Santoker 500/Revolution 500 Roaster

Discuss roast levels and profiles for espresso, equipment for roasting coffee.
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TomC
Team HB

#1: Post by TomC »



I've been very stoked to get to play with a new, as of now unknown gas drum roaster that is going to be coming out that I'm hoping Dustin is going to be selling eventually. I don't know when he's going to be able to have them or how much they are going to be.

A great deal of feedback has gone into the design of this thing and I've personally gotten to do 5 batches on it. Dustin logs each and every roast and he's already clocked over 225 roasts on it, with no issues other than lubricating it once and he's had it for several months doing his own testing so he knows the in's and out's of it. If this hits the market at a reasonable amount of time, it's going to offer another option to what's out there already, but it will be one that actually underestimates it's capacity. And since there's other units somewhat similar to it being discussed recently, I thought it would be a cool to share what I've experienced on this one, in case someone else is looking for something similar.

There's been some great conversations going lately about a few different 1-2 pound gas coffee roasters that are starting to creep their way onto the main stage here in the States. I sorta see them as a new market niche, similar to what the Quest carved out, although bigger and better quality. The problem is, there isn't a lot known about them or their durability or function/options yet. I can say that it looks to be a better option, that has been well tested and has all the features of a small professional commercial roaster, with reliable function, built by someone who actually knows about coffee roasting, and then sold by a coffee roaster. Its going to be available at a competitive price. Like others, it's made overseas, there's no way to get these features at a comparable price elsewhere. I just don't think it's going to happen.

Dustin (Dustin360) is working to bring these here to the states and make them available to home roasters who really want the best features of a large commercial Probat style roaster, at a price they can actually afford. I know he's not looking to make a career out of selling these, and it will take a lot of work and effort on his end, but the plan is eventually people who are interested in this can dialogue directly with him and he'll be a source for info about use and support going forward. I don't think it will be a big commercial money maker for him, it's not like he's going to set up a website and start taking orders today, but it something he's super passionate about and I'd be happy to support those efforts if it ends up delivering something at the level of a more expensive roaster that would be otherwise unobtainable. It's more of a small side job he's going to be doing, and I'm sure it will take a while to work out the details.

He's had the roaster for a few months, putting it through it's paces and testing it out practically daily looking for weaknesses etc. I've roasted on it too and am quite excited about the features that it provides. I was surprised how quiet the whole thing is, it's got a nice insulated outer shell. It's very clean, with separate dedicated chaff trays under the drum and under the cooling tray, but the lions share of the chaff ends up in the bottom of the cyclone. One thing about it that I really liked was that it had a well thought out cyclone location without needing to be on it's own legs on your support table, which is nice, because it makes for a much smaller footprint.

I roasted 5 batches of coffee, saving the Don Pachi Gesha for the last batch. I brewed it the following 3 days and it blew me away. There's something to be said about the better air flow design of a Probat style roaster, that just seems better for not only control, but bean quality overall. I don't eye cup coffee, but these looked far better than what I can do with my Quest, and I've probably roasted close to 120-130 pounds on my Quest in the past 2 years or so. And the very quiet function of it makes it super easy to hear whats going on. There's a sightglass window as well as plenty of thermometry going on too.

Few people realize how much value lies in the bean tryer. Having a design that allows for a long open scoop that can actually sample 8-10g or so of beans at a time, makes for an excellent profiling roaster that will save time and simplify certain aspects of the roast profiling without having to re-charge a new batch just to take it to a longer development point. The version one of this thing had the standard and nice looking tryer but had too small of a bowl. Dustin's was the version 2 with a few nice upgrades and I think the ones that will hopefully be imported will have even better options.



The learning curve going from the electric Quest to a commercial grade gas drum roaster is pretty steep. But I was able to make some phenomenal roasts on it. There's no question that it can handle it's stated capacity and probably more unlike other Chinese roasters hitting the market that might be overstating their capacity. I think he's been doing a ton of roasts on it for his cafe, so he's had plenty of roasts that are high capacity, but he and I seemed to do mostly 100g which is a sweet amount for me, since I bounce around from various coffees all the time.I have no doubt at all that this roaster could handle more than a pound though.

If you're like me and looking for a top shelf 1+ pound roaster that wont break the bank, then it will pay to watch and see what happens with this unit. I don't even think it has a proper name yet. I'm having a very hard time restraining myself from buying a Bella Barista XJ-101 instead of waiting till this version becomes available. But I hope it does.

