HomeRoast Digest

Topic: New Home Roaster (25 msgs / 705 lines)
1) From: Tom & Maria
Hi all,
I just wanted to let you know that we were testing a new fluid bed home
roaster today. It is presumably in production and currently available. Its
called the Caffe Rosto imported/manufactured(?) by an outfit called
Brightway Industries. (somebody mentioned to me that one of Mr. Burns
companies in the Simpsons is called Brightway?)
Anyway, I was looking forward to the test because the claim was a 6-8 ounce
batch, the price about $199. Even with some ease-of-use issues, I would
consider stocking a roaster with this batch size capability that produced
good roast quality. But I found 3 ounces had the best initial agitation, 4
was loaded a bit heavy (instructions say 4) and 5 was a no-no. This is on a
pretty strong electric circuit. With this in mind and other disagreeable
details, we are not going to be stocking this roaster, and I sent back the
test unit. I think the machine is solidly built though and there has been a
lot of work put into the design. It has the typical corn popper type fluid
bed venting but instead of it circling the outside wall of the roast
chamber, there is a raised dome in the center with the vents.
 When their web page is up, I will put a page with our pictures of the
tests today, and a link to them if anyone has questions. I dont think they
will be selling green coffee so I dont think theres any conflict with us.
And the best thing for all of us is to know the roasting options out there,
so we can buy the roaster thats right for us. The roasters we currently
offer have different strenghts and weaknesses, and each might suit a
particular home roaster ---theres a big choice in cost, batch size and
roast qualities. You can take my non-commitment on this one at face value...
The only other roaster out there we dont have, and I must admit that I have
no idea what the status is on the re-design of this model, is the WB
Roaster. This was the very handsome machine, with a nice digital control
but chaff leakage and possible air circulation/agitation shortcommings. I
thought they were going to reesign and re-release, but I am really not
sure. Nobody discusses it, and the salespeople at west bend never contacted
us, so I just dont know...
Outside of that there was one rumor of an air roaster that was tested by a
friend under the cloak of a nondisclosure agreenment, and was basically
non-functioning. Its not in production and even if I knew then name it
wouldnt be fair to share it....
BTW I do have a page set up with photos of our test of the propane version
of the Coffee Kinetics roaster aka Syd & Jerry's roaster aka Coffee Project
roaster. Heck, maybe I should just call it the Sweet Maria's roaster? No
...because I didnt thunk it up! I personally will be installing a natural
gas version of the machine next to the diedrich, so you can take that as a
thumbs up... are we selling them? Well, yes ...
                  "Great coffee comes from tiny roasters"
           Sweet Maria's Home Coffee Roasting  -  Tom & Maria

2) From: Paul Goelz
I'm wondering if it is possible to make a fluid bed roaster that does 8 oz
and operates on a regular 15A 120VAC circuit.  My AromaRoast drew about
1000 watts and barely did 3 oz with adequate agitation.  
1500 watts is about the limit on a 120VAC single circuit outlet.  
Paul Goelz
Rochester Hills, MI
pgoelz at eaglequest dot com
Videoastronomy, model helicopter and music (UnFest) web site:http://www.eaglequest.com/~pgoelz

3) From: Michael Rochman
Tom, You might wish to request another sample. I bought one of the very
first units, direct from Korea. It will do 5.+ oz (a level scoupful that was
provided with the unit) with no sweat. We built our home at the end of 98
and perhaps our wiring is somewhat different????  Regards, Mike

4) From: Melanie Uy
Hi Tom, et. al.,
Sorry if this home roaster has been discussed already (I have 86! messages
from this discussion list still to read), but there is a $195 home roaster
set to come out in the spring of next year and currently in production in
Singapore. It's called the RostKaffe, but I don't know much about it besides
what I was told by the president of the company that I believe is
manufacturing it, Legends 2000, Inc.
To wit, it's supposed to roast enough for 12 cups at a time and emit no
smoke (?)...I haven't any other details, but the site for any interested is
Anyone hear anything about this product?

