Easy to use, VERY consistent, and each roast fills a 1-pint mason jar perfectly. :o)
Positive Product Points
- EASY to use and maintain - High-quality build - Roasts 1 full cup of greens (5.5 oz. to 6.5 oz. depends on the beans) - Easy to see the beans roasting
Negative Product Points
- Must cool completely (30 minutes at least) between roasts - Silicone seal ring is loose when hot - Roast chamber gets VERY hot (it will burn you if you touch it) - You must keep an eye on the roast - don't leave it alone
I wanted to get something just to try out roasting at home, and this seemed to be a great deal. I got a refurb unit for $89 plus for another $10 they included four pounds of green beans.
This device is SO easy to use. I roast on the back porch, so I just set up, use the included measuring cup (full and slightly rounded), put the beans in and turn it on (I just turn the timer all the way to the max).
At the beginning of the roast I like to "swirl" the beans inside by rocking the machine gently. WEAR OVEN MITTS IF YOU DO THIS. The beans pick up speed as they get lighter and by the end they will be swirling around pretty quickly. Towards the end of the roast I will tilt the machine a little to slow the motion briefly so I can see how the beans are looking. Again, WEAR OVEN MITTS IF YOU DO THIS. (Can you tell I have singed my fingers a couple of times?)
When the beans are the color I like then I turn the timer knob until the heater turns off and the fan stays on (run a cooling cycle). When Rosto turns itself off completely I empty the beans out and put them in a container. WEAR OVEN MITTS TO TOUCH THE MACHINE - IT WILL BE HOT. Then I empty the little chaff basket and brush the chaff collection area out with the included brush and use a towel to wipe the oils off of the glass lid and the chamber. Finito!! The entire process from setup to the endusually takes me about 20 minutes per roast.
I like that the lid is real glass and the device seems to be built to last. I have done about 30 roasts so far with very consistent results. The build and materials seem to me to be very good quality and I like that the design is simple and easy to use. One thing about the lid's silicone seal ring is that it's loose when everything is hot at the end of the roast so you just have to be a little careful when taking the top off to dump the beans.
I had read where others had some difficulty with lower supply voltages and such but I have had no trouble at all. If I want the roast to be darker then I just use a little more beans (that's why I usually use the "slightly rounded cup full"). The machine is noisy like a hair dryer, but that doesn't bother me at all. I have learned to distinguish the sound of the second crack and as soon as that is accompanied by the sweet-ish smoke then it's time to stop the roast (that always leaves my with a full city roast which is usually my preference - I can stop early or later to easily adjust the darkness).
There isn't much smoke at all - but then again I roast outside so maybe I don't notice as much. I can say that when I do the larger roasts with my SC/GG there is much more smoke than with the Rosto.
One thing I have noticed is that for longer roasts I get a nicely-developed profile and deep rich flavor - perfect for my taste in espresso. For the lighter roasts it seems to do a pretty good job of keeping the brightness and fruity notes. Most times I get first crack starting at 5-7 minutes and second crack usually starts around 8-10 minutes into the roast. Of course the ambient temperature here is high (80-100 F) so that porobably has something to do with the fast roasts.
All in all I am quite happy with the CafeRosto. I had thought I would sell it after I got the GG/SC going, but I am starting to think that I want to keep it. It is a little more reliable still that the home-made roaster and the results are more predictable (maybe because I have much less experience with the new contraption I have built).
I bought online from Coffee & Kitchen (a "Zaccardi's store"). It was a smooth transaction with no trouble, reasonably quick shipping and good customer service when I called in to check if they had shipped yet.
Three Month Followup
After three months I still loved using this machine. It never had a problem (I was always careful to let it cool completely between roasts). After the 4th month I got my GG/SC setup running and now use that for the bigger capacity but I would recommend the Rosto to anyone who wants to roast at home and doesn't want to tinker with a home-made machine.