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HotTop KN-8828B vs. GeneCafé vs. Behmor 1600

Postby Stuggi on Thu Oct 22, 2009 8:12 am

I'm in the market for a new roaster, but I don't really know what I want. I intended to get a GeneCafé or a Hottop, but I can't find a supplier for one in Europe. A guy in the UK has the Behmor for sale at 2/3 of a Hottop upgrade kit, so that starts to look really interesting, but I haven't heard much about it so I'm not so sure about the quality. Anyone got any experiences with it?

I might add that I'm moving up from roasting SO's in an convection oven and blends in an air-popper.
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Postby GC7 on Thu Oct 22, 2009 9:07 am

This thread regarding my process of deciding on a new roaster about a year ago might help you.

Behmor or HotTop for Christmas?
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Postby Stuggi on Thu Oct 22, 2009 5:28 pm

Okay, just that thread plus their manual made me walk away from the Behmor, who can actually understand their profiling system? :shock:

Now, I haven't found a supplier for the Hottop in Europe, but I've emailed them asking for vendors/prices. This might be a problem as I'm not too keen to pay shipping across the Atlantic, just to have to pay 25% import tax when it lands. An European vendor would solve this as the EU is a free trade zone.

The GeneCafé on the other hand costs half of the P model, and has the kinda controls I like, one dial for temperature, one for time, up the temperature as you like and add time as you like. And it's available in Europe from at least 4 vendors, so I should have some options on shipping as well. :)

I'm also very impressed with the literature on the GeneCafé, their manual is certainly top notch, easy to understand and very thorough. It also says that it supports continuous operation, which isn't such a bad thing in my book if I need to roast a kilo for an event or something.
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Postby JimG on Thu Oct 22, 2009 5:47 pm

Stuggi wrote:The GeneCafé on the other hand costs half of the P model, and has the kinda controls I like, one dial for temperature, one for time, up the temperature as you like and add time as you like. And it's available in Europe from at least 4 vendors, so I should have some options on shipping as well. :)

The Hottop B model is a better choice than the P model, IMO, and provides control comparable to what you like about the GeneCafe.

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Postby djmonkeyhater on Thu Oct 22, 2009 7:45 pm

In defense of the Behmor, it is inexpensive, easily hackable and quite durable. If you are mechanically inclined, will be roasting where smoke doesn't matter and looking for a lower cost of entry - I have found it rewarding.

Once you go around the main control board, the opportunities really open up. I have manual control of the elements with a PID, a computer power supply speeding up my drum motor, a bathroom fan evacuating smoke no afterburner, insulation in the roaster body, some reflective silver tape over the window and made efforts to get an honest 110v to it. The stock profiles did not make any sense to me and I abandoned them about 4 roasts into using it. At last count, I'm over 300 cycles and feel pretty good about my consistency as well as the options I have for stretching 1st to 2nd and getting to the desired level of roast.

With the stock elements, I have found that you can not roast more than 320g of greens at a time with any predictability. The biggest challenge I have with it going forward is a lack of "heating horsepower" but I think that will be shared with all three of the ones that you are looking at.

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Postby Stuggi on Fri Oct 23, 2009 2:01 am

Well, I am a very mechanically inclined person (I don't own anything I haven't taken apart besides new cellphones and books), but I'm not sure if I should buy something with the idea to mod it straight away. What kinda PID's can one get cheaply to mod these, the only vendor I have around here only sells 188€ Omron ones, really nice and all but very expensive.

Then there has been some more interesting developments. HotTop emailed me a price quote for all their models, even the D and the plain vanilla. Would it be a good idea to get an even simpler model like the Vanilla or the D instead of the B? Are they the same mechanically? Easier to mod? The price difference between the P and the vanilla is 300 €, and the difference between each of the other models and the next one is 100€, so it's quite a difference. Then that there's the fact that the vanilla HotTop cost nearly twice as much as the GeneCafé, and I'm not sure if I would get the HotTop from Europe or China (no tax vs. 25% import tax).
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Postby cafeIKE on Sat Oct 24, 2009 8:40 pm

If you think you might hack the Hottop, get a plain vanilla, else the B.
The D does not report numbers that are in any way relevant.
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Postby IMAWriter on Sat Oct 31, 2009 1:28 am

I won't take your valuable time to defend the Behmor (which I, along with several others beta tested for Joe).
Just to quickly say that I have been able to get consistently excellent results, without having to monkey around much.
I have solid voltage at the source, which really helps, and what I believe to be pretty fair knowledge of the beans I'm roasting, their roast "preferences" if you will, and a detailed log of such.
All the roasters mentioned by the OP are capable of good results.
I only question what in the pdf manual, which I find clear and concise, caused you to eliminate the Behmor?
No matter which roaster you go with, you will enjoy the process.



Note...I do not work for Behmor.
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Postby Stuggi on Sat Oct 31, 2009 11:05 pm

Nothing special actually, just felt the descriptions of how to profile the roast got unnecessary complicated for a physical process that IMHO isn't very complicated in the grand scheme of things. It felt like you wouldn't really be roasting, you would be tinkering with getting the roaster to accept your input on the process, and then press start and see what happens.

But don't get me wrong, I would be the first in line if someone release a roaster that I could plug into my laptop and do the profiles right in the computer, but I equally like the process to be simple enough (the "getting the machine to do what I want, NOW"-part) that it wouldn't have me pressing buttons in arcane sequences that doesn't make sense without 1 hour of manual-reading and would take 15 roasts to get right.

This is getting rather long winded, so I'm might as well go on. The problem I have with most machinery is that if anyone ever does something to a product to make it less of a "fingertip"-skill and less arcane, they button-pushing should be simple enough that it doesn't become an artisan skill in itself, cause then I might just as well learn the first skill and be done with it, and that's the kind of vibes I'm getting from the Behmor. I would be fine spending as much time as I've spent learning the La Pavoni EP (if not more) learning how to do good roasts on a big commercial roaster or a Topper, cause then I'm learning how the bean progresses through the roast, but I don't wanna spend more than an hour or two learning the controls on the Behmor, cause that equates to spending 1-2 hours learning to operate the on/off button on a Topper in my opinion.

Anyhow, since you're one of the first to actually have tested it thoroughly, would you take up my time and give a bit more info of the evaluation experience? Especially the profiling system, as that's one of the things keeping me from considering it, as I've stated above. I'm very willing to reconsidering the Behmor, I usually change my mind 12-20 times before I actually buy anything. :mrgreen:
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Postby IMAWriter on Sun Nov 01, 2009 1:55 am

As your request would be in a way "Off Topic", may I PM you?
Also, I'm not unlike you in that I do like to let the process be the process, so I may not be the right person to give you the most technically astute breakdown.
There is a fellow on CG who has developed a program, run in conjunction with your computer that supposedly nails the profile possibilities.
I'll do a search and post here, though, again I do not want to step on the toes of folks who use and enjoy the other machines you are considering.



Edit...here is a link to "The Behmor Thing. Please note that this is separate from Behmor.com
http://www.extrasensory.com/BehmorThing.htm

For fairness, feel free to PM me, thought I couldn't possibly provide you with any technical expertise other than as a dedicated home roaster.
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