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Sneak Preview - Gene Cafe Home / Commercial roaster!
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MarkPrince
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Joined: 19 Dec 2001
Posts: 5,611
Location: Vancouver, BC
Expertise: Professional

Espresso: KvdW Speedster
Grinder: Versalab M3 Grinder
Vac Pot: A bit too many
Drip: Bonavita
Roaster: Hario Glass Retro Roaster
Posted Wed Feb 8, 2006, 9:28pm
Subject: Sneak Preview - Gene Cafe Home / Commercial roaster!
 

Yeah, you heard me - the literature says that this can be used in a light commercial setting - in other words, they believe it can withstand multiple roasting sessions (ie, not something like "3 times a week maximum")...

I'm talking the Gene Cafe Roaster, and CoffeeGeek just received a late prototype / shipping version of the N. American 110V version.

This thread will have some photos and talk about the capabilities of the roaster. It will be the subject of a QuickShot Review in the next few months.

General info about the roaster:

- 300g capacity
- user-controlled temperatures up to 482F (need to verify)
- user-controlled time settings
- ability to manually control profile on the fly
- very unique rotating, oscilating roasting pattern
- very unique roasting chamber - complex inside, includes a slight "shaver" to help remove chaff.
- EXTREMELY quiet. Even quieter than the Hottop by a couple of dB.
- very lightweight. You expect this thing to weigh twice as much as it actually does weigh.


First impressions, based on only two roasts.

Very interesting roaster. The design is based on this concept - rotate, off balance, a roasting chamber to agitate and evenly roast beans.

Air is heated on the left side of the roaster in a very compact chamber.

Air is funneled into the roast chamber through a tight-seal silicone (or something) gasket system, through the chamber, then through another airtight connection on the right of the machine, into a chaff collecting and air evacuation area on the right - almost no hot air is "wasted" in this design - putting your hand over the roasting area (don't touch the glass!) shows very little ambient heat coming off the machine - just the radiating heat from the roasting chamber's glass. Extremely efficient design.
The rotating, oscilating (off canter) roasting chamber does a very good job of removing chaff and evenly roasting (see below).

My first roast took some time and came out a bit uneven. I partially blamed this on running it outside (in 7C weather) and on the very old (4 years old) green I used as a throwaway test sample.

My second roast, inside, took less time, and was a very even roast. I loved having the ability to change the temp or time "on the fly". One LED readout gives current and set roast temps, the other gives a countdown clock (minutes, and seconds showin in ten increments, ie, it will show 13.5 which means 13 mins, 30 seconds. 13.2 would be 13 minutes, 22.5 seconds, I assume.) You can force cool at any time, change temps at any time. GREAT for the tyro wanting really put a live profile curve into the roast.

Roast colour is extremely visible - the most visible of any roaster I've used - lots of light hits the roast chamber, making it easy to monitor the roast colour

Roast sounds are also extremely audible, given the super low noise of the roaster.

Cooling - not the best. The benefit of having a completely closed air path system through the beans is also a detriment to cooling. After 2 mins, it was only down to 360F. After four, down to 250. After 6 minutes, 180F. After 8 minutes, 120F. I suspect this could be improved by a dramatically faster fan design for cooling.

Chaff collection is very efficient. the complex design of the roasting chamber removes more chaff than most other home roasters I've used.

Definitely more to follow. This is wicked cool.

MarkPrince: roaster1 (Custom).jpg
(Click for larger image)

 
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MarkPrince
Moderator


Joined: 19 Dec 2001
Posts: 5,611
Location: Vancouver, BC
Expertise: Professional

Espresso: KvdW Speedster
Grinder: Versalab M3 Grinder
Vac Pot: A bit too many
Drip: Bonavita
Roaster: Hario Glass Retro Roaster
Posted Wed Feb 8, 2006, 9:29pm
Subject: Re: Sneak Preview - Gene Cafe Home / Commercial roaster - Roast Chamber
 

Here's the roast chamber - pretty complex and beefy design. The lid flips open (the little slider switch on the lid is to lock the chamber into the roaster, not to seal the lid). The lid has a gasket to keep it airtight.

