Author Topic: New Fresh Roast SR300 & SR500 Coffee Roasters?  (Read 1841 times)

Offline thejavaman

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New Fresh Roast SR300 & SR500 Coffee Roasters?
« on: November 21, 2009, 01:19:11 PM »
Has anyone heard any news about the new (and supposedly improved) Fresh Roast Coffee Roasters?  It looks like there are two new models (SR300 & SR500) that will be available sometime in December of this year.  HERE'S A LINK to Thompson's updated Fresh Roast page describing them briefly.  It looks like the SR300 will be the "basic" model with many similarities to the current "+8" model and the SR500 will have a bigger batch size and more control of the heat and roast times.  Maybe the I-Roast 2 will finally have some competition in the entry level air roaster market....

Offline mp

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Re: New Fresh Roast SR300 & SR500 Coffee Roasters?
« Reply #1 on: November 21, 2009, 01:42:16 PM »
No ... I hadn't heard of it up till now.  Thank you for that.

I like the features of the 500 model ... that might be a nice upgrade to the +8 basic model I have now.

Will be interesting to see when they ship.

 :)
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Offline thejavaman

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Re: New Fresh Roast SR300 & SR500 Coffee Roasters?
« Reply #2 on: December 09, 2009, 04:27:48 AM »
Burman Coffee has some more information on these roasters HERE.

Offline mp

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Re: New Fresh Roast SR300 & SR500 Coffee Roasters?
« Reply #3 on: December 09, 2009, 05:32:05 AM »
Burman did not have them the last time I checked.  It is interesting the instructions he gives on the 500:

4.  We like to start the roast with a high temperature setting and the highest fan speed. (490*)
5.  As the coffee starts turning over well, turn the fan speed down until it is gently moving. Here is where you can bump it down to a medium heat if you want to extend the roast. (455*)

Doesn't conventional roasting technique dictate you start at low heat and ramp up?  I'm not sure as I'm used to the FR Burn +8.

 :)
1-Center Cut, 2-Bean , 3-Silver Skin, 4-Parchment, 5-Pectin Layer, 6-Pulp, 7-Outer Skin

Gene Café, Isomac Tea ll, La Cimbali Jr Grinder, Starbucks Barista Grinder, Baratza Encore Grinder

Nothing like a nice shot!

Offline ButtWhiskers

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Re: New Fresh Roast SR300 & SR500 Coffee Roasters?
« Reply #4 on: December 09, 2009, 09:01:01 AM »

Doesn't conventional roasting technique dictate you start at low heat and ramp up?  I'm not sure as I'm used to the FR Burn +8.

Getting the beans up to 300 quickly is ideal.  You want to drive off the water as fast, then move into your developmental ramp.  That was probably the best part of the FR+8, to me.  With this roaster, you basically start out cold each time... I used to have 4 of them, but I gave 3 of them away over the years.

The old FR+8 could be tweaked a little from the inside, increasing the fan speed with a crude potentiometer (if it hadn't been adjusted to the max point at the factory).  You could also split wire it, to control the heater by a variac, but it was hardly worth it to do so  By using a smaller batch size it was possible to extend the roast, and even get a fairly decent ramp rate.  You could plug the whole thing into a variac and reduce the heat applied as the roast progressed.  I ran a thermocouple through the chaff collector and did enough measuring to where I had a pretty good idea of the bean temperature for small batches, and used to use this when I had a small sample and needed to get a couple of different roast levels for cupping and initial assessment.

This newer model appears to offer some of the controls that I had jury-rigged into mine, which makes it a little more user-friendly for someone that doesn't like to tinker with their equipment (and void the warranty).  The chamber and chaff system on these is nice, and you can get the beans into a cooling fan very quickly [I recommend dumping the beans as soon as the heat goes off, but leave the device in cooling mode with the fan running to cool it down].  Some of the drawbacks (with the old +8) are that you cannot do back-to-back roasts with these or you will burn them out (so I'm told, never happened to me, but I used to stagger the use of 2 or 3 of them to give them a short rest).  The fan could be more powerful.  They also smoke like crazy so they aren't very good choices for indoor roasting (unless you make a small exhaust hood for them).  And, of course, the batch size is very small (which is advantageous if you are using it for samples, but not if it is your only roaster).

In the long run, I prefer a modified Poppery I to these (for the larger batch size), but this will definitely offer an inexpensive off-the-shelf option with fair manual control to newer homeroasters.  The USB port idea is intriguing, but if they don't have a good method of accurately measuring the bean temperature it will probably not be too meaningful. 
"Decaf?  What's the point?!  It's kind of like kissing your sister."  -Anonymous Theater Patron, 11/14/09

Offline mp

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Re: New Fresh Roast SR300 & SR500 Coffee Roasters?
« Reply #5 on: December 09, 2009, 09:15:20 AM »
Thank you for that BW. 

