Piece of junk - Roasts great coffee but makes a Lada look reliable!
Positive Product Points
Wow. This thing makes some of the best coffee (I've only done drip so far) that I have ever tasted. I served some to a client of mine, who didn't know it was home-roasted. He begged me to tell him where I bought the beans.
1 Year (well, 11 months) Review - I've done about 15 pounds of Sweet Maria's Espresso Blend. Wonderful!
Negative Product Points
The company - As far as I'm concerned, Steve is a slimeball. He doesn't return calls or e-mails. When you do get him on the phone to discuss yet another problem with the Rosto, he promises to get you a new one but never does. The guy's a liar. Do not do business with him!
Chaff - the collecter doesn't necessarily do a great job. I wish it were a bit finer.
Gasket - the silicone gasket doesn't always seal well, and I've had the top pop open during roasting before. With the CFM that the fan puts out, the unit could use an upgrade here. When it pops open, you get chaff everywhere!
Hopper - With a solid side, it's harder to see the actual roast color (the beans swirl so fast that it's hard to see from the top)
Lid - My lid is somewhat bent (came that way), so smoke and chaff escape that way.
Smoke - it smokes like you wouldn't believe!
My initial Rosto was defective (low heat, thermostat kicking in and out). I was pretty annoyed at being charged shipping back to Brightway for something that was defective from the get-go; having spent 8 years in manufacturing, I personally would never think of doing that.
Oh, and even if you're not a decaf fan, you'll want to buy some. The coffee tastes so good that you want to keep drinking it, but the leaded stuff will get you too wired.
One thing - sometimes the chaff collector fills up and stalls the roast (usually at the first crack). It's worth putting a thermocouple in the roaster not only to check for that but to get better roast-roast consistency.
Bottom line? You'll never go back to Starbucks!
************* Update 11/03:
I'm on my third unit. The first, as mentioned, was defective. The second, which I based the initial review on, broke after 40 or so roasts. The third arrived defective and only roasts if you block 1/2 the vent with foil. That's a pain and seems to adversely affect roasting quality. I'm sick of paying shipping to return bad merchandise - yes, they do charge you shipping to return any RMA, including those defective ones that they ship. That's why I'm limping along until I can Christmas, when I'm getting a Z+D. Customer service at Brightway is snippy at best.
I wouldn't waste any more money on their products. They don't work, and Brightway won't stand behind them. I can't even get them to e-mail back regarding the current problems (I've sent about 10 e-mails over the last month, none of which have been replied to - PATHETIC). I've spent more money returning their junk than I did on the initial roaster. That doesn't sound like a viable business model to me.
I've been trying for six months to get my roaster fixed. Steve ignores e-mails and lies about shipping you the new parts. I tossed my Rosto and bought an I-Roast.
Burman was great. The original vendor I tried to buy it from lost the order (and lost the cancellation, too). I'd suggest that Brightway maybe rethink the way it deals with initial problems, though.
Brightway is a bunch of lying fools.
Three Month Followup
I stand in awe. When my 3rd unit crapped out (the first and third were defective out of the box), no one would return my e-mails. A call from the Better Business Bureau prompted a call from Steve, who asked me to mark the return to his attention. It finally arrived back - disassembled. I mean, this is a joke, right? Anyone? Anyone?
One Year Followup
Well, Steve at Brightway is still lying about getting my unit fixed. His last effort involved shipping me a disassembled unit. Brilliant.