Easy to use but mine failed after a year of weekly use, buyer beware, Z&D does not service their units post warranty period.
Positive Product Points
Easy to use. Low smoke. Does not require constant monitoring once you set the time appropriate for the batch size and type of beans. Produces consistent roasts when you monitor all the roasting conditions. Made in USA.
Negative Product Points
In adequate chaff collector. It's noisey! Thus difficult to hear the cracks for many bean types. My unit would only produce darker roasts if I used 100 gram batch sizes. Larger batch sizes tend to taste flat. Sensitive to ambient temperature. Mine stopped working after about a year, I then learned Z&D does not service their products once they are outside of the warranty period.
There have been plenty of full reviews of this unit. I just wanted to share my experiences with it. Basically mine stopped working after only a year, When I bought the unit I didn't know these roasters had "quality" or "durability" issues. However, since purchasing I've found others have had similar product failures. I think everyone should know what you're getting into when purchasing if you intend to use it weekly or more.
The Z&D roaster is easy to use. You can measure your beans or weigh them as I did. Load them into the roasting chamber. The digital timer resets to 20 minutes each time it's plugged in. You can bump that up and press start and walk away. When there's 5 minutes left on the timer the unit will automatically initiate it's cool down cycle.
I would always bump up the default time and monitor the roasting process towards the end listening for 2nd crack. Once satisfied with the progress, I would manually initiate the cooling cycle by pressing the cool button, easy. I did find that most beans do not crack loud enough to be heard over the noise of the roaster. Fortunately Tres Santos has nice loud cracks so I roasted a lot of it with the Z&D!
I found the Z&D to be a nice step up from a hot air popper because it did handle most of the chaff, you can set it and walk away, and it produces less smoke.
Regarding the smoke handling, I still found I needed to roast in the garage or outside because it does produce more smoke than my wife would tolerate. Regarding the chaff handling, I'd say on average it collected about 2/3 of the chaff produced, so after roasting you still need to dump the beans into a colander or something similar and separate it from the beans. I also found my unit would only produce a roast to 2nd crack if I used it's smallest supported batch size, 100 grams. So that's what I always used.
Of course since mine failed after only a year of average (?) use, I'm biased against the unit's durability. Apparently it is not durable enough for a weekly (sometimes more, sometims less) roasting duty cycle. In retrospect for the price, I'd rather I put my money into a product where at least the manufacturer is willing to repair them. My Rocky grinder is like a rock its not going to fail anytime soon, heck our Black & Decker toaster oven sees almost daily duty and keeps chugging along. I guess that's just what I expect from household appliances. I'm not sure why my Z&D failed so early! Maybe I got a lemon? I don't know. Good luck to you if you decide to buy one!
Very positive. Mine came nicely double packed with several pounds of green organic coffee. from Cate's. Please note, Cate's Green Coffee no longer sells coffee roasters.