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Topic: Note on HotTop Pricing (13 msgs / 348 lines)
1) From: Mark Prince
At 07:58 AM 01/06/2002, you wrote:
<Snip>
I just wanted to pass along a note on the HotTop pricing. Numbers like 
$350, $400, $450, $470, $500 etc have been tossed about by everyone, 
including Baratza (who, I think and I have told them this, made a mistake 
by projecting a public price too soon).
Right now, pricing is up in the air, and any speculation, statements, 
"facts" or other stuff is all hearsay, and very much subject to change, and 
should be taken as such. Pretty much the only thing you can take to the 
bank is this: You won't see it for anything near $350. You also won't see 
it for $500 or more (though a "pro" version is in the discussion stage). 
But it will be somewhere in between that range.
I personally have been doing EVERYTHING possible that I could do, 
(including suggested cost savings, pricing schemes for bulk buys, parts 
changes, discussion of market forces, potential sales numbers, etc etc) to 
try and get a sub $400 price (even if it's $399.95! :)).
My argument to all involved is this: Basically, I believe that the Hottop 
may sell 100% more units if the machine was priced at say $395 vs $470. I 
feel that $400 barrier is a magic number... make it under $400 with 
shipping, and you'll sell double the amount of units than you would at a 
$450 to $470 price. People then won't be saying it's $250 more than the Alp 
(which, btw is inaccurate with current Alp prices, inflated difference, 
even when compared to a $450 or $470 price), instead they'll be saying it's 
only a hundred or so more than the Alp (which is also inaccurate, but a 
deflated difference - ahhhh the magic of perception)
Question for the group - what's your take on possible sale numbers with the 
over/under $400 price point? Keep in mind it simply won't get to $350 or so 
- $400 is nearly impossible as well - do you think sales numbers will be 
significantly increased if it's at or below that price range of $400?
Mark
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2) From: Al Raden
I wouldn't buy it at either price.  It's too large, and too expensive 
for my needs.
- al r.
Mark Prince wrote:
<Snip>
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3) From: Michael Rochman
Mark,
Is there a street date yet for the Hot Top?
Thanks, Mike
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4) From: Terry Stockdale
I think a price slightly under $400 is best.  It's not just a psychological 
breakpoint for we coffee snobs, it's also a psychological breakpoint for 
our non-coffee-drinking spouses.  Personally, I'm waiting impatiently for 
the product release.  These 6-8-10 batch roasting sessions are starting to 
get long, as the summer heats up.
At 02:29 PM 6/1/2002 -0700, Mark wrote:
<Snip>
Terry Stockdale -- homeroast -- Baton Rouge, LA
Preground storeblend + Drip = Coffee?
Monkey Blend + HWP + Maestro + Silvia = Espresso
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5) From: John - In Deep Southern Texas
Mark,
    I believe you are dead center.  I've been thinking in round numbers for
the Alp and Hottop - 300 vs 500.  But even at the $400 barrier the Hottop is
going to be 1.43 times as expensive - and its an unknown.  I can see a
migration to the next order of magnitude (100's being the scale) if the
device turns out to be nearly as good as some feel it will be.
    I've been using the $100-off price that Baratza is quoting for the
pre-cooling fix as the basis of my considerations.  They will ultimately be
the people who set the US prices.
    Even if I don't become an owner of the Hottop, I welcome them to the US
market and hope they listen to your arguments.  I know for my part I'd be
far more open to a $400 price and might even budget for it - but the 450 -
475 takes it out of the range of me willingness to use it.
John

6) From: Tony Morello
I already have an HWP and Alp.  It would have to be *a lot better* in
some way for me to consider spending even $350.  So far I'm not hearing
this.
Tony

7) From:
I'm currently using the HWP, 4 months now. It's running fine but I've heard
all the stories about failures down the road. I paid $129 I think and if it
dies after 2 years or so I won't be too upset and would certainly consider
buying another if it were available & at the same or lower price. But if I
spent $450 or more I'd be pretty upset if it failed after 2 years or so. As
there is no reputation for quality, service or warranty with the
manufacturer (I understand Baratza is very reputable), I think they are too
aggressive at anything over $400 if all they include is a roaster.
If I were looking for ways to keep the price potential above $400 I would
introduce the roaster with some sort of introductory offer. The offer could
include greens (they would need to subsidize this deal with the retailers
like Tom), a scale, free French press or vac pot - anything to make the
price go down easy. Then after the introductory period I would evaluate my
position. If they were flying off the shelves I'd drop the incentive and
sell at my preferred price. If sales fell off substantially I would then
have the option to lower the price and snag everyone who was holding out.
It's easy to lower a price and very difficult to raise the price on a new
item.

8) From: Terry & Cheryl Rusch
This is a multi-part message in MIME format.
Mark, you are absolutely correct on your pricing ideas.  I'd consider it =
at under $400.  I have had a HIP since February and they keep failing.  =
The PC board on the first one failed after a month of use, and the =
second one just began the screech of death after only 10 roasts.  I'm =
pretty disgusted, but I'll keep plugging until it's not under warranty =
anymore.  Then, I'm going shopping, and the Hottop is going to be looked =
at very closely.
Cj

9) From: Jack Berry
I think November is the target; read that at Mark's site or one of his posts
here I think.

10) From: Mike Vanecek
On behalf of all of us who have to beg our checkbook-hogging s/o's for 
every toy we buy, I would like to extend my appreciation for the hard 
work you've put into consulting the HotTop guys to hopefully keep the 
price in a reasonable range. A $50 dollar difference would go a long way 
in convincing my walking checkbook to part with a pittance for my humble 
hobby... :)
Cheers,
Mike
Mark Prince wrote:
<Snip>
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11) From: Tom & Maria
They are considering better air cooling for the machine now because 
it is totally insufficient in that respect, but one of ya'll (and I 
accidently deleted the email ...sorry!!!) suggested that cooling 
would be much more economical in a separate device. His idea, based 
on his engineering background, was that it was going to be very 
expensive to build a machine in this size that could effectively heat 
as well as it needs to (it does), and then cool as well as it needs 
to (it doesn't) ... at least while keeping costs in line. The idea 
reminds me of the old Jabez Burns and Monitor roasters where coffee 
is dumped into a conveying tray to a separate cooling unit away from 
the hot roaster drum housing. But the idea was more that a home 
roasting person would not mind manually cooling, or Hottop could 
supply a separate simple cooling bin with an electric fan or 
something. What they DID do was build a rotating cooling arm that 
does nothing to cool coffee - what you need is massive air flow and 
mechanical agitation is not necessary as long as the coffee is spread 
evenly over a perforated tray with a LOT of air moving through it. I 
suspect that ashy-tasting roasts we are getting from the Hottop are 
partly due to long cooling times.
Well, although I didn't get back to the person who sent me the idea 
(sorry, sorry sorry), I did forward it to Baratza.
Tom
<Snip>
--
                   "Great coffee comes from tiny roasters"
            Sweet Maria's Home Coffee Roasting  -  Tom & Maria
                   9 E. 2nd Avenue Columbus OH 43201
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12) From: Greg Scace
I would consider buying one when my alp fails.  Dunno what others would do, 
but if the hot top is well constructed as folks say, it might be a pretty 
good deal in the 400.00 range.
-Greg Scace
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13) From: Tom & Maria
<Snip>
Lets hope they can keep the price down. BTW there is a Syd and 
Jerry'r roaster on Ebay now - fairly rare occurence.
Tom
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