Inside the chamber a perforated metal sheet runs down the middle. It has two slots cut out. At the bottom it's just open. At the top, you see a solid piece of metal? That thing swings back and forth, and on one side has some very dull, shallow "teeth" that scrape silverskin away from the bean.

Note the slanted design - it fits in the machine so on one side, the chamber is high, and on the other side, it's low. As the chamber is rotated, it rotates cantered - high, low, high low. Really good, slo mo agitation system. Very ingenious in fact.

Mark

MarkPrince: roastchamber0.jpg
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MarkPrince
Moderator


Joined: 19 Dec 2001
Posts: 5,611
Location: Vancouver, BC
Expertise: Professional

Espresso: KvdW Speedster
Grinder: Versalab M3 Grinder
Vac Pot: A bit too many
Drip: Bonavita
Roaster: Hario Glass Retro Roaster
Posted Wed Feb 8, 2006, 9:30pm
Subject: Re: Sneak Preview - Gene Cafe Home / Commercial roaster!
 

This is where the chamber "slots" into position. Note the heavy duty gasket for maintain air seal, and the air "director" from the hot air generated on this left side of the machine. There's heating coils inside that thing that are controlled to 5F or less increments (not tested yet).

This entire section (rotates, rotating the drum.

Mark

MarkPrince: roastrotator.jpg
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MarkPrince
Moderator


Joined: 19 Dec 2001
Posts: 5,611
Location: Vancouver, BC
Expertise: Professional

Espresso: KvdW Speedster
Grinder: Versalab M3 Grinder
Vac Pot: A bit too many
Drip: Bonavita
Roaster: Hario Glass Retro Roaster
Posted Wed Feb 8, 2006, 9:31pm
Subject: Re: Sneak Preview - Gene Cafe Home / Commercial roaster!
 

Here's the roasting chamber slotted into place. Note the solid metal "flap" insde the drum, currently at 90 degrees to the main middle perforated sheet inside.

Also note the slider-catch on the chamber's handle. That's to lock it into the roaster.

Mark

MarkPrince: slotin.jpg
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MarkPrince
Moderator


Joined: 19 Dec 2001
Posts: 5,611
Location: Vancouver, BC
Expertise: Professional

Espresso: KvdW Speedster
Grinder: Versalab M3 Grinder
Vac Pot: A bit too many
Drip: Bonavita
Roaster: Hario Glass Retro Roaster
Posted Wed Feb 8, 2006, 9:32pm
Subject: Re: Sneak Preview - Gene Cafe Home / Commercial roaster!
 

This is the chaff collection chamber and hot air exhaust. It does a decent job, and is easily removed or inserted into the main roaster.

Mark

MarkPrince: chaffcollector.jpg
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CoffeeGeek Senior Editor
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MarkPrince
Moderator


Joined: 19 Dec 2001
Posts: 5,611
Location: Vancouver, BC
Expertise: Professional

Espresso: KvdW Speedster
Grinder: Versalab M3 Grinder
Vac Pot: A bit too many
Drip: Bonavita
Roaster: Hario Glass Retro Roaster
Posted Wed Feb 8, 2006, 9:32pm
Subject: Re: Sneak Preview - Gene Cafe Home / Commercial roaster!
 

Here is the rather simple, yet versatile control panel (IMO, much better designed than the iRoast, which needs help in this regard).

The dials serve multiple functions. The blue one can be clicked to turn the roaster on or off. It can also be rotated to add or remove time from the entire roasting cycle. You can set it at the start of a roast, or add time during a roast.

The red dial, when pressed will do different things - one press forces a cool, another press forces a stop of the cooling if the roast is under 212F; a third press stops the cooling at any time.

