The one to buy at this price point although a few modifications would make it much better
Positive Product Points
It does the job
Negative Product Points
The main negative is the limit on the time of roast. In order to control the roast adequately with the selected programme you have to use a smaller amount of beans.
Overrun - the machine keeps roasting while it cools down. You therefore have to anticipate this and time your roast from the 1st crack which takes some experimentation.
The door - quite simple really. The door should be like a microwave - side mounted with a latch. This would make cleaning up so much easier and over time the bottom mounted, spring pressure door as currently supplied works a bit loose.
There are some quality control issues particularly with the welding on basket
At the end of the day, there is very little competition for a roaster that works as well as this at the equivalent price point. Some minor tweaks that would be unlikely to cost anything would make a big difference. Namely, allow a greater maximum time on the roast and supply a door like a microwave.
To roast you put in your amount of beans - in theory 1/4, 1/2, or 1lb in practise less. You then select the heat profile from one of 5, and the time of roast. In practise, you will only use 1 heat profile, for example I use 2, it heats up for most of the roast, then reduces for a while, then comes back full on near the end. With each weight and profile you can only set a fixed maximum roast time. In practise this is too short and the only way round it is to use less beans. For example, on a 1lb roast I use 14 or 15oz depending on the ambient temperature. I presume this "feature" is to stop them being sued by some idiot setting fire to their house through over-roasting if so blame our stupid liability laws.
The key to roasting is the very time sensitive period around the 2nd crack. In a commercial roaster when the desired roast level is reached the beans are immediately vented out of the roaster into a cooler. This is not practical with this type of home roaster so you set the machine onto a cool cycle. It takes a while for it to cooled down sufficiently and so the roast continues for a while and thus you have to start the cool cycle before you've reached your desired roast level. The way you do this is through experimentation. You time from the start of the 1st crack (this is a gentle sporadic popping) For example, with my `5oz example it is about 3 mins after the start of the 1st crack that I start the cool cycle. It takes some time/experience to get it right and unfortunately, it varies based on ambient temperature/humidity. As 15 seconds can make a significant difference at the 2nd crack (almost violent popping accompanied by smoke and acrid fumes) you can get a little frustrated when you first start.
The machine has a smoke suppressor but I recommend roasting in a well ventilated area. The 2nd crack period is not the lovely coffee roasting smell we love but quite strong acrid fumes and the machine will set off your smoke alarms. If you have curtains etc where you roast you will smell it for a few days afterwards.
There is a chaff collecting tray but it only catches most of it. You'll need to dustbuster or sweep out the rest and this would be so much easier if the door was side mounted rather than bottom mounted. After each use it is recommended you run the machine on a 1/2lb roast to burn up residual oils. Every half dozen or so roasts you should clean out the machine and basket with food safe detergent
I use the machine weekly, and apart from some minor issues which have been dealt with it has worked fine for over 3 years