A very good coffee roaster that can take a while to master.
Positive Product Points
Repeatability Compact Chaff Collector Easy to maintain
Negative Product Points
LOUD! Customer service is slow
I've been using this roaster for 8 months and waited a while before reviewing this product. If I would have reviewed a month after purchasing it, I would have given it very low marks. There is a learning curve with this item and while it can produce good coffee from day one, it does take a while to master its use.
I roast outside and have found that temperature, humidity and wind can all affect the profile needed for any given roast. The two preprogrammed profiles are near useless for me as they do not take this into account. This is one of the big drawbacks to this roaster as I see it. The idea of having preprogrammed profiles in itself is a great one. The fact that the owner can not set these profiles is the drawback. However, that being said, the best feature of this roaster is the fact that ANY profile up to 15 minutes can be setup into the roaster.
I had trouble getting a repeatable level of roast when I first starting using the iRoast. I found after time that this was due to a number of variables that are external to the roaster itself and I see the same variation on roasts I do with a homemade SCTO. After some time one figures how to offset for these variables and I now get very consistent roasts. This tells me that the roaster itself will repeat temperature for a given profile.
The roaster seems to be quite durable and other than breaking the chaff collector base (which was entirely my fault); Iíve not had a bit of trouble with the iRoast. On the subject of replacing the collector base, this is where I have to give Hearthware very low marks. I used their online parts replacement ordering and paid for 2 day shipping. It took 26 days to receive a replacement part despite numerous calls (most unanswered) to Hearthware. It was not until I started emailing the management at Hearthware that my replacement actually shipped and then it was shipped as ground freight. They did refund the extra cost of the express shipping.
I've found the iRoast to be fairly easy to clean and maintain. The roasting chamber and chaff collection assembly can be washed in a sink and the base merely needs wiped off with a damp rag after using. This combined with the small footprint makes the iRoast as convenient as any common kitchen appliance.
One other observation Iíve made is that when doing multiple roasts, the Ĺ hour cool down between roasts is necessary. Otherwise the profile will not repeat due to starting the roast with warmer equipment. This will cause the roast to go through its cracks quicker thereby shorting the overall time of the roast (not a good thing).
The iRoast is a very individual roaster. Iíve traded profiles with other iRoast owners and weíve found that a profile that works well in one iRoast, might not work at all in another. This is due I think to 2 things; one, the variables Iíve mentioned above and two, the iRoast profile measures temperature before the roasting chamber. Each iRoastís actual temperature in the chamber is somewhat unique I believe.
Overall, I am very pleased with the Hearthware iRoast and look forward to using it for a long time to come.
I bought this at Sweet Maria's and had no problems or issues at all. It came very well packed (double boxed) and arrived in a timely manner.
Three Month Followup
Did not do a 3 month review
One Year Followup
One year after the review I entered, my iRoast is still going strong. I will give it kudos for hanging in there for hundreds of roasts. From that aspect alone it is worth the money. I did break another chaff collector and while it didn't take 26 days to arrive this time, it did take two weeks. Again their customer service dept. could use some improvement. On the whole though, I am very pleased with the iRoast and when finally does wear out, I would be inclined to purchase another.