The lack of home roaster choices and availability has everything to do with
the addressable market.
I own an Iroast-2 that I got in December. For what I paid for it, sometime
in July or so we will have gone through enough beans for it to pay for
itself (decent ROI). I calculate this out at a savings of about $7/week as
we go through a pound a week. Had I got a more expensive unit the payback
period would be on the order of years at $7/week. A commercial type sample
roaster would be economically un-tenable without some sort of commercial
I of course have to balance this with the fact that since live in Oakland CA
I can get stuff directly from Tom and Maria anytime that I need it, as well
as a couple of other custom roasters .
One of the local enthusiasts and I were talking about roasting about 2
months ago, and he told me that since he could not match the quality of the
local roast stuff without getting a really expensive sample roaster, that he
wasn't even going to try, to easy to get great coffee was his response.
Since I sometimes miss a week of roasting I can attest that the stuff that I
buy from my local roasters has much more body that the stuff from my
Now switch over to the mass market, where people are stoked that you can get
a 5 LB brick of charbucks at costco for net to nothing, take it home and
drink. They are fighting not just the cost and ROI battle but also the time
battle. Not everyone wants to spend the time it takes to have their own
The other interesting experience I had was at a Williams Sonoma, watching a
sales guy sell one of those flavored pod machines, his closing line, (since
I was looking at the Elektra they had out) was simple, heat it up, pop in
the cartridge, hit go, and you have something as good as Pete's for way
less. He also ripped starbucks saying that the pod machine would produce
better coffee. Being a sales guy myself, I did not mess up his sale, but it
was frustrating where the bar is set for some people.
The person who mentioned beer making was on track, there used to be a number
of beer making stores that sold yeasts and other things to enable you to
brew your own beer. Over time these have all disappeared into a very small
niche market and most consumers buy their beer pre-brewed.
The addressable market is small, and even if you have 100% of not a lot, you
still have not a lot.