Behmor has updated this roaster with a smaller mesh roasting drum (helps when roasting small or irregular shaped beans) and an improved chaff collector that allows better visibility of the beans during the roast. They have also added a small cooling fan in the side panel to help keep the electronics cooler and increase the service life of the machine. All of our Behmor roasters include these improvements.
Eight years in development, the Behmor 1600 is the first home roaster with a full one pound capacity. It has patent pending smoke control technology, and is one of the very quietest roasters available. Those features alone would be enough to interest us. Then the easy-to-use programmed roast profiles caught our attention, so we had to try it.
The other home roasters we offer all use a form of hot air movement to roast the coffee. The Behmor 1600 however is a convection type roaster. It actually develops the body of the roast a bit better than the hot air roasters. The flavor profile seems to be a little more rounded and perhaps a little sweeter than an air roaster. We think this is particularly nice when you are roasting for espresso, but it does a great job when roasting for other brewing methods as well.
From the photo you can see a door that opens downward. Inside there is a chaff collector tray. Behind that there is a wire mesh basket that fits in a rotisserie type motor. The basket contains several baffles that cause the coffee beans to be continually stirred and mixed while the basket rotates. This helps make sure the beans roast very evenly. Heat is supplied via two quartz-halogen light bulbs at the rear of the roaster.
Fit, Finish and Construction— Good--All the parts fit, no flaws, misalignment, or poor machining were noted. It is a heavy (25 pounds), well made machine and it seems that it will be quite durable.
Styling— Fair—looks like a small toaster oven and about the same size (17.5"x10.5"x12.5"). It has a black and stainless steel exterior.
Ease of Use-- Good to Very Good—It uses a different roasting philosophy than other roasters we've used, so it takes a little getting used to. Once you understand it, it works well. Practice with a few small batches to get used to the way the Behmor 1600 roasts before you launch into a full one pound batch.
Batch Size and Flexibility— Excellent—It roasts anywhere from 1/4 to a full 1 pound of green coffee. It has 5 preset roasting curves to choose from and you can make limited modifications to the roast on the fly. You can initiate the cooling cycle at any point.
Smoke Control— Excellent--It has a small electric afterburner that eliminates the vast majority of the smoke. While it's not smokeless, it certainly smokes less. We roasted a full one pound batch to a Full City profile, and only a little wisp of smoke came out. Our range vent was more than adequate to handle it. Roasting by a window or under the range vent is very doable. This can be a particular asset for those of you in cooler parts of the country. If you try to roast darker, say into a French roast, it does smoke quite a bit.
Roast Profile Flexibility— Good, BUT--If you like very darkly roasted coffee (Full City ++ to French or darker), you may have to roast less than a full pound. In our trials we roasted several batches to a dark oily French roast by using a smaller batch size. Just be aware that if you choose to roast beyond a Full City, you can expect some visible smoke. Also, like all roasters that cool the beans inside the machine, you have to anticipate the roast profile just a bit and start the cooling cycle just before your beans get as dark as you'd like. Not hard, just takes a little practice.
Evenness of the Roast— Excellent—The continually rotating roasting basket and baffle placement assures uniform bean agitation.
Bean Visibility— Fair—The newly improved chaff collector helps a lot, so maybe we should call it "Fair Plus". You have to look at the beans through a small window in the door (helps if you keep it clean with Simple Green) and the interior is lighted by a single appliance type bulb(keep that cover clean as well). Your best method for determining the stage of your roast is to listen for the first and second cracks and to learn how long to carry a roast by keeping good notes on batch size, profile setting, time, type beans, and results. After a few trials, it isn't hard to get the beans to the profile you want, but there is a learning curve involved.
Noise Control— Excellent—This is the quietest roaster we've used, and will operate at 55db or less.
Bean Cooling--Good--The full cooling cycle takes about 13 minutes. You can open the door during cooling (a little chaff may escape) which will dramatically decrease your cooling time.
Chaff Collection— Good to Very Good—The chaff falls through the mesh in the roasting basket onto a removable tray. The updated design is much better at catching the chaff. The roaster comes with a paint brush to use as a "broom" to sweep out any chaff the collector misses.
Quality of the Cup— Excellent—The coffee we cupped from the Behmor was very nice. It actually produced some of the better home roasted espresso coffee we've had.
Warranty: 1 year from Behmor. You'll have to register with Behmor to activate your warranty.
In the plus column, batch size, smoke control, ease of use, even roasting and noise control, and price. In the negative column, somewhat limited visibility of the beans, somewhat limited control of the roast, and restrictions on darker roasting. On the whole, it seems to be a really good roaster, particularly if you want to roast larger batches. The more we use this roaster and the more we learn about it, the more we like it.
Our offer includes 6 pounds of Free Coffee!
For a full video demonstration of the Behmor 1600, check out our demo on YouTube.
Be sure to go to the Behmore 1600 page on Behmor's site and download the updated user manual you'll find there. While you are there, download and print the updated cleaning and maintenance files and the instructions for the updated chaff collector. If you'll do that now, and read through it before your roaster arrives, it will save you a lot of time and frustration.
Two more important notes:
The Behmor 1600 won't start if you store it in a cold place (45 degrees or less) like in the garage during the winter. This restriction is to protect the electronics. Just bring it inside and warm it up a bit, and it should run fine.
Also, don't use acetone or nail polish remover to remove the residue from the stickers attached to your roaster. They will damage the finish. A little WD-40 or Goo Be Gone works well.
Behmor just released a maintenance update concerning periodic cleaning of a sensor and a fan. You can view those instructions via this link: Behmore 1600 Maintenance update
Please note that because of insurance hassles, we do NOT ship this product via US Mail. If you can't use The Captain's Special Shipping, UPS or FedEx, please contact us to arrange shipping.
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