Batch size and machine must be treated with great care.
There have been so many good reviews of this roaster that I donít want to be redundant but perhaps make a couple points that I think are important. I have roasted over 400 batches the past year & a half in my new model Fresh Roast Plus 8 and itís still going strong. I think that speaks for the quality of construction. I just ordered a new replacement chaff screen from the manufacture, four bucks, canít beat the price and the only replacement part I have needed so far. The manufacture has an 800 number and you talk to real nice responsive folks and that is refreshing.
I limit my batch weight to 65 grams and I use a scale, consistency is important with this small roasting chamber. I roast seven batches in a row which equals 1 lb, a weeks supply for me. Itís very important to allow the roaster to cool between batches. Both for consistency of the roast and longevity of the machine let it completely cool. Roast one batch every 30 minutes works well; if you add it up I spend three hrs roasting every week, not counting roasting for friends. You are not busy all the time during that 3 hrs so you can watch the tube or do other things but be sure to watch the roaster when it on for safety sake.
There are differing opinions how to judge a roast with this machine but this is what works for me. Forget about judging roast by color in the roasting chamber and judging roasting by time alone doesnít work well, so use the timer manually. The key to consistent roasting is the end of the 1st crack. If you move the timer to the cool cycle at the end of the 1st crack you will have a City+ roast, this is the reference point. When I order green beans from Sweet Mariaís Tom the proprietor always gives his recommendations for degree of roast for each coffee. If I want a City+ roast stop at end of 1st crack; if you want a Full City roast time can be as short as only 5 or 10 seconds out of 1st crack. Full City+ roast is at the start of second crack. I test every new coffee I order to see about how long roasting time is between 1st and 2nd crack then judge where I like it best. I do not roast beyond Full City+ usually preferring between City+ & Full City roast. Most of the beans I buy now are from Central America and most of the time I roast between 3:30 & 4:00 minutes before entering the cooling cycle and to some degree that depends on the beans, ambient temperature and the will of the gods. Sometimes I blend roast maybe three lighter to one darker, it all depends on my taste test but I always mix the seven roast before finally placing in a air tight container; a more consistent cup. One thing for sure this machine roast very fast, perhaps too fast so watch it like a hawk.
My coffee is in great demand, trust me; I really like this roaster but PLEASE Fresh Roast make a larger capacity model, my friends are demanding more. I have checked out larger capacity roasters but this is a rare case where the cheapest roaster may be one of the best roaster or at least all the roaster you will ever need.
Final points, KEEP RECORDS, I do it in WORD and after trying at least twenty different coffee's I have real good references. I have found that High Grown beans are hard beans and yield a more consistant roast. Beans grown at high altitude are labled SHB at Sweet Maria's web site. Enjoy!
Bought it at Sweet Maria's and I buy all of my green beans from them to. I think they are the best in the business and have great imfo at their web site.
Three Month Followup
10/05 Roaster Fan speed has been increased, I bought a new one. This adds about 1 1/2 min to roast. PERFECT!