Great for a total novice home roaster with a million bucks, bad for anyone serious about roasting for any kind of Biz.
Positive Product Points
Simple to operate
Negative Product Points
Too simple to operate!
The Cafe' Roaster is marketed by Monster Coffee and used to be manufactured by Syd & Jerry's which changed to Coffee Kinetics and now, Sonofresco. It's a very basic design and works exactly like a popcorn popper which brings me to the first problem, It's way overpriced. All that's in it is a squirrel cage blower, gas valve & $50 microprocessor. And dont' get me started on the ridiculously overpriced (and poorly designed) glass roasting chambers that break easier than potatoe chips. We went through 9 chambers in the last 2 years and at $150 a crack (believe me, no pun fun intended) cost an exorbitant $1,500.00 with shipping! As far as actually roasting coffee the preprogrammed profiles are pretty limiting but it will do an o.k. job on quite a few types of green coffee. However many types of coffee don't roast well, especially decaf and all smaller bean types. Also since it only roasts about 1lb per batch max capacity you're roasting all the time trying to keep up and regardless of what anyone says, you have to wait for it to cool down between roasts. And if propane, (they don't make an electric only model) it only works well if the tank is over half full. Maintenance isn't too bad but it's no walk in the park either. You'll spend a good deal of your free time cleaning the chamber, temp sensor ($75 & breaks real easy) and screens ($25 ea & lasts a few hundred roasts). Another important factor is the way it looks. It doesn't remind you of a coffee roaster and therefore, the romance is gone. And lastly I should mention the enviromental pitfalls. It's easy to see Mother Earth certainly wouldn't recomend using this roaster! Due to the fact that it just heats and blows air through the coffee and out the vent (no afterburner available), you waste a ton of energy and pollute the enviroment big time. It uses 30,000BTU to roast 1lb where a traditional drum unit will roast 10lbs with the same amount of fuel. And without an afterburner, coffee roasting is actually very damaging to our air quality. So although it is simple to use, my honest opinion is to stick with a traditional drum roaster. It will take a little more time to learn but you'll have the ability to perfect and repeat your favorite roast/s. You, your employees & your customers will be much happier.
The folks at Monster Coffee are actually great to deal with. Very helpful and experienced.