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?