Having spent a week with the new Hottop we have decided to go live with them on the site. I’m not very good at reviewing products and less so ones I’m selling a love so please cut me a little slack and if there are any questions you have throw them in the comments and I’ll try my best to answer them.
So what will it do. It gives you control over the profile of the roast so you can set the roasting curve, in a far more intuitive way than a home roaster has let you before. By using the cooling fan and the heater element and accurate temperature readings within some basic parameters of good roasting practice it lets you control the final result of your roasting. The control panel feeds you with useful information about where the roast is at, and also looks quite smart. The results are as good as the original Hottop (which in my opinion is the best home roaster on the market) but now with the controls it needs to make it a great roaster. Yes some more controls with a USB port would have been nice but this is expensive enough and that kind of control would be overkill for a home machine.
Like its previous version its well built and although there is plastic It’s doesn’t seem over the top. The panel is good and gives you all the data you need. For the programmable profile you have eight segments that can be adjusted in time and temperature. Time is from 0-3 mins and the temperatures are below (see below). The temperatures bear a relation to what I would expect to see from coffee roasting, unlike some other figures I’ve seen and experienced about other machines. The one thing I’m not keen on is I don’t know where these temps are coming from as when you drop the roast after the warm up cycle the temp I would expect to drop as cold beans warm drum would mean a drop then rise. But you don’t see that, so I’m a little surprised.
It takes some getting used too, with the profiles and I still found the need a few times to eject before the end of the profile I’d set. I put this down to inexperience of the machine and finding my feet with it but don’t expect immediate results. I’m guessing the swapping of profiles is going to be difficult to as I still expect environmental and voltage issues to change and a tolerance on the machine (this is a guess as I’ve only used the one machine but experience in the past). The other thing I noticed from the older Hottop was the element seemed to be glowing an awful lot more at times than I’ve seen before. I wonder if the new board is leaving the element on for longer (again I have no information to back this up just what I’ve seen).
Down sides Price, I hate the price, and wish we could do it for less, as I’m 100% sure we would sell a whole lot more. Please feel free to mail me and I’ll pass on the comments to Hottop about the price, and you positive and negative comments about the machine.
To summarise this upgrade isn’t for everyone. If you want to just roast coffee, I’d go for the original Hottop or the Café Gene (which represents great value for money). If you have a desire to have more control over you’re roasting a bottomless pocket and an urge to join an exclusive club then think long and hard is this the upgrade for you. I ended up liking it but thinking how much I wanted to control the roast. The standard Hottop has a dam good profile already build in, and its rare I want or have to deviate. I also pondered could be fixed by a variac ( I know this has been implements by quite a few people with good success although I’d not recommend it as I have limited knowledge of how it works), at a fraction of the price.
There have been 20 upgrades or machines produced in the world to date and we have a handful (and I mean just a few) so the stock is very limited. We do hope to take delivery of some more in the near future but if you’ve decided this is for you, order now to avoid disappointment.