Posted Mon Dec 30, 2013, 3:39pm Subject: Santoker 500/Revolution 500 Roaster -VS- new Sonofresco ADR profile sample roast
upgraditis has hit and I have finally gotten through the holidays with enough money left to do an upgrade on my roasting gear. My current selections cost about the same and are both new and somewhat unproven so I'm looking for some guidance.
I have no experience with fluid bed roasters like Sonofresco but have read that roast will lack somewhat in body & roast tones and are more geared toward bright origin flavors . I mainly roast for espresso and even though I like 3rd wave this is a concern I have with this solution. Not sure if the new profiling software will compensate for this somewhat. Owners please chime in.
The Santoker is a new Chinese 1lb. roaster just starting to be imported in to the US. This roaster seems like it might be the Bees Knees and fit my needs better from the few reviews posted but would like to see what the early adopters think. The lead time on this roaster might be around 6 months and patience is not one of my virtues. Even if I went with the Sono I would probably still try to get the Santoker or another drum solution sometime in the near future. Being it's not US built The concern here would be if it used generic off the shelf parts that can be easily found.
sgreen Senior Member Joined: 4 Apr 2011 Posts: 89 Location: Minneapolis Expertise: I live coffee
Espresso: Viblemme Replica E-61 Grinder: Mazzer Super Jolly Drip: Technivorm
Posted Tue Dec 31, 2013, 11:12am Subject: Santoker Revolution 500 Roaster -VS- new Sonofresco ADR profile sample roast
I have owned Sonofresco roasters. They are well built and durable, easy to roast on, and do a nice job. I have also modified them in an attempt to "roast profile." Ultimately, I gave up and sold them off. Whatever results I achieved weren't good enough to justify the trouble. If you want to push buttons to roast coffee or teach someone to push buttons to roast coffee, the Sonofresco is impossible to beat. Also, for the record, Sonofresco customer service is nearly as good as Behmor. That's a big deal.
In my opinion, the Sonofresco does about 90% of what a drum roaster can do. Some coffees, maybe even the majority of coffees, can be as good roasted in the Sonofresco as if competently roasted in a commercial drum roaster. Some coffees, however, require more flexibility and more agility. That's kind of where the magic is.
As I became more able to discern the difference, I found myself challenged to a more "artisan" level of roast quality. For me, that meant a commercial quality drum roaster. -it is remotely possible that I was only pimping myself, but for heavens sake, don't tell my wife!
I have communicated at length with Santoker and have even had family in China meet with them. Their roasters are an excellent value for the money and their rep in the US, Dustin, is a heck of a good guy. If you can wait, you won't go wrong with them.
I didn't go with Santoker because after the 1lb Sonofresco, I wanted a 2 lb or better capacity and I didn't want to wait. My personal 1kg TJ-067 arrived in Minneapolis today. I'll have it as soon as we get the shipment released from Customs, maybe yet this week.
Posted Thu Jan 2, 2014, 8:33am Subject: Re: Santoker Revolution 500 Roaster -VS- new Sonofresco ADR profile sample roast
Congrats on your new roaster. I'm still undecided, I don't know if the Sono with the new profiling software will let me profile my roast how I want. I have gotten very little feedback on this roaster. As far as the Santoker, Dustin seems like an honest guy and is one of us so I value his opinion and reviews on this roaster. The only problem for me with ordering the Santoker is the lead time otherwise I would have dropped the coin on it in a heartbeat. For the price and the features it offers it's the clear winner of the 2. You will have to let me know how the TJ - 067 works out for you. I did check these out also but wanted more US user input.
Posted Thu Jan 2, 2014, 9:38am Subject: Re: Santoker 500/Revolution 500 Roaster -VS- new Sonofresco ADR
I can only chime in on the Sonofresco itself. I don't have the ADR upgrade yet. I agree that Sono's customer service is outstanding! I have ordered stuff from them and got nothing but good service. One time I forgot to add something to an order and the girl I was dealing with actually ran after my package to make sure I got what I wanted. :) As an auto roaster it really is great! I switched from propane to natural gas myself. Messing with the machine (If you have to) isn't hard. I had to adjust the gas valve to allow for more heat. Sonofresco walked me through it. If you do what your suppose to (keep it clean) it performs flawlessly. From what I have read the ADR works well if your buying already set up with the roaster but if your upgrading some tweaking may be needed in order for the roaster to follow the profile closely. Back to back roasting anyways is easy and fast. The info I gathered on the ADR from Sonofresco is it's a set and roast profiler. I'm not sure if you can adjust on the fly.
Posted Thu Jan 2, 2014, 2:29pm Subject: Re: Santoker 500/Revolution 500 Roaster -VS- new Sonofresco ADR
Sonofresco roasters are "set it and forget it." You choose a finish level, press start and that's it. If you want to profile power, damper, air, and/or whatever with different settings for Drying, Ramp, and Development, adjusting on the fly... no.
There are a lot of electric or gas 500g - 1kg drum roasters on the market; suitable -- to some degree -- for home roasting. Each roaster has various strengths and weaknesses. Of all the various roasting forums, I think H-B represents the widest range of roasters by amateur owners. H-B also has something of a master list; which although incomplete, is a good start. There are also long threads at H-B about the North TJ-067, and "Santoker 500/Revolution 500 Roaster."
Since outgrowing my HotTop a couple of years ago, I researched quite a few electric and gas roasters; and currently own the electric Dalian Amazon 1000, and gas (LPG in my case) USRC 1lb Sample Roaster.
