Quest M6 max batch size? - Page 2

Discuss roast levels and profiles for espresso, equipment for roasting coffee.
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#11: Post by Nunas »

AlexR87 wrote:<snip>I'm looking at the m6 or m3s, but am leaning m6 if it can handle smaller batches. For regular beans I'd want to do 1/2 lb batches ideally so I can play around a bit. I typically roast lighter beans and do dabble with high altitude african beans, so am worried the m3s may not have the power to handle it at, say 250g. <snip
Although the manufacturer lists the capacity of the M3 and the M6 as 150-300 and 300-550 grams respectively, in fact, the M6 can roast much smaller batches. The drums of both machines are identical, except that the drum on the M6 is 7 cm longer. Although various heaters have been used over the years, my M3 consumed 1340 Watts (measured at 120 Volts), and my M6 consumes 1615 Watts. Thus, the M3 can be pushed beyond its stated maximum capacity, while the M6 runs out of oomph more or less at its stated capacity. So, minimum batch size isn't the issue, it's maximum batch size that's the limitation. I suggest the best way to decide which Quest is better for you, is to consider your maximum batch size compared to the quantity of beans you wish to roast per session. Since both machines will do back-to-back roasts all day, it simply boils down to how many batches you are willing to do to get your desired yield. They're both terrific roasters, easy to use, easy to clean and easy to repair.

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#12: Post by Pressino »

As a new M3 owner and still learning the ins-and-outs of the machine, I concur with Nunas's comments here about the batch-size ranges of the M3 and M6 roasters. I had exactly the same questions you do regarding the ability of the M6 to roast small batches, and Nunas gave me the same advice. In my case, I decided to go with the M3 because: 1) I figured that most of my roasts would be in the 6 to 10oz range, and if I wanted to roast a pound or more I could simply roast two 8 to 10oz batches back-to-back, given the fact that both machines have incredible thermal inertia due to the way the drums are engineered and built...and, 2) I preferred the smaller size and possibly lower electrical cost of running the M3. Another thing I considered, though I'm not sure how important it is, is how easy it would be to measure BT with small batches on the M6, given the location of the BT port on the Quests. Nunas is correct that the drums of the M3 and M6 have the same diameter and differ only in their lengths (longer on the M6). This means that smaller batches on the M6 can "flatten out" to the point that a thermocouple in the standard BT port won't be in the bean mass. Of course, you could set up a alternate BT port by replacing one of the sight glass screws (the right one) with a hollow screw to fit a thermocouple there, which might let you monitor BT more accurately, though at some point even that would not work for batches smaller than some minimum (I'd guess probably around 100 to 150g). But I'm not sure, and I'd defer to what Nunas has to say about that particular issue.

Whichever Quest you decide to go with, I'm pretty sure you will not regret your choice.


#13: Post by AlexR87 »

Thanks for your replies Nunas and Pressino, that's really helpful.

As a follow up, would the base m3s (no painted drum or insulation) be able to fully handle a half pound charge of any bean type?

I love a lighter African fruit bomb, but saw a number of posts where people mentioned lowering the charge down to below 200g on older m3 models to hit the heat and speed needed to roast high altitude, denser beans to city-city+.

Alternatively, would the m6 get "twitchy" at a half pound or 250g charge weight, making things harder to dial in for someone learning? I'm new to drum roasting. I like the idea of extra capacity if needed in time, but wouldn't want to make things harder on myself as I learn.

In either case, they look like great little roasters!

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#14: Post by Nunas »

Any M3 can do a half pound. The newer ones (Mk-2, M3s) have slightly bigger heaters and can do it with ease. Neither machine is particularly twitchy, except for minuscule loads. Because they are electric, not gas, the issue is the opposite; you have to learn how to anticipate changes in the heater rheostat. It isn't hard to do once you gain some experience.


#15: Post by Anthok »

Nunas wrote: Before buying the M6, I was on the reserved list for a Bullet. The Bullet was about US$1500 more. For that money, you get twice the capacity of the M6. For me, two back-to-back roasts on the M6 didn't justify the expense of doing only one on the Bullet. I was also a bit leery of the complexity, and the proprietary firmware/hardware on the Bullet. In contrast, the Quest is totally non-proprietary and can be totally disassembled with simple hand tools. If I was roasting your volume, and if I were not retired (so time isn't a big deal), I think I'd seriously consider the Bullet.
This was a recent factor for me, looking at a quest m3s and wanting to spend more to get a bullet or other larger batch size roaster. I came to the realization that if I were to get a roaster that allows me to roast my weeks worth in one go, it would actually give me significantly less experience with roasting. It currently takes me 2 - 3 roasts per week (quest m3s) to get what I need (I share a lot at work). If I were to get a bullet I could do it all in one roast. Obviously this isnt a concern with someone doing 20 pounds a week, you'd still be getting plenty of roasting experience with a bullet.

(First time ever posting, apology in advance for any formatting or quoting issues!)