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Sono Fresco Report from Northern Cal
Hello All,

I am Ken Graham, and I invested in a nice little Sono Fresco Roaster. There is a lot to share with you. The original model was called a Syd and Jerry's. Syd is no long with the company which is known as Coffee Kinetics. The roaster I purchased was originally made for NG or Natural Gas. Working very closely with Tech Support at Sono Fresco, I am bringing this machine back to full spec as a propane roaster.

I did see it roast and experienced 4 beautiful roasts in it before it took a dive. We have discovered that an incomplete changeover to propane was done. They forgot to change out the Orifice which meters the gas to a sixe 51. When I refer to they, I mean the person that bought this from Sono Fresco and then made changes. I will not mention their name since it is my intent to work directly with Sean at Sono Fresco. When I refer to THEY, I am talking about a third party person other than Sono Fresco who really didn't treat this machine well. There has been some stress on that issue but that is behind me now. I AM SO VERY THANKFUL FOR THE TECH SUPPORT I HAVE RECEIVED AND THE SUPPORT I AM GETTING FROM SEAN AND THE CONFIDENCE HE HAS IN MY ABILITY TO GET IT WORKING AS IT WAS DESIGNED.

As of today..December 19, 2011, I have ordered a gas regulator as well. I did also discover that the previous owner of it modified it to fit his Master Roast profile but in the process took the machine right out of warranty.

Sono Fresco only can service the Sono Fresco model and since I am also a Video Engineer with a very solid electronics background, have been granted the right to "wrench" on the machine.

I can tell you this, it's a great little Fluid Bed Roaster and I do plan to own more. I have about $2300.00 invested in it so far, so you can also see I am HIGHLY MOTIVATED to get it working again. I believe as it is returned to the right specification, it will bring joy to me and honor to the merits of Sono Fresco.

In the past few weeks, Jon Koll, David and Allenb and I have discussed this FLUID BED TECHNOLOGY. Fluid bed roasting, while different than a drum roast has many many merits. Some in the coffee industry have argued that it cannot carmelize as well as a drum roaster, but in my experience. you can get some amazing and very even roasts from it. In the 4 roasts I did, I even had one to the level of an Italian Roast. While I do not have an AGTRON meter to verify it to that exact spec, the beauty of the Sono Fresco is you can turn the gas off at any time and take control of just running air through the bean thus arresting any roast style to your satisfaction. There have been no complaints only praise from the coffee's I did roast in it as well.

It is advertised as a fully automatic roaster and granted, there are profiles that have been built into it. The next step, once it gets operational again, is to add the abiliity to digitally chart the roasts with the device I have heard is used by many here.

I will keep you posted on its development and since I have a vested interest in getting it working again, you will no doubt here sooner, not later what the status of my Lil Red Sono Fresco is!

The Greenest Bean, The Freshest Roast!
I think you're going to have a great roaster when you've finished fine tuning everything. We'll want to see some vid's of coffee roasting in it when you can shoot some footage.

Syd and Jerry have in interesting past. One of them was responsible for the original ground breaking work on the first pellet stove somewhere in the northwest and had been heavy into combustion engineering before getting into roaster design.

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

That is correct. Jerry Whitfield is the one who designed the pellet stove. I understand it made him a milionaire. Syd is into boats and my other sources tell me that he is out of the company and was a real gem of a man.

Here is a website for reference of their humble beginnings:
The Greenest Bean, The Freshest Roast!
The Sonofresco was my motivation and inspiration to build a similar fluid bed roaster. Granted, mine looks way too diy, but it functions well. I always wanted the big bold striking visual of watching the coffee roast... especially if it were on my countertop! Get this one back in the saddle! Once it's up and running I have a myriad of questions about it when you have time.

Roaster: CoffeeAir II 2# DIY air roaster
Grinder: Vintage Grindmaster 500
Brewers: Vintage Cory DCU DCL, Aeropress, Press, Osaka Titanium pourover
Wow I didn't realize Jerry was Jerry Whitfield!
Hmmmm I could add a drum and a flame deflector shield in my Whitfield pellet stove B) and.......
Ed B.
DreamRoast 1kg roaster, Levers, Hand Mills
My favorite grill/bbq/smoker is pellet technology. I love it!
Edited by Dan on 12/20/2011 11:50 AM
This stove is sold at Costco and not the same technology of Jerry Whitfield according to the salesman. He actually disagreed with me that Jerry Whitfield was the inventor of the pellet stove. You have to buy THEIR pellets too and if you use "non comforming pellets" your warranty is void. Do not fear however, because Costco always takes items back no matter what. lol

It is reported by Sono Fresco that Mr. Whitfield is working on an alternate form of energy now.

The Greenest Bean, The Freshest Roast!
Ken, that looks like a nice roaster. Great to see it has found a good home. Did you get the 1 or 2 pound model?

Here is a link to my you tube and you can see the last test I did. It was shot with my camera phone...sorry its sideways.

