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Hottop Roaster - L C's Review
Posted: September 13, 2012, 11:21am
review rating: 8.0
feedback: (2) comments | read | write
Hottop Coffee Roaster
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More About This Product
Arrow The Hottop Roaster has 27 Reviews
Arrow The Hottop Roaster has been rated 7.27 overall by our member reviewers
Arrow This product has been in our review database since November 4, 2003.
Arrow Hottop Roaster reviews have been viewed 162,000 times (updated hourly).

Quality Reviews
These are some of the best-written reviews for this product, as judged by our members.
Name Ranking
Sam Decock 9.50
Bruce G 9.00
Aaron Tubbs 8.54
Doug Jamieson 8.50
Darshan-Josiah Barber 8.50

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Ratings and Stats Overall Rating: 5.0
Manufacturer: Chang Yue Quality: 5
Average Price: $550.00 Usability: 5
Price Paid: $820.00 Cost vs. Value 5
Where Bought: Roastmasters Aesthetics 5
Owned for: 3 months Overall 5
Writer's Expertise: I love coffee Would Buy Again: No
Similar Items Owned:
Bottom Line: Did not meet expectations.  Not as consistent as I was led to believe, but still does a decent roast.
Positive Product Points

An opportunity for the home roaster to achieve the desired roast levels that most other home roasting machines cannot do.

Negative Product Points

Inconsistency in achieving the desired roast levels.  Perhaps quality control of these units is not optimal.

Detailed Commentary

In the beginning, I had to replace this machine because it would not heat up correctly (BTW-home voltage was stable).  On the replacement machine I had to then replace the controller because it would not hold a profile.   {Initially, customer support at Hottop was very responsive and helpful}.   Once everything was working correctly,  I was able to achieve some good roasts at first, but as time went on, I could not maintain consistency.  For example, using the same bean,  I created a profile (the profile was set up to eject the roast at the beginning of the second crack), which worked great on the first roast.  I was able to achieve a City+ roast, which was almost impossible with the Gene Cafe that I had before.   On the second roast (using same profile), the first crack temp.  was 10 degrees higher, which extended my roast time and made it more like a Full City +.   On the third roast, again, same profile same bean,  the crack temp was another 10 degrees higher becoming more of a Vienna Roast.  Not sure why this was happening.   At this point Hottop had enough of my concerns, and did not respond.   Roastmasters, who sold me the machine, said don't expect perfection and to keep at it because it is the best home roaster around.  But then, what could they say since there is no return policy.  

To be fair, perhaps I am a contributing factor, although given my experience, if feels more like a mechanical rather than an operator error...but I will keep at it because even with these "unsuccessful" roasts, it was still good.

Buying Experience

Roastmaster was responsive and tried to be helpful with problems.

Three Month Followup

A couple of minor things:  the heat guard grill came off because the small metal attachment point broke.  Kind of a cheap design.  Also, oils from the beans tend to leak out towards the front below the controller (which I am told is typical and nothing to worry about); otherwise, it is still the best home roaster for those who want more control over their roasts.  However, I am told by a friend that the taste of the coffee from the Hottop is not significantly different compared to the roasts they get from their hot air popper, even though the beans from the Hottop roast more uniformly.

Otherwise, I continue to experiment with this machine.  I am still challenged getting the desired roast by the time the temp. reaches 428 when it automatically ejects the beans.   Given the same profile (and depending upon the bean), sometimes that means the roast is barely past the first crack, and sometimes the bean is into the second crack.  In no case have I been able to roast through the second crack.  It is fun nonetheless - the coffee still tastes great.

One other thing:  the amount of smoke generated seems less than the Gene Cafe.  A lot of the smoke from the Hottop comes out when the beans are ejected, whereas the Gene Cafe continues to create smoke during the so called cooling cycle which lasts another 10 - 12 minutes.

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review rating: 8.0
Posted: September 13, 2012, 11:21am
feedback: (2) comments | read | write
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