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Hearthware Gourmet Roaster - NoChefAtAll (Iancu Sorell)'s Review
Posted: April 5, 2000, 11:17pm
review rating: 8.0
feedback: (0) comments | read | write
Hearthware Gourmet Roaster
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More About This Product
Arrow The Hearthware Gourmet Roaster has 13 Reviews
Arrow The Hearthware Gourmet Roaster has been rated 7.78 overall by our member reviewers
Arrow This product has been in our review database since November 30, 2001.
Arrow Hearthware Gourmet Roaster reviews have been viewed 44,988 times (updated hourly).

Quality Reviews
These are some of the best-written reviews for this product, as judged by our members.
Name Ranking
Mark Farris 9.33
Glenn R. Holmes 9.00
Jesse Imbach 8.75
Will Hullinger 8.00
Mark Fletcher 8.00

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Ratings and Stats Overall Rating: 8.0
Manufacturer: Hearthware Quality: 8
Average Price: $100.00 Usability: 8
Price Paid: $0.00 Cost vs. Value 8
Where Bought: Aesthetics 8
Owned for: 1 month Overall 8
Writer's Expertise: Aficionado Would Buy Again: n/a
Similar Items Owned: Not entered
Bottom Line: Nice simple roasting device. Not perfect.
Positive Product Points

Very simple, predictable, quick, relatively well built, works fine. It makes roasting so easy I don't get anyone who loves coffee not doing it.

Negative Product Points

'Relatively' well built, bowl/chaff collector assembly always needs tightening and tuning, always roasts at same temperature.

Detailed Commentary

Never having roasted before I had no idea how much roasting at home would improve my espresso on a daily basis - I was always irritated at the roasting threads on alt.coffee. I had gotten used to forever searching out sources of freshly roasted beans all over New York and even the more reliable sources were only reliable sporadically. Going to a place like Porto Rico coffees, Fairways, Orren's, Kalustyan and others was a hit or miss experience depending on when they had roasted last. Even though I really enjoyed all those 'trips' they really only made me more aware of how fleeting freshness in a roast is. I'm a convert to home roasting now. I still bum all over town, but now I find different reasons (I'm forever searching for places that make good espresso, quite rare in NY it seems).

That said, I did not want to post a review before I had a little experience under my belt as there most certainly is a learning curve. It's been 2+ months since I've been roasting and I'm quite happy with the machine. Yes, it's a little noisy, which makes it hard to listen to the radio and wash dishes while I'm roasting but not so noisy that you can't hear the cracking, so I have no problem with that. The chaff collector/lid never fit quite right and the only adjustment that works for me is to set it down on the bowl and then pull slightly up on the handle, thus letting the lid seal the bowl a little tighter - then there's no chaff flying about. The timer knob is totally inexact but since the machine is so susceptible to ambient temperature (I've been roasting all different kinds of beans anyway) I don't pay too much attention to the elapsed time preferring to use the other available senses (actually I never thought before that the perception of time's passing is a 'sense') - sight, hearing, smell. The machine is quite easy to clean, and I find myself washing the bowl maybe once a month max so far. I find roasting capacity just right for a person living (and drinking coffee) alone, especially if I'm roasting different beans and blending later. Even the price I can't really complain about, since it has made the quality of the coffee I drink so much better.

At first I wasn't too happy with my final results finding the roasted beans kind of 'dead.' So I took Ken David's advice as I understood it and removed the beans from the roaster immediately after they'd reached the color I was looking for and spray/tossing cooling them judiciously in a colander. I find that that made a huge difference in both taste and aroma. I'm still not getting quite the heady aroma I'd like to but I don't know if that's because I'm a relative newcomer to the art or inherent in the roaster's design (or perhaps the nostalgia-enhanced memories of living in Brazil in the early 60's). I'll find out eventually as I do plan on experimenting with other roasting techniques one of these days.

Buying Experience

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review rating: 8.0
Posted: April 5, 2000, 11:17pm
feedback: (0) comments | read | write
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