Produces a very even roast. I like being able to clean the glass bowl, as opposed to my poppers. The ocassional cleaning results in much less smoke.
Negative Product Points
It is very loud, making it a little harder to hear the cracks than with my poppers. The "on" light is worthless--it should be indicating when the heating element is on, rather than just when the machine is on.
I bought one of the $45 Gourmets from HW. I have to admit that, due to the large number of failures I have read about at alt.coffee, I really do expect it not to work each time I turn it on. However, it has worked very consistently through about 40 roasts, without any indication of problems.
If I‘m roasting several batches of the same variety, I can usually figure out the appropriate setting after the first couple of roasts, and I don‘t have to monitor the cracks after that. Of course, this changes if I‘m in a new roasting session, or if I change variety.
I expect that, if it survives, it will become my backup roaster, and I will still use my popper as the primary roaster--the popper is much more efficient in roasting multiple batches (we use between 3 and 4 pounds per week).
I am very pleased with the roaster so far. I would not have purchased it at the original retail price, but it is worth the risk of getting a "bad" one at the $45 price.