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Thread: What to buy? Grinder or Roaster?

  1. #1
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    What to buy? Grinder or Roaster?

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    Well Im looking to make my next purchase towards coffee nirvana... As a uni student I dont have a lot of money to spend on coffee-related items (I should have chosen a cheaper hobby!), but Ive saved up around $600~$700 that I want to use to buy... something.

    At the moment I have a Sunbeam EM6910, an EM0480 grinder and a Pullman tamper.
    My plan is to purchase either:

    a) A better grinder, which will hopefully noticeably improve the quality of my coffee shots that Im getting with my machine. Im thinking something along the lines of a Mazzer Mini or a Compak K3E.

    OR

    b) A Gene Cafe Roaster. Currently I cant really afford to spend that much of my budget on freshly roasted coffee, so I limit myself to around 1 double per day. Im thinking that with a roaster itll end up being much cheaper (and more fun) to buy green beans and roast them at home, thus allowing me to enjoy more coffees per day :) I know a corretto would probably be the cheapest option in this regard, but I dont really want something I have to set up and tinker with too much (plus I dont really have the space), Im looking for a "set and forget" kind of option.

    So what do people think? I guess it comes down to "better coffee" vs "more coffee" ;)

  2. #2
    Senior Member Magic_Matt's Avatar
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    Re: What to buy? Grinder or Roaster?

    Quote Originally Posted by alskeiru link=1212457086/0#0 date=1212457086
    I guess it comes down to "better coffee" vs "more coffee" ;)
    No contest IMO ;)

  3. #3
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    Re: What to buy? Grinder or Roaster?

    Grinder. You can get yourself a popcorn maker for $10 from Cash Converters if you want to start roasting with something compact. Ive owned both grinders youre looking and and both are excellent units.

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    Re: What to buy? Grinder or Roaster?

    From previous threads, being so addictive, roasting your own greens doesnt save you money
    cos you just want to roast more and more.

    Grinder for sure. Thats an easy one. Sell the 480 for a bit and use it to buy roasted beans.

  5. #5
    Sleep is overrated Thundergod's Avatar
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    Re: What to buy? Grinder or Roaster?

    Youll never have to buy another grinder if get a good one like those.

    Like Yeeza said, then sell the 0480, buy a popper and some BeanBay greens.
    Then youll have both options covered.

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    Re: What to buy? Grinder or Roaster?

    Im going to vote for the gene, not because I sell them, ;) but because....

    You are already limiting your coffee consumption due to buying roasted beans. Buying a new, better grinder wont change that, albeit produce a better cuppa. It wont save you money.

    If you buy a gene and are disciplined enough to put aside the $20 or so (the saving you make from roasting your own), youll eventually save yourself enough to buy a better grinder. I think you might quickly outgrow a popper, and as you prefer set and forget, a coretto may not be the best option for you either. Youll also be able to increase your coffee consumption - one cuppa a day just isnt enough!

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    Re: What to buy? Grinder or Roaster?

    I agree with Dennis.

    I have exactly the same setup - grinder, machine and tamper. I bought a Gene Cafe from Talkcoffee. I think I learned far more and experimented a lot more with the roaster than I ever would have with a grinder.

    Others may argue that there are cheaper options than the Gene. For my personal circumstances, it has been fantastic and I have learned a lot more than I would have with a new grinder (which is next on my list anyway). :)

    I think that it is not about more coffee or better coffee, it is about learning about coffee.

    Maybe decide on what you want to focus on. Making better coffee, drinking better coffee, drinking cheaper coffee or learning more about coffee.


  8. #8
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    Re: What to buy? Grinder or Roaster?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ben_S link=1212457086/0#6 date=1212472128
    I agree with Dennis.

    I have exactly the same setup - grinder, machine and tamper. I bought a Gene Cafe from Talkcoffee. I think I learned far more and experimented a lot more with the roaster than I ever would have with a grinder.

    Others may argue that there are cheaper options than the Gene. For my personal circumstances, it has been fantastic and I have learned a lot more than I would have with a new grinder (which is next on my list anyway). :)

    I think that it is not about more coffee or better coffee, it is about learning about coffee.

    Maybe decide on what you want to focus on. Making better coffee, drinking better coffee, drinking cheaper coffee or learning more about coffee.
    I concur,

    After the best part of 30 years hands on, I have learned more in the last few years since I started roasting than in all of the time before that...

