The Gene Cafe: Air heat source with off-axis drum rotation.
Machine now ships with double chaff collector as standard issue.
Simple, well-designed controls allow infinite time and temperature adjustment
before and during the roast
Glass roast drum for great roast visibility, and true 1/2 Lb capacity.
Yes, you can roast smaller batches too.
Easy to load and operate. Don't force the drum into the chassis.
We also created a bare bones Gene
Cafe page that has a link to a .torrent file of my Gene
Cafe Movie (about 48 megs). It can also be seen on the Google
Video site but I suggest you download it, then watch it ... rather
than stream it live. -Tom
The Gene Cafe is a machine I tested for over
a year, through the stages of prototype development. It had been
sold for a year in Korea (where the manufacturer, Genesis, is located), the
UK, Europe and Japan before finding its way to the US market. The machine
has CE approval - which is like UL for Europe. We have carried this machine
since May 2006 and it has performed well so far and the documentation that comes with the roaster is very good.
The so-called "Analog" model we offer
here impressed me from the start, even when I tested prototypes that did
not function well. Let's call it the 2 Knob Gene Cafe. It is simple, and
allows you, the operator, to dynamically (and infinitely) change the roast
time or temperature during the roast process. The readout shows you time
and temperature every step of the way. Combine these simple, effective
controls with a glass drum through which the coffee is highly visible,
and you have the best roast control system ever invented: YOU! There is
a so-called "Digital Model" that I tested ... it did not work.
Even if it did, I did not like the controls
The Gene Cafe has a half pound batch capacity, and
uses a unique off-axis mechanical agitation with a hot air heat source. The
roast is easy to observe, and the controls make it easy to modify; change
the roast time or roast temperature any time you like, and as much as you
like. It features an oversized chaff collector that can deal with the most
chaff-heavy coffees. The roaster is extremely quiet compared to air machines,
and even compared to other drum roasters. All 1/2 Lb roasters produce a quantity
of smoke if you go into the darker roast stages; the Gene Cafe is no exception.
But I would not call this machine especially "smoky" either in
operation, nor in the cupping results. Speaking of the roast quality; it
is very good. I get improved body over air roasting, without diminished brightness.
Targeting an exact "degree of roast" takes some experience, since
(like all drum roasters) the coffee tends to get a bit darker from the roast
level at the time you start the cool cycle especially since the beans stay
in the chamber - they do not dump into a cooling tray. You need to stop
roasts a tad short of where you want it to end up..
What's not to like about the Gene Cafe? Well, I wish
the cooling was more rapid, and it cooled to a lower temperature. Unlike
the Hot Top, the Gene Cafe cools in the drum where the coffee is roasted.
You can finish the cooling by removing the coffee from the glass drum as
soon as the cool cycle stops, and put it in a wire mesh colander. The Gene
cools to 140 f. before the drum stops rotating, allowing you to remove the
batch. It does not cool a set amount of time, and will give you an audible
signal both when the cool cycle begins and ends.
The manual that comes with the machine is very well
written but okays some things we would not - so we have an additional Sweet
Maria's Tip Sheet. (Specifically the manual says you can use this for a small
cafe - which we would strongly advise against - this is a home machine
- not a commercial unit. Also they talk about doing multiple batches
and setting the machine and walking away - both things we think are a bad
idea.) The machine controls are so easy to understand but here is a small
list of items I would underscore from the manual:
- Take care in handling the glass drum. When you seat the drum into the
roaster chassis, it fits in at an angle. Do not force it in, let it drop
- The drive motor stops at a particular position (vertical or just a tad
before vertical) to allow the drum to be removed. I noticed that a couple
times, after the cooling cycle finishes, it sometimes stops a little out
of position. If this happens, turn the roaster off, then on (push the red
knob twice). The drum rotates once and will land on the correct position
to remove the drum. Don't try to remove the drum or replace it into the
chassis if the motor is in the wrong position.
