The Fresh Roast SR540 coffee roaster is a well-known introductory coffee roaster. We’ve found that it meets the needs of most novice coffee roasters without the investment of some of the pricier machines.
The machine operates like a fluid bed roaster. These types of roasters use convection to heat the beans. The Fresh Roast coffee roaster uses a fan to keep the hot air blowing through the roasting chamber for the duration of the roast. This air causes the beans to tumble and move around, which is what creates the even roast.
- Real-Time Temperature Display
- 1 Year warranty
- Roast capacity 120 Grams
- 9 Levels of heat settings and fan settings
- 120V US
Last update on 2019-07-19 at 04:46 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
Overall Score: 4.2/5
The Fresh Roast coffee roaster is made of decent quality components; it’s a perfect roaster for getting start with the hobby of home roasting.
The coffee roaster is a great introductory roaster that let’s you dabble in the hobby without putting too much money down.
The Fresh Roast isn’t the most stylish coffee roaster on the market, but it’s functional and that’s all that matters when it comes to coffee roasting.
The roaster is the perfect size for those who don’t have the space at home to dedicate to a home roasting lab.
- 120g capacity – The roasting chamber is capable of holding up to 120g of coffee, making it capable of roasting nearly 20 cups worth of coffee at one.
- 9 levels of heat settings – Multiple heat levels let you take control of the roasting process to deliver the ultimate roast profile.
- Quick roasting – Each roast can be complete in less than 10 minutes, making this the perfect companion for the casual weekend roaster.
- Even roasting – The fluid motion roasting system keeps beans aloft and prevents stragglers from burning, which makes for an incredibly even roast time after time.
- Roasting chamber handle – The SR540 added a new handle to the roasting chamber, keeping your fingers further away from the hot glass after a roast.
- Small capacity – The SR540 is only capable of roasting 120g of coffee at a time, so if you need more than that, you’re going to spend quite a bit of time roasting batches.
- No smoke suppression – Coffee roasting is a very smokey process, especially if you like dark roasts; the lack of smoke suppression mean you have to roast in a well-ventilated area.
The Fresh Roast SR540 is a great introductory coffee roaster and sports a variety of features that will make learning to roast coffee fun and easy.
Fan speed knob
The Fresh Roast has a fan speed knob that lets you adjust how much air is blowing through your roaster. The speed of the air can change the progression of the roast, so this is one of the main ways you can keep control over your roast.
We recommend starting with the fan speed on its highest setting so you can make sure the beans are tumbling enough. As the roast progresses, you will want to change the fan speed to ensure you’re not roasting too quickly or agitating the beans too much.
Digital time elapsed display (9.9 minute max)
The Fresh Roast comes standard with a digital time display (with a maximum of 9.9 minutes) that tells you how long you’ve been roasting.
This is incredibly helpful as you work to make your roasts more consistent.
In addition to the built-in timer, we like to keep a separate stopwatch handy that we start when we start the roast. As the roast progresses, you may need to increase or decrease the time using the timer up/down buttons (more on those below). The second stopwatch will help you to know the total amount of time you roasted the beans after you finish roasting.
Time up/down buttons
When you turn on the roaster, the timer will begin counting down. Sometimes, you’ll find that your roast isn’t quite where you want it and the clock is about to strike 0. The Fresh Roast has two additional buttons on the control panel that let you add or subtract time from the timer. This will help you in lengthening or shortening your roast.
The roaster can be toggled between roasting and cooling with a single button. Cooling is a very important step in roasting because the beans will continue to roast even without the heat on. By actively cooling the beans with a fan, you can more quickly stop the roast.
The cool button overrides the timer and places the roast into a 3 minute cooling cycle. During this time, the heating element is turned off, but the fan still runs, which allows you to abruptly stop the roast. At the end of the cooling cycle, the roaster will turn off.
Temperature selection switch
The Fresh Roast SR540 has a temperature selection switch that lets you choose high, medium, or low heat. There is also a setting for cooling.
It is best to leave your roaster on high, especially at the beginning of the roast. That said, the Fresh Roast SR540 does give you great flexibility in adjusting the temperature during the roast.
Integrated chaff collector
Coffee beans have something called the silverskin that protects the bean. When the bean is harvested and processed, much of the silverskin is left intact on the bean. As you roast, the bean will expand and the silverskin will detach from the bean and become what’s known as chaff. The chaff is usually pretty dry and flaky by this point. We don’t think it adds much of a taste to the coffee, but most people like to remove it to make the coffee less messy.
The Fresh Roast has an integrated chaff collector in the top of the lid. This will collect the chaff and can be easily cleaned after a roast. It will keep your roasted beans chaff-free and ready to be ground.
The Fresh Roast is able to achieve adequate roasting temperature because of the heating element that’s integrated into the base of the unit. The roaster’s fan pulls air in from the room and the heating element heats it before it is blown through the unroasted coffee beans.
The Fresh Roast SR540 has nine temperature control settings. These will help you fine-tune your roast and dial in the perfect roast profile.
