HomeRoast Digest

Topic: Got $ now, but roaster died AAAGHH (6 msgs / 225 lines)
1) From: Sharon Allsup
For the 3rd time in 5 months, the PC Board on my Gourmet has 
died.  The only thing that keeps us sane is that I'd been roasting to 
make gift packages (30 minutes cooldown time between roasts, 
should be sufficient, no?), so we will send those people cards 
instead and keep the roasted stuff to hold us over until it's fixed, if 
that's not sufficient the poppery gets dusted off.
But I'm fed up with this roaster.  Hearthware's customer service is 
sterling, and the features on the HWP I had before were terrific, but 
GAH I hate how trouble-prone it is.  Since we just sold a house, I 
can afford to replace and upgrade at the same time.  The Gourmet 
will get fixed and then put on the shelf to be backup or loaner.  
We're already replacing the limping-along grinder with a Mazzer.
What I *actually* want is a reliable Precision (mine did last over a 
year, that's almost good enough).  But they're no longer available, 
and my husband is leery of waiting for the new model because he 
doesn't want me spending more money on Hearthware roasters.
The Alp has lots of fans here, but I don't like not being able to 
easily see the beans, and it sounds like it would be unhappy with 
all of the itty-bitty-peaberry-beans roasts I do.  And I've tried 
poppers, but don't like them for everyday use.
Are there any roasters that will last five years or so?  What would a 
restaurant use (my husband told me to ask that question)?  What 
would support these features:
Full range of roasts - we roast all over the map
At least 3-oz (weight) capacity - more is OK but not required; I like 
not having to do two roasts to get enough for one pot.
Roast control of some type - dial is nice
Able to end roast/kick off cooling cycle whenever I want
Removable chaff collector for ease of cleaning
Removable roast chamber for cleaning
Now to wade through 15,000 archived messages here and see if 
someone's mentioned it already.
Was building a care package for baby brother in Alaska:  various 
coffees, 12 pounds of Bruce's sweet potato pancake mix, lots of 
citrus, Lexan coffee press :)
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2) From: floyd burton
Sharon you may have a problem with your power source-not getting enough
juice.  Course it could be bad luck or design but think about having a
dedicated line in your new digs-use 12/2 line and a 20 amp fuse.
Uh am in the process of building a gas weber grill roaster-my HWP which is
about 4 years old is still ok but I really want a less bright roast/cup and
from what the other roasters here say-this be the way to that goal.
ALso have you taken your roaster apart-somebody who roasts a lot send pics
of his HWP innards-wow what a sight.
Good luck with your roasting quest.

3) From: Randy Roy
How about the Caffe Rosto?  Tom recommends it for darker roasts, but I have
no problem roasting lighter when desired.  Plus , if you combine it with a
Variac a la Mike McKona and others, you have much greater control over the

4) From: Randy Roy
One more thing - the only thing the Rosto doesn't have is a removeable roast
chamber, but it's stainless steel.

5) From: dewardh
What you (and many others among us ) want just isn't out there to be had. 
 That's why you see so much talk of "modifications" and "build your own" on 
this list.  It comes down to "what work-arounds are you willing to put up with" 
and "how accessorized are you willing to make your roast environment 
(voltmeters, variacs, timers, thermometers, scales etc.)".
	The Caffe Rosto is mechanically simple and mechanically rugged.  It has the 
best chance of any of the "home roasters" of making five years . . .
	Good question, unfortunate answer . . . most restaurants don't, and you won't 
be happy with either the minimum batch size or the price of the small 
"commercial" roasters.  The closest to what you might want is the PRO1500, with 
a half pound minimum batch and a $5k price . . .
	Rosto can do that . . .
	Rosto works best between 115 and 150 grams
	Rosto has a timer, but . . . unless you keep tight control
	over supply voltage (and other variables) it's more a "safety"
	than a "control" (it is, of course, a "control", but it
	doesn't "control" anything that you won't override
	almost every roast . . .)
Able to end roast/kick off cooling cycle whenever I want
	Rosto has that (by turning the timer dial . . . not as easy as the HWP's 
Removable chaff collector for ease of cleaning
	Rosto has two (both too small) . . . the primary is easy to remove,
	the secondary is not removable and not so easy to clean . . .
	(not so hard as to be a problem, though)
Removable roast chamber for cleaning
	Rosto does not . . . but . . . it's easy enough to wipe down, and the
	chamber lid is removable (and easy to clean)
Lest I sound like a Rosto salesman  let me also note that it is loud enough 
that it's hard to hear second crack, it is very sensitive to (especially low) 
line voltage, there is nothing "automatic" about its operation, and the "turn 
it upside down (after removing the chaff filter) unloading proceedure is far 
from "convenient".  It is far from being the "perfect" home roaster . . . it's 
just the best out there at this moment.  Maybe the new Hearthware will be 
better (when it arrives, whenever that will be) . . . and we can hope that it 
will be more reliable than the previous Hearthware offerings . . . but as with 
the recent HotTop fiasco there may be some "field testing" yet to be done.
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6) From: David Lewis
At 11:13 AM -0500 12/22/02, Sharon Allsup wrote:
Well, noone knows if a home roaster will last five years, although I 
think some of the Rosto's have been in service a fairly long time. 
Given your criteria, I'd consider the Zach & Dani's roaster; it's 
$115 through the end of the year if you mention alt.coffee. 
Restaurants that do their own roasting use things in the US$4,000 
"To announce that there must be no criticism of the President, or 
that we are to stand by the President right or wrong, is not only 
unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American 
     -- Theodore Roosevelt
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