For the experienced coffee roaster, a machine that provides all the coffee nuances you could hope for. For a person happy with store beans, a real pain.
Positive Product Points
Durable, very easy to clean, good for "winter roasting", handles fairly large quantities of beans, provides a wide range of roasting formats.
Negative Product Points
Has difficulty with smaller bean sizes (under screen 15) Roasting control seems meaningless A roasting log is not just a good idea but a must.. Or, a soft chair to sit in will work just fine.
The Bravi is advertised to handle 8 oz. of green beans. We have never suceeded in getting more than 7 3/4 from it. This may sound picky but it is very important. Important because the machine is that sensitive. Adjusting bean weight by as little as a 1/2 ounce can take a roast from city to French. We've used a 1 lb. scale divided by 1/4 ounces and find that it is not sufficient. Once you get the proper weight(s) down (and the setting, which we always leave at 14), you are provided with wonderfully roasted beans that range from City, City +, the entire range as described in Sweet Maria's roasting charts. The problem here, of course, lies in the fact that each bean purchase is a little different. One batch of Costa Rica beans does not roast exactly like another, even from the same region. Every bean purchase requires a new learning experience. For this reason, we have found that proper roasting is done by watching smoke, listening to cracks. The cycle from start to completion of roast process is about 17/18 minutes. This means spending quite some time with the roaster. If this is not a problem, the Bravi is excellent. You want cinnamon, you get cinnamon. French is French. You can finally see the difference between a City bean and a City+ bean. The cool down process works well as does bean extraction and clean up. Another bonus, we can roast beans in the garage, summer and winter. Cold air does not make roasting impossible, it just requires you roast a batch lighter by a 1/2 ounce or so. After 3 months, we like our Bravi more than ever. It is well worth the money. But, as we said originally, the Bravi is not automatic. You must enjoy some time smelling the beans roast and listening for the start of the second crack. It's a machine for a coffee aficionado. Oh yes, the coffee it produces, is excellent. There really are all those fruit flavors you read about. We no longer drink our coffee for the roast. The Bravi allows us to drink coffee for the coffee. What could be more positive?
We have had some additional contact with Gary at Burman Coffee. He is as responsive as ever.
Three Month Followup
We use this machine on a regular basis. It gets used at least twice, usually three times a week..
One Year Followup
It took a year but I now know the proper way to care for the Bravi. Over time, my roasts became lighter and lighter. I'd gotten to the point of manually roasting less than the recommended 8 ounces of beans. Knowing the Bravi had a 1 year warranty, I thought it's time was up. I made a call to Burmans to ask about adjusting the thermostat. I found that, unlike it's predessor, there is no adjustment. I also discovered that I had overlooked 1 simple direction from the manual. Keep the thermostat clean. Such a simple thing, a little alcohol, a Q-tip, and 30 seconds to wipe. I do it after every roast. and it works like new. It roasts 8 ounces of beans, the selector switch determining degree of roast. It's stated everywhere to keep these units clean. I thought I'd been doing a good job. How wrong, now I keep a bottle of alcohol, Q-tips, cottonballs, and paper towels near the roaster. It isn't time consuming but it's essential to clean important parts. If given the correct maintenance, the Bravi will provide many, many pounds of wonderfully roasted coffee. I highly recommend it. For it's price, it is the best on the market. I believe it will last far beyond it's warranty period. Which reminds me, even though the warranty had expired, the Bravi people were willing to accept shipment of the roaster and repair it for free (as the warranty had just expired) if they found the machine to be defective due to a part. Luckily this wasn't necessary thanks to Burman Coffee. I only mention it because I'm not used to such wonderful customer service.