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Reports From the Road
SCAA Long Beach 2007 Day 1
Author: Mark Prince
Posted: May 5, 2007
Article rating: 7.4
feedback: (17) comments | read | write
 
Hottop's latest roaster offerings
Posted by Mark Prince, 12:20pm Permalink to this blog entry
Click for larger image
Randy Glass
... working the hottop booth. Good on ya Randy! It's about time one of these companies recognized what you do for the industry.
Click for larger image
Hottop P Panel
Shown in standby mode, there's a lot of control there for the home roaster.
Click for larger image
Showing features
Randy explaining some of the roaster's upgraded features.

MAN... this show is packed. The trade show floor just opened to the general public, and it is packed.

I was walking up and down the aisles before the floor opened just 30 minutes ago and it was quiet, and tense, with the vendors and booth operators all waiting for the big opening day. Now it's here, and walking the aisle is a bit harder. But what's that?

I see a familiar face over in a booth. It's Randy Glass of alt.coffee fame and Espresso My Espresso fame (site's currently down as of this typing, but I'm sure that is shortlived - but Randy, time to host that site on a real server lol!). Pretty cool! And Randy is working the Hottop USA booth! Well, I must stop in. Especially since I haven't seen the latest all digital version with the big blue panel or even the "Model D" semi-digital version.

After chatting with Randy a bit about "things" outside the scope of this article, we got down to business. I got a full product walkthrough on the latest programmable, profile-laden Model KN-8828P (it needs a sexier name). Very interesting stuff. What appealed most to me is that most of my complaints about the earlier models seem to be out of the window - no more lost roasts because the machine can't add on minutes or amp up the temperatures.

The "P" model, as they call it in short form, features an auto mode, much like the D and original models before it, but also you can store up to 9 user-programmable profiles, with up to 8 programmable steps per profile. And it doesn't stop there. You can program three variables per step - temperature, time, and fan speed. Randy says they worked on the machine's usability too - allowing you to change any step easily without losing the rest of your programming. This is all kind of a stab against the iRoast and iRoast2, the first profile programmable roaster on the market, which is a kudo, but that roaster has absolutely horrible UI - everytime I use it, I have to refer back to the manual to remember how to program things, and it's not intuitive. From the looks of this new P model of the Hottop, this one is.

Randy walked me through other features, which included a much beefed up airflow system, additional safety and usability features like how you cannot roast again until the machine senses the chaff tray has been removed (for emptying) and replaced, how the panel changes colour completely to indicate different stages or programming states. The chaff tray is also much bigger now and better engineered.

Hottop also offers a retrofit kit for older hottop users to "upgrade" to this version. Basically, you get a control board, display panel and other goodies to swap with the old guts of your roaster.

And the manual? Damn. Randy Glass wrote it, and it's available online here. Randy's understandably proud of it, and at 44 pages, it's more like a small book than a user manual. Great stuff.

The Hottop already sets the industry standard for cooling ability on a home roaster - nothing comes close. All these new features mean nothing but great news for the home roaster. It does come with a price, but all in all, it was very impressive.

Article rating: 7.4
Author: Mark Prince
Posted: May 5, 2007
feedback: (17) comments | read | write
Reports From the Road Column Archives  
Column Description
One of the more popular pieces of content on the CoffeeGeek website are the reports from major trade shows. We cover shows like no other media source does - giving first hand intimate and frank reports that give you the real scoop on what's going on, from a consumer and a coffee lover's true perspective.

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