This is the new, enlarged and improved model of our favorite line of little workhorse roasters, the FreshRoasts, the most popular home coffee roaster with over 100,000 units sold worldwide. It is sturdier and roasts a tad more, with a much larger roast chamber than its predecessor the SR500. Using four scoops (provided) of green coffee, this roaster will generate about 4.2oz of roasted coffee, which using our recommended coffee to water ratio comes out to 72oz of brewed coffee (or 12 6-oz cups). It is more versatile that its predecessor, the SR500. It has an improved control board.
For us the main advantage of this fluid-bed roaster is its ability to roast variable amounts of green coffee from one scoop (43 cc) to four scoops (the equivalent of 4.6 ounces, or 130 grams, unlike larger, more expensive roasters that force you to roast always the same amount of coffee. We use it as a handy and portable sample roaster.This roaster is made in China.
With the SR540 you can vary the length of the roast time, the temperature of the roast (9 settings, versus the three of the SR500) and the fan speed (a turning knob) has a wider range than before. All adjustments are made with pushing the knob and turning to adjust the heat, fan, and time. It also features a real-time temperature read out. A quick turn of the knob to the right will display current temperature.
However you need to "play around and get the feel" of your new roaster to learn how to use the new features. For example, if you set the fan on high and agitate the beans to briskly, the chamber will never get hot enough and your beans will not roast; they will just bake, which is something you do not want to do. The chaff basket and top lid from earlier SR roasters will not fit on the new SR540. The roasting chamber is a much larger diameter. Users are also able to change the default start settings.
Free Coffee Samples: We will include at no extra cost four samples (half pound each, two pounds total) of specialty-grade, direct-trade (we buy only from farmers) coffees from Bolivia, Brazil, Burundi, Colombia and Costa Rica (our choice) to let you start roasting as soon as you open the box. However, let us know if you have a preference (e.g. Decaf).
PRODUCT REVIEW: The FreshRoast SR540 is an improved version of the previous SR500. We have tested them extensively and are ready to endorse them. However, make sure you understand the impact of changing fan speed and temperature before you find your "comfort zone". Your first roasts may not come out well until you get the hang of the new variables. Because of the ability to control fan speed (i.e. bean agitation) and roast temperature you will be able to roast smaller batches, greater scope of green coffee beans (denser, larger, "dirtier", low-quality) and get darker roasts. Most of the times, more capabilities is a good thing. We tried smaller batches (less than two scoops), but found the best results with 65 grams of green coffee (about two scoops), about half the full capacity.
If you do not want to roast every day, we recommend that you consider the larger models, the Behmor 1600, the Gene Cafe, and the Hottop. However, they are much more expensive. This unit measures 13" by 6.5" by 8" and weighs about 4.5 lbs. Shipping weight (including free coffee) is about 8 lbs.
Roasting Tips: One roast will make 8 to 12 cups, depending on the coffee strength desired. To use it, lift the chaff collector, add 4.6oz (that is four measures of the included scoop) of green coffee beans, replace the collector, select the temperature setting and the fan speed. Press the ON button. We recommend that you select the fan speed so that there is as little agitation as possible but without getting beans scorched. If you agitate the beans too much, the chamber will not get hot enough to properly roast the beans. When in the cooling cycle, we recommend using the highest fan setting to speed up the cooling process. The faster you cool the beans the better off they will turn out. This is why some users recommend that you dump the roasted beans in a cold colander. We have not found that necessary with the variable fan speed. About ten minutes later you will have fresh roasted coffee! It is very important to empty the chaff basket after every use. We recommend using a natural-bristle paint brush to break the static, which causes the chaff to stick to the collector, and thus remove the chaff with more ease. Do not unplug the roaster until the fan stops by itself and the beans are cool to the touch. You can enjoy your coffee then by grinding and brewing it, but it is better if you let the roasted coffee"rest" by 6 to 24 hours, so that all the CO2 gases escape and the full flavor develops.
Warranty and Repair Info: This roaster is covered with a one-year limited warranty by the manufacturer, Home Roasting Supplies. For any warranty issues, please contact the manufacturer directly. The manufacturer will repair or replace the defective part. The manufacturer is very good in repairing and/or replacing defective units. If after trying with the manufacturer in good faith, you receive no satisfaction, please contact us, we will intercede for you and make things right.
Tech & After Sale Support: Unlimited toll free phone support. Call or email us.
This unit will make a great gift, at a very reasonable price, for the coffee aficionado or for that special person that "has everything". Yes, we can send it as a gift. We can even include a card for you. Ask us. We are here to help you and make your shopping experience with us a very pleasant one!
Please note that this roaster is for American electricity (110 volts, 60 Hz). It will not perform well with an electrical transformer. If you need roasters for European/Asian/South American electricity (220 volts , 50hz), we have the Imex-Digirosto CR100 (made in Korea) fro $385. Please make the right selection.