Aillio Bullet R1 vs. Mill City TJ-067-G

Recommendations for espresso equipment buyers and upgraders.
Posts: 24
Joined: April 4th, 2011

Postby rkern » Jun 19, 2017, 12:33 am

I've been home roasting on the Behmor 1600 since 2011, therefore I'm looking to upgrade to a larger, manual roaster for myself. I have two in mind, the Aillio Bullet R1 and the MillCity TJ-067-G. My question, 1) If anyone has used gas roasters and experienced the Aillio Bullet R1, I can't understand how the Aillio is so much smaller and lighter in weight for design. I chose the Aillio as the comparison as I didn't want to have to install a 220v outlet for the TJ-067-E. Since I roast in the garage I didn't want to install an extra natural gas line to the roaster, as it's currently used for the water heater. I've read that electric roasters respond slower than gas roasters, but the heating element's different. The Aillio is inductive heating not electric heating elements like the HotTop and MillCity TJ-067-E. 2) Any thoughts between gas and inductive heating?

Posts: 210
Joined: October 10th, 2014

Postby edtbjon » Jun 19, 2017, 6:02 am

There seem to be very little "cross experience" with both roasters (or comparison of the Allio with any gas roaster). When the Allio prototype was announced (about two years ago) there was some interest in this forum, but I haven't seem much here lately.
There are forums for Allio users, as well as a FB group. From what I read there, most users seems happy with their roasters, even though the constructors are still fixing some construction flaws. My personal opinion on the Allio is that it's an advanced hobbyist roaster, which indeed produces good coffee. It got all the modern bells and whistles, like dedicated software, USB connectivity etc.
The TJ-067 on the other hand builds on a traditional type of professional roasters. The 1kg capacity is under-stated, i.e the whole system is built for maybe up to 1.5kg. If you want you can roast with it all day long, producing up to maybe 30kg of roasted coffee without a stop. (The limit is the stamina of the operator, not the roaster.) There is also no doubt that the TJ is capable to produce professional grade coffee with precision and repeatability. The TJ roaster is often discussed here as well as on a dedicated forum for TJ roasters. From what I understand, the product support from MillCityRoasters is nothing but excellent.
I personally have a few years experience with a Huky500, which with some care can produce really good coffee. The TJ-067 was on my shortlist when I purchased the Huky, but as I didn't have any garage (or similar) hauling a 250# roaster up to the third floor wasn't an option. There are a few guys who have upgraded from a Huky to a TJ-067 and they all seem very happy.
To conclude my thoughts, I find the Allio Bullet alluring, but I'm not sure about if the people reviewing it can compare the roaster to e.g the TJ or any other type of pro-grade roaster. I don't know your ambitions with your upgrade, but you will not go wrong with the TJ-067. (... and a bottle of propane will get you a long way.)

Posts: 167
Joined: July 16th, 2014

Postby maxbmello » Jun 19, 2017, 9:16 am

No experience with the R1, but the recipes statement rings true about the capabilities of each machine.

I have the TJ 067 G set up in my garage. No need for a 220v plug, it ships with a transformer. I run mine off of a standard 20# propane tank and lasts quite a long time. Hooked up to Artisan, able to monitor and control roasts easily.

It truly is a commercial level roaster, and worth the price. I regularly roast 1200-1300g batches with ease, and still feel like I could go up if I wanted to. The support from Steve and Nick at MIll City have been nothing short of exceptional, and you really can't put a price on that.

If I had to do it all over again, and if/when I ever decide to get a larger roaster, Mill City will be my first call.

Posts: 404
Joined: December 13th, 2016

Postby Charlene » Jun 22, 2017, 5:52 pm

I have been scouting roasters for about 6 months because of upgrading my espresso equipment in December 2016 after roasting with a Behmor for a number of years to feed my Technivorm.

The Bullet R1 is at the top of my list but I have decided to wait on it until the IR window cleaning issue is resolved once and for all.

I want to roast in my kitchen with the roaster abutted to my stove to avail the vent hood.

The 110V ac fed electric inductive heating's responsiveness to adjustment is a winner in my view and far superior to conventional electric or gas heated responsiveness.

I don't want a gas bottle in the house.

The R1's ability to roast in full automatic mode using a stored profile is awesome.

Hopefully, by the time Christmas 2017 rolls around the IR window cleaning issue will be resolved and I will order one of these puppies. Until then, I will continue using the Behmor for the Technivorm and buying roasted beans for espresso.

Posts: 24
Joined: April 4th, 2011

Postby rkern » Jun 23, 2017, 8:21 pm

Sounds great. I've read of issues others were having with the ir window also. My one main problem was very little insulation, lowering the sound of bean noise while circulating. I've watched numerous videos on youtube and is difficult to hear when 1st crack starts.

Posts: 88
Joined: May 23rd, 2007

Postby billt » Jun 24, 2017, 4:38 am

I'd read those reports of cracks being hard to hear before I got my Bullet, so I was pleasantly surprised to find that they are actually quite easy to hear without a stethoscope or amplifier. Slide the bean feed cover to one side as first crack approaches and I find they are quite audible, even though my hearing is deteriorating.

They're not as clear as the HG/BM that I used before, which is not surprising, as there's no obstruction to sound at all in my BM, but it's much better than the Gene Cafe where the cracks are usually inaudible.