5) From: Gary Zimmerman
Melanie wrote:
This looks rather yummy from the patent description.  Lots of 
control.  Maybe too much?
In any case, it's very intriguing.  I'll be interested to hear about it (if 
it ever really materializes).
-- garyZ

6) From: K. Sue Hodgson
BTW I do have a page set up with photos of our test of the
propane version
of the Coffee Kinetics roaster aka Syd & Jerry's roaster aka Coffee
roaster. Heck, maybe I should just call it the Sweet Maria's roaster?
...because I didnt thunk it up! I personally will be installing a
gas version of the machine next to the diedrich, so you can take that as
thumbs up... are we selling them? Well, yes ...
Can you give us more info on the Coffee Kinetics roaster?  When will
you start selling them and at what price?  I looked up the pictures
and it looks like it might be a roaster I'd be interested in.

7) From: Paul Goelz
At 08:24 PM 11/10/2000 -0500, you wrote:
Interesting.  I read through the patent stuff for a while, but I still
can't figure out what is patentable.  They refer to the roaster as an
"invention" but near as I can tell, they have merely re-packaged a couple
existing ideas.  
Looks darn good, though.  Especially if it sells for less than 200 bucks!
Unfortunately, it smells like a VERY preliminary project.  I'll get excited
when it hits the stores.  
Paul Goelz
Rochester Hills, MI
pgoelz at eaglequest dot com
Videoastronomy. electric helicopter and music web site:http://www.eaglequest.com/~pgoelz

8) From: Hugh Solaas

9) From: Paul Goelz
I suspect they are counting on a tidal wave of home roasters.  I don't see
it although it would be interesting.  On the other hand, Tom made a good
point a while back..... if the masses roasted, there would be a lot less
good stuff for us.  
Paul; Goelz
Rochester Hills, MI
Videoastronomy, model helicopter and music (UnFest) web site:http://www.eaglequest.com/~pgoelz

10) From: Dan Piette
Interesting theory. I wonder if the Model Train guys (of which, I am not
one) or the dirt bike guys (op cit) agree.
I guess our hobby comes down to this: (and I will not be o blod as to
characterize the rest of y'all) I love good coffee. To get good coffee, I
find the need to roast my own beans. Is this a hobby? Or a Life (style)?
Money is not really the issue, access to good green IS.

11) From: Simpson
I think most of the folks on this list have made roasting a part of their
lifestyle which is at least semi-permanent. If 'the masses' get into this
home roasting thing the net effect could be a real loss to the true
aficionados. A parallel phenomenon was the boom and bust of the cigar craze
which lowered quality and increased cost to phenomenal levels which drove a
lot of folks to make other lifestyle decisions. If green coffee became
scarce and what I could find sold for 13 bucks or more a pound, I'd become a
tea drinker and mothball my Gaggia. I know lots of folks who had quietly
enjoyed their daily cigar for decades who no longer do so because the yup
lemmings pushed the product out of their reach. Now this is probably an
improvement for their health, but that's not the point.
So I'm torn in the weirdest way... on the one hand I want to share this
wonder with strangers in the street and OTOH I want to keep it my little
secret. I compromise by standing in the corner, grunting and vibrating
wearing a Tee shirt that says "I love good coffee" on the front and "I know
nothing. Leave me the hell alone!" on the back.

12) From: Fookoo Network
At 11:06 PM 11/14/00 -0500, you wrote:
I doubt that you have to worry much because the roasting hobby does take 
time, unlike going out and buying a cigar.  It is pretty difficult to talk 
someone into buying a quality grinder, a roasting machine like the HWP, and 
then try and guide them through the roasting process.  Not too many are 
going to bite, no matter how passionate you are about coffee.  Otherwise, 
the Japanese would probably have cornered the market in green coffee beans 
by now because most green coffee beans sell in the $4-$7 range per 
pound.   And in Japan, you can hardly buy a cup of coffee for $4.

