Since I'm a taster for Buzz Bean Coffees, I very often want to try new beans without the hassles of waiting for an entire 25# batch to roast- only to find we didn't do it long enough, short enough, hot enough, etc. With this little, small footprinted machine, it's so simple to merely roast up to it's 5.5 0z. capacity and then see where we are, "roast wise"!
The standard machine comes complete with everything anyone needs to begin simple coffee roasting their very first time out.............................. roaster, instructional video, coffee jar-(for beans or ground coffee you've roasted) and even a pretty decent little burr grinder!! No, NOT A BLADE, but a BURR grinder, which really blew me away, for the price I'd paid! Even at the higher end pricing, I've seen on this machine, (around $165.00 tops), it's a pretty good deal, to get a burr grinder, the roaster, coffee jar, etc. for that price.
As for roasting, there ARE a 'few tricks", that I taught myself about this little machine if I want a decent dark roast. I think Z & D started this roaster with the "average City Roast-coffee drinker in mind", because I seem to read more and more reviews on this unit and nearly all of them state how; "It does a great city roast, but a burnt dark roast". Or, "It's dark roasting isn't that great, but it's lighter roasts are superb"! !
I sort of read reviews like those, however with one main thought in mind...................... "IS that person's "dark roast" the SAME as my OWN idea of a dark roast?" The same holds true, I believe, for even the lighter roasts as well. EVERYONE'S tastes on coffee roasting is dramatically different, from one roast to another.
Now, for the operation of this unit.............. it couldn't be easier! Lift the lid, pour in your green beans to either the "DARK ROAST" line, or, up to the "2nd. FILL LINE", for the lighter roasting, punch the LED timer clock, from between 15 and 30 minutes of roasting time, shut the lid, punch "START" and walk away! You have to remember, though, with this particular machine, that the total roast time you enter on the LED clock panel face, also includes 5 minutes when the roasted beans are being augured and tumbled in the "COOL DOWN" mode!
When the time you've set for your roast, runs down and the machine has also gone through its 5 minutes of "cool down", the machine shuts off, automatically. Lifting the lid then, you can take out the chaff screen and chaff collection cup, that sit above your now roasted beans and empty them. You're done!
I do most things "a tad different" than most, but that's merely ME!! So, I have a very compact oval shaped shop vac, that I grab when the machine shuts off, because I prefer to vacuum out the chaff screen and collection cup, right then and there. I can also, at this time, hold my shop vac's nozzle just above the neck of the glass been hopper and suck out about 90% of the left over chaff that didn't make it up to the chaff collection cup! This saves another step in cleaning the beans, somehow, before running them through my Jericho! Also, as you'll learn in the supplied video, all the parts that need cleaning between each roast, all come off the machine VERY easily and all are dishwasher safe!
I happen to hand wash my parts, but again....................., there's that "tad different" way of doing things, I admitted to. But, if I'm roasting a fair amount of beans, I don't want to wait for a complete dishwasher cycle to run through before I get my parts back!! So, I use a standard dish soap, to clean the glass bean chute and auger housing as well as the aluminum inside lid, (the chimney, actually), chaff screen and chaff collection cup...................................the only, 4 parts you NEED to clean on this great little machine after each roast! Pretty simple!
The machine is simple in design, very well constructed, very, very, easy to use with its "set and walk away", simplicity. It takes up no more room, (footprint wise), than a normal drip coffee maker. I use this machine HARD and roast around a pound of beans per every other day, in mine. That's probably three times the use a normal home roaster would use a machine like this, for merely making coffee for their own consumption. It's a fun unit to do experimenting with, for things such as roast length, type of beans, and amount of beans roasted at one time.
I don't know, what's going to happen to the machine now that Z & D no longer puts it out, but if it ends up in capable hands, in the near future, I would definitely recommend this little home roaster to anyone that wants to venture into self roasting the easy way and not waste a bunch of beans learning "how to roast". Its "set and walk away, until it's done" feature, makes it an exceptionally good machine for getting started!! With a built in catalytic converter, neither does this machine smoke during or after, the roasting process! I have mine sitting on a small bistro table, right next to my coffee pot and grinder, right in my home office and I'm never bothered with smoke while this unit does its own thing!
For the price, for what all you get, I don't think any manufacture just yet can touch this machine for value to dollar comparison.