If you are ok with a 1/4 lb roast amount them I would go with the 500 model. It allows you to control air and temp. with a probe you can easily profile your coffee. If it's price you are worried about I would spend $375-400 on a Behmor 1600. If not I would go all out and spend $1,000 on a Hottop. All can be found used as well for a cheaper price. Keep your eyes on the for sale area here.
If I could choose for you. Behmor 1600. I won one and love it! Roasts 1/4 - 1 lb. Auto profiles for all bean types. Quiet, Fun to watch, easy to clean and a very! good price. Sweetmaria's sells them for $375 shipped with free coffee.
Have you looked into a Whirley pop? It's low-tech, but gets the job done and easily roasts 1lb at a time (or less, if you need to). I've roasted a few dozen pounds through mine, including 10 back-to-back roasts in one day for Christmas gifts. The gears on mine are on their way out, but for $30 you really can't go wrong.
charlesburd Senior Member Joined: 11 Apr 2006 Posts: 35 Location: wilson, wy Expertise: I love coffee
Espresso: la spaziale mini vivaldi ii Grinder: macap mxk Drip: presto Roaster: behmor 1600
Posted Sun Apr 21, 2013, 6:03pm Subject: Re: WTB: Entry-level Home Roaster (Air popper to Behmor 1600)
i use a behmor 1600 and love it.
before that i used an iroast 2. at the time i liked it. however, after using the behmor it seems like a waste of time.
i bought my refurbished bemor 1600 from chocolatealchemy.com for $200. i don't know if they still do that deal or not.
the refurb behmor cost about the same as the iroast 2, it is quite enough that i can hear first and second crack (impossible for me with iroast 2 noise), generates less smoke and make a much better and consistent roast.
i use it to roast metropolis coffee's greenline beans.
even at full price i think that the behmor is excellent value.
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