Here's some basic info about the roaster and it's availability:

FEATURES

1) Solid variable speed drum-cast iron drum and faceplate
2) Propane powered
3) True 1+ pound capacity ( no 20 minute roasts unless that's what floats your boat)
4) Full fan-damper control, with precise indicator dial
5) Excellent functioning cyclone- the whole unit is very clean
6) A great bean tryer that actually pulls large samples if desired!
7) 110V motor and fan
8 ) BT and Exhaust thermocouple and capable of being adapted to monitor as well as insert many more
9) Very easy to control gas pressure valve
10) Safety features(that dont get in the way of roasting)-automatic re-ignition if the flame goes out ( huge plus for small cafe's looking for something they can install)
11) Customizable options ( rotating bean cooling tray arm with dispensing chute, various color options, etc)
12) Solid build quality. Weighs nearly 100 lbs completely assembled, but moveable by one man.
13) It has a flex neck light that is a nice feature for roasting in suboptimal light conditions indoors.
14) The cooling tray has it's own fan, it cooled beans well and was quiet.



AVAILABILITY

A few units being built now. Final cost hasn't been completely factored yet, but will be comparable or cheaper than it's competitive options, with many more features. Logistics of importing, customs, shipping paperwork, etc, will have to be worked out by Dustin, so that I'm assuming the American customers will have a contact person who will handle all the leg work and arrange for pick up or delivery as well as general use advice. He's a barista, he's not a business man. He doesn't have a staff of lawyers or even financial backers, so it's not like it's going to be a commercial enterprise for him.



There will be more photo's to come. Information will be shared as it comes available. I have no financial interest in this and Dustin isn't even selling them yet. I'm thinking of buying one of the first ones he gets in though, but I'm still awfully tempted by the Bella Barista XJ-101, which has the same basic features, but costs about $3000 more ( it does do a full kg though). But even the XJ has a wimpy bean tryer.

I'm glad to see this market expanding.

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saoye

#2: Post by saoye »

certainly looks nice. I like the finish from the images provided. The tryer is massive compared to the other 1kg roaster around and obviously will be functional for profile sample analysis. very nice! Look forward to where this goes.

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chang00

#3: Post by chang00 »

Nice pictures and report! So finally Dustin is letting the news out?

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TomC (original poster)
Team HB

#4: Post by TomC (original poster) »

Yeah, gotta make sure it ran solidly and did what it claimed.

kwantfm

#5: Post by kwantfm »

Well that looks brilliant. XJ-101 is just over USD 5,000 right? So this machine is going to be around USD 2,000 - 2,500?? I'm hoping it will be available in 240 V.
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drgary
Team HB

#6: Post by drgary »

Very nice. The best part of this is dedicated roasters like Dustin, Tom and (Henry???) testing this and making sure the kinks are out of it. I also like the batch size compared to 1 Kg and its ability to go down to 100 gm. After the testing that's already been done I'm most tempted by this roaster compared to any others I've seen except the Mini 500, which is costing more and more.
Gary
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What I WOULD do for a good cup of coffee!

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slickrock

#7: Post by slickrock »

The Chinese roaster onslaught continues... this time though, I expect the next San Francisco meet up is about to get a lot more interesting... call it the Dustin 500.

I would really like to get a good look at the cast iron drum on this thing... not just the dimensions... but it might help make sense of the freakish location of the tryer being exactly right where the drum axle and bearing should be. Exactly how is the drum suspended on its transport?

Also, is ventilation controlled by variable fan speed, or fixed speed with damper control, or both?

Cool addition and its good that another hat has been thrown into the ring.
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TomC (original poster)
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#8: Post by TomC (original poster) »

I think my "full fan/damper control" might have been vague, my apologies. It's a fixed fan, with a finely scaled damper.

And Joel, if I have a picture of the drum, I'll share it here shortly. It's a massive thing.

Terrance, the price isn't nailed down yet. And variables like custom paint, or the bean cooling tray with a rotating arm will be options that are available to buy. I have a feeling I know where it's going to land price wise, but it would be purely speculative and I wouldn't want to jump the gun.

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TomC (original poster)
Team HB

#9: Post by TomC (original poster) »

I knew I'd forget something. The temp displays can show either °C or °F.

kwantfm

#10: Post by kwantfm »

Tom,

Did you have any thoughts on how easy it is to clean and maintain?

A clear upgrade path from the Quest... this thread is a disaster for me...

Terence
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