Dialing the red dial up or down increases or lowers the target roasting temperature. You can just set one temp at the start, and it takes some time to ramp up (ie, it took about 5 minutes to get up to my initial 390F temp the first roast I did, but I'm going by memory on this, not on written data); you can also change the temp on the fly. Increments of 10F seem to only take about 10-20 seconds to take "hold" after you adjust. Again, going by memory here.

I did note one thing - because of the relatively slow cool down, you have to "surf" the end of your roast a bit. IE. if you like a Full City + roast - as dark as you can get without surface oils, you have to put the machine into cool mode when you're more at a full city roast, because the beans will continue to roast a bit for at least 30 or more seconds after you hit "cool".

Love this kind of manual control though - total profiles possible, once you get to know the machine and how long it takes for temp changes to take effect.

Mark

MarkPrince: controls.jpg
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CoffeeGeek Senior Editor
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MarkPrince
Moderator


Joined: 19 Dec 2001
Posts: 5,611
Location: Vancouver, BC
Expertise: Professional

Espresso: KvdW Speedster
Grinder: Versalab M3 Grinder
Vac Pot: A bit too many
Drip: Bonavita
Roaster: Hario Glass Retro Roaster
Posted Wed Feb 8, 2006, 9:35pm
Subject: Re: Sneak Preview - Gene Cafe Home / Commercial roaster - Interior Path
 

In this pic, you can see the "intake" area of the roasting chamber - beyond that metal slot grille in the middle is where the hot air enters the roasting chamber.

The entire path of hot air through this machine is sealed up tight.. at least till it gets to the slide-in chaff collector and exhaust. A very efficient and quiet design.

Love that Korean design magic!

Mark

MarkPrince: interior1.jpg
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CoffeeGeek Senior Editor
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Luca
Senior Member
Luca
Joined: 27 Jan 2004
Posts: 2,658
Location: Melbourne, Australia

Espresso: H: Maver W: FB-80
Grinder: H: Super Jolly W: Brasilia...
Vac Pot: Hario TCA-2
Roaster: Sample Roaster at Work
Posted Wed Feb 8, 2006, 9:55pm
Subject: Re: Sneak Preview - Gene Cafe Home / Commercial roaster - Interior Path
 

Teeheehee ... for once, this thing has been made available to the rest of the world before the US ;P

Check this out on www.coffeesnobs.com.au

Hopefully I'll be able to play with one head to head with a hottop in a few weeks.

Cheers,

Luca

 
General ramblings about coffee: http://www.pourquality.blogspot.com/

Reviews of Australian coffee: http://www.coffeereviewaustralia.com/
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Rawman
Senior Member
Rawman
Joined: 14 Jun 2003
Posts: 1,034
Location: SF Bay Area, CA
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: 2002 Cremina, Elektra MKAL,...
Grinder: Mazzer Mini
Vac Pot: Silex Vintage Vac Pot
Drip: Bodum chambord FP, Melitta...
Roaster: HotTop, Buzzroaster,  HG/DB
Posted Wed Feb 8, 2006, 10:19pm
Subject: Re: Sneak Preview - Gene Cafe Home / Commercial roaster - Interior Path
 

Looks pretty interesting.  Wonder how much it will sell for around here.

 
Rawman the Expobarbarian..
AKA the Original Jon R.
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mirabu
Senior Member


Joined: 4 Nov 2005
Posts: 113
Location: Indiana, USA
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Bialetti
Grinder: Virtuoso, Infinity
Vac Pot: Yama 8c, Sunbeam C30A
Drip: Krups Moka Brew, Presto
Roaster: SC/CO, FR+8, Behmor 1600
Posted Wed Feb 8, 2006, 10:39pm
Subject: Re: Sneak Preview - Gene Cafe Home / Commercial roaster!
 

That's a cool looking new coffee toy!  The lack of a method of quick cooling the roast concerns me though.  Can't wait to see more details and tests.

Mike
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