13) From: Melanie Uy
Where (which corner of which street in which city in which state) are you
grunting and vibrating with said t-shirt? Quite an image there.
More on-topic, I've been trying to push home roasting on everyone I know and
at my site, to little, if any, avail. Ah well, as mentioned by others
earlier, it's probably for the best.
who wishes she was bold enough to jokingly admit to grunting and vibrating
with such a t-shirt (I do like the "I know nothing! Leave me the hell alone"
motto, though. "I know nothing" is a favorite Zen koan of mine.)

14) From: Tom & Maria
The much more immediate threat to the quality of coffee is the crappy C
market. If this lasts there will be NO incentive for quality. Very few
farms manage to gain the recognition to sell at assured premiums. The rest,
many with better quality than the recognized coffees, have to take what
they can get. Eventually they will realize that the economics are just not
there. I assure you, another crop season of this C market might kill
specialty coffee. Already I have seen the effect, as you will notice an
absence of really good coffees from potentially good origins, like Uganda.
Theres just no incentive to ship. Now Mexico is talking about burning
10-20% of the crop to reduce surplus and drive the price up a little. Its a
horrible situation.
And a Volksroaster in every home? rest assured it wont happen soon ... but
its a nice thought...
frankly, I thought we might be at the end of the "home roasting is the next
big thing" era, and all these supposed new home roasting appliances in
development would evaporate once these people researched the market a bit.
I would be content to live in a mad max style "post-home-roast" era where a
heating coil for a sirocco and a blower for a HWG meet the top for a
freshroast with a lot of duct tape.... we'll see
                  "Great coffee comes from tiny roasters"
           Sweet Maria's Home Coffee Roasting  -  Tom & Maria

15) From: Simpson
I need to understand the c better than I do. Is there a good primer
somewhere? And what can specialty coffee do? More to the point, what are we
specialty coffee consumers able to do about this? Coffee does seem prone to
these boom and bust cycles and no one has managed to fix this yet, with a
lot of trying.
Will you be selling duct tape soon?

16) From: floyd burton
I agree-having been in consumer products marketing I am of the opinion there
are only a small segment of the market that will take the effort to
roast/grind their own beans.  However I think we may actually benefit if
more people start buying green coffee beans that have the producer/origin
specifically identified as Tom does.  If the bulk of the increase goes to
the Charbucks and dealers who sell their own blend of beans-well the small
producer will get little benefit from the increased demand.  Look at the
wine business (was in wine marketing for several years), 15 years ago the
generic jug wine was king-rapidly growing and the dominant portion of the
market.  Now the significant growth is in the medium priced red varietals
with jug and "white" wine declining.  Growers can now invest in vineyards
that can produce quality varietals and expect to make a return.  Look at the
amount of effort wineries devote to specifically identifying the specific
vineyard of their grapes.
Sadly most of the green /"fresh roasted" beans available out there are
somebody's blend.  The big problem is that green/"fresh roasted" coffee
beans do not have a label and most of the slick marketers in the business
are not willing to identify the origin/producer of the beans they sell.  If
the small producers do not get rewarded for their efforts and are forced to
sell to mass marketers like Charbucks-well what incentive do the small
growers have to invest in their coffee operation to maximize their distinct
style.    The small producers have got to be rewarded for their efforts
otherwise the uniqueness of the small producers will disappear over time.

17) From: Tom & Maria
                  "Great coffee comes from tiny roasters"
           Sweet Maria's Home Coffee Roasting  -  Tom & Maria