- Always use the provided "drum stand" when
the drum is out of the roaster. It's a nice gadget that safely stand
the drum on end so you can load it.
- The manual suggests 300 grams as the maximum batch
size - but I never use that much. I use a 8 ounce or 1/2 pound batch (226
to 230 grams). You can roast up to 300 grams - but not with dry processed
coffees - see note below.
- I suggest using the highest temperature setting
(482) for the coffee up until the start of first crack, then bring the
temperature down to finish the roast. In my tests , 482 @15 minutes is
going to be in the neighborhood of a City roast. PLEASE NOTE: The
roaster will not actually get up to 482 degrees- that is way hotter than
you want the machine to go for roasting coffee. Maybe if you want charcoal,
but not for coffee roasting.
- I suggest anticipating the roast color/degree you
want, and stopping the roaster a bit shy of that. Your City roast will
tend to "coast" into
City+, just as it will on the other 1/2 Lb drum roasters we offer.
- The drum and instruction booklet designate a different
roast volume for "Brazil Coffee." What they mean is that chaff-laden
dry-process coffees will heat up the roast chamber more than less chaffy
wet-processed coffees. So not just Braziian but natural Ethiopian, Yemen,
Indonesian coffees - or any blends containing these coffees. In my tests,
all dry-process coffees and wet-processed (and decafs, which have no chaff)
roast fine at an 8 oz. batch (measure by weight, not volume for better
accruacy). The maximum batch size for dry processed coffees is 240 grams. Keep an eye on the roast (which you always should) to adapt the heat setting
and roast time to make adjustments for dry processed coffees. After all,
"Brazil Coffee" setting does not account for pulped natural Brazils
(less chaff) or anomalous wet-processed coffees that have tons of chaff
(Bolivia Cup of Excellence comes to mind). One person reported some chaff
igniting in the chamber - which caused no damage - but can be a result
of using a full batch of a chaff-heavy dry process coffee.
- Read the instruction book! The roaster is so easy-to-use, the controls
so straight-forward, there is a temptation to throw coffee in and start
roasting. But this is a big chunk o' change for this machine. Take a few
minutes to get to know it better.
- Cleaning: Empty the chaff collector
after every roast. Remove visible chaff from the roast chamber every roast
and dislodge any small beans that may have become stuck in the chamber.
Every five roasts, tip the machine to empty out any chaff that may be
in the housing, not quite in the chaff collector ... better yet, use a
shop vac to suck out any chaff from the exit air of the drum , and drum
where the chaff collector attaches to the chasis. Every 20 roasts, I would
take apart the chaff collector and clean off the screens by soaking ans
scrubbing the in hot water.
Roaster Size: 19 x 10 x 9 with chaff collector installed
- Here's a link to the pdf with the Gene
Cafe Tip Sheet
- Interested in what Gene Cafe users are saying about this machine? Check out the Using Drum Roasters section of the Sweet Maria's Forum.
Cafe Coffee Roaster with 8 Pound Green Coffee Sampler
$495 (27 Lbs. Ship Weight). Back in Stock
The Double 8 Pack is 8 types of
coffee, 1 Lb. each. The selection includes coffee from each major
coffee-producing meta-region; Central America, South America, Africa,
Indonesia, etc. It also includes both wet-processed and dry-processed
coffees. It is ideal for testing a roaster, and familiarizing yourself
with the vast array of coffee types.
Gene Cafe Coffee
Roaster with NO coffee.
$495 (19 Lbs. Ship Weight).
This is offered for international customers who may not be able
to ship green coffee, at the same price (due to minimum pricing).
Choose the option WITH the sampler unless you absolutely cannot
receive green coffee
New as of July 2008
Gene Cafe Double
Chaff Collector ships standard with each Gene Cafe!
double sized chaff collector with vent hose attachment - for
use with chaff-heavy dry processed coffees. Has a nozzel so you
can attach a hose and direct smoke away from the roasting area. If you have an older model and need a double chaff collector - contact Fresh Beans Inc.