Posted Tue Aug 6, 2013, 3:41pm Subject: Entry level home roaster suggesions please.
I am looking for a home roaster to do up to lb of beans at a time. The Roaster is for home use only and mostly for expresso roast, also will roast for chemex. Budget of up to $300.00 Is it best to start with a air popper and work up or jump in with a better roaster?
tglodjo Senior Member Joined: 16 Oct 2012 Posts: 209 Location: Jackson, TN Expertise: I love coffee
Espresso: La Spaziale Mini Vivaldi II Grinder: Baratza Vario, Virtuoso Drip: Wave, V60, Chemex, Clever Roaster: Behmor 1600
Posted Tue Aug 6, 2013, 3:57pm Subject: Re: Entry level home roaster suggesions please.
The ONLY roaster in your budget that will roast 1lb is a Behmor 1600, and even then, the best roasts tend to be about 12oz. An airpopper is fine, and it'll roast a full pound, just not all at once. You'll have to roast micro batches to equal a full pound.
I am a very happy Behmor owner. I roast for eSpresso and a myriad of pour over methods. If you haven't roasted before, you can always start with an airpopper ($20) to see if it's something you want to stick with.
Posted Tue Aug 6, 2013, 9:29pm Subject: Re: Entry level home roaster suggesions please.
+1 on the Behmor. In that price range it will give you the best roast and best batch size. Beyond that thee is the Hottop which costs three times more, and the only other thing is either to build one yourself (see homeroasters.org) or an air popper which is small batch size and marginal results for a beginner.
RandomTask Senior Member Joined: 30 Jan 2013 Posts: 67 Location: Saskatchewan, Canada Expertise: I love coffee
Grinder: Barratza Encore Drip: Behmor Brazen Roaster: Behmor 1600
Posted Wed Aug 7, 2013, 11:14am Subject: Re: Entry level home roaster suggesions please.
It's entirely up to you to figure out how you want to start. I started with an air popper because I know myself well enough that if I didn't like roasting, I would stop, regardless of what expense I may have put into it. If I didn't I wouldn't feel bad (nor would my wife harass me) about a $20 expense for the attempt. Fortunately I love roasting coffee. Unfortunately I am stuck with a popper until I have enough money saved up for a proper roaster.
I am also wanting to get a a 1600. Even if it's a mediocre roaster (and from most accounts it isn't), it's a great value for it's cost and the batch sizes are a dream compared to the tiny ones I can do in my popper. Roasting once a week is ideal compared to the 2 batches every 3 days I currently do.
I guess the popper is a good way to get a feel for roasting and to figure out if you like doing it, but you'll probably out grow it very quickly.
Posted Wed Aug 7, 2013, 11:48am Subject: Re: Entry level home roaster suggesions please.
The popper will definitely get you started. For that budget I strongly recommend upping a bit to the Behmor. It's makes great coffee. The 5 profiles will allow you to properly profile each type of coffee. I would stay away from the FR's they are basically modified poppers. If you don't mind a bit of a mess and some hand cranking the Whirley pop stovetop popper is a great way to roast. I have roasted 1 lb with it and gotten amazing results. :)
Henrythewound Senior Member Joined: 2 Aug 2009 Posts: 23 Location: Tucson, AZ Expertise: I love coffee
Posted Wed Aug 7, 2013, 1:50pm Subject: Re: Entry level home roaster suggesions please.
I started a few years back with an old FreshRoast (very low capacity, glorified popcorn popper) and moved up to an iRoast. The iRoast roasted a bit more volume but it was loud and had overheating issues. I managed to get a replacement iRoast2 and it eventually became unusable due to overheating issues also. I recently sprung for a Behmor and I'm pretty happy so far. There's a bit of a learning curve and some lag between when you stop the roast and when the roast chamber actually cools down, so it's easy to roast farther than you intended. I enjoy the ability to roast 3/4 of a pound evenly, something the iRoast was unable to do (even small batches were uneven due to poor circulation early in the roast). I bought my Behmor at roastmasters for $300 with a bunch of included green beans and free shipping, I think that was a good deal for a good setup.
If you're a crafty type, you can build a Stir Crazy/Convection Oven roaster for less than $100; supposedly, you can roast up to 1.5lbs at a time. I just finished mine and I'm really looking forward to retiring my air popper. I thought about getting a Behmor, but decided against it because I like DIY projects almost as much as I like coffee. I figured I'd kill two birds with one stone.
That being said, I started on an air popper (The Presto Poplite) and would recommend it if you're just starting with roasting. It's a cheap investment, it's hands-on, and if you screw up a batch, you haven't wasted a ton of coffee. The downside is, you have to roast 2-4 batches in a row to get enough coffee for a few days and the machine gets REALLY hot without modifications.
greglepore Senior Member Joined: 15 Aug 2004 Posts: 45 Location: se pa usa Expertise: I love coffee
Posted Thu Aug 8, 2013, 2:18pm Subject: Re: Entry level home roaster suggesions please.
The stir crazy convection oven will do a lb if you mod the stir rod to protect it from heat-the issue is lack of smoke control. I used mine outside, but in the wintertime it was too easy to walk away from, melted a couple of stir crazies that way.
I don't think you'll learn much starting with an air popper that you can't pick up immediately with a Behmor.
If you have the money, the Behmor is the only real option, but as others said, its optimal around 12oz. If you have great self control, the stir crazy will do a greater weight, but you need an outdoor place to roast.
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