I have had the Behmor 1600 for 4 months and have done about 50 (mostly half pound) roasts on it. As comparators, I have used and burned out the Hearthware Precision, the iRoast1, and a few popcorn poppers, and experimented with a homemade bbq rotisserie roaster. With the arrival of the Behmor, I can return to making only popcorn in popcorn poppers, and only chicken on the rotisserie. I haven't tried popcorn or chicken in the Behmor, but it might be worth a shot to see if it is the swiss army knife of appliances.
The minivan analogy? Whatever you may think about the uncoolness of minivans (and keeping in mind you are a coffee geek) it is hard to deny the appeal of a product that delivers a whole lotta function at a reasonable price. LSS, the Behmor is well made, easy to use, roasts good coffee, and for 300 sheckels, is a bargain compared to other roasters on the market.
I have read some commentary that suggests a) the Behmor doesn't roast dark enough and/or b) it can't roast a full pound effectively. Though I prefer roasts that aren't darker than city++, (because I like coffee taste more than charcoal taste) my experience with the Behmor is you can burn the crap out of the coffee if you want to. And it will roast a full pound to city++ without a problem.
All roaster instructions say “never leave unattended” - the Behmor produces a great deal of temptation to “set and forget” because it will roast very consistently at its various settings. But the warning is for real – I did once see some sparks of chaff lighting on fire, though full combustion did not occur, and no 911 call was needed. Also, using the pre-set settings, there is often a justification to add or subtract 30 or 45 seconds at the end of the roast, based on the visual of the beans, and the first crack/second crack status.
I have also read commentary about manipulating the Behmor's pre-programmed profiles through combinations of adding or subtracting time at various points in the cycle, opening the door etc. Because my rapper name is Lay Z, i just use the presets, with some adding or subtracting time at the end. The different profiles do produce quite different taste results with the same beans, so you have to experiment with any new bean. Sweetmarias' review is accurate in my experience, to the effect that the P1A setting produces the most consistently optimum result. The narrow viewing window and light is enough to get a reasonable sense of the visual state of the beans, but a better view would be nicer.
How good is the coffee? Who cares? (joke) It ranges from decent to excellent among different beans and different settings, and is certainly better than using a popcorn popper. It is not as good as when the same beans are done by my local microroaster's Diedrich, but, duh. Beans like Ethiopian harrar are consistently excellent on the Behmor.
I don't have the smaller mesh optional basket – a few beans fall out, or are stuck in the mesh at the end, but it is minor. I prefer losing a few beans, but having better chaff removal.
I use mine under my stove's rangehood, and did set off the smoke alarm once when I forgot to turn the exhaust fan on. I would say it does produce less smoke than other roasters I have had, but it probably still needs venting. My stove has raised burner stands, so I set the Behmor on a board that then will sit on top of the burner stands. When not in use I store the Behmor in the bottom of one of those portable kitchen island things from Ikea, which is the coffee station in our kitchen. If space is a concern, think of it as a second microwave before you get one. It is not too heavy, so I have no problem moving it from stovetop to shelf.
As for clean up, the chaff is all inside the unit when roasting is finished – but it is everywhere inside – mostly in the chaff screen, but also inside and stuck to the bean basket, and in the rest of the chamber – so a vacuum with the pointy attachment is a good thing to have to make short work of the clean up. For the beans that get half way through the screen and get stuck there as they roast and expand, a pair of pliers is handy to crush and flush the would-be(an) escape artists.
You are supposed to do a cleaning roast every 5 roasts – that is easy to do, so not a burden.
I have had no operational problems – and got a prompt reply from “Joe” at Behmor's website with one question I had. Build quality seems very good for an appliance in this price range. I guess the only thing that would affect my “quality” rating would be the Behmor's longevity, which I don't know about at this time – if it last 5 years, its fantastic, if it lasts one year, not so much.