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Hottop v. Behmor
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Discussions > Coffee > Home Roast > Hottop v. Behmor  
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Cafesp
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Posted Tue Jan 22, 2008, 1:56am
Subject: Re: Hottop v. Behmer
 

veganjosh Said:

I know absolutely nothing about cars, so I can't get in on that analogy, but I have used both roasters, and here are my thoughts:

I've used my Hottop B extensively, and I absolutely love it --- when I upgraded it from the analog to the B (giving me control of temperature and fan), it completely changed everything about my relationship to coffee.  I'd been roasting for years on a Fresh Roast, iRoast, and analog Hottop...I felt like I did a pretty good job, and drank some pretty good coffee.  But, when I suddenly had control over the roast curve, I realized just how much I'd been missing.  Now, I actually can change how a coffee tastes, for the same roast level, depending on the curve --- as I've learned to do that more and more, my coffee quality has skyrocketed.  In addition, the extra control has made me think a lot more about specific beans --- how coffees from different regions, elevations, etc. should be roasted differently.  There's a lot left to learn, but, seriously, I can't state fervently enough how much the new Hottop controls have changed my relationship to coffee...I'm drinking far better coffee than I ever had, and I find the experience of buying and roasting coffees to be much more satisfying and interesting.

By comparison, I've only roasted on a Behavior a few times, while visiting my father, who recently upgraded to it from an iRoast2.  Without a doubt, the Behavior is a nice machine, and we got some good coffee out of it.  If it were between the Before and the old, analog or digital, Hottop, I'd consider the Behavior an easy choice.  However, without hacking the machine (since I don't own one, I haven't watched the hacking threads here, so I'm not sure what people have figured out on this end), it just doesn't offer you a whole lot of control on the roast.

So, the question (to me, at least) is: are you going to use the extra features the Hottop provides?  Are you going to really experiment with creating profiles...does that sound like something you'd enjoy or dread?  If you'd enjoy it, I think the Hottop is a great choice.  On the other hand, if you're not going to extensively use the profile controls, then you'd be paying an extra $400 for better cooling, which doesn't seem like a good deal to me.

Just my opinion,
-Josh

Posted January 21, 2008 link

Thanks for sharing your opinion,
Smaller Hottop batch vs Behmors' is ok for me, I've been reading back and forth between HB & CG and our Spaz forums as well, to decide which one well suits for me!
It's even clearer for me to pick HT B model over P.
Thanks ALL for sharing your thoughts so I can make my choice on Espresso machine, grinders and now roaster! ( based on my own digest )

Nathan

 
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mrgnomer
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mrgnomer
Joined: 16 Oct 2005
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Roaster: Hottop programmable, IRoast2
Posted Tue Jan 22, 2008, 8:12pm
Subject: Re: Hottop v. Behmor
 

craigrow Said:

Let me clarify my question.  If I asked you whether I should buy a Subaru Forester or a Mercedes SLK then, "it depends on what you want."  One is a sport ut, the other a sports car.  You wouldn't buy the SLK to go skiing; you wouldn't buy the Forester to impress the chicks.  However, if I ask you which is the better car, clearly the Mercedes beats the Subaru, hands down, in terms of quality of design, craftsmanship, materials, etc.  

From what I read about the Hottop and the Behmor, however, we're not talking SLK v. Forester.  It's more like a Suburban v. a Tahoe with custom wheels and the Tahoe is considerably more expensive.  What I'm asking is, is the Hottop a Tahoe?  If it is then it's not worth the extra expense.  From what I read, that is the case.

However, the Hottop's price suggests it's not a Tahoe, but a Cadillac Escalade.  In many ways a simlar vehicle but far superior in terms of craftsmanship and quality of materials.  

So, if the Behmor is a Suburban, is the Hottop a Tahoe or an Escalade?  If they were both $200 which would you buy?

Posted January 21, 2008 link

Kind of mute if you're not an experienced driver.  Roasting is like driving.  Takes some experience regardless of your equipment to get good at it.

If you're starting out you could go with the least expensive equipment.  You might not appreciate what a more expensive set up will do until you know what you're doing.  On the other hand going with good equipment to start off also gives you something to grow into.  The Hottop is a roaster that should last long enough for you to grow into and then some.

