the Behmor but about 4 years roasting with the GC. I'm not sure where you got the impression of poor support. My experience with Tim at Fresh Beans has been excellent. Replacement parts and technical advice are readily available and parts are reasonably priced.
As far as smoke - I roast in my kitchen year round with a range hood fan. It has not been an issue for me. The optional chaff collector with connection for flexible hose could certainly deal with any concerns you might have.
I realize that others made these same observations before me but I thought it would be helpful to add my own first hand experience.
Posted Sat Mar 6, 2010, 2:16pm Subject: Re: Behmor or Gene Caffee?
Thanks for the advise all of you!
Both machines seem pretty good after reading the replies :)
To answer some questions: * my impression that customer support for the GC was bad was based on some posts of people trying to communicate with the Korean manufacturer. I didn't know yet that Tim at FreshBeans Inc had the parts as well. My experiences with him have been excellent for the FreshRoast, this eliminates my concern completely.
* GC smoke. Great that you can just add a dryer vent to it, that should do it.
* Behmor control: OK, I guess you can do everything with it.
So . . . both seem like great choices.
I am leaning towards to GC for now; it seems a bit like a good compact camera (Behmor) vs a digital SLR (GC). For a hobby, I think I'll go for the SLR. Or not . . . darn, it is a hard choice!
Jmanespresso Senior Member Joined: 18 Jan 2009 Posts: 2,124 Location: Westchester NY Expertise: I live coffee
Espresso: Alex Duetto II Grinder: Compak K10 - Vario Vac Pot: Yama-SY5/SY8/TCA5 Drip: V60, Beehouse, CCD Roaster: Hottop B
Posted Sat Mar 6, 2010, 2:49pm Subject: Re: Behmor or Gene Caffee?
I own a Hottop, so take this for what its worth(my opinion, based on researching the three roasters...)
Id go with the Gene over the Behmor most likely... Simply because its full manual control. BUT, thats what I wanted(and why I went with the hottop), and you might want something different.
Im sure the Behmor is a great roaster. A couple people who I have come to trust very well, own the behmor, and enjoy using it. But, for me, I wanted something that allowed me to have as much control as possible, DURING the roast. I wanted to be able to watch the beans as they were roasting, and make the changes I felt necessary. The GC doesn't have fan control, but it does have heat control, which can be changed at any time during the roast, up or down.
Batch size can be deceiving.. Even though the Behmor states it can do 1lb roasts, IDK anybody who is serious about their roasting, who does 1lb roasts. You need to trick the roaster, by using the 1lb setting with less coffee. Personally, I didnt want that.
My decision quickly became between the Gene and the Hottop. And when it came down to it, it was simple. I wanted the Hottop since day 1, it has a HUGE user base, its able to be modified with temperature probes if one wishes, BUT still can do a damn fine job without any modification if you know how to roast(and get to know the roaster).. And thats true of any roaster, but I felt that the GC and the HT were the way to go over the Behmor, for what I wanted out of a roaster.
(FYI- send Michael an Email at HottopUSA, and ask him about a demo model, stuff like that... Lots of people have gotten good deals on their hottop by doing that... With the GC being 500, trust me, its worth the email......)
Follow Your Bliss
Coffee makes your constantly overcome your prejudices and re-evaluate your own "received wisdoms" when it comes to judging cup flavors. -Tom Owen, SweetMarias
Just thought I'd give an update on my roaster trilemma.
It was a great tip (thanks!) to e-mail Michael at Hottop asking about a reconditioned unit, I picked it up last week. So . . . a Hottop after all!
My first roast was a disaster, although it is probably excellent charcoal :-) The ejection chute was jammed. . . oops. Of course I was hyper cautious for the second roast and pressed the eject button at the start of the first crack. This was actually the first time I tasted a roast this light and I was positively surprised by the taste (Kenyan beans from SM). It isn't my thing, but I half expected tea instead of coffee.
Anyway, I think I'll quickly join the force of happy Hottop roasters!
If you don't mind, I'm curious on the price of a reconditioned unit. At some point I think I would like to upgrade from the Behmor but the HT is pretty expensive. If the price of yours was a decent discount then the HT may be in my distant future.
If you would rather not post the price we can go offline.
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