With the price pattern here in Denmark, the Alpenröst is about twice the price of the Hearthware, but it is a much better buy!
Positive Product Points
The roasted coffee is more aromatic and has a wider range of flavour notes than i am used to with the Hearthware Precission Roaster. It is not so noisy and seems to be well build.
Negative Product Points
Lots of smoke! Less during the roast process, but as the cooling sets in, be prepared for a huge amount of blue emissions, which my kitchen vent can not cope with; the smoke isue is mentioned in the manual....and it is certainly true that you should take precautions! Cleaning the machine from chaff is somewhat problematic, and a small vacuum cleaner would help clean under the heating elements. Recently, i have used a 3 inch wide and flat paint brush to clean the loose chaff into the collector tray, then blown the machine clean after(!) the tray has been removed...and this works well!!
The Alpenröst was purchased to improve the roasting volume and with an expectation to improve the quality of the cup over the Hearthware precission, and i am satified that these goals are met. Aroma wise, it seems to be an improvement of the same magnitude as moving from the popcorn-popper to the Hearthware, which was a big step forward. The beans are quite warm after the cooling has terminated, but it does not seem to affect quality...perhaps even shortens the maturation time, as I experience, that the coffee is sooner developed after roasting. While my experience with the Hearthware was that the beans had to rest for more than 12 hours before the full flavour had developed, the Alpenröst roasted beans seems to be ready in just a few hours, and lack the burned overtone, even when roasted well into the second crack. The machine is quieter, and this makes up for the lack of visual inspection of the beans during the roasting, as the roasting status is easily recognised listening for the pops and cracks. With the current Colombian bean, first pop is reached after about 9½ minutes, and the second crack after about 13 minutes...which i judge as a more gentle treatment than the Hearthware provides..... ---------------------------------- ---------------------------------- Here an additional remark which has resolved the smoke issue: From a plastic pipe, 4½ inch in diameter, i have made a smoke collector (flue stak)..... which simply stands on its end on my stove top, and reach to the underside of the vent-a-hood above; i have cut an oval slot in the pipe, so the elongated output exhaust port from the Alp just fits inside the tube, when the port is twisted to emit the smoke to the back side of the Alp. It resolved the smoke problem inside the kitchen when the hood is on maximum, and so far, no one has called the firebrigade when the cooling sets in, and you can see the blue smoke emit from the outside vent on the house wall......
With the money prepaid, the machine was received in 2 days. Would have appreciated an e-mail to inform me when the machine was sent, though.....