Best toy I have purchased in years. Does its job beautifully
Positive Product Points
Simple, easy to use, does the job very well.
Negative Product Points
Somewhat awkward configuration (components should be separated before moving it around).
Put green coffee into the hopper, turn the timer dial, step back, and watch it roast. Quite amazing for the beginner. The clear roast chamber really gives you a good look at the process.
You use two scoops (provided scoop is 43 cc) to fill the chamber about half way. The roast will expand the beans. Each batch ends up yielding about 6 standard coffee scoops worth of beans. A pound of green coffee is roasted in about 7 batches, yielding about 42 scoops.
After a bare three weeks with this thing (roasting about 2-3 batches every other day), here are some thoughts.
To keep the roast consistent, warm up the machine for 1-2 minutes befor the first batch. That way, your timings will not be thrown off by the variable of roasting in a cold machine.
The small quantity of coffee per roast in this machine to me is a PLUS. It allows a roasting "explorer" to test lots of different beans roasted lots of different ways.
The typical city roast takes 4-5 minutes. Add the cleaning out of the chaff collector and a bit of hand-tossing the beans in wire strainers to get rid of any additional chaff and you're talking about 7 minutes total for each roast.
Truthfully, I don't think you save all that much time by using a different roaster to do larger quantities at a time. Three roasts in this machine is almost a half pound, and it takes you 21 minutes.
My only real objections to this machine's design is its awkwardness... and that is apparent only when you try to move it from place to place. The narrow glass roasting chamber simply rests into a recess on the heavy machine base. The big plastic chaff collector simply rests on top of the roast chamber. These two pieces tend to tumble off when you pick the whole thing up to move it onto a shelf. If an unaware person such as a spouse or housekeeper grabs it, the top pieces could go flying. The chaff collector is unlikely to break, but the glass roasting chamber certainly could.
In black, this this is not ugly, but not suited for every decor either. Since this is something I will be using every other day, if not more frequently, it would be nice if it came in white.... or red... or spiffly pearlized silver with racing stripes... or whatever. But as it is, it's a great product.
If you haven't heard about SweetMaria's you will. A Columbus, Ohio purveyor of green beans. Their website has some of the best descriptions of different green beans you'll see anywhere. The descriptions seem to me to be very accurate. The FreshRoast Plus came with a sample of 8 different kinds of beans (1/2-pound each) as well as a tip sheet from SweetMarias on their ideas about using the product. The bean assortment was their selection and had lots of variety. I would have like to see at least one Colombian in there, which there was not.