18) From: Simpson
Chris, Tom et al-
I am pretty insulated from the 'wholesale' price to the farmer. Maxwell
House, Inc may benefit from this low price but my own experience is that I
pay, with shipping, about 6 bucks a pound from Tom for green coffee. Just
FYI, that's 2 bucks more a pound than I can buy it from my local roaster. I
use Tom despite the increased cost because there is also vastly increased
cup quality and the provenance of the coffee is far more clear so I learn
more as I cup the various coffees. Also, FYI the 'c' may have reduced in the
last 2 years (?) but I'm paying at least the same and I believe slightly
more for coffee than I was 2 years ago.
I don't question Tom's prices... I think he is worth every penny and more.
But fads strike hard, fast and extreme. I don't worry about some slow motion
increase in price or interest as in a normal hobby phenomenon...an analogy
for that might be the prices of vac pots on ebay. Used to be they were a
25cent commodity. Now people are looking for them and they cost more. BUT
this signals greater interest in advanced coffee brewing methods and I think
that's good. Plus, the prices are not exorbitant (IMO).
I keep using the cigar phenomenon as an example because it is analogous of
what I fear. In less than a year 75 cent cigars cost 10 dollars and then
became unavailable due to such an imbalance in supply and demand. Cigar bars
cropped up everywhere. People invested in new land under cultivation and new
warehouse and production facilities.
Now the cigar bars are roller rinks, the walk-in humidors have been
converted to holding Pepsi at the local 7-11 and the investments made at the
production level are worth a penny on the dollar. Maybe. Things haven't
'gone back to normal' after the boom and bust; the face of the industry has
changed and some say not for the better.
Specialty coffee would not benefit from this sort of cycle. I hope it
doesn't happen. I *think* that a new facet such as 'home roasting' with the
opportunity to get into dueling wallets, equipment and maybe palates is the
sort of thing that could spark such a weird flash-burn event. I hope it
doesn't. I like it the way it is.
As to raising the 'c', I don't know how to help with that. I understand the
crisis but I already buy from a reputable dealer to whom I pay a 'quality
premium'. What more can we do? That's not a rhetorical question BTW.

19) From: Chris Hancock

20) From: Gary Zimmerman
Thank goodness Martinis are still available. hic.
-- garyZ

21) From: John & Carolyn Abbott
Yes, but by government edict you can only have one for lunch.  Thank
goodness for breaks :O)
John - lost in DS Texas

22) From: Nikos
I don't think that we are in any danger from the yups. I see home roasting
as analogous to pipe smoking more than to cigar
smoking....Both(pipes/roasting) require too much work and not enough "image"
value for the trendoids.
With a cigar, you merely buy it, circumsize it, stick it in your mouth and
voila!, you are a "power person". When you're through, you toss the ashes
and the stub...
With the pipe, and roasting, you must choose the blend of tobacco (or make
your own blend), choose the type of pipe, and when finished smoking it, you
must clean your equipment...All this for the image of a calm. contemplative
person who seems to be satsfied with what he already has...? They'll never
go for it...Witness how many steam driven "expresso makers" you see in
thrift shops...If they don't have the patience to use these simple machines,
they'll never get involved with roasting..
I think we're still safe:-)

23) From: Robert Cantor
Which means Tom will have to start traveling and meeting these small
farmers...  :)
Bob C.

24) From: cationic
Excellent analogy! I agree completely. In the last year or so, I have tried
to "convert" as many people as I can into home roasting. My success rate is
rather low (only two so far), but these two people are now rabid roasters
who will not go back to store-bought preroasted coffee. (And, they are
loyal customers of Sweet Maria's.) The point is, if it were as easy as
lighting a cigar, I would have converted all those who tasted my espresso
shots and capuccinos, and loved them. When they realized how much work is
involved, they lost some of their interest (but now they visit me more

25) From: Paul Goelz
At 03:54 PM 11/16/00 -0500, you wrote:
Darn, you're one up on me!  And the one that I converted is only converted
because I roast the coffee (I live with her).  So I guess that doesn't
really count....
I have tried to convert everyone who drinks my coffee.... they all like it
and they all are uninterested in roasting.  A truly easy to use and
inexpensive roaster might change that.  
I tried to raise the coffee awareness at the office.... brought in (and
paid for) Dunkin' Donuts pre-ground for a while.  They all thought it was
good.  But after a while, they continued to buy big 2# tins of pre-staled
Maxwell house.  Sigh.  I have developed an appreciation for very weak
Maxwell House, though.... the only way it is even partially drinkable.
Doesn't taste anything like coffee, but it can be a pleasant kinda
cereal-tasting brew, especially the next day.
Paul Goelz
Rochester Hills, MI
pgoelz at eaglequest dot com
Videoastronomy, model helicopter and music (UnFest) web site:http://www.eaglequest.com/~pgoelz

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