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Topic: Hot top price (17 msgs / 656 lines)
1) From: Kai-La-Sha
$720 seems far too much for a roaster, which is a fairly simple machine.  I just bought a new binocular microscope, - built in illumination, 4 objectives, two sets of oculars, ball bearing mechanical stage and rotating head -  for $380 shipped to my door.  Good optics - very clear. Moving parts
smooth operation.
Considering the complication and engineering tolerences of a microscope v. a roaster, I don't see why anyone would consider paying twice as much for a roaster.  A rip off?
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2) From: EuropaChris
I'll agree with that.  I've seen the guts of that roaster.  There is nothing in there that is expensive to make or esoteric.
However, the kicker is production volume and tooling costs.  If Hottop can't sell many, you have to amortize the development and tooling costs (which will be significant) over the limited production volume.  This is what drives the cost.  I'd bet the material cost for that roaster is under $50.  The rest is tooling, development, overhead, etc.
The rock vs. hardplace argument is if Hottop charges a lot, they won't sell many, which drives up costs, which causes less to be sold, etc.  Downward spiral.  The key to selling these is take a bath on the initial production sell price to get the volumes up, which will drive down purchasing costs and amortize expenses faster, which brings down Hottop's cost.  Look at VCR's, microwaves, breadmakers....they have become disposable appliances due to huge volumes and cost reductions.  Hottops will never be sold in those volumes, but still, the priciple applies.
It's a nice roaster, for sure.  But, it's worth $400, tops.
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3) From: Ben Treichel
Chris Beck wrote:
That seems right. But I wouldn't buy one anyway.

4) From: EuropaChris
I wouldn't, either. I could not use it in my house.  The Alp is easy to vent.  I use a 6" muffin fan, mounted to a board, that I place in the basement window.  I run a 4" dryer hose to a 5" to 4" black plastic drain tile reducer (the stuff they run around the foundations of houses, thin and flexible).  I mounted this reducer to the arm from an old spring loaded desk lamp, so I can position the hose anywhere on my roasting table.  I place the 'nozzle' right by the Alp exhaust and away all the smoke goes.
The Hottop blows and leaks smoke everywhere, and I'd have smoke alarms going off all the time.
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5) From: AlChemist John
Sometime around 04:37 2/7/2003, Kai-La-Sha typed:
No, not a rip off, just costs that add up.  In concept the roaster is 
fairly simply.  In practice, as someone in the process of building one from 
the ground up, engineering something like this is  a little tricky and more 
expensive that I figured.  A lot has to do with moving parts and 
electronics @ 400-500F.  That makes a big difference in material 
costs.  The microscope may be a lot more complicated, but it runs at room 
temp.  Just raw materials for the HT are probably at least $150 considering 
the SS.  Between that, machining, limited production runs and the need to 
run a business and make a profit (i.e. double the price) the price tap does 
not surprise me at all.   I just look at it, the price, figure it is about 
right, and continue on with my design and building (for myself)
John Nanci 
AlChemist at large
Roasting and Blending by Gestalt
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6) From: The Scarlet Wombat
Cathy, I'll bet that you can set up the microscope where you shine a high 
intensity laser through the oculars and focus the light on a single bean, 
roasting it in moments.  If you set up a small, rapidly moving conveyor 
system, you could invent a totally new method of roasting coffee and not 
spend a penny on a roaster.  Cooldown can be in that large Dewer flask of 
liquid nitrogen you must have around somewhere. [grin]
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7) From: John Abbott
Shelly isn't set up for small orders and this is their way of discouraging
them.  The outfit in the UK was offering them for less than this - and now
there are a couple of resellers offering them for even less right here in
the states. If somebody comes up with a buildable kit for about $200 they
will have a true winner.
Considering the state of the art, I'd say that the engineering costs were
recover on the lab microscope about 1810. The roasters are a bit newer and
still recovering costs.   IF you want to talk about rip-offs, take a look at
your bill the next time you have to get an MRI.
John - drinking ISH that I paid $22.50 a pound for, roasted in a HotTop that
I paid too much for, brewed in a Solis Master that I paid too much for - but
it sure does taste good!

8) From: John Abbott
I beg to differ with your description Chris - I run my HotTop sitting on the
stove with the exhaust fan handling the smoke quite nicely. There was never
a time after the "burn-in" load that there was an excess of smoke. There is
almost NO smoke until the final 2 minutes of the profile - and the exhaust
fan in the HotTop blows the smoke straight at the stove exhaust fan and
nothing gets into the room.  I have NEVER set off my smoke alarm.  Just for
the record.

