iCoffee Roaster

We tested out the iCoffee Roaster a couple weeks ago. It’s a new home roaster made in Korea that can roast 50-150 g batches (1.76-5.3 oz). It has a hot plate heating element with a removable bowl-shaped roast chamber that rests on top and has rotating arms to agitate the beans in the center. Basically, it’s like an electric Whirley Pop with a smoke abatement system. It comes with a detachable handle that you use to remove the roast bowl and the chaff collector. Aesthetically, it's very cute. I like the size, shape, wood panels and glass dome. It looks like a little steampunk robot or an old-timey radio. The overall roast time is great. I appreciate being able to get to 1st crack reliably in 7-11 minutes (depending on batch size). Unfortunately, the cooling cycle is super ineffective. Having roasted the 150g maximum on the lightest advised setting (#3), we ended up with a batch that was at a French + level, with lots of oils and bean shrapnel. The problem is that there's so much heat built up and retained that the cooling fan isn't powerful enough to stop the roast process, even though cooling started pretty much right after 1st crack was finished. If a more powerful fan and a perforated roast pot were added, this might aid in cooling more effectively. We were able to get our desired medium roast (about Full City) by stopping the machine entirely about 2 minutes after 1st crack and dumping the beans into a colander to cool. This resulted in big clouds of smoke and comedic attempts to get the handle on the roast bowl in time to prevent the beans from scorching. Leaving the handle on the roast bowl through the third batch helped, but we still had to stop the machine early and dump into the colander for cooling. The 50g batch worked out best, but I’m not really sure why anyone would roast such a small quantity of coffee. Nano-roasting anyone?

The Icoffee Roaster guys do

The Icoffee Roaster guys do sell a separate cooler, if you don't like the auto cooling, which doesn't really cool, or the colander approach, which works fine except for the smoke. Of course, with a lower setting, you can let the so-called cooling be part of the roasting process and you can avoid the smoke. The issue with the timing seems to be one of ambient temperature. As with all of these small roasters, the ambient temperature or any drafts have big effects.

The issue I have started to have after using the Icoffee roaster for a while, is that it is beginning to stop after first beginning. I have to restart it several times. I suspect that the chaff ring (shell separating cylinder) has become somewhat distorted in shape with repeated heating such that the inner pot doesn't sit quite right, but only because the manual warns that such distortions can affect function. Anybody have any ideas?

Interestingly iCoffee also

Interestingly iCoffee also makes an accompanying dedicated coffee bean cooler and also a grinder in a matched 3 machine set. You can see this 3-piece set for sale on eBay shipped directly from Korea at http://www.ebay.com/itm/320892715951?ssPageName=STRK:MEWAX:IT&_trksid=p3...

I hear you Jason. We do this

I hear you Jason. We do this little post just to let people know we test it, look it over, appreciate it's interesting features, but ultimately think it might cause more frustration than it's worth. In my book the cooling-in-the-roast-chamber issue is always a problem. I can appreciate how it is technically difficult to solve, but I would like a roaster design that has a simple, separate cooling appliance, and you dump the coffee from the roast chamber into it... something like that. Not likely to get UL approval but we know it will cool coffee. That's along the lines of what I am thinking... -Tom

Wow, the spell check

Wow, the spell check destroyed the font of my previous post.
I meant "or other home roasting sites."
Also, that bean cooling is an issue.
The more popular home roasting devices have addressed this pretty well.

Sorry for the double posting.

Obviously these folks haven't

Obviously these folks haven't read posts on CG or home-roasting sites, or they'd KNOW that bean cooling is an issue with more popular roasters haste addressed in some positive manner, some more effective than others. Hot Top and Behmor being good examples.
In my case My Behmor gets me where I want as long as I start the cool down a wee bit BEFORE the level I seek. it's just a little practice with the roaster, and it's pretty easy to replicate.

What's somewhat distressing to me is this device, and other products in all categories using the "i" moniker, as if they were somehow connected to the Apple brand. Cheesy, in my book.