Torn on which roaster? (Aillio Bullet, Crop to Cup Arc 800g, Mill City/North 500g)

Discuss roast levels and profiles for espresso, equipment for roasting coffee.
JScottTuck

#1: Post by JScottTuck »

I know this is a pretty popular debate, and I've read everything I can find on here, and every other place I can find on Google.

Here's the deal, I'm a hobbyist who has no intentions of ever opening a roastery. I have been roasting at home for 4 years, and have used a hand crank popper and heat gun/bread machine. I'm ready to take my hobby to the next level. I don't want to spend more than $5,000.

I first looked at the Bullet, but it looks like it may lack some of the manual control of a traditional drum roaster. I'm also worried about what happens if it breaks. I believe Aillio is relatively new, so I wonder if 10 years down the road, if the company goes out of business, would I be able to repair it if it breaks.

Next, is the Arc roaster from C2C. From what I understand, this is a rebranded HB-M6 from China. I have the same concerns about what if it breaks 10 years down the road? Can I find parts to repair? I'm guessing it likely has less electronics to go bad. I can't find much information about the longevity online. It looks nice, and I love that it has a dedicated cooling fan, and an agitation arm, something that the other two roasters lack, from what I can tell.

Finally, the Mill City 500g. Obviously, the most expensive of the three roasters. It lacks the agitation arm, it is also assembled in China, but it looks like Mill City support is great, and I know they have been around for quite some time. I'm assuming it would be fairly easy to find parts to repair this one.

Any thoughts/experience would be greatly appreciated!

Abecker

#2: Post by Abecker »

Not to throw a wrench into things, but you may also find good options from Buckeye Roasters. The site is a little hard to navigate but they make a good product. Do you have any thoughts on how large of a batch you would need to roast at one time? The bullet is appealing due to the price point, but it is also 2-4 times the capacity of the others.

JScottTuck

#3: Post by JScottTuck »

I have to be able to do at least 1lb batches. I rarely roast more than that each week. I did look at BC, but ruled them out based on feedback from a friend.

He owns a coffee shop and roastery in my city. He opened his shop 3 years ago with a BC-2 and had issues with the fan twice, and he didn't go into specifics, but just stated that he wished support had been better. He has since had to move up to a 30lb roaster. I tried to get him to sell his BC-2 to me, but he's keeping it for small batches and sample roasting.

About a year into opening, he traveled to Mill City Roasting, and told me that if he had to do it over again, he would've went with a Mill City roaster, simply because he felt like their product was good, and he said the customer service and support seemed amazing based on the folks that he encountered in his training.

Now, I know that's only one opinion, and that isn't necessarily an accurate representation of the brand, but that's what caused me to take BC out of the final choice list.

MattS

#4: Post by MattS »

I was in the same boat as you several months ago and I pulled the trigger on the Arg 800G. I've been roasting 1lb batches with it ever since and I have no complaints whatsoever. I found the C2C folks to be very helpful when I reached out to them via email and on the phone. I also considered the Buckeye and Mill City rasters, but the smaller ones were not going to be in stock any time soon at the time I was ordering and C2C had units ready to ship, so that impacted my decision as well. I doubt you could really go wrong with any of them, though obviously I can't speak to any long-term parts/replacement issues.

I was tempted by the Bullet for a while, but I could never get over the various error codes, firmware issues, and other things I kept seeing pop up on their forum. In the end, I wanted something that seemed more basic and reliable with fewer points of failure. Plus, I like propane for roasting.

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JohnB.
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#5: Post by JohnB. »

Have you looked at the Cormorant Cr600? https://www.cormorantroasters.co.uk/
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hankua

#6: Post by hankua »

There are some differences between the three machines; two are gas fired and the other electric. I thought the Arc was a one pound roaster, it's listed at 800g. From top to bottom, 1kg, 800g, and 500g. One question I would have or concern is the minimum capacity of each machine, since the maximum capacity would not be an issue at first; or maybe ever?

The Bullet is a unique high tech concept machine, supported in the US by Sweet Maria's; and have an onsite repair person. Mill City also has onsite support and repair; doubtful many would ship a machine back for repair unless the issue was very major. The Arc is a 110v version of the HB, who have been building roasters for awhile.

Bullet has an induction heating system, I've always wondered how convection works with it as it doesn't heat the air underneath the drum? Mill City has a double wall drum, which reduces the inner wall temperature vs a single wall drum. Not sure about the Arc, ceramic coating the roasting drum is getting popular in Asia.

Price wise the Bullet is the least expensive, Arc in the middle, and Mill City on top. At this level of equipment, top of the line so to speak, it ought the be the final upgrade. Before going commercial that is :wink:

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CarefreeBuzzBuzz
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#7: Post by CarefreeBuzzBuzz »

Scott, Other factors to consider include:


Would the different machines require different venting?
ARC is 800 grams and the HB is 600; maybe same mfg but could be some differences. Also note air control is a damper vs variable fan on MCR500.
Bullet isn't playing nice with Artisan at the moment, and the Bullet folks aren't focused on that right now. MCR is developing RoastPath, but as of now Artisan is way more feature rich.
Portability - Bullet likely is easily moved the other two are not (although a good SS with 5" wheels will allow movement within a room).
Effort - you mention you only roast a pound a week. There is a lot of set up/warm up time for the MCR (45-60min) and I am guessing the ARC as well. Don't know about the Bullet. I can't imagine doing less than 4 batches. So maybe a small amount of roasting for friends/family would be a good thing.

Applicable to all - factor in another $200-400 for various things that you might need ranging from propane hookups to pouring funnels.

I love my North and it roasts great. I regularly charge 540 grams to net a pound of roasted coffee. You don't need the agitation arm at all. You can roast inside with it (only 10,000btus), but you do need to vent it which is simply done through a window even. If anyone wants detailed feedback on the MCR, please PM me.

Michael
CarefreeBuzzBuzz
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CarefreeBuzzBuzz
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#8: Post by CarefreeBuzzBuzz »

JohnB. wrote:Have you looked at the Cormorant Cr600? https://www.cormorantroasters.co.uk/
John what is your set up and take down time with the Cormorant? This should be considered as well.
CarefreeBuzzBuzz
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JohnB.
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#9: Post by JohnB. » replying to CarefreeBuzzBuzz »

My roaster remains set up on it's table with the flex line & exhaust flex hose connected to the box I built which contains the gas pipe/valves & exhaust pass through. When I want to roast I set the box in the open window & clip the gas regulator line into the gas pipe QD outside. Connect the other end to my small gas tank (outside) & I'm ready. Takes a couple minutes depending on where I stored the gas tank.
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Capuchin Monk

#10: Post by Capuchin Monk »

hankua wrote:The Arc is a 110v version of the HB,
That would be my choice since my place is wired for 110v.