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?
On 2/11/07, Silvia Marsh wrote: <Snip> t <Snip> , <Snip> sk <Snip> 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). Carole
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 part). 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: <Snip>
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* Silvia On 2/11/07, Larry Johnson wrote: <Snip>
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: <Snip>
On 2/11/07, Silvia Marsh wrote: <Snip> <Snip> re <Snip> 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.