In my opinion, highly recommended. Of course, if your budget allows for 500$ or more, this is another story. But at that price it seems like the best choice, given that nothing is perfect...
Positive Product Points
- Not much smoke and easy to control (I roast under the stove fan) - Reasonable price - Small and nice looking - Easy to clean - Easily programmable
Negative Product Points
- Noisy - Temperature readings not very useful - Relatively short roasting time
The fan makes it difficult to hear the cracks but I mostly use time, temperature and color to stop the roast so it does'nt matter much to me.
The iRoast2 displays the temperature of the hot air that makes the fluid bed and not the temperature of the bean mass. I have modified mine to adapt a thermocouple that measures the temperature of the beans. This probably voids the warranty but makes it a much better roaster in my opinion.
I experiment quite a bit with programs and find it quite enjoyable. It is quite easy to program profiles that will roast in anywhere from 7 minutes to 15 minutes. Once you have a profile that you like, you can repeat it time after time with similar results.
Experts say that the iRoast2, like all fluid bed roasters, produces roasts that are bright. This is probably why I find that coffee tastes better with profiles closer to 15 minutes. Unfortunately, 15 minutes is the maximum. I don't have enough experience about roasting to comment on this.
When experimenting with profiles, I sit in front of the roaster, taking notes about temperatures every 30 seconds, looking at the color of the beans and smelling the odors. When repeating roasts, it is simply a matter of choosing the profile and letting it do its thing. One should always stay close of course because roasters generate very hot temperatures which could possibly cause fire.
This is a very nice and functional roaster. It does its job simply and correctly producing excellent coffee, roasted to your liking, time after time.
Purchased at Green Beanery in Canada. These people are very nice, pricing is competitive and they offer very good service. Recommended.
Three Month Followup
160 roasts and still counting... Highly recommended for the price. IMO, only 3 weaknesses: - It is very noisy - Does not roast enough coffee at a time. For me and my wife, I have to make about 5 roasts per week - a lot of work. - The inboard temperature indicator is useless. Don't even bother to look at it. Either roast by color or get a thermocouple that you insert in the bean mass.