A truly unique roaster than offers lots of "tweakability" in a quality build and design. Works well!
Positive Product Points
Useful roast batch size Easy to use Outstanding bean agitation Outstanding chaff management Very easy to clean and look after Quiet enough in operation Seems to be robust, well built User settable temp and time (within ranges, but more choice than most other machines) - also allows on-the-fly adjustments during the roast process. Light weight
Negative Product Points
Cooling takes a while. Is this bad? Depends who you ask. You have the option to stop the cooling cycle at 100, or just to stop it earlier and do something manual (or let it run through it's own process). My own view is that it stops the roast quite quickly. Also, I would hate to drop and break the roast chamber.
Is it a fluid air roaster? Is it a drum roaster? Well sort of both and neither. Fluid means the beans are "like a fluid" as the air pushes them up and around, and this isn't the case, but neither are they entirely roasted by the hot surface of the drum, so certainly seems kind of hybid to me.
300gms or so of green beans typically roast in around 17.5 to 19 minutes for me at say 235 degrees celcius (outside, warmish weather) Cool down could run 10 minutes but seems to fall in temp (according to readout) quite quickly so the roast is stopped - but yes the time has caused some to say "too slow" while others have said "non issue". Take your pick! (Don't forget you can stop the cool early at 100, or just stop it "now"). I have found that I am now stopping roast fractionally ahead of where I was before, so as to allow for the few extra seconds before it gets over the hump during cooling. The two buttons allow for stop/start, temp and time adjustments (before and during the roast - so it's easy to add some digital minutes if you feel that's needed - or take some off, or add some more heat etc etc)
The innovative design sees the drum rotate off axis, and a clever "flap" helps stop chaff clogging the hot air exit vents - hard to explain but great to watch as its so intriguing.
You can hear first cracks just fine, but have to listen more carefully for second.
As for taste, well I've been very happy - but have not owned another roaster so will leave comparisons for others.
Chaff collection is amazing, and when you're done you just pull the chaff catcher off, unscrew the lid on the end of the catcher and tip the contents into the trash. Very efficient. I tend to empty this after every roast, I think that was in the Korean manual too!
It would be cool if it had say USB or B/tooth so users could swap roast profiles over the Internet, but hey it's easy enough to make changes mid-flight so that could still be done.
The Gene Cafe is not too heavy, fairly quiet, and heaps of fun to use - add to that it's easy to use. It seems to be very well built out of a modern bakelite type of plastic, the drum and clear guard allow an excellent view of the roast in-process.
I was about to get a Hottop when I was told about this machine (thanks Andy!), and overall I'm very pleased with my decision, but I'm sure that is a great Roaster too.
Purchased before Genesis were ready for consumer sales because I pestered them so much. Great to deal with, and very helpful.
Three Month Followup
It seems to be taking slightly longer to roast these days, not a lot, but certainly taking a little longer. Apart from that, very impressed with this roaster.