So if you had this 500 model and a nice Brazil what would you set the temps to and for how long?

 :)
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Offline ButtWhiskers

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Re: New Fresh Roast SR300 & SR500 Coffee Roasters?
« Reply #6 on: December 09, 2009, 10:15:51 AM »
Thank you for that BW. 

So if you had this 500 model and a nice Brazil what would you set the temps to and for how long?

 :)
That's hard to say, since I haven't used one yet...  ;D

The thermodynamics will be different with a different batch size, and I don't know what their three temperature settings actually translate to in relation to burner and fan power and all.  For starters I would experiment until I found the batch weight that allowed sufficient agitation with the fan on full bore at the beginning of the roast (when it is harder to agitate the beans).  Then I would run it at high temperature until the beans hit 300°C and were fully yellow (indicating dryness).  Then I would drop it into medium setting until the beans hit 350° (probably lowering the fan speed a little to improve bean-to-bean heat transfer and giving me an additional 'brake' for later in the ramp, so it would be kind of like 'medium/high').  Depending on what that ramp rate looked like I might need to slow it down through caramelization (bean temp 350-370 or 375) to allow at least 2.5 or 3 minutes in that part of the ramp.  Then I would ease it into the first crack (might need more heat / less fan - probably use the fan for this), and when that was rolling I would temper off (less heat/more fan - would depend on how those seemed to function) to allow a good 3 minutes from the termination of the first crack with the bean temperature steady or slightly increasing until I dumped the beans.  The smells would also play a big part in how I adjusted the heat and air flow the first couple of times.

I'd certainly do this several times with each of my usual profiles (soft bean, hard bean, E. African city+, roasty Vienna) until I had a handle on how this really worked with the new unit.  And I would probably do a couple of throwaway batches with the thermocouple probe in contact with the beans as an indicator, briefly killing it at a couple of points and taking a direct IR reading of the beans to get a grip on the differences between air temperature and (measured and indicated) bean temperature at different parts of the ramp.  Then when I was recording temperatures electronically, I would probably have some idea of what the difference between the actual bean temperature, the measured bean temperature, and the air temperature was...  And when I had a good grip on that, I would be able to translate that to a simple time and temperature setting profile for a given batch size and type.
"Decaf?  What's the point?!  It's kind of like kissing your sister."  -Anonymous Theater Patron, 11/14/09

Offline sauerkraut

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Re: New Fresh Roast SR300 & SR500 Coffee Roasters?
« Reply #7 on: January 03, 2010, 05:52:11 AM »
anyone have any personal hands-on experience with either of these machines? My local store (Green Beanery) has had the same note for a few months "Coming Soon! Expected in stock: end of December - beginning of January"
graduated to BBQ drum roasting

Offline BoldJava

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Re: New Fresh Roast SR300 & SR500 Coffee Roasters?
« Reply #8 on: January 03, 2010, 06:11:18 AM »
anyone have any personal hands-on experience with either of these machines? My local store (Green Beanery) has had the same note for a few months "Coming Soon! Expected in stock: end of December - beginning of January"

Unless someone has been in on the testing of the beta models, very doubtful.  These are brand-new introductory models from Tim Skaling at freshbeansinc.com.  They were due in the first week of December.  Supposedly they are on the boat and due on the West Coast soon, as in Jan.

B|Java
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Offline shep

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Re: New Fresh Roast SR300 & SR500 Coffee Roasters?
« Reply #9 on: January 16, 2010, 09:45:40 AM »
My Fresh Roast SR500 arrived yesterday afternoon. My very first coffee roaster was a Fresh Roast, but that was many years ago and all I remember about it was that I was bored with it rather quickly. I have both read the reviews and watched the videos put out by SM on this machine. They were depressing enough to make one feel buyer's remorse before their credit card had even cleared!

At this point I only have a few introductory remarks, as I have only been able to run 3 batches through the machine and have as of yet to sample any of the results. Here is what I have observed so far:

On my first batch, I took the reviewers advice and used about 90 grams coffee, the fan on high and the heat on low. I also used the "hit the cool button" method twice during the first 2 minutes. I bumped the heat up to medium and eventually high, while leaving the fan on high for the entire roast. If it is possible to bake a 10 minute roast in a Fresh Roast, then I baked it! It was very slow (for this machine) and while the coffee did turn color, I never heard a single pop of first crack. I used all the time available. I threw that roast out. Several factors here: the machine was cold as it had been on the delivery truck all day, the batch size was smaller than recommended and I should have turned down the fan as the coffee grew lighter. However, this was an experiment to establish a baseline for the machine.

