It just hurts to see negative reviews of a machine that is so versatile from folks who may not be using it correctly. If you play her like a lady and really stroke her she will respond with some really good loving!
Positive Product Points
The quality of the roasts from this machine have been outstanding. Have sent a number of roasts out to be judged and am extremely pleased. Over 1000 roasts and still smiling. For two years sent my son roasts to Iraq and am presently sending to Afghanistan They are quite a hit with the troops.
Negative Product Points
When I purchased from Ebay the original owner said he had had over 200 roasts on the machine.
When I began roasting, on perhaps the thirtieth roast, I had a brain malfunction and shut the machine down with a temperature of around 440 showing. First and last time this has ever happened to me. The heating element burned. I panicked and called Tim Skaling out in Utah and explained prob. He sent one no charge. Four years later its still in its new box and never opened. He even sent extra rubber bumper grommets in case ever needed.
Before new element arrived I got on Homeroasters.org and found out how to repair the original. Since it had burned at very end of coil, simply reinserted into new spade terminal and it is still going strong. While it was apart did use a new spade terminal since old one was scorched. You do hear of a lot of negativisms from this heating element problem. Its not a problem unless it is shut down incorrectly. There are detailed instructions with illustrations by my bud John Despres over at Homeroasters.org if anyone has made the same mistake as me with your element burned out. A very easy twenty minute fix. The reason I didn't enter this under Negative above is I consider it positive. The negative was me as it was entirely my fault.
How has this baby purred so long without further problems? Immediately after hitting cool I pick up a high volume fan and train it on the rotating drum. Heat goes below 380 in 40 seconds and you can dump beans onto a pizza pan for final cooling while rushing drum back into GC for final cooling.
The quality of the roast is simply amazing. What turns me on is being able to maneuver the roasting parameters manually. Got some Hawaiian Kona Earth beans recently. This bean is very soft and normally so hard to roast. The Gene Cafe thrives on such a challenge. It seems the big prob here is once you hit second crack this low grown beans likes to hit second crack before you are ready. It affects taste. The Gene Cafe allows you to lower the temp seconds after first crack to keep it from speeding to second crack and away from the dreaded oily Vienna.
Just got some Robusta and Monsooned Malabar from GCBC two weeks ago. Roasted first batch(yes, to Vienna) and blended with some Eth Yirgacheffe at Full City and sent to Afghanistan. Got a call yesterday and they want more. With 18 hour days they tell me the extra caffeine is just what the doctor ordered. And the taste is so superior to what they have on their storage pallets. Could be because they can enjoy exactly 10 days post roast from my GC as after roasting I immediately send via an APO address from local Post Office
Ebay was fantastic. The machine arrived with the old style exhaust cracked so badly it had dime sized hole in it with drag marks. UPS looked at the box but could not tell it had been dropped or drug. I agreed with them but needed their signed statement for Ebay. The seller refused to make it good. Ebay allowed me to order another exhaust and I ordered new style that would allow me to install a 4" dryer vent hose. Lots of hassle but so worth it.