Quick and easy way to get started in roasting. Very happy with the results.
Negative Product Points
My only problem is removing the little chaff collector cup without spilling it all over the place.
The Zack & Dani is my first intoduction to home roasting. I read a lot of reviews and tips on the internet, and decided to purchase this particular model. It is truly easy to roast using this machine! I read the instructions, dumped in some green beans and hit the "start" button - about 18 minutes later I had tons of smoke and totally burned beans! Oops, after reading some reviews about how it roasts very slow, I only put in about 3 ounces of beans for my first batch - they roasted WAY fast.
After that first disaster, and deciding that I really should follow the instructions, the second batch was perfect (as all the others have been).
The roaster really produces little or no smoke, perhaps just a few wisps of smoke get out if I do a full French or Italian roast. I don't find the noise objectional either, certainly less than a hot air popper. After a bit of practice (and learning what to listen for), I don't have any problems hearing the first and second cracks. First crack starts at about 11 minutes (when I don't pre-heat the roaster), and second at about 8 minutes (the roaster has a "count down" timer).
I can now roast to just about any level I want by listening and watching. Easy! I read a few tips on CG and other places, and I will often preheat the (empty) roaster for about 2-3 minutes - especially if I'm doing a dark espresso type roast. I usually stop the roaster (pressing the "cool" button) before it reaches the 20 minute time setting and dump the beans into a collander for cooling. A few minutes stirring them and they're done. I usually fill to the "dark roast" line, and hardly ever go past the 20 minute mark.
It's the perfect roaster for those of us who just wish to roast beans with a minimum of effort, smoke, and learning curve. I roast about 4 days a week, usually 2 batches back to back. Cleanup is easy and quick, and my only real problem has been setting down the bowl shaped chaff collector, which manages to turn over a lot of times. Easily fixed by just setting it down into a soup bowl or something.
I ordered from Burman Coffee Traders, and got a selection of green beans at the same time. It arrived very quickly and very well packaged.