We visited with Joe Behm of Behmor to see what was up with his two main products, the Behmor 1600 roaster, and the Behmor Brazen Coffee Brewer, and we discovered that he's launched both as updated products at the show, adding "plus" to each name.
The Behmor 1600 Plus Roaster
Let's start with the Behmor 1600 Plus roaster. Long time readers of CoffeeGeek know of this roaster and its popularity; it's ability to roast from 125 to 450 grams of coffee (1/4lb to 1lb), the drum roast style, the good smoke reduction system, and its attractive pricing ($300) were big reasons why. But one of the things our community sometimes harped on was that the roaster was basically an automatic roaster with limited manual controls. People figured out various ways to trick it and such, but at the end of the day, it was an automatic style roaster.
Mr. Behm launched the Behmor 1600 Plus at the SCAA show, and he's addressed some of these desires with the latest model. Besides the automatic profiles, the roaster now boasts a quasi-manual mode that is accessed via several buttons to ramp up or down the roast temperatures. By pressing one of the "P" buttons (P1 to P5) you can select from 0% to 100% (in 25% increments) of heater "strength". Tied in with the real time readouts of temperatures (it displays two - the exhaust temperature, and the drum area temperature) a seasoned home roaster can do a custom manual roast profile to get the coffee roasted the way they want. The roaster also has a new variable speed drum control, allowing the user to spin up or down the drum RPMs from 8 to 16 revolutions per minute.
The control panel got a slight tweak as well, though you'd be hard pressed to see the changes, and as usual with products like this, it pays to not only read the manual, but memorize it. One change is the use of a circle band around the P1-P5 buttons, one "empty", one showing quarter full, one half full, one 3/4 full... you get the picture.
If you own an existing Behmor 1600, don't fret - Mr. Behm said he would be selling an upgrade kit to bring most of the new Plus' functionality to existing models. The price will be under $100 (TBA). If you're handy, the home-upgrade should take about 15 minutes to do (according to Mr. Behm). The new Behmor 1600 Plus will see an increase in price over the old model -- most likely the same increase as the upgrade kit will cost to existing owners -- which, considering it's been seven years since the roaster has been launched (without seeing any price increases) is not too bad.
Given the popularity of the Behmor 1600, of course our forums are on top of the discussion about the new model.
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| Updated Behmor 1600 Plus Roaster - this is the new panel - very subtly changed from original (note the gradient circles around the P1-P5 buttons). |
| Behmor 1600 Plus model (either upgraded, or a prototype), though with the original panel. |
Brazen Coffee Brewer
| The Brazen Plus brewer - looks same outside, minor fixes inside. |
Also updated is the Brazen Coffee Brewer, to the "Brazen Plus" model; but it's upgrades are more subtle. The original model had some issues with internal valves and also with the potential of some grit to get into the internal heating systems, tubes and such from the water reservoir. Mr. Behm has fixed the internal valve problems, and now uses a new clog filter in the water reservoir. To coincide with the 1600 Plus launch, he also decided to rename the Brazen to the Plus version. It's price will remain the same.
Auto drip brewers ain't exactly in vogue right now -- and are positively shunned by the coffee hipster crowds -- but the Brazen is a unit worth looking into. First and foremost this is a variable temperature control brewer, and I don't know of many like it on the market. Want a coffee brewed at 197F? This will do it. Want 204F? Ditto. In fact, it manages temperature so well, it even adjusts for altitude - so if you're brewing in Denver one mile up, this machine knows it and adjusts. And on top of that, it manages the temperature climb well via what Mr. Behm calls "the temperature glide control"... easing the heating elements as it approaches your programmed brew temperature so as to not overshoot.
It features a lot of advanced, "almost manual like" controls like a really good water dispersion spray head that gets most of the coffee evenly soaked. There's a pre-infusion function to generate bloom that can be time-set by the operator. There's even a manual release water feature, for using the brewer to heat up water for tea or other purposes. The brewer comes with a permanent filter but can also use a standard bunn style flat paper filter.
The Brazen Plus retails for a very reasonable $200. With new auto drip (and fancy manual-drip style) brewers and towers coming on market for $300, $400 and more, this one's a total bargain for some seriously advanced, automated coffee brewing.
Lastly, Mr. Behm showed us some optional accessories he's working on, including a glass carafe that can be used in lieu of the Brazen's steel insulated carafe. This new glass carafe -- still in prototype stage -- can be used for cone-filter coffee brewing or for tea brewing with the Brazen.
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| Brazen's new metal anti-clog filter in place. |
| Prototype new tea / coffee glass brewer Mr. Behm designed for the Brazen. |
Want to find out more about the Brazen Brewer? Tom Owen of SweetMarias posted an informative (and funny) video. "It's like it's from Star Trek!"