This is the new, improved model of our favorite little workhorse, the FreshRoast8, the most popular home coffee roaster with over 60,000 units sold worldwide. It is sturdier and has twice the capacity of its predecessor. This roaster will generate about 4oz of roasted coffee, which using our recommended coffee to water ratio comes out to 72oz of coffee (or 12 6-oz cups). It is more versatile that its little brother, the SR300.
With the SR500 you can vary the length of the roast time, the temperature of the roast (low, middle, high) and the fan speed (a turning knob). We recommend 7 minutes to get a medium roast. The SR500 allows you to control the roast better than the SR300. Having used both for a while, we think it is worth the additional $50. However you need 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. If you want a no-fuss, no-tinkering roaster, or you do not have the patience to fiddle with knobs and controls, stick with the SR300 and purchase good quality green coffee beans to get nice even roasts, but you will not have much control over your roast.
Free Coffee Samples: We will include at no extra cost two samples (half pound each, one pound total) of very-high-quality Bolivian and Costa Rican specialty and premium green coffee beans to get you started on roasting, as soon as you open the box! These beans are 100% Arabica. You will receive samples of our Invalsa Extra (A) and Invalsa Superior (AA) coffee beans. If you prefer (custom regulations, lower shipment costs, etc), we can also ship the roaster without any coffee beans. Just let us know.
PRODUCT REVIEW: In our opinion, The FreshRoast SR500 is an improved version of the workhorse FreshRoast8 but doesn't quite measure up to the I-Roast2. 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 120 grams of green coffee (about two scoops), as recommended by the manufacturer.
With twice the capacity of its predecessor, you may only need to roast daily or every other day. 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 two measures of the included scoop) of green coffee beans, replace the collector, select the temperature setting (low, med, or high) to turn on the roaster and select the fan speed. 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. Note: If the roaster remains plugged into the outlet for a long period of time or is not switched to the OFF position after the COOL mode has finished, the roaster will go to "Sleep Mode", and thus will no longer operate. If this happens, switch to the OFF position, unplug and wait 10 minutes. This step will reset the roaster and will make it ready to roast again.
Warranty and Repair Info: This roaster is covered with a one-year limited warranty by the manufacturer, Fresh Beans, Inc. For any warranty issues, please contact the manufacturer directly at (805) 501-7731. Or simply return the defective part, including a copy of our invoice to Fresh Beans Inc. 6436 Business Park Loop "G" Park City, Utah 84098. Enclose your return address, telephone number and date of purchase in the box. 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 230-volts models available for the Hearthware I-Roast2 (plenty of stock left) and the Gene Cafe. Please make the right selection. You can find 230-volt roasters by sorting with the "230 volt" tag.