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Freshroast Follies of 2015....
Bruce52
I have in my possession two popcorn poppers, one an original 1400 watt "Popcorn Pumper", the other a more recent 1200 watt Toastmaster unit. Either one would work for roasting, but I elected to go with a Freshroast SR700 instead. I wanted computer control over the roast and the SR offers that for an attractive price, plus a very effective chaff collector, so I bought one. The SR700 is an attractive unit and for the price is not too bad, although a Behmor is probably the better buy even at $100 more. I can't fault the roaster so much as the sparse documentation that comes with it, an issue that Freshroast really should address. Learning to use the roaster's software is mostly a self-teaching experience as there is slight coverage of the details to be found either with the product or elsewhere, and in the beginning you may find yourself a bit mystified by what you see happening. Once you fully understand the workings it becomes simple to operate. I put two videos on YouTube detailing the software in the first video and a profile-driven roast in the second. The SR700 (and probably the 300/500 as well) does a good job of roasting and does it quite rapidly due to the high air temperatures even on low heat. Starting with low heat and high fan as a 'drying step' the beans will be light brown in 2.5 minutes and will smell 'roasty' by then. Moving the heat to high and the fan down to 5 will result in 1C starting about 15 seconds later. A minute and 15 seconds after that the cracks will be nearly or completely finished. I find that Ethiopian Yirgacheffe roasted using this profile exhibits a lot of the fruity character it is noted for and is silky smooth in the mouth. The bean colors are not as uniform as you would get from a commercial drum roaster, but the coffee sure tastes good. The Freshroast is also very easy to clean. The glass chimney can be washed out if the glass gets build-up on it and it will look brand new afterward. The chaff collector is marvelously effective and also easy to clean. The downsides are the software learning curve (more fully addressed in my video) along with the rickety way the chimney and chaff basket are attached. If you handle these in a clumsy manner you are nearly guaranteed to break the chimney or chaff basket, or even the basket cover which I did less than two weeks ago. Being careful will minimize the risk, but hey...we're not always careful. I think a drum roaster would be better, but I haven't had one available for a direct comparison. I did notice a Hottop yesterday on Ebay for $600, one of the non-digital models, that looks virtually new. If I hadn't recently bought the SR700 I would be looking hard at that and the TC4 modification.
 
allenb
Hi Bruce and welcome to HRO! I'm betting you're going to eventually have more than a couple of roasters in your inventory! It's nice to have a fluidbed and drum to be able to taste the various flavor profiles each one affords you.

I'm assuming the SR700's automation is time/power based without any feedback from the beans? Are you quite sure you cannot reduce the power level further in the programming to allow slowing the roast down? You're going to want to stretch out start of roast to 1C quite a bit further to achieve proper development.

Allen
1/2 lb and 1 lb drum, Siemens Sirocco fluidbed, presspot, chemex, cajun biggin brewer from the backwoods of Louisiana
 
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