The next test will be as soon as I get new parts. The machine did do 4 great roasts before the Temp Sensor failed from use. Also, I am changing out the gas regulator, the orifice and the temps sensor wiring with a new sensor.

It roasts very well and you have full control of turning off the gas which puts the machine right into cool mode.

Edited by seedlings on 12/21/2011 7:52 AM
The Greenest Bean, The Freshest Roast!
FYI ladies and gents,

The blower used in the Whitfield Pellet Stove is EXACTLY the same blower used in the Sono Fresco! Imagine that! Economy of design no doubt!
The Greenest Bean, The Freshest Roast!
Parts have arrived!

1. Size 51 LP Orifice
2. Robert Shaw Gas Valve and properly calibrated for the Sono Fresco Model 1200 with coil
3. New Temp Sensor and with the wires sent last week will add that in too.

Will also be cleaning the squirrel cage to make sure air flow works well.

Will commence work on it tomorrow!
The Greenest Bean, The Freshest Roast!
Quick turnaround time for Sonofresco, even during the week before Christmas- nice.

Roaster: CoffeeAir II 2# DIY air roaster
Grinder: Vintage Grindmaster 500
Brewers: Vintage Cory DCU DCL, Aeropress, Press, Osaka Titanium pourover
It helps to get along with tech support! :)
The Greenest Bean, The Freshest Roast!
Merry Christmas All!

I regret to say that I ran out of time today and was not able to start on the final parts needed to get my Sono Fresco model 1200 working again as a fully integrated LP based roaster. I leave for Huntington Beach in the am. I return in 5 days and will commence the parts install then and hope to also be uploading a video.

I hope all of you have a very wonderful Christmas and I will have my laptop with me so will log in from Southern Cal.
The Greenest Bean, The Freshest Roast!
On January 4, 2012, with my good friend Greg Fitch who is a General Contractor and a Heating and Air Specialist final repairs to my Sono Fresco were made. Greg and I bartered on computer consulting and the Sono Fresco help so no dollars were exchanged. In the end, we roasted a pound of Kona and a pound of Costa Rica with him being very excited with the operation of this roaster.

20 hours of time, $1700.00 for the roaster plus an additional $600.00..we got it working!

The Sono Fresco was originally made for Natural Gas and the person I bought it from who is supposed to be a Master Roaster completely messed up this machine. An incomplete change out to propane was done and it had been jerry rigged to the point that he gave up on it.

The parts that were essential to getting it going were all part of the gas delivery system. The Natural Gas orifice was never changed over to the propane orifice so that was done. It is truly an amazing difference in hole size. The propane orifice looks like a pin while the NG orifice is a good 2 mm in diameter.

The Gas Valve changed out. I will admit that it had been messed with so much that it was dangerous. We added a new Robert Shaw Gas Valve and Sean at Sono Fresco had set it to the proper LP gas setting for me so no calibration was necessary.

The Blower motor was clean so no cleaning out was necessary. There was however a lot of soot in the combustion chamber and it was wiped down and cleaned.

I did order a new Igniter today and the one that is in it was sooted up so it was cleaned and put back in.

The wiring harness was also replaces and the RTD I had purchased from Sono Freso was installed. We also put a flexible metal hose in place over the Smoke Box so as to vent the exhuast and to also protect the RTD from wind currents so it could properly report temps.

There were several work around we encountered and Greg did swear quite loudly a few times as we had to replace some small bolts and work around things in order to gain access to many of the components. I knew if Greg could not fix it then it was simply beyond repair. I did not want to think about that so we continued on.

I did also get a new quick release fitting for the regulator connection to the propane bottle. We decided to keep the other end permanently installed in the gas valve but the fittings were changed to prevent any gas leakage.

I am happy to report it work very well and I will be posting the results on you tube shortly!

With the proper gas components in the Sono Fresco works with gentle heat and great fluidization of the bean.

I already want a 2 lb model!

The Greenest Bean, The Freshest Roast!
Sono Fresco In Operation as of January 4, 2012!

Edited by seedlings on 01/05/2012 8:30 AM
The Greenest Bean, The Freshest Roast!
Great news! Makes me want to re-do mine and make it look polished... some day.

Roaster: CoffeeAir II 2# DIY air roaster
Grinder: Vintage Grindmaster 500
Brewers: Vintage Cory DCU DCL, Aeropress, Press, Osaka Titanium pourover
If you have a account..go there and add CoffeeKen63 and you will see the rebuild pics of the Sono Fresco unit. Turns out it is a 11 year old roaster built as a prototype and then refurbished to bring it to propane. Unfortunately, the person, a third party who did that rebuilt failed to change out the gas orifice from NG to LP. That was accomplished on Jan 4, 2012 and along with other gas parts, we achieved the seemingly impossible task of getting it to work again!
I looks great Ken. Enjoy the roasts!
Sono Fresco roasted 3 lbs of Costa Rica bean so well that each resultant one pound cycle was the same as the next one. Here is a video of the beans approaching roast as they lose their moisture and mass.
Edited by kgraham63 on 01/06/2012 3:09 AM
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