Haven't had to clean the IR window yet, but I'll try the cotton bud/USB cam approach first; I don't think repeated dismantling of the front panel is a good idea if it can be avoided. I haven't seen any rumours about any improvements to that issue.

As to the responsiveness, I can't see tat there will be much difference whatever the heat source. Roasters are more like ovens than hobs rings and have a lot of mass to heat or cool so aren't going to change temperature quickly however you heat them.

Before I bought my Bullet I was looking at a Chinese sourced 1kG roaster similar to the Mill City roaster at a similar price to the Bullet. I decided to risk the Bullet mainly because it was much smaller and lighter hence a lot easier to accommodate. I like the efficiency of induction heating as well, but that's not very important. As an amateur roaster I think that I made the right decision, it's very easy to use and I can roast a weeks worth of coffee in one batch. If you are going to roast large quantities commercially it would be unsuitable, in my view, and it is not recommended by the makers.

Posts: 24
Joined: April 4th, 2011

Postby rkern » Jun 26, 2017, 12:08 am

I've read the cooling fan comes on at 185C, which is 365F, making it hard to hear second crack. Do you think this has been fixed or do you hear it? Does this type of sound get in your way? Looking at this pic from sweetmarias I see the temp of 365F is lower than my favorite roast City+. The temp. on City+ @ 415 degrees F.

Posts: 88
Joined: May 23rd, 2007

Postby billt » Jun 29, 2017, 6:16 am

There are at least 2 fans in the Bullet, an airflow fan for the bean chamber and another for the electronics.

The bean fan speed is under user control and I don't have any issues with it masking the cracks. The electronics cooling fan seems to come on when the roast power is above 8, but presumably is sensor controlled so it can come on at anytime. It's louder than the bean fan, but still doesn't mask the cracks for me with my machine. YMMV as they say.

I don't roast into 2nd crack so can't assess the audibility, may well be harder to hear.

User avatar
Posts: 253
Joined: July 14th, 2011

Postby slickrock » Jun 30, 2017, 4:54 am

This is an interesting match-up question, since conceptually they are on opposite ends of the drum roasting spectrum. On one end, you have a ridiculously overbuilt, thermally massive, manual gas roaster and the other you have a lithe, automated, efficient, induction-based roaster. I have extensive experience with the North and absolutely none with with Bullet. What's interesting for me is that I ended up with the North for precisely the reason something conceptually like Bullet had not existed a few years ago. At that time I wanted something like a high-capacity automated Hottop appliance - something maneuverable I could plug in the wall in my kitchen and run under my hood. The large-capacity Hottop that was anticipated years ago ended up as vaporware, and the Huky was the only effective compact 1lb drum roaster that could work in a similar capacity, though the Huky was gas roaster and certainly not an automated appliance. Driving towards even greater capacity, I was drawn to the Electric version of the TJ-067, since it seemed to have the bones (element coverage, wattage, 25amp SSR, etc.) to obtain full 1kg roasters with electric power. And it had a PID, so the possibility of automation was there. I eventually transitioned to the gas-version of the North roaster for the superlatives associated with gas roasting, but had to sacrifice automation in the exchange. However, that wasn't too much of a limitation as I ended fully automating my North (which I've detailed here). But make no mistake this massive roaster is not an appliance in must be relegated to the garage; so forget the kitchen.

From a marketing perspective, the Bullet is very differentiated from this since it has its appliance-like sweet spot, though I cannot attest to its performance at high capacity or attest to it's long term reliability and viability (product and/or company). And using induction is an essential design aspect here because there is no way you can drive 1Kg roasts to completion with a 110v source in a kitchen. My current house has induction burners and the efficiency and speed of heating pans is unparalleled, though as you might expect, I still prefer gas burners as they are easier to control, gauge, and predict. Perhaps the same translates to drum roasting but at this point its conjecture. But to keep the Bullet roaster small, efficiency is the name of the game and induction is the way to get there. OTOH, for induction, you need a lot of proprietary circuitry so you are locked into the manufacturer. Comparatively, the North is low-tech; driven by simple, generic, non-proprietey, line-voltage components. If Mill City/North Coffee were to go belly-up at some point, you'd still have a roaster that would be serviceable 20 years from now. And the hardware is so freakishly overbuilt, I can't imagine any mechanical parts wearing out in my lifetime.

Regarding automation, I'm a believer in it (enough to automate my North), and while I can't attest to the programmable capabilities of the Bullet, it would certainly factor in my decisioning. But automation is of little value of you can't make the roaster do what you want it to do by controlling it yourself at your target batch size. While the verdict may still be out with the Bullet since its still fairly new and in the early adopter/majority stage, the North is well established in this regard. I've been using it for 3+ years and have thrown everything at it without incident; its performance and reliability is a given. For this reason, I would rely more heavily on feedback from the Bullet community for your decisioning.
07/11/1991, 08/21/2017, 04/08/2024, 08/12/2045

Posts: 24
Joined: April 4th, 2011

Postby rkern » Jul 01, 2017, 2:15 pm

Thanks everyone for your feedback. The price on the TJ-067-G has just increased. It's now out of my pricing ball park. I was looking at it priced at $3999, now it's $4999.

Sponsored by skilled in the art of grinding