Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Two Coffee Roasting Machines: Nesco Home or Behmor 1600

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?


  1. I have not had any experience with Nesco, but I have been using a Behmor since last year and I love it.

    Check out my review of the Behmor and see if it helps you out:

  2. Thank you for the review Jamie. I didn't know about the 1 hour wait time between roasts. I knew you had to wait for it to cool down, but that's a long time!

  3. No problem!

    I tried testing the Behmor to see if I only waited 30min if that would be okay, but I found that the Behmor cannot handle it and I ended up blowing the fan. Easy to replace, but I would definitely follow directions. :)

    Also, Behmor has great customer support too.

  4. Good to know that they have good to customer service especially with something so specialized as a coffee roaster.

    Funny you mention the 30 minutes, the folks who make Presso said 30 minutes was enough! Coffee roasting is so finicky about the minutia. I agree though, letting it longer to cool is always better for longevity.

  5. Jack, I own both the Nesco and the Behmor and I would not hesitate to recommend either one. Due to my own inattention I burned up my first Nesco, but their Customer Service was great as well -- they gave me a return authorization and a few weeks later I had a replacement (even though it was technically out of warranty). The Behmor is great, especially if you need more than a pound a week and I have not had the problems others have had not being able to get darker roasts. Mine roasts dark just fine when I want it to. I posted a couple articles on Coffee Cup News about roasting with each the Nesco and the Behmor and if you have any specific questions I would be happy to answer them.

  6. That is great to hear Neil especially about the Nesco customer service. As of right now, it seems the Nesco with its price point and other people who have used it can attest to the quality of it is reassuring.

  7. Jack,

    That is interesting that Presso is able to only wait 30min. Since I replaced the fan I have not tried to mess with it.

    I can't wait to see what you end up buying and all your roasting adventures to come. Good luck!

  8. I am sure you have made up your mind and bought by now but I am throwing in my 2 cents anyway. I have motored through 3 Nesco's in less than 5 years and now wish I had spent more and had it last. The Nesco makes great coffee but has so many issues....each one had different things go but the riskiest is that the auger easily sticks and then a fire easily starts.....scary stuff.

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