I love its large capacity and ability to effectively roast outdoors; even in the coldest weather.
Negative Product Points
Not a roaster for the begginner. Swissmar claims this is a "set it and forget it roaster." It's not... It would be a much more user friendly product with two things; a tempered glass viewing window and an ability to somehow drop in a thermometer for those who prefer to roast by temperature.
I've only owned this machine for a few weeks now so I can't comment on any reliability issues people have raised in the past. The Alp seems to be of solid construction.
I've been home roasting for almost 2 years now with a HWP. I felt competant enough to move up to the Alp and haven't regreted it so far. The large capacity is great. Gauging the level of roast is mostly done by ear and smell which I feeel any experienced roasting can do without too much difficultly. I have found it possible to lift the drum cover a few inches and sneak a peak into the left side opening of the drum without much momentum in the roast cycle (ie, heat loss.)
Again, this should not be a first purchase for a novice home roaster. Cut your teeth on one the the other roasters on the market first.
Roasts come out with a slight loss of brightness compared to my HWP. However I prefer more complexity and body in my roast so it's of no concern to me personally.
I love the Alp's performance in the cold weather. I roasted outside this week in 10-15 (F) degree temps and achieved times of 14 minutes for the first crack and 16 for the second.
The one thing I'm still adjusting to is the short time between crack which I understand is typical of drum roasters. My very first roast (Monkey Blend ) came out a tad darker than desired. I've made the necessary adjustments in my judgement and haven't had a single problem since.
You can't go wrong with WLL.
Three Month Followup
I'm on the second replacement. Rethinking this purchase.
One Year Followup
I no longer own an AlpenRost. I received a brand new unit form SwissMar as a replacement (the third time) and sold it on ebay. The good news is I received most of my money back with the ebay sale. The machine is fragile and not worth the money.