The only buttons on the entire device are the timer up/down and run/cool buttons. There is also a temperature selection switch and the fan speed knob. Overall, we think the Fresh Roast has a very minimalist interface, which helps the introductory roaster keep things simple.
Small roasting chamber
The Fresh Roast has a roasting chamber that can hold 120 grams of coffee. This equates to roughly 1/4 of a pound of coffee. To put this in perspective, most small sample roasters roast a minimum of 1 lb. That makes the Fresh Roast a pretty small roaster.
While some may see this as a weakness, we like that the Fresh Roast kept things small. Learning how to roast is very easy, but learning how to perfect the roast takes time. When you’re learning to roast, it’s best to keep the batches small so you can determine what types of roasts you like without wasting beans on the roast profiles you don’t like.
Small roaster footprint
The Fresh Roast is a pretty small coffee roaster. It’s taller than it is wide or deep. The dimensions of the device are 12 7/8″ high by 6 3/4″ wide by 6 3/4” deep. This makes the roaster incredibly portable and easy to use.
You can use it on a patio, a porch, or inside of your garage without having to struggle at all. Many sample roasters are bulky and difficult to transport, so we like how compact the Fresh Roast is.
As you upgrade in the world of coffee roasters, you find that most roasters are heated by LP or natural gas. These energy sources are more energy efficient when roasting large batches. On the sample roaster scale, however, it’s advantageous to have the roaster be electrically powered because then you don’t have to worry about any logistics (like propane tanks or gas hookups) when you move the roaster around.
We like that Fresh Roast kept things simple by making the entire unit electrically powered.
No smoke suppression
Roasting is notoriously smokey, especially as you roast darker. Many home coffee roasters have smoke suppression to keep the smoke from becoming a nuisance. The Fresh Roast does not come with this technology, but it’s probably for the best that you roast outside.
Even with smoke suppression technology on roasters like the Behmor 1600 Plus, I don’t like to roast inside because smoke is still generated.
Missing Temperature Display
Roasting is both an art and a science, but you’ll soon learn that delicious coffee is more repeatable if you treat it as a science. This means tracking data and recording values. Unfortunately, the Fresh Roast has no real data tracking capabilities. We’d love to see a temperature display or even a fan speed display so we can create more repeatable coffee roasts.
That said, this is an introductory roaster for the budding coffee enthusiast, so we think the Fresh Roast is perfect for its target demographic.
Overall, we highly recommend the Fresh Roast SR540. It is an exceptionally small roaster that delivers a uniform, controlled roast time after time. The biggest downside of the roaster is that it can only roast 120g of coffee at a time, but if you’re roasting more than that, you’re probably ready to upgrade to a larger roaster like the Behmor 1600 Plus.
Green coffee beans – Coffee roasters are pretty useless without coffee beans to roast in them. Some of our favorite green coffee beans are these single-origin, Nicaraguan beans.
- From our most recent harvest, premium Arabica unroasted green beans from the best micro-lots at our fourth generation family farm
- Specialty green coffee beans with 5 or less defects and no primary defects per 300 grams; moisture content between 11-13%
- Strictly high grown under shade trees, harvested by hand, European prepared, fully washed and naturally dried
- Produced sustainably with the highest standards for our fellow Nicaraguans and natural resources
- Recommended roast profile is medium (also known as city or regular) in order to highlight the delicate nuances of the bean
Last update on 2019-07-19 at 02:59 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
Coffee scale – A coffee scale is an absolute must when it comes to precisely measuring the green coffee beans that go into the roaster and the roasted beans that come out. We recommend picking up a Hario V60 coffee scale; it will double as the perfect scale for all of your coffee brewing needs.
- Hario V60 drip coffee scale measures in 0.1 gram increments for highest precision
- Includes a drip timer for perfect bloom times and pours each time
- Integrated timer for complete and total control of your coffee brewing process
- Auto power off in 5 minutes (not activated when the timer is on)
- Scale dimensions: 7.4" x 4.7" x 1.1" ; Uses 2 AAA batteries (included)
Last update on 2019-07-19 at 01:53 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
Coffee canister – An airtight coffee canister is one of the best investments you can make for your freshly roasted whole bean coffee. As coffee ages, it releases less and less oxygen making it vulnerable to oxidation, which stales the beans. Containers like the Airscape coffee canister help keep your coffee fresh for longer.
- Original Airscape coffee and food storage canister with patented lid removes and locks out air to preserve and protect freshness and flavor.
- Airscape Canisters are ideal for extending the life of your coffee, tea, flour, sugar, cereal, cookies, seeds, herbs, nuts, pet food or any perishable good.
- Airscape Coffee and Food Storage Canister is BPA-Free and made from restaurant-grade stainless steel with an enamel paint finish. Multiple colors available!
- Features a clear airtight insert that allows you to see how much is left in the container.
- A perfect size for your kitchen counter or pantry! 32 oz. canister holds approximately 1/2 lb of dry coffee. Measures: 4.5"w x 4"h. Also available in 64 oz.
Last update on 2019-07-19 at 02:44 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API