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i-roast 2 versus freshroast sr500
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darkman
Senior Member
darkman
Joined: 5 Oct 2010
Posts: 32
Location: mi
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: cuisinart em-200
Grinder: baratza vario
Vac Pot: bodum french press
Drip: bunn ht
Roaster: freshroast sr500
Posted Thu Oct 7, 2010, 6:35pm
Subject: i-roast 2 versus freshroast sr500
 

Hello all, I'm looking to purchase my first coffee rtoaster.  I've narrowed down my options to the I-roast 2, or the freshroast Sr500.  I know the iroast is unavailable at the moment, but i can wait.  can anyone suggest which one is better and why.  i am fairly new to all this, but i have done some homework.  your help would be greatly appreciated!
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JKalpin
Senior Member
JKalpin
Joined: 28 Dec 2008
Posts: 814
Location: Thornhill, Ontario Canada
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Aerobie Aeropress
Grinder: Baratza Maestro Plus
Vac Pot: Yama 5-Cup
Drip: Krups Moka Brew, BraZen
Roaster: Freshroast+8, Behmor 1600+
Posted Fri Oct 8, 2010, 10:52am
Subject: Re: i-roast 2 versus freshroast sr500
 

darkman Said:

Hello all, I'm looking to purchase my first coffee rtoaster.  I've narrowed down my options to the I-roast 2, or the freshroast Sr500.  I know the iroast is unavailable at the moment, but i can wait.  can anyone suggest which one is better and why.  i am fairly new to all this, but i have done some homework.  your help would be greatly appreciated!

Posted October 7, 2010 link

Darkman,

Keep in mind that the Freshroast 300 and 500 models are entry-level roasters.  

Also, keep in mind that the Freshroast +8 (previous model) is much more primitive than the FR500 that you are considering.  I have a FR+8 and have made excellent roasts with it.  However, to do so I have 'kitted it up' with bean temperature/measuring/datalogging, a Kill-A-Watt meter and a heavy-duty dimmer, all together costing around $125.  

But the FR500 has adjustment of power-levels and fan-speed, so my 'improvements' might not be necessary in the FR500.

Both the FR500 and the FR300 got off to a rocky start when a major vendor of coffee equipment gave it a bad initial review.  What he said in his review was essentially correct, but he did not make allowance, in some way, for them being 'entry level'.  

What we needed was for a recognized expert to run (say) the FR500 through its paces and say:  "It's an entry-level roaster but if you know what you're doing you can get a real good brew out of it."  That never happened, to my knowledge.  In fact, less than half a dozen people have responded, in this news forum, to say they had bought one, and none of them had positive things to say.  And REMEMBER:  They could have been entry-level roasters fiddling around with an entry level machine.  And no-one in this forum responded to their cries for help.

Nevertheless, when my FR+8 goes to Roaster Heaven, I might pick one up.

This is not a helpful answer to your post.  I have a 'sense' that the FR500 is a decent little small-volume roaster but I cannot (yet) recommend it.

Don't assume I am recommending the iRoast 2.  I'll leave that for someone else.

 
Jerry
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oldgearhead
Senior Member
oldgearhead
Joined: 25 Jan 2010
Posts: 396
Location: Go Colts!
Expertise: I like coffee

Grinder: Virtuoso by Baratza
Drip: Chemex,Dilongi DCM900
Roaster: 1/2K Fluid-bed
Posted Fri Oct 8, 2010, 3:15pm
Subject: Re: i-roast 2 versus freshroast sr500
 

I prefer my Modified Nesco to either of them. In fact I  like it better than 5 other small roasters, as well. I think the initials are Ro, Ap, Br, Ge, and Be. The only one I might consider is Ho.
Why?
__100%, full-time, manual, heat control from 0-575 watts. Gene has this, but where do you put the probe?
__Bean Mass Temperature Probe.
__Cat converter really does reduce the smoke inside in the winter.
__Does back-to-back roasts of 120 grams each
__Does not require air to stir the beans, it has an auger.
__It has a chaff collector that really works, and I like 'natural process' coffee.
__Very simple design.
__Lots of spare units floating around.

Of course, I have spent some time and money:
__ 1 - used Nesco Roaster + 1-Z&D for 100% back-up, total $80.00
__ Varible Transformer, $130.00
__ Kill-A-Watt, $45.00
__ Bean mass temperature probe, $38.00
__ 1977 Fluke meter, $279.00 (in 1977)
__ PVC  cooler, $46.00
__ Shop vac, $57.00

My suggestions:
1) Buy something you can fit with a BMT probe.
2) Budget for a varible transformer (Variac).

oldgearhead: Roaster_Station01.jpg
(Click for larger image)
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johngorentz
Senior Member


Joined: 14 Sep 2010
Posts: 12
Location: Battle Creek, MI
Expertise: I like coffee

Grinder: Bodum
Roaster: FreshRoast SR500
Posted Fri Oct 8, 2010, 9:57pm
Subject: Re: i-roast 2 versus freshroast sr500
 

darkman Said:

Hello all, I'm looking to purchase my first coffee rtoaster.  I've narrowed down my options to the I-roast 2, or the freshroast Sr500.  I know the iroast is unavailable at the moment, but i can wait.  can anyone suggest which one is better and why.  i am fairly new to all this, but i have done some homework.  your help would be greatly appreciated!

Posted October 7, 2010 link

I didn't want to wait, so I got a freshroast 500 as my very first roaster.   I've had it less than two months.   It was discouraging for a while.   I wondered if it was perhaps a mistake trying to roast my own, given that I had two excellent roasting places from whom I've been buying excellent coffee for years.    I had some good roasts with the SR500, but a lot of disappointing ones.    But it's getting quite a bit better now.  I now stir with a glass rod during the first minute.  That has improved consistency within a roast.    I find I don't mind doing the stirring as much as I thought I might.  I like to watch the process closely, anyway.   It lets chaff spew out in my garage shop for the first minute, but that's not a problem considering all the  woodworking sawdust, etc. that ends up on the floor, too.   I like that it's a relatively quiet machine.   There is probably only so much I can do without being able to monitor the temperature.   When it dies, I might buy something else, perhaps even a drum roaster, and perhaps not.

I like that it's relatively quiet and the smoke production isn't all that bad.   I don't think I'll bother venting to the outside like I originally planned to.  I just open the door to the garage attic and let most of the smoke go up there.   Even when I don't, it's not the problem I thought it might be.
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