I have a conundrum that I know my readers will be able to solve. I am in the market for a personal coffee roaster. I hope to use it once or twice a week for two coffee drinkers. While the oven and the popcorn popper served as excellent makeshift roasters, a smokeless or smoke reducing machine is needed in my unventilated apartment.
The first choice is the Nesco machine priced at 130-150 dollars. It has a small capacity of 1/3 cup of green coffee and a catalytic converter to eliminate the smoke. Unfortunately, the Amazon reviews have been less favorable but Sweet Maria's remarked that the negative reviews were mainly due to people not cleaning it and user error rather than the machine itself. The few videos I have seen make the machine appear rather loud. Finally, roast time is from 20-30 minutes ranging from a City to Vienna roast. With that said, the price point and the smokeless part make it quite attractive.
The second option is the Behmor 1600 at 299 dollars. It roasts using a drum that holds up to 1lb of green coffee, but Sweet Maria's recommends using no more than 3/4lb. Reviews have been largely positive, and appears to be better constructed to last many years. It also includes a smoke reducing (not smokeless like the Nesco) apparatus. Roast time, from what I remember, is a little shorter but cannot do a Vienna roast.
I simply can't decide which one to get, as I often hear the axiom, "When you buy cheap, you buy twice." Yet, the Nesco is more in my price range and would fit better in my apartment taking up less space. Additionally, from what I understand the Nesco, if taken care of, can handle a lot of roasting. The Behmor can roast more coffee at one time, and would be a better long term investment.
What do you recommend? Have anyone tried either the Nesco or Behmor? Do you have a different roaster to recommend under 299?