New Fresh Roast 8 PLUS

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The Pol

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Decided to start a new thread about my coffee roasting since the last one was started in a little different direction. Just bought the Fresh Roast 8 PLUS from Sweet Marias... this thread will document my roasting!



I have a pound of each:

#2 El Salvador Siberia Estate Bourbon (Excellent at FC roast! Very easy cup!)

#4 Sulawesi Enkrang "Mount Alla" (Roasted three different times, there is really NO first crack, only a couple pops... then roasted 3 minutes past this, no chaff. Not a bad coffee, but not my #1.)

#1 Indonesian Flores Organic Manggarai (Very full bodied at a 6 minute roast, slightly bitter sweet, my NEW #1 from this lot)

Burundi Kayanza Bwayi No 7 (Recommended at a City+ roast, so I ran it for 5 minutes in the roaster, seems a little darker than a City+ but it is phenominal, will try 4.5 minutes on the NEXT roast, tonight! I PREFER the 5.0 minute roast here, less... grassy??? Yeah.)

Kenya AB Auction Lot# 786 Rukira
Guatemala San Jose Pinula-La Trinidad

Bolivia FTO SHG EP Caranavi (They recommend a City+ roast. Roasted tonight to 5.0 minutes, JUST to the end of the First Crack, brewing it tomorrow!!)


#3 Columbia Huila Valencia (First crack was at 4.5 minutes, roasted for 7 mins, just to the start of the second crack. Maybe a little darker than Id prefer, backing it off to 6 minutes on the next roast to compare)

Here are some tips!

Put the roaster on a NON GFCI outlet (I hear they can affect them)

Measured exactly 3oz of beans by weight, instead of ONLY using the scoop. This comes to 2.5 scoops, as recommended by Sweet Marias.

Preheated the roaster for 2 mins. prior to roasting, just like we do with our MLTs

Turned the timer to "6"

THIS TIME at 4 minutes in I had my first crack start, it was VERY obvious. The beans looked VERY uniform in thier roast, the aroma was great. There was also a TON of chaff... good

The first crack ended at about 5 minutes, I roasted 30 sec. past this then turned it right to the cooling setting.

I removed the beans, placed them in a colunder and placed them in the freezer to cool them.

I will upload a pic of this roast, it is AMAZING!!! I love this machine... truely love it.

NEW: I started roasting in my master bath. I can close the door, not set off my smoke alarms, turn on the exhaust fan and the cord reaches out the coor to a NON GFCI 124 VAC outlet. This is my solution to setting off the smoke detectors.

 

summersolstice

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The key to consistent roast with the Fresh Roast Plus is consistency in the scoop levels. I prefer my roasts, as a rule and depending upon the coffee bean variety, slightly darker than yours. With three scoops slightly less than level I usually set mine for about 4 1/2 minutes. This will take it about 10-15 seconds into the second crack before the cool-off stage.

Good luck, and have fun. I love mine!
 
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The Pol

The Pol

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Yeah, I used TWO scoops last night as per the instructions... apparently not enough beans, so the heat was escaping. Today I used exactly 3 oz and preheated so that I can get rid of that "cold" roaster variable. Today I used about 2.5 scoops to reach 3oz.

I am playing with my roasts, so I am starting at about Full City and will try out different roasts from there. Most of my beans I have are recommended for City+ to Full City+ roasts.

The beans smell like nothing I have ever smelled before though, I do love this machine. The first crack is really easy to hear, the machine is not as loud as I thought it would be.

I am satisfied.
 
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The Pol

The Pol

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I will be updating the OP with my brief comments on each coffee.
 
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The Pol

The Pol

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Roasted some of my El Salvadorian beans to the start of the SECOND crack today... it is really easy to hear with this machine BTW... WOW, looks like an excellent roast, cant wait to brew some up!
 
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The Pol

The Pol

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Updated roasting notes in OP.

It will take me several weeks to go through a test on all of the beans, but I am roating and giving some away to the neighbors to make it go faster!

I am still preheating with 2 minutes on the timer, and then roasting exactly 3oz of beans each time. I have found that I am not using the timer much, but listening for the first and second cracks and using those as my baselines.

First and second crack are EASY to hear on this machine, but beware! Some beans dont really have much of a crack! My Mount Alla beans had one or two quick pops at first crack... then I roasted 3 minutes past this to what was a quick crackle at second crack. There were THREE pieces of chaff in the collector!

When I roast the El Salvador beans in the OP, there is a 45 second long first crack, there is a TON of chaff and the second crack is very pronounced. I have heard that this may be attributed to the moisture content of the beans. Less moisture, less cracking (sort of like popcorn) the steam escaping and resultant pressure cracks the skins.

Thus far, I prefer the Full City roasts that occur at the begining of the second crack. MM MM goodness! I will never go back to swill coffee again!

I am drinking the Mount Alla this morning, and it is a great coffee, but I am simply rating these 1-8 in the OP as to my favorites.

I also began roasting in the garage... though there is no "smoke" in the house at a Full City roast, the fire alarms repeatedly go off, which makes hearing the cracks difficult! My garage is always 55F at a min. so it is plenty comfy.
 

yermej

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Glad to hear that's working out. Seems like a great, relatively inexpensive way to get into better coffee (without as much DIY-ism as a heat gun or popcorn popper - I need that time for beer).

