HomeRoast Digest

Topic: Has anyone used both the freshroast +8 and the I-Roast? (6 msgs / 165 lines)
1) From: Silvia Marsh
I've been reading up on the I-Roast and the information looks tempting. It
seems that the basic differences between the freshroast and the i-roast
would be the control factors: easier to change times with the i-roast
(meaning you don't have to turn the little knob back and forth and guess),
longer roasting times,  the program function, etc. But...when in doubt, ask
those in the know.
Has anybody used both? Is it a completely awesome upgrade to go from the
FR+8 to the i-roast, or is it a waste of time and money?

2) From: Carole Zatz
On 2/11/07, Silvia Marsh  wrote:
Hi Silvia,
I have both of the roasters. I bought the FR8 first, figured it would
pay for itself within 2 months. I used it to learn how to hear the
cracks and it's a great one-pot and/or starter roaster. It does roast
too fast for the lower roast levels but as at that time I mainly drank
Sumatras that needed FC+, it worked out fine. I soon got tired of such
a small amount of roasted beans, tho. So I bought a iR2 (the Gene Cafe
had just come out and was out of my price range). I knew I didn't want
to roast outdoors and I liked the idea of the various profiles and
double the amount  went from 65g to 150g per roast. To me, there was
a definite improvement in my roast results. The flavors were more
complex (but still not too easy to get a City or City+ roast). It
worked great for about 6 months and then it broke. Hearthware sent me
a new one and it is one of those that runs a bit hotter. I had to
rework all of my profiles but am now getting good roasts out of it. It
takes more playing with than the FR8 did to start but once you get a
handle on it, I think the roasts are a definite improvement. The main
advantage of the iR2  the ability to set a profile  is also a
disadvantage in that you can't change it while a roast is in progress
(you do have the ability to add time only in the 3rd stage but I've
never been able to use it on the 5-stage roaster!). So you have to
come up with a profile you think will work and then run it to see if
it did work. It's not as bad as it sounds but it can be frustrating.
That said, once you get the profile(s) set up all you usually do is
load your beans, select your profile, and hit roast. I like it.
I don't think it's a waste of money to go to the iR2. The only time
I've used my FR8 since I got the iR2 was when I was waiting for the
new iR2 to arrive from Hearthware. To me there is a definite
improvement in the roast.
However, now that I got hooked on bread machine / heat gun roasting in
the backyard I find that I'm not using my iR2 much anymore. You have
great control of the roast and the results are even better. You may
want to try that first. I didn't think I would like doing it but it's
great fun  honest! It cost me $35 for the Sunbeam bread machine on
Amazon and another $29 for the heat gun at Home Depot. So it doesn't
cost much to give it a try. I'm not trying to talk you out of the iR2
but just give you another option to consider.
Bottom line : I think the FR8 is a great starter roaster (much better
than the very loud iR2) but the iR2 will produce a better roast (I
don't think I'd call it 'awesome', tho).

3) From: Larry Johnson
I started with the Freshroast and I liked the coffee I roasted with it, for
the most part. I now have an iRoast and I like the coffee I roast with it,
for the most part. I also use a bread machine/heat gun to roast larger
quantities and, yes, I like the coffee.
The following is my experience and my opinion. Obviously, YMMV:
Advantages of the FreshRoast include: simple, easy to use; quieter, so
it's easy to hear the cracks; relatively inexpensive compared to iRoast2.
Disadvantages of the FreshRoast: small batch size (not a problem if you're
roasting for one and you don't drink a lot of coffee); no temperature
control; fast roast profile sometimes pushes 1st crack right into 2nd.
Nothing you can do about it unless you want to buy a Variac, and/or a
thermocouple w/meter, and/or modify the machine.
Advantages of iRoast2: Programmable profiles (To a somewhat limited extent.
You need to read the threads on this subject to understand that issue
better. The programmable feature is the biggest reason most people get the
iRoast2); larger batch size.
Disadvantages of iRoast2: More expensive; louder fan makes it hard to
cracks, especially 2nd; can't modify the roast on the fly (for the most
My opinion? I think the iRoast is the way to go if you want control over
your roasting profiles. That said, I'm really mortified that I paid the
bucks for one and am now doing most of my roasting in a $10 bread machine
(thrift store) and a $30 heat gun (Home Depot). Oh, well; so it goes. I
still like using it now and then to figure out what roast I want on a
particular bean before I throw a pound of it into the bread machine.
Hope this helps.
Larry J (Lilboybrew)
"The truth does not change according to our ability to stomach it."
  - Flannery O'Connor
On 2/11/07, Silvia Marsh  wrote:

4) From: Silvia Marsh
I think the fates are speaking. ;)
Most signs are pointing to the fact that I'm going to be investing in a heat
gun sometime in my near future...*grins*
Larry and Carole have both mentioned that you can't adjust the roast on the
fly, and I do like to do that (the knob on my FR+8 gets quite a
workout)...and both have mentioned the loudness of the i-roast that makes it
hard to hear the cracks. I roast by ear as much as anything else, so I'm
thinking it may not be the way to go. In any case, HG/DB and BM/HG are both
far less expensive experimental options than the 180 dollar i-Roast...and
probably more fun, too.
Thanks for the responses, they really helped (sometimes I need help talking
myself out of things. ;)).
Hrm...wonder when home depot opens on Sundays...or better yet, the hardware
store up the street...*gets shoes*
On 2/11/07, Larry Johnson  wrote:

5) From: Larry Johnson
If you do decide to go with BM/HG, there's no better resource that I know of
than Vicki's website:http://coffeecrone.com/-- 
Larry J (Lilboybrew)
"The truth does not change according to our ability to stomach it."
  - Flannery O'Connor
On 2/11/07, Silvia Marsh  wrote:

6) From: Carole Zatz
On 2/11/07, Silvia Marsh  wrote:
Don't forget to check out the thrift shops for the bread machine! (I
didn't have much luck at the ones near me, but I think they are the
first place to look.) Two machines I tried and didn't like are:
Panasonic (needed to bypass thermostat and it still needed to be reset
to run long enough  also the 2-lb one liked to toss the beans out of
the pan!) and the DAK had a hole at the bottom when the paddle was
removed and I didn't want to have to tip the whole machine over to
dump the beans. Also make sure to read Vicki's web site http://coffeecrone.com/  as her tips are great and really helped me
get started!  She has a couple of articles on the subject.

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