The Hottop is one the only home roaster I know of that allows you to dump your roast right when it's done.  No cooling in the chamber.  That alone makes it a great roaster compared to the other home roasters offered.  The new fully controllable board makes for a very good roaster.

The Behmor is new and attractive for the price point.  Same debates of Hottop vs. Gene Cafe went around for a while when the Gene came out.  Once the novelty of the Behmor settles down it might fade off the radar like the Gene.  Will something else come along and will it to be compared to the Hottop?

I find the Hottop a very good roaster.  Very capable.  Great customer support.  Been around a while.  Excellent roaster at any price, IMHO.
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Prof
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Prof
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Posted Tue Jan 22, 2008, 8:41pm
Subject: Re: Hottop v. Behmor
 

Question for Hottop users:  When the roast is done and you dump the beans, then what?  Is there a cooling system underneath the dumptray that pushes air through the beans?  If so, how long does it typically take to cool the beans?  Or do you have to cool the beans some other way?  In other words, does the Hottop have a built in cooling system?

The Behmor pushes a lot of ambient air into the chamber upon cooling and opening the door after a short time speeds it up.  Its not as fast as when I dump the hot beans from the TO/SC into the cooling cone and let the air blow through.  But one batch of very hot beans went all over the deck when I forgot to unplug the SC cord!  That was fun...

 
LMWDP # 010
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mrgnomer
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Posted Tue Jan 22, 2008, 8:53pm
Subject: Re: Hottop v. Behmor
 

Prof Said:

Question for Hottop users:  When the roast is done and you dump the beans, then what?

Posted January 22, 2008 link

You enjoy the piece of mind knowing you stopped your roast where you wanted it not where it ends up with other in the chamber cooling systems ;)


Yes, the fan of the Hottop goes to full after the roast is dumped.  The roast is agitated by a spinning arm as well.  After the cooling period the temp of the roast is maybe slightly above room temp.  4 min, I beleive.

The fan could be more direct, I guess.  Doesn't stop anyone from pointing an additional fan at the tray while the beans are cooling.  Not only does the cooling tray arm agitate the beans the motor reverses if a bean gets stuck on the arm and the arm stalls.
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veganjosh
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Posted Tue Jan 22, 2008, 8:53pm
Subject: Re: Hottop v. Behmor
 

Prof Said:

Question for Hottop users:  When the roast is done and you dump the beans, then what?  Is there a cooling system underneath the dumptray that pushes air through the beans?  If so, how long does it typically take to cool the beans?  Or do you have to cool the beans some other way?  In other words, does the Hottop have a built in cooling system?

Posted January 22, 2008 link

There is a fan underneath the cooling tray, and the tray has a rotating stirrer that moves the beans around.  It runs through a 5 minute cooling cycle, and the beans are typically down to around room temperature in 2:00-2:30 (I haven't done actual measurements on this, just stuck my hand in the beans, so I might be wrong...nonetheless, the machine cools the beans pretty fast).
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lparsons21
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Roaster: Gene Cafe, Behmor,...
Posted Tue Jan 22, 2008, 9:14pm
Subject: Re: Hottop v. Behmor
 

mrgnomer Said:

The Behmor is new and attractive for the price point.  Same debates of Hottop vs. Gene Cafe went around for a while when the Gene came out.  Once the novelty of the Behmor settles down it might fade off the radar like the Gene.  Will something else come along and will it to be compared to the Hottop?

I find the Hottop a very good roaster.  Very capable.  Great customer support.  Been around a while.  Excellent roaster at any price, IMHO.

Posted January 22, 2008 link

I hadn't noticed that the Gene dropped off the radar any more than the Hottop did after the Behmor came out.  It, the Behmor and the Hottop are all good roasters imo.  Each with a slightly different way of doing things, each having pluses and minuses.  In the case of the Hottop, the price is a real issue for the guy/gal just wanting to roast a few beans now and then.

If money isn't a concern, I'd go for the Hottop because it is an extremely nice roaster with good control.  OTOH, if I was concerned a bit about money, the Gene and the Behmor come into the picture.  The Gene because it is so controllable, though you have to manually do everything.  The Behmor because it appears it will have good enough control and repeatability which I would think would be attractive to many.

