Latest Posts

  1. Behind The Scenes: Sweet Maria's Roasted Coffee

    Behind The Scenes: Sweet Maria's Roasted Coffee

    Here's how we roast.

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  2. New Postcards. Quakers: Resistant to Roast

    New Postcards. Quakers: Resistant to Roast

    Our new postcards. Look for one in your next order.

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  3. FreshRoast Basics Class at Sweet Maria's

    FreshRoast Basics Class at Sweet Maria's

    Sign up for our FreshRoast Class

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  4. Bullet R1 Roaster Meet Up

    Bullet R1 Roaster Meet Up

    Join us for a meet-up where we will discuss the very popular Aillio Bullet R1 coffee roaster.

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  5. Six Under Six - July 2018

    Six Under Six - July 2018

    Six great coffees. All under six bucks.

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  6. Video: A Cooler Way to Cool Your Behmor Roast

    Video: A Cooler Way to Cool Your Behmor Roast

    Cool your coffee faster by removing the drum.

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  7. Aillio Bullet R1 Support

    Aillio Bullet R1 Support

    Need a little help with your Bullet R1? We are here for you.

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  8. Intro to Home Roasting Class

    Intro to Home Roasting Class

    Sign up for this roasting basics class. It's going to be a lot of fun.

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  9. Sweet Maria's Featured on The Coffee Podcast

    Sweet Maria's Featured on The Coffee Podcast

    Listen in and share with a friend that needs a little motivation getting started with roasting on their own.

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  10. Hot Rod Home Coffee Roasters: The Spirit of Invention

    Hot Rod Home Coffee Roasters: The Spirit of Invention

    For some people who roast their own coffee, off-the-shelf home coffee roasting appliances don't cut it.

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  11. Air Popper Modifications -Adding a Thermometer

    Air Popper Modifications -Adding a Thermometer

    A thermometer can help you establish a more consistent roasting routine. Adding a thermometer to your air popper measures the temperature of the forced air heat flow after it has passed through the beans.

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  12. Gas Oven Roasting Method

    Gas Oven Roasting Method

    What You Need: A gas oven. A perforated pan, a vegetable steamer, or a stainless steel wire mesh collander.

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The Fresh Roast SR 500 Detailed Review

The Fresh Roast SR 500 Detailed Review

This machine is a great improvement over the discontinued Fresh Roast +8. There are a few things I wish were different about this roasters, but in the end it’s a good, economical choice if you're willing to pay attention to a few details. I posted a pictorial guide to using the roaster below, and some videos too.

I like the upward facing controls but not the heat switch. I think it would be better as a knob with 4 positions but maybe that will change with future iterations. Temperature settings for the three settings:

-High 490°F

-Medium 455°F

-Low 390°F

The manufacturer lists the batch size at 120 grams - but I feel 90g (about 1/3 a cup) is more likely the best batch size. To have a nice slow warm-up I used the highest possible air flow. I used both medium and low heat settings throughout the roast.

The cooling cycle blows some pretty hot air, but it’s good enough. Ideally it would be best to cool outside the roast chamber - in a tray or collander. The motor is quiet so hearing the cracks is no problem.

Be very careful about carrying the roaster while it's assembled. The glass roasting chamber isn't held firmly by the base, so it can easily fall out. (I broke one chamber that way.) The housing for the chaff collector is made of a heat-resistant plastic and may break if you drop it (I broke one of these, as well).

Start off with 1/2 cup of coffee. Over a few uses, I found that using 1/3 cup gave me a more even roast so I prefer that batch size. Because the machine uses the mass of beans to block the hot air and promote roasting, it is important to measure the batch by volume, not just weight. Heavier beans will agitate less well, so you may need to adjust for that. Add the coffee to the roaster before turning it on.

Turn the roaster on. The SR500 has a preset roast time of 5.9 minutes which you can change by pressing the UP and DOWN buttons.

The coffee will progress from green to yellow to brown. Check out our Pictorial Guide to the Roast Process for detailed pictures and descriptions of the stages of roast.

The roast will end when the timer has counted down or when you press the "cool" button. The cooling cycle lasts about three minutes, and works by turning off the heating element and running the fan. The air will be quite hot at first, so your roast may "coast" a bit after you start the cooling cycle; you should start cooling just shy of how dark you actually want the roast to be. Some folks like to pour the coffee out into a homemade cooling tray (usually a seive placed over a fan) --- the choice is yours, but be careful if you go this route: the parts are hot!

Uneven Roasts

The SR500 does a good job at creating even roasts. Older FreshRoast models struggled at this and at mid-roast, allowed some beans to burn while others remained green.

If you are running into this problem, you may have voltage issues, it could be a very cold day or maybe you have an older machine. Here’s a few methods we used in the past to even out our roasts:


This is the safest modified way to use the machine. Run it for 1 minute with beans, then hit the COOL button. After 30 seconds, turn the machine back on to finish the roast. With very dense beans, use the COOL cycle twice during the roast sequence. You'll know that the beans are more dense by the way they are moving (or not moving). You will have to start the time again after hitting cool.


Stir the beans for the first two minutes of the roast. Remove the chaff collector (careful, it can get hot). Take a long-handled spoon (the spoon in the image is a little shorter than I'd like), and stir occasionally, making sure to get all the way to the bottom of the chamber and to get around the sides.

There shouldn't be any chaff at this stage of the roast, so you don't have to worry about making a mess. Maybe you lose a bit of heat this way, but it is better than a wildly uneven roast. Be sure to replace the cap once the beans start to move on their own.


Another technique is to remove the roast chamber, and shake it two or three times during the roast, especially early on when the beans are heavier. The handle of the roast chamber remains cool enough to touch throughout the roast. The chaff collector gets hot, but so use a hot mitt to remove and reposition the chaff collector.