Sweet Maria's Home Coffee Roasting

Overview of our Home Coffee Roasting Appliances (also look at our Quick Roaster Comparison Chart)

The iRoast 2
air roaster is here. Latest Model.
In Stock
Nesco Coffee Roaster
Latest Model.
In Stock
SR 300 and SR 500

is a great value. Latest Model. In Stock.
HotTop Drum Roaster
Large roaster with 9 oz capacity, Latest Model. 2 models are
In stock.
Gene Cafe
1/2 pound roaster

is here -read the review! Latest Model.
In Stock.

Behmor Drum Roaster
The latest model Behmor 1600 is here ...One Lb. capacity! Latest Model. In Stock.

Stovetop Roasting
If you're patient and want a simple gadget-free way, look into stovetop roasting!
In Stock.
Check out our $8.99 Shipping Special

The HotTop Electric Drum Coffee Roaster

The HotTop Roaster is for those who want larger batches than the air roasters, longer roasts, a commerical type roast-and-cool cycle, and a more robust machine. Roasting with the HotTop takes an extra effort: you need to understand the sights, sounds and smells of the coffee roasting process to get the best results. But this method, roasting with your senses, is rewarded in a machine that gives a close-up view of the coffee during the roast cycle, and ... well ... produces so much roast aroma (read this as smoke!)

Yep, if you roast more coffee you are going to get more smoke. There's no way around it. With the HotTop, you are going to need ventilation to the outdoors, ideally by installing it under a kitchen vent hood.

The roast profile reproduces the results of shop drum roaster more than the small home air roasters. This especially suits folks who roast for espresso extraction, but in cupping the HotTops lighter roasts, I am impressed with the aromas and delicate balance of the cup quality.

The HotTop is now available with two different control panel configurations but everything else on the roaster is the same (the two pictures below are at slightly different angles). The difference in the control panels is explained below.

From our experience, the real strength of the HotTop machines continues to be the fundamental design, which allows the beans to exit the drum to cool. Other drum roasters available require you either to keep the beans in the hot drum for the cooling cycle, or you can juggle a hot roasting chamber. HotTop USA has great support on the machine through Michael Chiang - he knows the machine backwards and forwards. He is able to troubleshoot problems with customers and send replacement parts either under warranty or sell them so you can keep an older machine working. Machines come with a one-year manufacturer's warranty.

Two New HotTop Models are available:

The KN-8828B Basic Model is brand new ... picture coming soon! The above photo is the old "analog model" which has the same chasis as the new Basic model. The new Basic model control panel is below.

The KN-8828B Basic Model Control Panel

The KN-8828B Programmable Model is new ... picture coming soon! The above photo is the old "digital model". The new Programmable model control panel is below.

The KN-8828P Programmable Model Control Panel

HotTop Basic Coffee Roaster with coffee
$730 (30 Lbs. Ship Weight). add to cart
The new HotTop Basic is the latest model (replaces the analog model) features the following improvements over either of the earlier analog or digital models.
- Color LCD display
- Built-in line voltage control, no variac needed
- Built-in temperature safety features. User must press any key to continue roasting if darker roast needed when Hottop temperature display 415 F, otherwise Hottop will dump the beans and shut off the machine automatically.
- 15 - 17 minutes for a 250 grams (i.e. 9 oz or 1/2 lb) batch
- Target time, target temperature, fan speed, or heater power can be changed during roast
- Adjusted profile can be saved and played back
- Capacity: 225g - 300g per roasting (250g optimal)

For $10 more, you can get a 5 Lb bag of your choice of Sweet Maria's green coffee with a max. value of $37 or less (Island or Cup of Excellence coffees are not allowable at this point - any 5#s that is over $37). Because of the 9 ounce batch size, this offer is for 5 lbs. of a single type of coffee or blend ... not a sampler. You will be asked which coffee you want to add after you add the roaster to your shopping basket.

HotTop Basic Coffee Roaster:
(25 Lbs. Ship Weight). add to cart
May ship in a separate box from other order items*.

HotTop Progammable Coffee Roaster with coffee
$930(30 Lbs. Ship Weight). add to cart
The Hot Top Programmable model is built on the very solid foundation of the Basic machine - with an even more dynamic user interface; the programmable model allows the user to create a "roast profile" - that is there are 8 stages to the roast for which you can set time, temperature and fan speed. Up to 9 programmed roast profiles can be saved and recalled. The machine has an Auto mode - so you do not need to program it. The LCD display gives you feedback on the roast at every point - so you can see where you are in the process. Programming the roast profile seems to be the "holy grail" for home roasters - because it gives you better control over the process.

For just $10 more, you can get a 5 Lb bag of your choice of Sweet Maria's green coffee with a max. value of $37 or less (the Hawaiian and Jamaican and Puerto Rican are not allowable at this point). Because of the 9 ounce batch size, this offer is for 5 lbs. of a single type of coffee or blend ... not a sampler.
You will be asked which coffee you want to add after you add the roaster to your shopping basket.

HotTop Programmable Coffee Roaster:
$920 (25 Lbs. Ship Weight). add to cart
May ship in a separate box from other order items*.


The HotTop in Detail ...

Below are some details to help you decide if the HotTop is right for you. Further notes and tips are on this tip sheet page. The Hottop comes with a one year manufacturer's warranty. Some of the images below are from older models, but most of the information is pertinent since the chasis has changed little (the user control panel has changed significantly). Below this section we offer the HotTop Parts and Accessories.

Side view of the HotTop; it's like a scaled-down shop drum roaster that automatically dumps into the external cooling tray. The machine is a bit smaller than 20" long x 10" wide x 15" tall.

