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Need a new home coffee roaster

My iRoast2 has suddenly developed a severe illness (getting hot, but not hot enough). Apparently the manufacturer has not been shipping units or parts in a good while. So it is time to shop around for a new roaster. Here are some of my parameters:

- My budget is not unlimited. Having said that, I will pay for quality and definitely want to avoid machines that do not roast well, are poorly made, etc. I know I will probably end up spending some hundreds of dollars. I just don't want to spend more than I have to.

- I tend to roast in small batches, as there is one coffee drinker in my household.

- My coffee roasting preferences tend towards the lighter end of the spectrum. I rarely go far beyond second crack and there are plenty of times that I stop before then.

- I do enjoy natural-process coffees, so it is important to be able to successfully deal with chaff.

- I also sometimes roast coffees whose bean size is small. (This is an issue with some models.)

- Programmability is fun but not required.

So, fellow hounds, what machines do you suggest? I will be very grateful for your advice. Please do not recommend roasting on a pan on the stove or a popcorn popper. I know about these options and they are not for me.

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  1. Why not ask this question at coffeegeek? You're not going to get much feed back here.

    http://www.sweetmarias.com/index.php

    http://coffeegeek.com/forums/coffee/h...

    1. There are plenty of coffeegeeks here at CH.
      I'm currently using a homemade roaster known as the Stircrazy/Turbo or Turbo Crazy similar to this one http://biobug.org/coffee/turbo-crazy/. I've been using this for about 6 yrs now and it work great for me. After using a Freshroast roaster for about a year I really need something that could do a larger batch size. FWIW the Freshroast has gotten better http://www.sweetmarias.com/sweetmaria.... Still a small batch size but the new model has split wiring to allow more control over temp and fan. I have friends that use the Gene http://www.sweetmarias.com/sweetmaria... and are very happy with the results. The Behmor has also gotten a lot of attention over the last few years.

      6 Replies
      1. re: scubadoo97

        Thanks, scubadoo, I'll look at those two machines on Sweet Maria's. That's where I got my iRoast2. In searching for its successor, I wanted to be sure to look there, but also at other possible sources that are good to do business with. In my case, small batch size is just fine. The one machine at Sweet Maria's that I did look into so far is the Behmor. Unfortunately, I do like to roast coffees that throw off a lot of chaff, coffees that are small beans, and sometimes like to go a bit further than second crack. Those were all issues with the Behmor, according to Sweetmaria's original review. However there are some notes that hint at improvements. Yesterday I tried to create a forum account on their website to ask about that, but their little type-these-letters-to-prove-youre-legit thingy kept on rejecting me, no matter what I typed.

        1. re: PinchOfSalt

          a dry ethiopian's fine, and that's chaffy as all get out. don't try yemeni though. still, you wuz looking for something to do a 1/4 lb, and behmor ain't your man.

          1. re: Chowrin

            The bean that throws off the most chaff for me is a Bolivian

        2. re: scubadoo97

          Oh, no, having looked at the Gene's, it is calling out to me. $500 for a roaster...gotta sleep on this, but that is a lot less than some people spend at Starbucks in a year.... Gotta make sure though that it has no problems with small batch roasting, say 1/4 pound or so. Still open to other folks' suggestions if anyone has one!

          1. re: PinchOfSalt

            The Gene is a sweet little roaster. You should have no problems with a 1/4 lb batch size. I think it will do up to 1/2 lb. The cost is an issue but the Behmor is around $300 and a Hot Top is even more than the Gene. The FreshRoast SR500 is most similar to your iRoast and at a similar price point.

            1. re: scubadoo97

              Yeah I looked at the FR SR500 earlier this AM and for me the uneveness of roasting at the earlier stages of the cycle issue is... an issue. I appreciate that this can be overcome, but my habit is to set my coffee roasting and then do other things around the kitchen while it is processing. I am there to sniff and take a look but can also make progress on things like the dishes, etc. Always having to stand over the roaster every time I use it is just something I don't want to do.

        3. Hi PinchOfSalt ... May I ask why you're not going for another iRoast2? I have one and while I'm not dissatisfied per se, I am wondering if there are more user friendly ones out there

          4 Replies
          1. re: CocoTO

            The iRoast2 is out of stock at Sweet Maria's and has been for some time. When poking around I saw some people voicing concern that it may not be made any more, or that its manufacturer (one of those places that plays in the as-seen-on-tv market space) may just not be that interested in it. So my thought is to pay homage to the five years or so of good service I got from my iRoast2 and move on.

            1. re: PinchOfSalt

              I was listening to a guy on The Splendid Table last week who talked about using an old air popcorn machine - thought it was interesting. Check out the podcast from 1/15 for the story.

              1. re: mamueller

                Thanks, yeah, I heard that discussion too. However, like I said, using a popcorn popper is not what I want to do. Personal preferences and all.