I went with the Gene some time ago, at that time, the then current Hottop was grossly overpriced imo, for what it did.  The controls were primitive and didn't really allow all that much control either.  Today's Hottop is a very different animal with the new controls.

 
Lloyd
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Cosmo
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Posted Tue Jan 22, 2008, 10:09pm
Subject: Re: Hottop v. Behmor
 

I have the Hottop B.   love it.  I don't mind roasting several times a week, in fact I like the time out in the garage alone, with just the roaster and my sense of where I am going with it.  But that is a consideration, ie, roasting outside, unless you have a vent.  While I really like the smell of roasted beans, my wife will only tolerate it if I am outside. Something to think about.  

Aside from the extra money, the differences between the two roasters seems to come down to cooling, control, and load size.

If you get the HT, check out some of the profiles over at Home Barrista dot com.

Mike
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Cafesp
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Joined: 22 Nov 2007
Posts: 30
Location: Disney Land, California
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: La Spaziale S1 VII,
Grinder: Cimbali Max Hybrid, Versalab...
Vac Pot: AeroPress, Bodum French...
Drip: Bunn HG phase brew!
Roaster: Learning...still...Hottop B
Posted Wed Jan 23, 2008, 3:10am
Subject: Re: Hottop v. Behmor
 

mrgnomer Said:

Kind of mute if you're not an experienced driver.  Roasting is like driving.  Takes some experience regardless of your equipment to get good at it.

If you're starting out you could go with the least expensive equipment.  You might not appreciate what a more expensive set up will do until you know what you're doing.  On the other hand going with good equipment to start off also gives you something to grow into.  The Hottop is a roaster that should last long enough for you to grow into and then some..., IMHO.

Posted January 22, 2008 link

I like driving my Nissan 300 Z  T-top  5-speed  way more than my MBZ 380SL  AT.
That's why I'll start out with Hottop B and hope  "to grow into it and then some."

Nathan

 
Love is in the air! Taste it.
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Cafesp
Senior Member


Joined: 22 Nov 2007
Posts: 30
Location: Disney Land, California
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: La Spaziale S1 VII,
Grinder: Cimbali Max Hybrid, Versalab...
Vac Pot: AeroPress, Bodum French...
Drip: Bunn HG phase brew!
Roaster: Learning...still...Hottop B
Posted Sun Jan 27, 2008, 8:00am
Subject: Re: Hottop v. Behmer
 

"...As for the Behmor and Gene, both are very nice roasters but my personal favorite is the Hottop 8828P. It gives me a roasting experience like no other, it gets all the senses involved (sight, sound and smell) are all there including beans cool to the touch after just a few rapid moments of cooling."
Niko

All your thoughts about these  roasters really help me digest and pick my own roaster choice.
Would be nice if we could have them all!

Cafesp

 
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germantownrob
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germantownrob
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Posted Fri Jun 13, 2008, 8:31am
Subject: Re: Hottop v. Behmor
 

I have had the Behmor for 7 months now and I just got the Hottop B this week. I think they fill completely different niches, the Behmor will get you roasting for a little less than half the coast of the Hottop and will do a very good job. I found that the Behmor roasted best with 10oz of beans and that gave me full control over how dark I want to roast and the Hottop does the same amount.  The Behmor does a good job at smoke reduction and the Hottop, well it does a good job of making smoke. The Behmor doesn't like back to back roasts and the manual calls for an hour between roasts, the Hottop will roast all day long with a automated cool down cycle followed by a short pre heat cycle. The Behmor has 5 preset roast profiles that can be manipulated but the changes can't be saved, the Hottop has 1 default profile that can be manipulated and 3 can be saved. The Behmor cools in the roasting chamber therefore you have to plan ahead on stopping the roast, the Hottop dumps the beans into a SS tray with perforated holes, an agitator arm moves the beans and a fan blows air up through the beans.

I have had 2 minor problems that needed fixing with the Behmor and this was easy with the great customer support.  I will have to see with the Hottop.

I needed more control over the roast so I upgraded to the Hottop but this does not mean I won't still use the Behmor.
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