A well made machine that is easy to use and produces consistent results
Negative Product Points
The inside of the roaster chamber requires some care when cleaning
I have owned this roaster for about a year and a half. I did not submit a review shortly after purchase as I did not think I could add much to the reviews submitted by others when this roaster first became available on the US market. I would just have been one more guy gushing about the quality of the build of this roaster, the easy to use controls, and the excellent results. Okay, a year and a half later, I am still one more guy saying that this is a well built and easy to use roaster.
Now, I can add that I have given the Gene Cafe a good workout. I roast two to three 250 g. batches per week so that adds up to more than 150 roasts so far. The Gene has proven to be completely reliable for me and is producing results every bit as good now as when it was new.
The roast on the Gene is manually controlled by a combination of time and temperature. I typically roast just up to the start of second crack and terminate the roast at that point. I appear to get good results at a Full City roast by going 12 to 13 minutes at 465 F and finishing the roast at 455 F at about 15 minutes. I typically roast two or more SOs and blend after roasting.
I roast in my kitchen next to a partially open window with the vent hood fan operating. I have no trouble with smoke or nearby alarms though there is certainly a strong coffee aroma in the kitchen after roasting. I have intended to get one of the new chaff collectors with the vent connection to direct a short vent hose out the window but I haven't gotten around to it yet.
Much has been written about cooling with the Gene. I allow the beans to cool in the roasting chamber using the built in cooling cycle. My only concession to reduced cooling time is to open the hood when the cooling cycle starts and direct a small fan at the roasting chamber. I have tried terminating the roast and cooling externally in a colander but I can not taste any difference in the cup.
The machine does require some periodic cleaning to avoid build up of coffee oils. The chaff collector does a great job of handling chaff but benefits from a good wash in hot, soapy water every few weeks. I likewise wash the glass roasting chamber in hot, soapy water periodically. A bit of baked oil does build up on the glass at the hot end of the drum which is not easily removed but it appears to do no harm.
So, all in all, a positive report. The Gene Cafe does everything I ask of a home roaster and it has proved to be quite reliable for me so far.
Purchased from Gary Burman in the original batch offered to the Green Coffee Buying Club. An excellent experience.
Three Month Followup
My original post was actually after about a year and a half of use.
One Year Followup
This is actually a four year follow-up. Still getting excellent results and am as pleased with the Gene as ever. I had a heating element failure a few months ago. Tim at Fresh Beans was extremely helpful. He sent me a replacement element quickly at a cost of less than $60. Installed it and was back to roasting in a few days. The Gene shows every sign of lasting for another 4 years. I have certainly gotten my moneys worth out of this one.