Roast two turned out much better. I compensated for the first roast by setting the heat on medium from the beginning of the roast. I started with the fan on high. Instead of the cool button method, I used the stir method this time for the first two minutes. By the end of two minutes, the coffee was turning yellow and chaff was beginning to fly in my face. At the two minute mark, I left the heat on medium, but reduced the fan speed by 1/4 turn. After another minute, I reduced the fan another 1/4 turn, making it at about half power. During the final minute or so, I reduced this slightly more. I stopped the roast at the first pop of second crack, all in all a roast of less than 8 minutes. I let the machine cool the first batch and found it still pretty hot at the end of the cycle. On the second batch I dumped it into a colander after about a minute and cooled it myself. The roast looked very nice. I will sample it later today.

The third batch was managed essentially the same as the second batch with the only variation being that I played with the heat a little more this time, both bumping it up to high and dropping to low.

The only other observation I can share at this time relates to the stirring. It is not a big deal to do this and is probably a good idea as I actually had one bean in my third roast that was just barely out of the green stage when dumped.

Finally, the roaster is much quieter than some of the other air machines, and it produces very little smoke. I could easily use it in my roasting shop, as I kick out more smoke than the Fresh Roast does when I drop 15 lbs of dark roast.  I will play some more, sample some and offer a little more feedback and a few photos later.

Shep
Vagabond, beach bum & motorcycle zealot: a restless soul in motion

Offline mp

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Re: New Fresh Roast SR300 & SR500 Coffee Roasters?
« Reply #10 on: January 16, 2010, 09:56:58 AM »
Hey Shep,

Thanks for your review.  Look forward to more observations as you go forth.

 :)
1-Center Cut, 2-Bean , 3-Silver Skin, 4-Parchment, 5-Pectin Layer, 6-Pulp, 7-Outer Skin

Gene Café, Isomac Tea ll, La Cimbali Jr Grinder, Starbucks Barista Grinder, Baratza Encore Grinder

Nothing like a nice shot!

Offline thejavaman

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Re: New Fresh Roast SR300 & SR500 Coffee Roasters?
« Reply #11 on: January 16, 2010, 05:40:35 PM »
Glad to see someone is testing this thing out, Shep.  Perhaps one of the moderators can merge this thread you started with the INITIAL ONE I started a while back to make it easier for someone searching for information on these things in the future....

Offline sauerkraut

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Re: New Fresh Roast SR300 & SR500 Coffee Roasters?
« Reply #12 on: January 17, 2010, 07:22:00 AM »
....They were depressing enough to make one feel buyer's remorse before their credit card had even cleared!

So have you experimented enough to satiate your buyer's remorse, or is the jury still out? 

Being relatively new to home roasting, I would like to upgrade from my hot air popper. But before I do commit my credit card, I'm looking for some varied opinions to convince me to press the final "buy" button!

graduated to BBQ drum roasting

Offline shep

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Re: New Fresh Roast SR300 & SR500 Coffee Roasters?
« Reply #13 on: January 17, 2010, 08:01:15 AM »
I would not want to comment decisively yet since we are talking about your money! However, I did sample one of the coffees this morning. I took my current organic Guat Hue and roasted a batch of it yesterday. I think my roast level was similar to what I do on the Ambex, maybe ever so slightly darker. This particular crop of Guat that I have is very bright. It has a powerful blueberry/citrus going on, both in aroma and flavor. I expected the Fresh Roast batch to be even brighter. To be fair here, I have not cupped them side by side yet, but will do so in the next day or so. I drank the coffee this morning in my Chemex. Very similar flavor profile. I was surprised. If anything, it was not as bright as my Ambex roast. Let me roast and sample some varieties over the next week or so and I will give a more confident assessment. At this point, I have no remorse, but remember, I have a 10 kilo Ambex for backup!

Shep
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ecollier

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Re: New Fresh Roast SR300 & SR500 Coffee Roasters?
« Reply #14 on: May 01, 2010, 11:20:14 AM »
My first machine was the FR+8. It's been such a work-horse that I felt some loyalty and upgraded. I've Owned my SR500 for several weeks now and have tried the advice of SW, Burman, and the Fresh Roast manual.

I was using between 100-120 grams (less than the FR manual suggests), and I was having trouble with baking my beans--a few feeble cracks that passed for 1st crack, then a steady darkening, but falling short of 2nd crack. So my issue is keeping enough heat to keep the roast advancing.

I called Jim (?) at Fresh Roast to get his take on this. He suggested the following.

1. Using the full 4 measures of beans (43 cc apiece)
2. Dry my beans, which are pretty dense (Columbian BCT Supremo from Burman).
3. Use the following settings

Heat Fan Minutes
  L     H      2
  H     H      1
  H     (steadily reduce fan until as low as possible, while keeping beans moving)
I got a first crack at just before 6 minutes and kept going until I entered 2nd crack. It took almost 18 minutes. It may have something to do with my electrical current. Actually, this extended time is kind of refreshing my FR+8 always ran hot and I had to work to keep hard to extend my roast times.