The Amazon doesn't have enough power to do anything other than a slow, sweet, Latin American style roast; but it does that very well with loads up 700g. It is made in Taiwan. Communications with the company are time consuming and you won't always get a direct answer. Sometimes the answers are difficult to understand. Currently just under $3K. I bought mine as a "second," which had suffered cosmetic damage in shipping. Although I have mixed feelings about selling it because it does the Latin roast so well, I'll sell you mine -- in perfect operating condition and significantly better cosmetic condition than I received it for half my cost. Pick up (in SoCal) only.
The USRC Sample Roaster is supremely flexible and capable. Anything you want to do it will do, up to an actual capacity of 550g. Build quality is excellent. The company is based in the US; answers its phone; answers post-sales questions; treats you like you're important; speaks English; etc., etc. My roaster, including three thermocouples, an outboard Omega HH806AU datalogger with USB output, crated and shipped to my driveway was just north of $6K. A lot of money, but worth it.
If you want to do meaningful profiling make sure your roaster can be equipped (factory or DIY) with BT and ET thermocouples, and that you can connect those to real time roasting software. I don't mean to imply that you can't profile without them, but they make the process a great deal easier.
Posted Sat Jan 4, 2014, 3:46pm Subject: Re: Santoker 500/Revolution 500 Roaster -VS- new Sonofresco ADR
Thanks all for the help. I'm trying to stay away from the electric roasters. I prefer gas for the power and faster response times. I would love to have a USRC Sample roaster but cost more than I can invest right now. I've used my inlaws USRC 3k several times and felt right at home with it. I'm thinking Santoker right now if I can get in on the next order.
Posted Sat Jan 4, 2014, 5:15pm Subject: Re: Santoker 500/Revolution 500 Roaster -VS- new Sonofresco ADR
Because of its price, the USRC Sample Roaster isn't for everyone. On top of that, it's by no means as feature rich as some of the other "small" American roasters like the San Franciscan 1lb Roaster and the Diedrich IR-1. Compared to those two, it's actually (cough, cough) "reasonable."
There are a lot of good Chinese / Taiwanese roasters on the market which do pretty much everything the American made machines do; and I'm sure you can find something which meets your budget and exceeds your needs. You should look at the Huky 500, Santoker, North TJ-067 (1kg, gas), Bella Barista Mini 500 and Yang Chia 800n (same as the Mini 500, pretty much). The best place to start is definitely H-B.
No one's in the CG/H-B/HRO/etc., home-roasting community, other than Dustin -- the guy who's importing them -- actually owns a Santoker. However, Dustin is known as honest and knowledgeable, collaborated with the manufacturer on a number of upgrades to the original design, made his roaster available to several people -- all of whom seem impressed -- and knows A LOT about telemetry in general and placing thermocouples in particular.
The North TJ-067 is currently a very hot ticket, partly as a result of a group buy by H-B / Green Coffee Buying Club members. It's too late to get in on the group buy, but it may not be too late to order a TJ-067 with all of the mods, or to get a similarly favorable price. Definitely worth checking unless you're already committed to the Santoker. Most of the people who've bought TJ-067s are happy with them; but one or two have had some real problems which (seemingly) North didn't take care of very well. Big thread on H-B. Read it if you haven't already.
If I'd bought a TJ-067 electric instead of the Amazon, and paid to have the necessary electrical upgrades to support it, I'd probably be happy as a clam and still using it -- which would have saved me a lot of money compared to finding out the Amazon couldn't do what I wanted, and buying the USRC to replace it.
There aren't a lot of Mini 500 and 800n roasters running around with owners who are willing to post about them. They're more expensive than the TJ-067 or the Santoker; but quality for both seems to be consistently good and compared to the TJ-067 and Santoker both are more of a known quantity. If you're interested, you should contact Hankua and Chang00 on H-B. They can fill you in much better than I. If I'm not mistaken Hankua tried Dustin's Santoker and really liked it.
Bear in mind, that with the exception of the Huky 500 all of the other Chinese roasters do more or less the same things in more or less the same way. The Huky is comparatively kludgey. A nicely executed kludge with a lot of versatility and options, but a kludge nonetheless.
In the last year and a half I bought a 1kg electric, a 1lb gas roaster, did a LOT of research on everything in the size range, and am definitely acquainted with the pitfalls if not otherwise knowledgeable. If I can help you, let me know.
sonnyhad Senior Member Joined: 1 May 2005 Posts: 7 Location: Holland, Mi Expertise: I live coffee
Espresso: wega mini nova, rancilio... Grinder: la pavoni, Rocky Vac Pot: bodum santos Roaster: alpenrost and trusty air...
Posted Sun Jan 5, 2014, 11:15am Subject: Re: Santoker 500/Revolution 500 Roaster -VS- new Sonofresco ADR
Thanks BDL, nice post. I've been reading and watching as some of these seemingly amazing roasters hit the USA. Although a tad pricey for a home roaster, they appear to be everything a home roaster would want. I keep reading and watching for when Dustin's roasters hit the shore. I don't know what to think about the delay they seem to have hit, but can imagine people are edgy. Could be a customs hold up or just the glut from the holidays. I'm sure any day now the answer will be revealed.
Posted Mon Jan 6, 2014, 3:36pm Subject: Re: Santoker 500/Revolution 500 Roaster -VS- new Sonofresco ADR
Hopefully I got in on Dustins next order in time. I was really bummed when I just missed out on the first batch . The TJ-67 gas looks like after they get some of the querks worked out it might become a decent buy. Just like any new product being imported for the first time, you have to worry about part conversions to US. I hope it works out well for S.Green as there are not many (only 2 that i know of) importers in the US that handles Chineeese roasters. It would be nice to see someone start importing the mini500 and 800n in the future. I think what sent up a red flag (for me at least) is when North's roasters first showed up on all the forums they were kind of pushy with the product and post looked more like spam then someone trying to do an honest product review.
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