How are you grinding and brewing? We brew with a French press so a burr grinder is recommended to reduce sediment. Cuisinart & Krups make burr grinders for $50-60, but I'm not sure how well those would work. Sweet Maria's cheapest burr grinder goes for $150. We may just give it a try with a blade grinder and see how that goes, but I'm curious to know what everybody else does.
 
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The Pol

The Pol

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I am just using a Target $12 blender type grinder....

I am brewing using just a typical drip coffee maker...

Not fancy, the roasting is very rewarding though!!
 

Saccharomyces

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I am very happy with the Breville Conical grinder:

Amazon.com: Breville BCG450XL Conical Burr Grinder: Kitchen & Dining

Consistent, even grind and the price is right at $100. Timer doesn't always work for me, but I don't care since I put in the amount of beans I want (3-4 scoops for 6 cups) and grind until they are all through. Who would keep the beans in the hopper anyway? :confused:

I prefer City+ roast except for Sumatra which I take just into second crack. The darker roasts I grind on coarse and use a french press for 2.5 minutes, serve with a dollop of whipped cream or milk. For lighter roasts I grind between medium and fine setting and use a manual drip coffee maker with water heated to 208*F.

Once you get the coffee bug everything else tastes like poo. I think it's worse than with beer -- I still drink cheap swill beer if it's all that is available, but I can no longer stomach cheap coffee at all!
 
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The Pol

The Pol

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I am stopping my roasts at the very beginning of the second crack... I am loving it! The coffee smells like... well not like coffee! It is better.
 

Saccharomyces

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Plenty of folks swear by the blade grinders -- if you have enough practice to get a consistent grind, they will produce very good coffee.

I am not a fan of auto drip makers though. A $3 plastic manual drip maker from the grocery store makes a perfect cup IMO. Heat the water just shy of a boil and give it a three minute pour through the manual drip into a carafe ($12 at Sam's club or restaurant supply store).

When I travel I take a blade grinder and a manual drip maker with me.
 
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The Pol

The Pol

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Updated the OP... this is such a quick and easy hobby, it is very addicitve!

The coffee, amazing, the machine equally so. The tips from Sweet Marias, invaluable!
 

summersolstice

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I use a Bodum C-mill and a French press. Got them both a Target. I've had both for well over five years and they've never failed me. The grinder likely wouldn't do for espresso but that isn't what I drink. I bring 2 cups of water to a boil in the microwave (three minutes), pour into the French press on the freshly ground beans, and allow them to steep for four minutes. Can't beat it.
 
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The Pol

The Pol

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Updated the OP again... sipping on my latest roast while eating apple crisp!
 

malkore

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french press is how i drink my coffee now (or vac pot) no more drip makers in my house.

definitely weigh your beans. Some beans will be less/more dense so going by volume isn't 'ideal'.
 
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The Pol

The Pol

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Well, was at the store today and they had burr grinders on clearance. $60 grinder, $30. Soooo, I bought one.

You take your fresh roasted beans and place them in the hopper. You turn the tub on top to either Coarse, Medium, Fine (there are several nothches in between each designation)... then you turn the dial on the face of the machine which reads 4,6,8,10 and 12 cups. You DIAL IN how many cups of coffee you want to make, it will grind the appropriate ammount and turn off automatically.

Once the coffee is ground, you remove the litte hopper at the bottom and dump the grounds in your machine or press! It works like friggin magic!

 

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Nice score.

One word of warning, if there is a lot of plastic in the chamber be sure to clean it regularly or it will gunk up and seize up after 2-3 weeks of use. I had a grinder that had this problem before I upgraded to my current model which is all stainless, it worked great as long as I remembered to clean it out periodically.
 
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The Pol

The Pol

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Nice score.

One word of warning, if there is a lot of plastic in the chamber be sure to clean it regularly or it will gunk up and seize up after 2-3 weeks of use. I had a grinder that had this problem before I upgraded to my current model which is all stainless, it worked great as long as I remembered to clean it out periodically.
Sweet thanks for the tip!!

I like the fact that I can just dump my fresh beans into it and then grind them 4 cups at a time.
 
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The Pol

The Pol

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After 5 months and about 25 roasts, this thing DIED today.

Worked well the short time that it worked, PIECE OF JUNK though now.
 

Saccharomyces

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Is it under warranty?

I was contemplating buying a roaster this week, I'm tired of running out of coffee because it takes me an hour to roast a week's worth by hand. I'll probably go for the drum roaster.
 

MMW

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That sucks. Dead roaster = poor coffee. You kind of get spoiled on the good stuff.

Maybe it's time to get all DIY and go with one of the BBQ drums, bread machine type deals, or stir crazy/toaster ovens :ban:

I'd go nuts roasting 3 oz at a time: I typically roast 3 9 oz (by weight) batches in my Hottop every week for drip and another 9 or so for espresso :D
 
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The Pol

The Pol

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I am the only coffee drinker here, and I am only home a few days a week, so I roast about once a week. It is under warranty, but thus far they want me to pay to ship the piece of crap, so if that is how they want to roll, I wont roast anymore. They can eat this thing, I mean I used it 25 times, give me a break.

