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Fresh Roast SR500 SR540 Coffee Bean Roaster Review

You already know that roasting your own green coffee beans at home is a fun hobby. It saves you money and produces better-tasting coffee. But you probably don’t know that Fresh Roast SR540 is among the best entry-level home coffee roasters on the market. Read on for our detailed Fresh Roast SR500 SR540 review and find out if this handy appliance is the one for you.

Fresh Roast SR540

A Quick Summary: Fresh Roast

  • Ideal entry-level machine 
  • A series of user-friendly features
  • You can experiment with roasting coffee for the first time (1).
  • A fluid bed convection heat uses hot air to yield a high-quality roast.

If you are new to roasting, or upgrading from a DIY method like a popcorn popper, we think this will be a great machine for you.

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A quick review of the SR540 coffee roaster

Fresh Roast’s new SR540 home coffee roaster is an update to their trendy SR500 model. It features more temperature settings, a redesigned roasting chamber, and more intuitive controls. It, therefore, joins our list of the best home coffee roasters.

This affordably-priced fluid bed roaster relies on convection to produce a high-quality roast that even novices can quickly master.

Sure, Fresh Roast’s small capacity may be a hindrance for heavy coffee drinkers. However, it will offer home roasters a unique opportunity for small-batch experimentation.

Pros

  • Quality roast at an affordable price
  • Easy to use
  • 9 temperature settings
  • Chaff collector for easy cleaning

Cons

  • Small capacity
  • No smoke suppression
  • No interchangeable parts with the SR500

A full review of the SR540 coffee roaster

Fresh Roast’s SR family of home coffee roasters is a global bestseller and for good reason. In this review, we’ll walk through some key features of home coffee roasters so you can see how the SR540 stacks up (2).

User-friendliness – 4.5/5

This extremely user-friendly roaster was designed with the novice in mind. Though, experts will find plenty to love here as well.

The SR540 is compact and quiet. A single dial and new, larger display are used to control the adjustable features: fan speed, temperature, and roast time. The SR540 now offers 9 different temperatures, and the temperature can be read out in real-time. For beginners, the factory settings make a great starting point.

Compared to Fresh Roast SR500, the roast chamber is now redesigned to lock more firmly into the base. It’s also wider, for better bean circulation. Some aesthetic adjustments have improved visibility. Finally, a handle has been added so you don’t need to touch the hot chamber.

Roasting capacity – 3/5

The roasting chamber of the SR540 is a relatively small 4 ounces. That is about a half-gallon of coffee. Thus, if you consume a lot of coffee, you will likely get frustrated having to roast so often.

A batch size of as little as an ounce at a time makes it easy to experiment in small batches with new recipes and types of beans.

For comparison, the Kaldi Wide home roaster features a 10.5-ounce capacity. Differently, a tiny Nuvo Eco Ceramic coffee bean roaster accommodates only 2.4 ounces at a time.

Roasting Time – 5/5

The SR540 roasts very quickly, thanks to its small size and efficient heating. It takes between 6 and 9 minutes for light to dark roast. Another great feature of this machine is the run/cool button. The button immediately starts a 3-minute cooling cycle, by pumping cold air into the chamber. Note that efficient cooling is crucial to keep beans from overroasting (3).

The last – but a very important – part of roasting is cooling. When we stop the roast we actually want it to stop.

Cleaning – 3.5/5

Typically, cleaning a home coffee roaster means discarding the chaff, tasteless flaky material that drifts off green coffee beans as they dry. The SR540 facilitates this with a built-in chaff collector. You can easily empty the collector after each roast. However, SR540 also loses a few points here. It doesn’t feature a smoke suppression system. Thus, be sure to use it outside or in a well-ventilated area.

via GIPHY

Fresh Roast SR500 Tips

Using the SR500 (SR540) is very intuitive. But here are some extra tips to guarantee amazing coffee beans.

  1. When optimizing the fan setting, start it on high to get the beans tumbling, then lower it until you hit the sweet spot.
  2. As you start the roast, use a separate timer along with the countdown on the roaster. If you start, stop, or override the SR540 timer, you’ll still know how long you roasted the beans.
  3. It’s best to let the roasted beans “rest” for 6 to 24 hours for the best flavor.
  4. A fine paintbrush is a great way to get those pesky flakes out of the chaff collector. 

Is this really for you?

If you’re new to coffee home roasting or looking for a present for a coffee lover, this is a great machine. It’s inexpensive and easy to use. You need to invest a minimum of your time and money. Advanced roasters can use the SR540 to roast small quantities in order to experiment with different green beans or roast levels.

fresh roast sr500 review green vs roasted coffee beans

Don’t buy this IF

If you have a functional FreshRoast SR500 automatic coffee bean roaster, there is no need to upgrade. Especially because the two share no interchangeable parts.

If you want to roast large batches, the SR540 won’t measure up. Instead, consider the electric Jiawanshun coffee bean roaster, which roasts a 28-ounce capacity.

An experienced roaster looking for an advanced product may find the SR540 a bit too entry-level. A better choice is the Kaldi Wide, which is essentially a commercial-grade drum roaster scaled down for home use.

The bottom line

The Fresh Roast SR540 is a great entry-level home coffee roaster. It’s compact, inexpensive, easy to use. Most importantly, it roasts great coffee. If you want to try home roasting for the first time, or you’re sick of the sub-standard results coming out of your popcorn maker, the SR540 is a great buy.

Fresh Roast SR 540 coffee roaster

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References
  1. Cho, N. (2013, December 17). Should You Roast Coffee at Home? Retrieved from https://drinks.seriouseats.com/2013/12/why-you-shouldnt-roast-coffee-at-home-pros-cons-green-coffee-roasting-kit.html
  2. Djalev, G. (2020, March 23). The Rise of Home Coffee Roasting. Retrieved from https://www.perfectdailygrind.com/2020/03/the-rise-of-home-coffee-roasting/
  3. Nieminen, T. (2017, June 1). Coffee Roasting at Home: A Stupid Idea or a Culinary Adventure? Retrieved from https://www.baristainstitute.com/blog/tomi-nieminen/june-2017/coffee-roasting-home-stupid-idea-or-culinary-adventure
Fresh Roast SR 500 540 Review

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