Quest M3 or M6? Minimum Batch Size

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

#1: Post by sixfiend »

I'm looking to buy my first 'serious' roaster and am about to pull the trigger on either the Quest M3 or M6. I feel like I've read most of the threads on here about the roasters and have looked through the guide from Nunas. I think i'm set on getting a Quest; I like that they're all electric, manual machines, and I appreciate the simple sturdy craftsmanship. The problem is, I can't decide on which one to get.

Are there any downsides to getting the larger M6 roaster? It seems like the published minimum capacity is ~400g. Is it possible to roast with less than that? I'm the only coffee drinker in he house and think it would be nice to be able to do smaller 200g batches to test different profiles, beans etc, especially in the beginning. Though once I get situated, I don't realistically see myself roasting more than every other week, so doing 2 larger M6 batches on a Saturday morning seems appealing. Having to do 4-5 M3 batches back to back to have enough coffee for 2 weeks seems cumbersome and time consuming. Let alone coffee for family and friends...

This comment from Coffee Shrub is concerning as well.
'heating it up to do one batch and cooling it back down right away could cause wear and tear on the drum'

Anyone have an M6 and just do 1 or 2 roasts a session?

I appreciate any insight or experiences you're willing to share on the M3 and M6.
Cheers.

Nunas
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#2: Post by Nunas »

I've roasted batches from 300g to 600 g on my M6; I'm sure one could go down to 250g easily. When the M3 first came out, it had smaller heaters and the optimum batch size was smaller than it is for the current M3s. The M3s will easily roast 250 to 300g. I no longer have my M3-mk2, so can't test to see, but I believe I once roasted 350 grams with it. Both machines will do back-to-back all day long if you want. So, given enough time, an M3 would be good enough for most casual coffee drinkers. I used to roast two or three batches every week to ten days in it. With the M6, I usually only roast one batch at a time, although when the forecast is for bad WX, I sometimes do two 500g batches back-to-back. I've often roasted only one batch in both the M3 and the M6; with due respect to the folks at SSM, I doubt very much that this is hard on the drum.

Cwilli62

#3: Post by Cwilli62 »

My go to with the M3s endedup being 175g. Someone told me that they viewed the "sweet spot" as 175-200g and I found that to be true for myself as well. I've roasted anywhere from 114-300g on it. And I would do 2-4 batches per session.

I think that there is definitely a minimum that should go into the machine, whether it is an M3 or M6. Never roasted on an M6 so I am not sure what the minimum would be, but I would trust what they publish as about 400g being accurate. As noted by someone else when I was discussing learning to roast on the M3s, 114 g is probably a bit too small.

So in the end, in my mind, it would come down to:
1) How much do you realistically want to roast per batch?
2) How much do you mind roasting for another 8-12ish minutes for successive batches if you go for the smaller unit?

I'm the only coffee drinker in my household as well and I drink about 2 coffees per day. So 2 batches of 175 g roasted in the M3s was good for 1 week's worth of coffee.

sixfiend (original poster)

#4: Post by sixfiend (original poster) »

Thanks for the input. I'm leaning towards getting the M6. I'm worried that If i get the M3, within no time i'll wish I had more capacity, especially when friends and family start asking for coffee. The price difference isn't too bad, and the M6 including the dryer is a nice touch. Thanks again, and stand by for some newbie questions when I get this thing up and running. :D

And Nunas, thank you for all of the resources and information you've published on these roasters. The community certainly appreciates it. Also, that container ship trip you took looked fun, I'm gonna have to look into that more.

edgndg

#5: Post by edgndg »

I have an M3s, if you think you'll be roasting regularly for friends and family, and don't want to be roasting all the time, I'd get the M6. I roast mostly for myself - at 2 double shots a day, i can go 3-4 weeks roasting 4 200g batches at a time. I like the diversity of being able to roast 4 difft. Beans in one session. Takes me somewhere in the neighborhood of 2 hours end to end which includes a relatively lengthy warm up cycle.

harris
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#6: Post by harris »

Get the M3. If you want a job that will suck in several months then get the M6. Roasting for family and friends gets to be no fun in a hurry, roast for yourself, learn what you like and don't like. In a year or two if the desire strikes to roast for family and friends get a Bullet. The romance of roasting for family and friends is an emotional decision not one based on your needs. Tough love, you'll thank me at some point.

Nunas
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#7: Post by Nunas »

Get the M3. If you want a job that will suck in several months then get the M6. Roasting for family and friends gets to be no fun in a hurry, roast for yourself, learn what you like and don't like. In a year or two if the desire strikes to roast for family and friends get a Bullet. The romance of roasting for family and friends is an emotional decision not one based on your needs. Tough love, you'll thank me at some point.
OMG, this is so true!

sixfiend (original poster)

#8: Post by sixfiend (original poster) »

Good to know, 2 hours isn't too bad for 4 roasts in a session. I appreciate the input.
I certainly understand that feeling obligated to roast for friends and family gets old quick. I've seen that happen too often in other hobbies such as brewing, and woodworking. It's fun on your own terms, but looses its allure when it's an expectation.