    Chris

  9. #9
    Senior Member redzone121's Avatar
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    Re: What to buy? Grinder or Roaster?

    My 2 cents.
    Grinder and when you can, Heat Gun/Breadmaker and BeanBay will keep you happy 8-)

    I had heaps of fun with the Hottop and I hear The Gene is all good to, but HG/BM Awesome IMHO ;)

    Enjoy CB.

  10. #10
    Senior Member GregWormald's Avatar
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    Re: What to buy? Grinder or Roaster?

    The Sunbeams are actually a fairly good match. Upgrading the grinder will provide somewhat better coffee--and maybe more frustration because you still wont be able to afford more beans on a regular basis.
    Either a Gene Cafe or a popcorn roaster will provide the coffee you like at a great price and enable you to save to upgrade the grinder and eventually the machine.
    My vote is for a roaster--youll have to decide how much trouble is too much. I have a Gene and started with a popcorn roaster--both are about the same amount of set-up/takedown trouble, although the fast roast of the popper makes watching more critical.
    With short money I reckon Id go for the popper (they are really cheap second-hand) for a while and then decide between the Gene and a grinder.
    Greg

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    Re: What to buy? Grinder or Roaster?

    I probably should have mentioned that Ive already tried popper roasting, I got a starter pack and made a few satisfactory roasts but eventually gave up on that because:

    a) It was frustrating having to do a heap of batches due to the small capacity of the popper, and

    b) Constantly in the back of the mind I was aware that the roasts I were getting were never going to be as good as than they would be if had a better roaster or modded it to increase the roast time.

    I think Im leaning towards the Gene Cafe at this stage...

  12. #12
    Mal Dimal's Avatar
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    Re: What to buy? Grinder or Roaster?

    To be absolutely honest, I dont believe the question makes a lot of sense.....

    If you had asked "Which Roaster should I buy within a budget range?" or "Which Grinder should I buy within a budget range?", a sensible recommendation could probably be made as were comparing apples with apples.

    With that budget, I would recommend that you buy a really decent grinder as this will make a significant improvement to the quality of coffee resulting from any preferred brew method. Before jumping off at the deep end and spending the money on a factory roaster, Id recommend that you grab an old Mistral or similar Popper from an Op-Shop, purchase a starter pack from Andy and then give roasting a go on a small scale.

    Using a Popper or a Corretto roasting method doesnt mean that you will then roast to a lesser standard than that of a Gene Cafe or a HotTop, etc.... In fact, its a great opportunity to learn the art and science of roasting coffee at a much lower entry cost and then if you discover that this is something that you want to do all the time, either build a Corretto or TO/SC type roaster for slightly more money than a Popper if you like the idea of roasting larger batches. If neither of these options appeal to you, sure, save up for a Gene or HotTop and then go for it. Neither of these factory roasters are happy roasting more than 250-300g per batch though, and is worth keeping in mind.

    All the best mate and hope some of this helps a bit :),

    Cheerio,
    Mal.

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    Re: What to buy? Grinder or Roaster?

    If you dont have a decent grinder you will never get the most out of any beans (well other than supermarket stale cr@p).....

    You cant really appreciate the subtle tastes you can get from home roasted beans without a good grinder.... and by good I mean the best you can afford!!!

    But having a good grinder will unlock qualities in the freshly roasted beans from site sponsors etc you never knew existed....

    You dont build a house unless you have the tools...... and know how to use them! Its the same with roasting.... get a good grinder.... master it (and your extractions) with quality beans - so you have a benchmark - and then start to explore what you can achieve yourself.....

  14. #14
    Senior Member speleomike's Avatar
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    Re: What to buy? Grinder or Roaster?

    Hi all
    Last weekend I did a calculation on the cost of my GeneCafe. I used to buy Tobys Estate roasted beans - very good but ~ $44/kg. Now I buy green beans from bean bay at ~ 12/kg. So thats about $30/kg saving. My Gene was about $700. Now $700/$30 per kg is about 25 kg i.e. it would have paid for itself after going through about 25 kg of beans. In fact over 18 months my wife and I have gone though about 50 kg of coffee that I have roasted. I didnt expect it to pay for itself but it has. Better still I have had tremendous fun roasting my own beans.

    Mike

  15. #15
    Mal Dimal's Avatar
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    Re: What to buy? Grinder or Roaster?

