Chaf collection is very efficient Very flexible time/temperature controls The smell of freshly roasted coffee
Negative Product Points
The manual suggests times and temperatures that would make charcoal of any beans e.g. 25 mins at 250c. Time/temperature controls can't be programmed.
I started down the espresso path a few years ago, slowly adding to, and improving upon the equipment I own. This is my first roaster, so I find it impossible to compare with anything else. First off, home roasting is nowhere near as popular here as it seems to be in the US, most people's reaction is "you do what?" with a look of incomprehension.
The machine was very easy to set up, and get going. I think it look no more than 5 minutes from beginning to end. I started by roasting as suggested to a temperature of 250c. The beans were done after about 14 minutes, and seemed fine. Over time I started experimenting, and now roast at 240c for about 12 to 14 minutes (depending upon the bean) and then finish off at 230c for approximately another 5 mins, judging the beans by eye.
I just love the beans I roast now. The flavour of freshly roasted beans is nothing like that of your average 3 month old beans. I also found that espresso crema was much better with fresh beans (though when under 2 days old there can be too much crema, and it is difficult to restrict the cup to 1 1/2 oz.).
The 2 rotary knobs allow temp and time to be altered at any time during the roast, this is very flexible, but I can't help but think that a programmable roast curve would be nice.
Other reviewers have complained about the cooling cycle being slow, but I see the indicated temp. go from 230c to about 170c in less than 1 minute, so roasting effectively stops within 1 minute. It then takes 7 to 8 further minutes to get to 60c, and the machine to stop.
Steve at www.HasBean.co.uk answered my questions, and shipped quickly. The price was £260 (£221 + tax) which seems fine. I'm used to UK prices being much more than US prices, but this is one seems comparable if not cheaper here than in the US. Steve also sells some great green beans .