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Fresh Roast SR300 SR500 ...Did anyone buy one?
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Discussions > Coffee > Home Roast > Fresh Roast...  
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JKalpin
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JKalpin
Joined: 28 Dec 2008
Posts: 814
Location: Thornhill, Ontario Canada
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Aerobie Aeropress
Grinder: Baratza Maestro Plus
Vac Pot: Yama 5-Cup
Drip: Krups Moka Brew, BraZen
Roaster: Freshroast+8, Behmor 1600+
Posted Thu Jan 14, 2010, 2:45pm
Subject: Fresh Roast SR300 SR500 ...Did anyone buy one?
 

Now that the new Fresh Roast SR300 and SR500 models are shipping, is anyone buying them, using them, reviewing them ...??  Can anyone report in?

Sweet Maria's has a 'detail page' with a couple of videos 'promoting' them.  But gee whiz, I have never in my life encountered such negative promotion.  In one, he apologizes for implications that the SR300 is a piece of cr@p, and about the SR500 he makes statements that seem to say that ...he doesn't want to misrepresent the product ...that it might not be what it seems, or it isn't what it isn't and it is what it is ...?!

Sweet Maria's is a well-respected icon in the coffee world.  Fresh Beans Inc. product launch might have a serious setback with this kind of tentative disapproval.  

Can it be all that bad?  My FR+8 is primitive but sure makes good coffee.

 
Jerry
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pallen
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pallen
Joined: 8 Feb 2008
Posts: 266
Location: Fort Worth, TX
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Gaggia New Baby
Grinder: Veneli's Mini Pro II, Dienes...
Drip: Aeropress, Melitta
Roaster: RK Drum, Behmor 1600, Fresh...
Posted Thu Jan 14, 2010, 2:57pm
Subject: Re: Fresh Roast SR300 SR500 ...Did anyone buy one?
 

I'm guessing they left out the video where he stopped a roast before the first crack and dumped out the beans to show a wide mix of completely raw to FC+. I think some variety in the roast level can be good in the cup, but this was a bit much. The beans were clearly not getting enough agitation. In that video, he recommended actually taking off the top and stirring the beans with a spoon. You can find the vid on sweet marias youtube channel I think.

I love the idea of increased capacity in the Freshroast, and adding more manual controls is a huge improvement. The machine sounds great on paper. I hope the newer models with the fan control can help with a more even roast.
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CoffeeRon
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Joined: 26 Apr 2009
Posts: 757
Location: Eatonville, Wa
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Wega Lyra, Europiccola(still...
Grinder: Macap M7D, Pharos, Vario W,...
Vac Pot: Sunbeam CoffeeMaster
Drip: Melita BCM-4
Roaster: FR SR500,B-1600, SC/TO
Posted Thu Jan 14, 2010, 6:17pm
Subject: Re: Fresh Roast SR300 SR500 ...Did anyone buy one?
 

Hi Jerry,
    I've been wondering about them also, and hadn't seen Sweet Maria's videos. Still looking for a report from someone. Also still watching Chocolate Alchemy for a refurbed Behmor. Not that I couldn't buy a new one if I really wanted, I'm just that way. (maybe that's why I Could buy a new one I don't know). Anyway, if I don't see some reports soon maybe I'll be the one to break the ice!    Cheers,     Ron

P.S. - I've always started the roasts with my freshroast-8 stirring the beans with a wooden spoon handle anyway- wouldn't be a big deal!
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CoffeeRon
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Joined: 26 Apr 2009
Posts: 757
Location: Eatonville, Wa
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Wega Lyra, Europiccola(still...
Grinder: Macap M7D, Pharos, Vario W,...
Vac Pot: Sunbeam CoffeeMaster
Drip: Melita BCM-4
Roaster: FR SR500,B-1600, SC/TO
Posted Thu Jan 14, 2010, 6:54pm
Subject: Re: Fresh Roast SR300 SR500 ...Did anyone buy one?
 