    Quote Originally Posted by speleomike link=1212457086/0#13 date=1212497709
    Better still I have had tremendous fun roasting my own beans.
    And this isnt just restricted to those who own Gene or HotTop machines Mike.... Ive been roasting at home now for many years and like a lot of others, I started off with a Popper, and then another Popper and then some mods to those Poppers until such time as I was able to easily control roasts batches of up to 200g in size.

    Roasting in this way for quite some time, I decided that I would like to roast larger batches and do some pre-roast blends too and to this end I was considering either buying a HotTop or a Gene Café. As luck would have it though, around this time Belinda(Corretto) came up with the design of the Breadmaker/Heatgun, soon dubbed the Corretto in honour of her inventiveness, and I decided to give this a go since we had everything we needed on hand and only required the steps to assemble the parts appropriately. In a nutshell, I havent looked back since, have had heaps of fun and satisfaction and would never consider buying a factory made home-roaster any more. A 1-2Kg commercial-roaster? Well that is an entirely different kettle of fish...... errr, bushel of beans ;),

    Mal.

  16. #16
    Senior Member speleomike's Avatar
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    Re: What to buy? Grinder or Roaster?

    Hey Mal
    Your post mentioned Belinda and the Corretto so I looked it up and have now read the post "Pictorial Essay of a BM Roast" so now know how the name occurred and who developed it. Google has links to this development on web sites all around the world! Im impressed.
    Mike

  17. #17
    Sleep is overrated Thundergod's Avatar
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    Re: What to buy? Grinder or Roaster?

    Quote Originally Posted by speleomike link=1212457086/15#15 date=1212500275
    Im impressed.
    So are we.

  18. #18
    Senior Member tasadam's Avatar
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    Re: What to buy? Grinder or Roaster?

    2nd hand and very adequate bread machine $20 - $30
    New heat gun $60 (probably less in a big city where you can shop around)
    Old heater fan with the heater element blown - $ free.
    Board on a base with nails up it to hang the heatgun from - $ negligable

    Start pricing the kind of grinder you really want and get both as soon as you can.
    I use a rocky grinder. I know nothing of it compared to your current grinder, or compared to a several hundred (or more) dollar grinder. Ignorance is bliss - I am still enjoying great, fresh coffee. Maybe one day I will get the opportunity to compare coffee from my current setup alongside a great grinder.

    I started roasting with a popper and the starter pack. It worked well for me, and I still have it there for when (not "if") my heatgun bearings wear out.
    But after roasting for over 2 hours straight one afternoon with the popper, I found a 2nd hand bread machine for $20 and havent looked back.

    But you say you dont want "Corretto" - you want "set and forget".
    I only know one person with Genie, and from what I understand they too are not exactly set and forget - you want to adjust the temp back after 1st crack etc, also monitor your heat up times... I could be speaking out of turn here coz I have never actually seen one used, but if what I have said has merit, it may not be the "set and forget" you are looking for. That being the case, you might end up preferring to save the coin and go "corretto" after all.

    The biggest single difference to the enjoyment of my coffee at home is a dead heat - with the introduction of home roasting, and with the purchase of my VBM.
    Freshly roasted beans at home is that good.
    Perhaps a several hundred dollar grinder will make another leap in my home experience, I dont know and cant afford, and am possibly ignorantly happy with the Rockys performance.

    Hope I havent confused you more.

  19. #19
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    Re: What to buy? Grinder or Roaster?

    For the price of a genecafe Id buy a grinder and a cheap heatgun and roast in a metal bowl stirring with a spoon. Add a second-hand or bottom-end bread machine when your arm falls off from all the stirring.

    If I had twice the money Id buy a grinder and heatgun anyway and spend the rest on beans.

  20. #20
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    Re: What to buy? Grinder or Roaster?

    Well, Ive decided to go with the majority here and have just ordered a Compak K3 Elite grinder from Di Bartoli :D Thanks to Andys 5000th member competition, I have $200 of beanbay credit to spend, so with my new grinder and lots of different roasted beans available from beanbay, I should be set for some premium coffee enjoyment! Ill leave the home roasting for now, but its on the cards...

  21. #21
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    Re: What to buy? Grinder or Roaster?

    Behmor Brazen - $249 - Free Freight
    Glad to hear it all worked out for you ;)




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