Good unit for obtaining consistent results. Roasts every bean the same way every time. It's a nice test roaster.
Positive Product Points
I have had a gourmet for 2 years and I see no reason to change the review. It is a pretty good roaster. For the current $45usd, it is worth the money. The Hearthware Gourmet will give consistent results from roast to roast. It roasts every bean exactly the same way every time; you control the profile. The glass roast chamber makes it easy to visually inspect the prograss of the roast.
Negative Product Points
The chaff collector has a tendency to loosen and consequently bits of chaff will escape. The timer dial is certainly clumsy and the settings indicating the degree of roast cannot be believed. The unit is a bit noisier than I would like but you can still hear the second crack ok.
Actually I have had the unit for about 2 years now. I purchased the roaster from Sweet Marias for $100 USD after comparing it to other roasters, including the Hearthware precision. My reason for choosing it is that I prefer profiling my roasts manually rather than rely on a chip. This makes it easy to compare different coffees at the same roast settings. The modification made by Sweet Marias in adding the thermometer is indispensible. Rather than relying on a stop clock to obtain consistency from roast to roast, I note the temperature readings. This together with the visual and audible signals permits me to conclude the roasts with reasonable accuracy. The Gourmet compensates somewhat for voltage fluctuation but ambient temperature can affect the roast time as it does with all non-professional home roasting appliances. That is why I am stressing the thermometer modification. When the cooling cycle kicks in (I usually initiate it manually) I immediately remove the chaff collector to provide better cooling. If you do this, be prepared to clean up a bit of chaff which will exit the roast chamber in all directions.
As mentioned in a previous review, this device appears to be a supercharged corn popper but it certainly is well constructed overall. If you prefer to exercise more manual control and have assurance that the roaster will perform consistently from roast to roast, bean to bean, then the Gourmet is a good choice for you. I would prefer to see the unit have a built-in digital thermometer and a push button over-ride to initiate the cooling cycle.
I own 2 units. One I purchased from Sweet Maria's and my experince with them has always been great. The second unit I purchased from Hearthware directly and the transaction wtih them was excellent.