Buy the Caffe Rosto if you love espresso and dark roasts.
Positive Product Points
This is the best roaster for the money. I can achieve a vienna roast as advertised within 9-11 minutes roasting time. The chamber holds more than 1/3 lb. of green beans. Whether the beans are roasted city to vienna, I have never been disappointed with the roast. I appreciate that I can see the beans roasting in the chamber. The cooling down cycle of the beans works wonderfully.
Negative Product Points
This machine is loud and you may be exiled to the basement or garage during roasting. During the roasting process, quite a bit of smoke and a smell of burnt popcorn is emitted. The chaff collector and chamber must be carefully and meticulously cleaned in order to protect against overheating or loss of quality of roast. The chaff collector is a great flaw in a great machine. A great deal of chaff still gets to the vents of the machine even with the collector. However, the chaff is always found in the chaff collector chamber and not in my roasts. This is my 3rd Caffe Rosto in 4 months. The 1st two Rostos were defective. With the 1st Rosto, I was unable to get a dark roast in less than 20 minutes. After one week, this one just stopped working. The 2nd Rosto was roasting as advertised with a full-city around 8-10 minutes, and then it died after one week of use. The problem may have been a blown thermal fuse. I have been using a surge protector with the 3rd Rosto. It has been working well since January 1st. Although you can see the beans roasting, it is almost impossible to hear 1st or 2nd crack because the roaster is loud. For the expert roaster, it may be troublesome to determine the proper roast solely by the color of the beans.
This is the best roaster around for the price. I have saved a great deal of money by roasting my own coffee. When you roast with this machine, no other coffee can ever compare. The roasting duration and temperature creates a roast that I cannot compare to my other roaster, the Fresh Roast plus. There is great ease in bring the beans to a city roast or to the darkest roast. There is also a certain consistency in my roasts. I have been able to repeat the more successful roasts with the same beans with the same duration.
A few points that Caffe Rosto owners learn after the purchase:
The Rosto often needs to be rocked gently back and forth during the 1st 2-3 minutes of the roast in order to get the beans flowing smoothly from the beginning. In the beginning, I pour about 3/4 of the measuring cup provided in the Rosto in the chamber and turn the machine on. I continue to pour more beans in until I notice that the air flow is slowing down. Then I place the lid on the machine.
Different green beans have different amounts of chaff during roasting. I have found that it is important to be meticulous in cleaning the chaff collector. The basket is an awful design because it does very little to protect the vents. If too much chaff enters the chamber, the air flow will be severly limited and could cause damage to the machine. Buy a small car or computer keyboard vacuum cleaner to properly clean the machine. The brush provided with the machine is not terribly helpful. The next model of this machine should improve upon the chaff collection. When the roast is completed, one lifts the lid and must use the brush carefully to brush away any chaff that flies into the roasting chamber.
I know that many people purchase one Rosto that lasts for years. I also know that some people abuse their Rostos with back to back roasting sessions and forgetting about cleaning the chaff collector. However, some of us find that although we love the machine and the great quality of roasts, the machine has some design flaws that cause it to burn out. The 1st two Rostos that I have used have had some hidden flaws that have caused their early demise. However, with all of these early problems you need to know that the manufacturers and home roasting website owners/ managers provide the best customer service that I have and probably will ever encounter. The 2nd machine arrived the next day; the 3rd machine arrived within a week.
You need proper ventilation during roasting because the fumes are not appreciated by anyone else living in your home. A basement or garage with lots of ventilation are the only options when using this machine. When roasting a dark roast, a good deal of smoke is produced. For your own health and the health of others around you, roast next to an open window.
The roasting chamber is large. If you are a coffee addict who drinks a great deal of coffee every day, you will love the amount of coffee that one can roast within an hour, at least 1 lb. of coffee.
If you want a roaster that will roast with great consistency and success, buy this machine. You will never want to drink coffee in a restaurant or cafe again. I purchased a Fresh Roast plus because I needed a back-up roaster in case the Caffe Rosto died. The Fresh Roast does not give me a cup of coffee with the same depth of taste and with the same nuanced aromas. In my opinion, no other roaster can compare to the Rosto.
The Roastyourown.com company was very helpful in helping me with my defective roasters. When I was referred to the manufacturer, they too were courteous and efficient in sending me a 2nd new Rosto and finally a 3rd Rosto within a week. With any of the manufacturers and green been sellers, you are guaranteed the best customer service imaginable.
Three Month Followup
No roaster under $200 can compare to the Caffe Rosto. This is a great machine for the novice roaster. Roasting will provide a great deal of enjoyment for those who love excellent coffee.
One Year Followup
This is a very good roaster for the money. However, I have always worried about its dependability. I am currently on my 3rd Caffe Rosto because of a common problem with a certain fuse. Although I have had some incredible roasts using the Rosto, I would rather recommend the Zach and Dani's roaster at this time. The Z& D roaster has a catalytic converter that allows me to roast to a dark roast inside. The Rosto sets off my smoke alarm and the smoke is too troubling for those in my house that do not share my passion for fresh roasted coffee. With the Rosto, without modifications, there are too many variables that change with each batch, whereas the Z&D provides me with consistency from batch to batch with its digital readout. I have found a higher quality roast with the Z&D roaster and it is a well made and durable machine. I would buy the Rosto again only because of the roast time of 8-13 minutes for a Full city to Vienna roast. The Fresh Roast can be too fast (3-5) minutes and the Z & D is 13-17 minutes for a Full city to Vienna roast. A few comparisons between the Z&D and the Caffe Rosto:
The Z&D does not need to be rocked back and forth during the beginning of the roast.
The Z&D has a roast time recall button that helps you remember and repeat your last roast duration.
The Z&D gives a more uniform roast to the beans,
The Z&D is easier to clean. The Rosto needs a lot of after roast time to carefully clean out the chaff basket and below the basket. I would buy this machine again only after buying the Fresh Roast Plus and the Z&D roasters.