Just watched the video and I must say- was he having a bad day? He dropped a roaster and implied that the machine was not made well because he dropped it and it broke? I can see there was an issue with the new machine (that he didn't drop) needing some attention with stirring at first. that is not necessarily the deciding factor to me, as I said above. I'll just see where this goes I think.

Buy the way- we're not freezing around here now so the sc/to is working quite nicely. It's still nice to roast a little coffee at the kitchen table now and the though :)
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pallen
Senior Member
pallen
Joined: 8 Feb 2008
Posts: 266
Location: Fort Worth, TX
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Gaggia New Baby
Grinder: Veneli's Mini Pro II, Dienes...
Drip: Aeropress, Melitta
Roaster: RK Drum, Behmor 1600, Fresh...
Posted Fri Jan 15, 2010, 7:11am
Subject: Re: Fresh Roast SR300 SR500 ...Did anyone buy one?
 

Yes, I thought it was unfair to criticize it for breaking when you drop it. Its glass - that's whats going to happen. The plastic has to be able to withstand 500+ deg. This is not a piece of commercial equipment. For $160 (almost half the cost of a Behmor) you can have fresh roasted coffee at home. Even with the variations in roast degree, you are going to have good coffee. The base model is only $109. For the price, it looks pretty good to me. Its hard to say though without trying it myself.
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FredK
Senior Member
FredK
Joined: 28 Jun 2009
Posts: 152
Location: NJ
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Gaggia Classic
Grinder: Kyocera hand grinder
Roaster: FreshRoast+8
Posted Fri Jan 15, 2010, 7:42am
Subject: Re: Fresh Roast SR300 SR500 ...Did anyone buy one?
 

Maybe SweetMarias just really doesn't like the Fresh Roast products. Because I know with the FR+8 they stated that it wasn't much different than a popcorn popper.

I like my FR+8, I think it roasts very good coffee, doesn't produce much smoke,  and is small and easy to use. It's much better than a popcorn popper just for the fact that the design is very nice for catching chaf.
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pallen
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pallen
Joined: 8 Feb 2008
Posts: 266
Location: Fort Worth, TX
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Gaggia New Baby
Grinder: Veneli's Mini Pro II, Dienes...
Drip: Aeropress, Melitta
Roaster: RK Drum, Behmor 1600, Fresh...
Posted Fri Jan 15, 2010, 9:43am
Subject: Re: Fresh Roast SR300 SR500 ...Did anyone buy one?
 

FredK Said:

Maybe SweetMarias just really doesn't like the Fresh Roast products. Because I know with the FR+8 they stated that it wasn't much different than a popcorn popper.

I like my FR+8, I think it roasts very good coffee, doesn't produce much smoke,  and is small and easy to use. It's much better than a popcorn popper just for the fact that the design is very nice for catching chaf.

Posted January 15, 2010 link

I would say that its not that they don't like them - they are just spoiled to so much better. Did you notice in the video when the guy pointed at their professional sample roaster and said something to the effect of "now thats a real roaster"?

I love my Freshroast, it is a fantastic bargain. I have run mine for years, probably hundreds of pounds, but it has severe limitations. It really is a popcorn popper with a glass chamber and a chaff collector. I can imagine how, when you are used to the best commercial equipment, its hard to go back.
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JKalpin
Senior Member
JKalpin
Joined: 28 Dec 2008
Posts: 814
Location: Thornhill, Ontario Canada
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Aerobie Aeropress
Grinder: Baratza Maestro Plus
Vac Pot: Yama 5-Cup
Drip: Krups Moka Brew, BraZen
Roaster: Freshroast+8, Behmor 1600+
Posted Fri Jan 15, 2010, 10:22am
Subject: Re: Fresh Roast SR300 SR500 ...Did anyone buy one?
 

pallen Said:

I would say that its not that they don't like them - they are just spoiled to so much better. Did you notice in the video when the guy pointed at their professional sample roaster and said something to the effect of "now thats a real roaster"?

Posted January 15, 2010 link

What I find peculiar is that an employee of Sweet Maria's would be unreasonably critical of an entry-level roaster.
  1.  While you don't make much profit in an entry-level roaster, you do start selling the customer coffee.  Since buying my FR+8 I have purchased perhaps 100 lbs of coffee.