9) From: Tom & Maria
I agree with all the pros and cons about the price... its both too 
much and probably not enough from the varying perspective of the 
consumer and the manufacturer. I did have a LOT of smoke from the 
machine, but that comes with bigger batches of any kind. It was fun 
to play with and looked good. The roast quality was fine, and it felt 
like it had a moderate amount more heat than an Alp. But its still 
not enough heat for a small drum roaster, and I really doubt that 
without a radically different drum design you can produce enough heat 
from a 110v appliance to roast 1/2 lb coffee. It needs to be 220v or 
gas, imho. Thats where the brilliance of the BBQ comes in. It has the 
benefit of a real shop roaster like a Probat that is overpowered with 
BTUs so you have the option of pushing a roast, backing off, or 
changing midstream with the profile. If the Hotop was 500 even, AND 
had a US distributor AND 1 year warranty AND parts AND service, I 
would be on board with it. I think it has enough pros that ***for the 
right person*** its a good machine. It's like a hand-pull pavoni. Not 
for everyone, especially when there are now so many good elec. pump 
machines, but still a perfect fit for a few.
                   "Great coffee comes from tiny roasters"
            Sweet Maria's Home Coffee Roasting  -  Tom & Maria
		1455 64th Street Emeryville CA 94608
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10) From: floyd burton

11) From: Ed Needham
Bread machines are bigger and have similar components (motor, solid state
circuitry, digital readouts, heat element, etc...) in a different
configuration.  They sell at $75 and up.
Early adopters will always pay an exorbitant price.  I paid $800 for my first
CD player.  Plasma TV screens were over $20,000 just a year ago, and now are
selling at Wal-Mart.  Gotta pay for the startup fees first, and get the bugs
worked out, then drop the price when all the copycat products begin to flow
into the market, then drop the price more as the market becomes more
Ed Needham
To Absurdity and Beyond!http://www.homeroaster.comed

12) From: Ed Needham
I really like your attitude, John.
Ed Needham
To Absurdity and Beyond!http://www.homeroaster.comed

13) From: Ed Needham
Smoke?  You wanna see smoke?  I'll show you smoke.  Try roasting a five pound
batch of Costa Rican in your garage.  First time I did a full sized batch, I
was listening to first crack finish up, and then there was this profusion of
smoke.  I immediately thought I'd roasted too 'something' and went from first
to second with no space in between.  Not used to seeing smoke at first crack.
I popped the top on the grill, expecting to see beans at or near full city.
Nope...they were a dark cinnamon, not near second crack.  Too late.  Lost
most of the heat in my roaster.  I dropped the lid and cranked the burners
full blast.  Smoke everywhere.  I was fooled again and pulled the roast.  It
turned out to be a decent roast, but should have gone a bit further.  As it
cooled, there were notes of sourness.  It was a learning experience.
Now I have an exhaust fan blowing air out over the grill.  I turn it on at
first crack and it keeps things tolerable in the garage.  Second five pound
roast was perfect, as have been the last several.  Now I know that smoke is
expected early on in a large batch roast.  In a smaller roast, the smoke is
still there, but it's too faint to see.
Ed Needham
To Absurdity and Beyond!http://www.homeroaster.comed

14) From: Oaxaca Charlie
 Ed, just wait till you bring five lbs to dark french roast. The
carbon dioxide alone is enough to make you pass out if you're
not carefull, and you will not be able to see the drum clearly
unless that fan is right on it. It will look like a serious fire
burning your garage to anyone passing by.  Word.
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15) From: floyd burton
Yep the amount of smoke is amazing-really look forward to roasting outside
where the smoke will not stick around like in the garage.  A lot of chaff
also falls out of my drum so I use a shop vac to get it out between roasting
sessions.  Chaff burns and contributes to a lot of smoke.

16) From: Ed Needham
I can't wait.  It'll probably happen by accident before I see it on purpose.
I don't have much use for dark, dark roast, but somebody's going to want it,
I'm sure, and I'll have to roast it.  Guess I'll put a sign out front saying,
"Don't call the fire department!  I'm just practicing for getting a job at
Ed Needham
To Absurdity and Beyond!http://www.homeroaster.comed

17) From: AlChemist John
Sometime around 09:46 2/7/2003, Tom & Maria typed:
Considering that a modified WBI can do near to 1/2lb (Les told me he is 
roasting 220g) with a LOT of wasted energy just venting out the top, I 
think using a full 15 A (ok 14.5 or so) in a drum roaster should easily 
roast 8 oz, and hopefully 12 oz if most of the heat is going into the 
beans.  I guess I will find out as that is my present design direction 
(i.e. 14.5 A and 12 oz beans)
John Nanci 
AlChemist at large
Roasting and Blending by Gestalt
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