Fresh Roast SR800 vs. BocaBoca 250

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

#1: Post by MannyPinto »

I just purchased the BocaBoca 250 and since I didn't find much information or comparisons, I thought a review would be helpful. I'm a moderately experienced roaster, competent espresso maker but certainly not the wit and charm of James Hoffman. I have had a FreshRoast SR800 for a couple of years and appreciate how well it is designed and how well it does what it is supposed to do. Customer service is great too when I had to return a defective digital control on the base. Sweetmarias.com has a very good article comparing air and drum roasters that explains air roasters do very well creating a brighter, sweet roast and the SR800 is perfect for that. Easy to use, to clean, and to get any roast profile you want with the adjustable fan and temperature. Very easy to see the beans but be careful the roaster is glass.
Then I wanted to try a different roaster and technique so I got the BocaBoca 250 since I don't need the bigger 500 version. I ordered directly from the distributor on Ebay and the unit came from Korea in less than a week to the US West Coast with no customs duty. Amazing. I have been very impressed with everything about it and even got a nice email from BocaBoca thanking me for my purchase. The infrared lamp works great with the glass drum. I also purchased the cooler that has its own fan and it works very well as a unit with the roaster. It is designed so well it looks like a piece of fine furniture. The best part, of course, is how terrific the espresso tastes. It has more body and depth than an air roaster, as the Sweet Maria article notes.
So, it depends on your flavor preference and your home set up since both the SR800 and BocaBoca are very good machines-just different approaches. The BocaBoca does smoke more than the SR800 because the chaff doesn't get blown up into a collector. The BocaBoca does a surprisingly good job of collecting chaff underneath in the cooler though. FreshRoast would be more suitable for an apartment or in a kitchen where smoke is an issue. Also, air roasters are probably best for brighter, African beans and drum roasters better for bolder Indonesian beans.
The only negative for the BocaBoca is the temperature gauge, that is quite small and spins around with the drum. Adding a digital thermo-coupler would increase the price though so I've adapted to the analogue thermometer. I also looked at the Kaldi Mini, steel-drum roaster but it requires an external heat source so I went with the BocaBoca. Because the BocaBoca has a glass drum and infrared heater it probably falls between an air roaster and steel drum roaster in technique and flavor. I couldn't be happier though with the price, quality, and roast of the BocaBoca. I highly recommend it.

addertooth

#2: Post by addertooth »

Is the drum motorized, or do you have to hand-turn it? I take it there is no fan for air flow within the drum during roast, is this true?

MannyPinto (original poster)

#3: Post by MannyPinto (original poster) »

Yes, drum is motorized and no fan in the roaster. There is a separate fan for the cooler that I don't turn on until after the roast. Would work fine without the cooler and can be purchased separately but I found the cooler to be more helpful than I thought especially since you need to have some option for cooling immediately. I didn't include this in the review but I was interested in the Kaldi but couldn't find any information if I could use it on my outdoor BBQ grill without burning up the electrical motor. Enjoy, whatever you get.