  2.  And now I'm thinking about an SR500, or maybe a Behmor.  ...and more coffee.

What I'm saying is ...you don't drive away people who will become repeat customers, unless it truly is a BAD entry-level roaster.

I think the 'Green-Bean' who posted those videos is gonna get roasted by Sweet Maria's or Fresh Beans Inc., or both.

 
Jerry
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pallen
Senior Member
pallen
Joined: 8 Feb 2008
Posts: 266
Location: Fort Worth, TX
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Gaggia New Baby
Grinder: Veneli's Mini Pro II, Dienes...
Drip: Aeropress, Melitta
Roaster: RK Drum, Behmor 1600, Fresh...
Posted Fri Jan 15, 2010, 11:25am
Subject: Re: Fresh Roast SR300 SR500 ...Did anyone buy one?
 

JKalpin Said:

What I find peculiar is that an employee of Sweet Maria's would be unreasonably critical of an entry-level roaster.
While you don't make much profit in an entry-level roaster, you do start selling the customer coffee.  Since buying my FR+8 I have purchased perhaps 100 lbs of coffee.

And now I'm thinking about an SR500, or maybe a Behmor.  ...and more coffee.

What I'm saying is ...you don't drive away people who will become repeat customers, unless it truly is a BAD entry-level roaster.

I think the 'Green-Bean' who posted those videos is gonna get roasted by Sweet Maria's or Fresh Beans Inc., or both.

Posted January 15, 2010 link

Yeah, I agree. Its definitely not in their best interests to do so - I'm guessing that's why he came back with the follow-up videos. Someone probably had a talk with him. Well, I guess we know we got his honest opinion though. :)
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ljguitar
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ljguitar
Joined: 28 Jan 2003
Posts: 2,805
Location: Cheyenne
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Expobar Pulsar
Grinder: Mazzer SuperJolly • Baratza
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Roaster: Behmor•Variacs
Posted Fri Jan 15, 2010, 1:21pm
Subject: Re: Fresh Roast SR300 SR500 ...Did anyone buy one?
 

Well guys I watched the videos...and I don't see the negativism you are discussing here. Having owned 3 of these, and having gifted a FreshRoast to my oldest son who is still using it after 4-5 years, I am pretty familiar with them. I saw honest assessment, a detailing of the limitations, and ways to deal with said limitations.

The other thing I saw was very good information on how to produce good and even roasts on FreshRoast 300 and 500s. In fact I thought that was the theme of the videos - how to produce good roasts with a FreshRoast 300 or 500...the 500 being preferable because of the adjustable fan and element.

If I buy a roaster, I want to know exactly what I'm up against, and all the potential things which could go awry. If all Tom does is give glowing reviews of roasters, then some buyers will come back when they discover the limitations and accuse him of misleading them and demand their $$$ back...

I owned three of the pre-aluminum based original FreshRoast models with a single control that turned fan & element on, and a spot where it turned the element off and just ran the fan (called the Cool cycle). I did hundreds of roasts on them, and poor bean circulation has been a characteristic to be dealt with from the beginning. It doesn't seem much better today than then as I watched the videos. It is able to be dealt with then and now, but it does require active intervention.

I did find a way to deal with poor bean circulation rather than stirring with a paint stirrer or spoon, which I'm sure Tom couldn't recommend because of safety concerns. I kept a 6'' long piece of 1'' X 2'' wood next to each roaster, and I propped it under one side of each roaster when I fired them up, and then moved it to a different side every 30-45 seconds in rotation...till the beans had dried enough to circulate on their own..which was often near or into 1st Crack (depended on the particular beans).

The tipping (steep enough to promote circulation, and shallow enough to not be tippy) would cause the beans to circulate and draw the top layer to the bottom - so I just moved it to all 4 'compass' positions before I was done...

It is a lot of work to get even roasts with small air roasters like these without scorching the bottom beans at the beginning. Individual Variacs, and thermometer modded lids were the other ways I harnessed/mastered mine...


`

 
L  a  r  r  Y          J

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