Great roaster, I'm new to roasting & just listen for the cracks - solid recommend
Positive Product Points
Quality built machine, quiet - good for hearing 1st and 2nd crack. The layout is great. Can roast a little or a lot if you choose. Good venting setup and easy to add to if you need to attach a hose.
Negative Product Points
The timer is mearly cosmetic but then if I wanted roasted coffee that easy I'd buy it at the store. As long as you listen for the first and second crack then there is no problem with this roaster
I am Brand new to roasting. This is my first roaster and I am enjoying it. I read a few commentaries on Coffee Geek on how to roast coffee. After a few tries I realized that this machine requires you to participate in the roast by listening for the cracks. With this machine it's easy since it runs fairly quietly (I can't imagine hearing anything with an air popper). There are a few simple rules that I follow to make life easier for me while roasting. Set the unit to 15 and press start. After about 10 min. I sit down next to the machine with a magazine and listen for the 1st and 2nd crack. I press cool and lift the lid during a rolling second crack. As soon as the beans dump I pour them on a cookie sheet to cool. That's about it. Some cautions: Don't roast inside- the quantity of beans this unit can handle will produce too much smoke for inside roasting. Don't do back to back roastes - let the machine cool down well... otherwise the thermistor will kick off the heater on the second roast and you may never reach 1st and 2nd crack. Keep it clean finally... don't use the timer - if you're keen use a stopwatch and a roasting log then you can get a general idea about the time it will take to roast your coffee but LISTEN FOR THE CRACKS (The first time roast your coffee at night with the lights out, your eyes shut and head on the table next to the machine... you will hear the cracks)
I bought this unit on Ebay and paid about $180 us for it (used). The unit needed about 3-4 hours worth of cleaning (I don't think the previous owner ever cleaned it) when I got it but otherwise it survived the shipping and worked great.