A great idea that needs to be kicked up a few notches on not only heat, but cooling and design as well.
Positive Product Points
"Smokeless". Not too loud. Set it and walk away. Good customer service.
Negative Product Points
Lid is too light for the kill switch. Roast takes way too long and cools way to slow. Really hard to get a consistant dark roast. Hard to hear the cracks.
I started with poppers, which delivered the best coffee I've roasted to date. I decided to kick it up a notch with the easy to use Z&D. Easy? Definately! Thats about all I can say for it. The build quality is really good. There is less smoke, however it still gets hazy in my roasting room and stinks up the whole house (any roaster will do that though).
The problems are these:
The roast takes so long it alters the flavor dramatically. I roasted 2 batches of the same blend. One in the Z&D, the other in a caffe rosto and I gotta say there was a world of difference. Z&D batch had a real bright almost burt flavor (vienna roast by the way). Also, darn near no crema. The Rosto produced the beans much faster, much cooler and with 4 times the amount of crema.
Also, after about 6months my lid stopped sitting properly on the unit, so to keep the kill switch from triggering I have to put weight on top of the unit. That is the only problem I've ever had with the build of it.
Its really difficult to hear the cracks, especially when the product makes it easy to just walk away and do something else. You end up forgetting you even had beans roasting, and it takes too long to sit through.
With all that said, I still have yet to top the quality I got from sitting and nursing 3 Poppers at a time. thats why I'm looking at going back to a rosto w/variac combo or a fresh roast. Something simple yet kind of old school design.
Z&D customer service was always great and their beans aren't too bad as well. If you want convenience it's definately the way to go. If your a freak and consider yourself a roast master wannabe like me then it's just not going to do it for you.