I am not about to spend 300-500 bucks on a new roaster, and wont waste my time on another one of these. So, I think my roasting days are over.
 

ytsejam

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Don't give up! Get a popcorn popper.

I feel for ya, I broke my french press last week and have been sleepy ever since.
 
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The Pol

The Pol

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Well you see it is the principle of it all. If it is under warranty, then you ship the thing back and forth, not me. It is an $80 roaster and I am going to eat $15-$20 to ship it to get it fixed? Cmon man.

I dont know if I will end up roasting anymore... it is tedious and a higher capacity roaster will cost too much. I also do not want to DIY it.. just because that is more tedious. Dunno where my coffee roasting will go from here, just pissed at this POS that I bought from Sweet Marias.
 

msabin

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I've been using my roaster (same model) for 2+ years, every week and a half or so.
No problems, I'd pay the postage if that's what it took to get it working again.
 
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The Pol

The Pol

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I've been using my roaster (same model) for 2+ years, every week and a half or so.
No problems, I'd pay the postage if that's what it took to get it working again.

Thier POS, thier money. I am not down with the whole wealth redistribution thing. Honestly I have so many hobbies in the mix right now, any more expense on this one just seems silly, especially under warranty.
 
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The Pol

The Pol

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I like the coffee, I do, but I have not had to spend ANY money on my hobbies in months. Now I have this big ol nest egg of hobby money saved, and I dont want to tap it for silly things like shipping this broken roaster.
 
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The Pol

The Pol

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Good News...

They are sending me a new base for my roaster. Basically everything UNDER the roasting chamber. So, it looks like I will keep roasting.
 

Saccharomyces

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Good to hear they will stand behind their product, I suspected they would. Let us know how it works out.

I just got a Behmor 1600. At $300 it's cheap for a drum roaster. The quality of the roast is excellent. The HGDB method works, but I decided to upgrade to some hardware that will allow me to roast a weeks worth of coffee without spending an hour sweating in the heat.
 

dontman

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I was a beta tester for that Behmor. I liked it. Did decent heat profiling. I used it as a sample roaster for a few months. We had a couple problems with chaff collection and smoke management back then but I believe that both were addressed to satisfaction.

I am curious as to how the latest iteration of the machine is doing. I have not been using a sample roaster for the past couple years and the minimum my roaster will do is 2.5 lbs which is not always desirable anymore since scaling back my roasting business.
 

Saccharomyces

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I'll let you know when I get to a darker roast level how the smoke works out. I didn't get any smoke with the first batch but when I pulled out the beans I could see they were only City+ so it is not surprising.

The chaff collector works OK, but SM's review page says you will do well to keep the roaster next to your shop vac. Since I am roasting in the garage, I just vacuumed up the chaff. Quick and easy cleanup.
 
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The Pol

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Well, about 2 weeks later, and all I hear are crickets. I am not praising them yet. :(
 
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The Pol

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Just an update, still no replacement roaster. They are no longer answering my emails or messages.

Maybe this is proof that warranties are only worth the paper they are written on? Between this and my Barley Crusher, I cannot do squat :(
 

azmtnbiker

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That is pretty much the same thing that happened to me. The roaster went dead after 34 roasts. I did ship mine back, forget how much, and it took over 3 weeks to get the new one. By then I had a Behmor 1600 and gave away the new Fresh roast they sent me.
I roast 1/2lb at a time and it works well for me even if I want to get a dark roast. I also picked this up a few weeks ago which makes a great cup of coffee. AeroPress Coffee Maker by Aerobie

I am too addicted to my home roast and cannot stand the crap like Starucks. Another hobby but a fun one.
 
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The Pol

The Pol

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Well, they told me that my new base would be coming about a month ago now...

I tried to contact them three times in th past week, and nothing. IMHO, dont buy the FreshRoast Plus 8. I got it from Sweet Marias, but they dont handle the warranty issues. Some company called Fresh Beans out of Utah does... apparently they dont care to stand behing thier warranty.

This has just been my experience, but if it were up to me, I would NEVER recommend anyone buying this roaster from SweetMarias.

I wasted $80... could have spent that on something cool. :(
 

StunnedMonkey

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I dont know if I will end up roasting anymore... it is tedious and a higher capacity roaster will cost too much. I also do not want to DIY it.. just because that is more tedious. Dunno where my coffee roasting will go from here, just pissed at this POS that I bought from Sweet Marias.
Just noticed this thread. I did the whole home roasting thing for 5 or 6 months also. I bought an Alpenrost drum-type roaster that could do up tp 8 ounces at a time, though more than 6 was hit and miss. (It's no longer made, I believe.) It's neat to do, but yeah it's really tedious if you drink a lot of coffee like we do here. I was out in the garage roasting 3 or 4 nights a week. It gets old. Like yours, mine up and died after 6 months and I just shrugged it off and never roasted again. I didn't bother pursuing any warranty service.

Sweet Maria's is a really good outfit though.
 
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