An easy to use roaster that fits the bill and produces great results.
Positive Product Points
Easy to use, program, and clean Low price for what you get Roasts enough coffee for about a week Well made Make great coffee..!!
Negative Product Points
Hard to read display if not sitting down Depending on your perspective, mid to high noise levels-More on this below..!!
I used the I-Roast 2 on December 23rd, the night I received it as an Christmas gift. I've used it 2 more times since then. All three roasts were fine and after the grind, the brew was flavorful with no bitterness. It was very easy to hear the 1st and 2nd cracks. It's not like popcorn, but you can hear it, if you're listening for it...!! If you walk away during the roast or get involved in a side discussion, you could miss it. There may only be a dozen cracks that can be heard, but even over the noise of this roaster, you can hear them. Now for the noise level. This is my 1st roaster, so I have no comparison to other roasters, however, that being said I still can compare it to other household items. With all the reviews I've read, I expected this thing to be really loud. What I found out when I turned it on the first time was that it was only as loud as my wife hair dryer. Not shop vac loud, and not even as load as my blender. As a matter of fact when I roasted my first batch, my 2 kids had just gone to bed, and I was using it in my kitchen just 20 feet away, and neither kid woke up..!! I've used my vacuum cleaner before when they were sleeping and woke them both up. So the noise is not an issue for me. The roast was very easy to see and to control. I used the profile that Sweet Maria's posted on their website. It worked well, and about one minute before the roast was to end I hit the "Cool" button and had a good looking roast with no burned beans. Setting the roast profile was not as hard as the instructions made it out to be. For that matter, I have already memorized how to do it, and I've only roasted 3 batches. My manual "WAS" an I-Roast 2 manual not the I-Roast manual with updates. So Hearthware has updated their manual, which made it very easy to learn how to use the custom profile system. Overall, this roaster seems to be very easy to use, and produces great results. It's built well and looks great. The only thing that was a negative, was that the dryer vent attachment was broken when I opened the box. I called Hearthware on the 26th and they are shipping me a new one. Good service, and helpful too.
My wife and I bought the roaster from Sweet Maria's, which was a suggestion from a co-worker who roasts his own coffee. I couldn't be more happy with their service, and the selection of beans that they included. I had a 2 week long e-mail conversation with someone there, regarding the roaster, which they answered my most detailed questions about the I-Roast 2. Great people, great coffee, I will be using them in the future..!!
Three Month Followup
After 3 months the roaster is going strong and my roasts are coming along nicely. They are becoming more and more consistent from one roast to the other. To anyone one who is struggling to master the I-Roast 2, you should be patient. I still roast a bit on the dark side once in a while, but over all, the flavor is still wonderful. I've learned that you have to use all your sences, just like those who wrote reviews said before me. If you don't leave the during the roast, watch it, smell it and hear it, you can end up with the best coffee you or anyone around you have ever tasted..!! I think that the I-Roast 2 is the most advanced roaster for the money, and even if it doesn't last more then 2 years, it's cheaper then buying the more expensive, twice as cheap. You just can't go wrong with it..!!
One Year Followup
After one year of use, my I-Roast 2 is still going strong. I've roasted at least once a week, except this Christmas season, which I roasted enough coffee in 3 weeks for 12 of my friends to get no less then a 1/2 pound of coffee. That's about 2 roasts a piece, which exceeds the 7 times a week recomendation on the roaster; and had no problems. The I-Roast 2 is a durable product that for the price can not be beat...!! I still highly recommend it to anyone that is starting out or anyone who is looking to simplify there roasting experience. It fast and easy, and produces the best coffee I've ever had.