Good solid product, easy to use, good even roasts with 110g batch size, little smoke, a little noisy but great fun!
Positive Product Points
A good soild product. A good size as it can be stored away nicely and neatly. The roaster hardly gives off any smoke so it can stay in the kitchen permanently. Easy to use, which was good considering I had no manual. 220V so I can plug it in and no need for a transformer. Chaff collector works very well. It came with the correct electrical cord, a fused plug and an earth. Easy to take apart and clean. Roasts are consistent and the taste is clean. One-touch operation is great but also I like the fact that you can stop and cool anytime you want.
Negative Product Points
Very small batch size, best results I am having are with 100-110g. It is noisy but no more than that of a hairdryer. It is a bit "fidly" to get the components to fit snugly and I can only imagine that they will become less snug over time. Within 1-2 roasts the wire mesh (the air venting) became black - understandable of course this is coffee we are roasting but it does spoil the otherwise clean lines and the pristine looks.
It seems a bit strange to go from Commercial > Consumer as it is usually the other way around but this is what I have done. I picked up the roaster at a trade show as a sample - hence the reason it had no box and manual. Nevermind, it only took an hour or so trawling alt.coffee and this site to get the basic instructions and off I went.
I must say that I have been very guilty in the past of being a huge commercial snob. I have been guilty of assuming that you need expensive commercial equip. to get a good espresso and I was made to eat my words. I was also guilty with the small domestic fluid bed roasters and thought that you need some at least a few KG in batch size to get a decent product. Well as soon as I cranked this bad boy up I was made to eat my words again. The first thing I noticed was the lack of smoke. OK, OK it is only doing about 110g a batch but still it means that it can stay in my kitchen which was great. Roast times were around several minutes, to be honest I have not kept a log of the roasts as I am such a master roaster that I do not need one (Read - " too lazy to keep detailed notes and not a master roaster at all").
As I said above, the roaster is a bit noisy but I think it adds to the theatre of the roasting. It is good fun to watch the beans tumble around and change colour and certainly the lack of smoke means that you can show guests how it works whenever they come around.
I had done a bit of research before this purchase so I knew some of the teething problems others have had with it (PC boards and elements dropping dead). So far so good, but then again I have only had it for 2 months but have roasted almost everyday and still going strong. I did read Sweet M's tips on how to treat it with respect so hopefully I won't kill it sometime soon.
The only problem I have had is uneven roasting and I soon traced that down to too large a batch size (duh!) but I had an excuse as I did not have a manual to refer to. Or as Dr. Evil would say "throw me a frikkin bone here people, did not get a frikkin manual with it".
Again as I mentioned above I have been a bit sceptical of these so called people pulling god shots at home (I mean how can everyone fit a 4 group FB-70+Swift in their kitchen?) but I have done it first hand on equipment costing a few hundred dollars. Anyway, I was therefore sceptical about the quality of these small roasters. To be honest I was stunned at the coffee it produced, a good even roast and above all else a very crisp, clean taste as a french press or a drip. I am not too keen on smoky tones caused by drum roasting so this suits me fine.
The one problem I have now is that the batch sizes are small and I dare say that once the novelty has worn off it will become a bit tiresome - but for the time being it is damn good fun and that is what coffee is all about.
Since I bought it at a trade show as a sample it came with zero warranty but I knew that before I bought it. I guess I will have to warranty it myself.