The batch capacity is 250 gram (9 oz) meaning you can get a full roasted 1/2 Lb. from each roast cycle. (A Salter Scale is a recommended add-on!
The perforated drum has a spiral wire (blue arrow) and agitator fins in it to keep coffee tumbling during the roast. Roasts results are very even in the HotTop.
The roast curve of the HotTop is very similar to my commercial Probat L12 roaster, but preset burner control makes for slower roast times, ideal for espresso and (as I discovered) surprisingly good for the lighter roasts too.

The drum is perforated to allow chaff to fall into the collection tray, which is easily removed for cleaning between roasts.

Front view of the HotTop. The cooling tray pulls air downward through the coffee and works well! (see my HotTop roast curve chart)
Something new: I made a HotTop Movie (Quicktime, 1 Meg.) - check it out, especially if you like the Beach Boys.

The Basic Control Panel

The automatic settings will produce the same degree-of-roast if you are starting with a cool roaster each time, but I still advocate setting it at the maximum time and using the Eject button to stop roasting. Pictured above is the Basic control panel ... you now have the option of updating to the programmable control panel , or buying the roaster with the new control panel installed already. The HotTop controls are fully automated (well, it beeps at you to dump the coffee in after the preheat cycle). But we strongly recommend manually stopping the roast for maximum control. The Plus button adds 20 seconds to the roast in the final stage -an excellent feature!

The Programmable Control Panel

The new Programable Model allows you to set the time, temperature and fan speed for 8 distinct roast stages. Up to 9 profiles can be saved and recalled. The readout will count down the time remaining in the roast cycle, which is nice. This resolves some of the uncertainty of using the machine, and will let you know if you missed the audible signal to charge the drum with coffee, too. Readout of roast temperature can be in Celcius of Farenheit. There is a factory set program - the 0 program - and as usual we recommend that you test the machine a few times on the auto setting first before fiddling with programs - just to get a feel for the machine.

You must have a hood over this roaster, or roast outside! Buying a cheap stovetop hood ($40) at local hardware store would do the trick - connecting a duct just to the back would not capture all the smoke.

When you roast 3x the batch size of a Hearthware Precision or 4x the FreshRoast, you get 3-4x the smoke! The 9 oz. batch is ideal for some people (you can actually roast for friends and family now!). You dump coffee into the drum through the Insertion Chute (green). The HotTop has a rear vent (red) and a roast smoke filter, but this does not eliminate smoke!

The HotTop has an ingenious preheat cycle before you dump the coffee into it: this helps make for repeatable roast results, but in fact does not guarantee them when starting with a cool roaster vs. a hot one. Above are three batches roasted automatically at the "3" setting, with a detail of them side-by-side below. The difference is that on the dark batch, the roaster was cold -it was the first roast of the day. The others started with a warm roaster that had already done several batches. (However a cool roaster set to "3" will always result in the same degree of roasts, as will a warm roaster ...comprende?). Can you roast consecutive batches? Yes! But you will have a slightly different roast profile from the first "cold roaster" batch to the next batch (about a 1 minute shift in roast curve), and I would advise stopping the roast manually to truly target the exact degree-of-roast that you desire.

The extra smoke filter (you receive a replacement one too). This should last 20 roasts or more - so two ought to last six months or a year depending on how dark you roast and how much.

HotTop comes with this nifty funnel that fits the bean insert in chute perfectly

The top vent-filter allows the roast air to flow through the drum while the rear vent is closed. The burn prevention guards on top are important - this sucker gets hot in the roast cycle! Top filter should be replaced every 100 roasts or so.

The roaster diagram comes with the HotTop roast booklet. The book is very informative. It is important to read the booklet - especially the safety warnings carefully....

From the HotTop roast booklet. As you can see the cooling tray comes right off it's spindle for easy transfer.

Another bonus: this roaster is so easy to disassemble. Cleaning the front glass view window from the inside takes 30 seconds. Drum removal takes 2 minutes.

HotTop Parts and Accessories

HotTop Programmable Control Panel

HotTop is offering the Programmable display as an upgrade to all their machines - the Analog, Digital and Basic models. This is a very good thing. This control panel allows you to program time, temperature and fan speed for up to 8 roast stages. 9 custom roast profiles can be stored and recalled. The display also gives you a read out of roast time and temperature during the roast so you know where you are at every step of the roast. Display is programmable to read in Celsius or Farenheit. Depending on the model of machine - the upgrade is either a one or two step process - and for this reason we are referring folks to HotTop USA to purchase the upgrade. Information is available here on their site http://hottopusa.com/upgrade.html

Hot Top Replacement Rear Filters. HotTop recomends relacing these every 20 roasts. I personally have washed them clean, dried them thoroughly, and kept on roasting for a longer than 20 roasts. Really, the machine produces a lot of smoke even with a fresh filter in there. So why not just roast without a filter? Because it changes the way heat is cycled through the roaster ... so keep the filter in there, and make sure it's in reasonably good shape. Ignore discoloration, avoid too much build-up on it. If the roaster is getting too hot - ejecting roasts before they are programmed to end, it could be that you need a new filter. The filter includes the plastic housing, as pictured.

HotTop Replacement Filter $10 (.3 Lb. Ship Weight)) add to cart LIMIT 2

We now have replacements for the Upper Filter for the HotTop. You didn't know there was a top filter? Well, there is and it does need replacing - not often, just every 100 roasts. This filter fits under the metal screen on the top of the drum. These are just strips of carbon filter - they help reduce particles in the air while roasting. The replacement includes the metal housing so it is very easy to install. Please limit yourself to 1 of these per order (once again, you won't need to change it often).

Upper Filter for HotTop (includes Metal Housing) $11 (.2 Lb. Ship Weight) add to cart