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Hottop Roaster - Jake Wilson's Review
Posted: September 9, 2011, 2:22am
review rating: 0.0
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Hottop Coffee Roaster
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More About This Product
Arrow The Hottop Roaster has 27 Reviews
Arrow The Hottop Roaster has been rated 7.27 overall by our member reviewers
Arrow This product has been in our review database since November 4, 2003.
Arrow Hottop Roaster reviews have been viewed 161,995 times (updated hourly).

Quality Reviews
These are some of the best-written reviews for this product, as judged by our members.
Name Ranking
Sam Decock 9.50
Bruce G 9.00
Aaron Tubbs 8.54
Doug Jamieson 8.50
Darshan-Josiah Barber 8.50

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Ratings and Stats Overall Rating: 9.2
Manufacturer: Chang Yue Quality: 9
Average Price: $550.00 Usability: 10
Price Paid: $575.00 Cost vs. Value 9
Where Bought: Hot Top U.S.A. Aesthetics 9
Owned for: 2 years Overall 9
Writer's Expertise: I love coffee Would Buy Again: Yes
Similar Items Owned: Behmor
Bottom Line: If you want a well built drum roaster with a cooling tray, buy this machine.  You wont regret it
Positive Product Points

Easy To Use, Easily Repeatable Roasts, *Cooling Tray!* Darn Near Bullet Proof, Relaible As An Anvil

Negative Product Points

The Phillips head fasteners used to hold the rear of the machine's trim pieces, fan, fan shroud, these screw heads are too small.  They can be reused but you need to be careful removing them, and fitting them back again as well.  There are two dead man switches.  One kicks in at 356 degrees indicated, the other at 410 degrees.  You must push a button to over ride.  If you don't, the roast will dump into the cooling tray and is now pooched,so you must heed these two timed switches...and you have approx 10 seconds to reset each one

Detailed Commentary

This is a wonderful coffee roaster.  I keep a detailed roast log and so far I have logged 370 roasts with it (approx.)  I tend to roast every 5 days on average.  I weigh my greens before roasting and find 280 grams is the perfect amount of greens to start with, no matter what type of green I'm roasting.  I use a small digital battery operated scale to measure my greens.  More often than not I I use the factory default heater roaster profile and I change the fan and temp settings as soon as the pre heat cycle is over, preferring to input my own values.  And before I forget, I'm using the B model Hot Top

When starting out and the pre heat cycle ends, that's when I change the fan setting.  I'll turn the fan on then off quickly to over ride the default setting. Then I reset the over heat temp setting which is 420 for the default, I bump it up to 428, always.  After the greens are loaded and the roaster has run for 4 minutes, I turn the fan on and run it for 30 seconds to evacuate the humid environment, and I am assuming the greens are typically moist.  Most are that I use, unless it's winter time and the heat from my home's wood stove dries the beans which does happen as I store my greens near the stove...but this isn't a problem as I do not store much in the way of backstock (green coffee beans)

After the roast environemtal temp sensor reads 325, I turn the fan on using the lowest setting and leave it there for the duration of the roast.  More often than not, I leave the default roast length alone and I find that is enough time to get my greens into or at least to the front of 2nd crack.  Sometimes with a hard or large green bean, or if the bean is overly moist, I find I have to add time to the end of the cycle to get it into 2nd crack...but not often.  
So if the roast length clock starts at 18 minutes, I'm hitting first crack (lately) at about 5 minutes left on the clock.  Second crack will start usually 3-4 minutes later, at which time I terminate the roast.  And this is where the Hot Top shines as it has a cooling tray.  You can run your roast right to where you want to stop it because of the fan forced cooling tray feature immediatley starts the cooling process.  My previous roaster was a Behmor and if you have used a Behmor drum roaster, you know you have to stop the roast about 15 seconds before the point you want to terminate your roast degree as there is no real way to cool the roast immediately after roasting.  As nice as a roaster the Behmor is, and it is a nice drum roaster, it's no match for the cooling capacity the Hot Top has, despite the fact the Hot Top can only roast a half pound of greens at a time

FWIW, I logged 100 roasts on my Behmor drum roaster before selling it.  I liked the Behmor roaster and considering the price point, I almost bought a second Behmor roaster to use as a back up roaster as the Behmor roaster I had, the smoke eater failed several times and it bothered me having to wait for parts to ship to me to correct the failed smoke eater.  To this day, and I've logged approx. 370 roasts with my Hot Top, I have not had one single break down using this machine.  It has performed flawlessly each and everytime I have roasted with it.  That said, I felt I researched this roaster well before buying,  In fact, I had contacted several owners of this roaster to ask of their user expereince.  All said they had excellent experiences with this roaster.  The one owner that had a problem told me he had to replace the heater element after 600 cycles.  To my way of thinking, that is reasonable wear and tear on a machine of this calibre

As far as maint. I perform, I try to clean the rear filter and the glass front piece every 10 cycles.  I clean both along with a few other parts in a solution of TSP and hot water letting them all soak for 10 minutes then a hot water rinse, then a drying period.  I keep several rear filters as back stock so I can let a filter dry over night and not be dependent on only one filter.  I can't say exactly how long the rear filters last as they do need replacing but I get more cycles out of mine than what the factory manual states.  About every 3 months I pull the rear of the machine off so I can blow chaff away and off from the electronic board.  I use compressed air for this chore.  I have a 2 HP air compressor in my garage for this but you could use canned compressed air like you can buy at office supply stores that is used for keyboard and computer cleaning

If I haven't said it before, I enjoy using this roaster.  IMO, it's a quality built machine.  It is designed and built in Taiwan, and the Taiwanese have a very good reputation for build quality and quality control.  If you doubt this, ask any bicycle retailer where their bicycles are made and what kind of quality do they have

Buying Experience

I bought my Hot Top from the U.S. Hot Top agent in Long Island.  I bought the machine used with a discount as he had used it previously for demonstration purposes.  It arrived clean and in perfect working order.  There was one part missing however.  The bean chute cover.  The agent quickly sent another one out to me.  in the meantime I fashioned a cover from a coke can using a pair of tin snips to make the cover which worked fine until the replacement arrived.  I have also ordered spare filters from this agent distributor and recieved them within a reasonable time frame.  I have also bought filters from Sweet Marias as they stock parts for this machine

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Posted: September 9, 2011, 2:22am
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