Before our FreshRoast SR500 air roaster review, let’s talk briefly about how this product works.
The FreshRoast SR500 is classified as an “air coffee roaster” or a “fluid bed roaster.” A characteristic of these roasters is that they’re designed to roast a small amount of green beans, so they’re ideal for a 1-2 person household.
How does it work?
An air coffee roaster uses and circulates a hot stream of air to “stir” or “swirl” coffee beans inside a roasting chamber. The hot air usually comes from the bottom or base of the roaster, so you’ll see the beans being tossed upwards and back until the whole process is over.
How different are air-roasted beans over drum-roasted ones?
According to online sources such as this one, the resulting concoction from air-roasted beans tends to be more “acidic.” This is partly because in the air roasting process, there’s a much higher heat transfer rate than drum roasting.
That said, if you love your coffee to be more acidic, then go for the air-roasted beans.
FreshRoast SR500 Air Roaster Review: Key Features
Let’s start this FreshRoast SR500 air roaster review with a list of the key features of this product. Here’s what to expect.
On the image on the right, you can easily tell that the FreshRoast SR500 is equipped with a no-fuss control panel at the bottom.
There’s an LCD display to show your time preferences, there’s a mechanical knob to let you adjust and control the fan speed, there’s a switch that you can slide up or down to choose from three temperature settings (high, med, low) and a cool function, and let’s forget, there’s also the power button.
Speaking of temperature control, here’s the expected temperature at each setting.
- High temperature: 490 degrees
- Medium temperature: 455 degrees
- Low temperature: 390 degrees
Compared with other home coffee roasters such as the Behmor 5400, this air roaster is equipped with basic functionalities.
5 Ounces at a Time
The FreshRoast SR500 is designed to roast coffee beans in small batches. According to the user manual, this roaster can only accommodate approximately 5 ounces of green beans at one time. The resulting beans will yield approximately 18-20 cups of coffee.
The SR500 is composed of 4 main parts: the base unit where the control panel is located, the glass roasting chamber, the chaff basket whose purpose is to collect chaff, and the top cap.
- Weight: 5.35 pounds
- Product dimensions: 6 x 6 x 13 inches
- Volts: 110v
- Watts: 1500w
- Maximum roast time: 9.9 minutes, but can be overriden
- Cool mode: 3 minutes
Also read: Behmor 5400 Drum Coffee Roaster Review
VIDEO: Roasting with the FreshRoast SR500 (Demo)
How do you roast with the FreshRoast SR500? See how easy it is in this video demonstration below.
In this part of tour FreshRoast SR500 air roaster review, we answer this question: What do previous buyers say about their FreshRoast SR500?
We went through the feedback and comments section of a popular online retailer. In summarized form, here’s what we found out about this coffee roaster.
Let’s start with usage. Roasting a batch of green beans with the SR500 is easy. All you have to do is follow the instructions. But here’s a caveat. There may be a learning curve, or a trial-and-error of some sort, if you want to achieve the “perfect” coffee roast of your choice.
To explain further, one person has observed that in time, the air-roasted coffee tastes better as he discovers the best time and fan speed combination. Other people call this “experimenting” and then recording the results so that you can duplicate the process. This is an especially useful tip for beginners.
Is it noisy?
As advertised, the SR500 is the “quietest air roaster,” and some people would agree that it’s quiet. However, let’s not forget that “noisy” is a subjective adjective, so don’t be surprised if other buyers say it is quite loud.
To check for yourself, watch the video above and gauge how much noise the FreshRoast SR500 makes during the roasting process.
It’s best to use the FreshRoast SR500 outside, especially if you don’t have very good ventilation. Why? Because it creates some smoke especially if you’re going for a dark roast profile. Also, let’s not forget that although coffee undoubtedly smells good, you don’t want the whole house to be smelling like coffee for a long time.
So… the ultimate question is, does the FreshRoast SR500 work? Here’s what previous buyers have said.
This coffee roaster does an excellent job, although there may be a learning curve before finally reaching the roast profile that you want. It’s not a set-and-forget machine, and it doesn’t come with pre-set programs, so you may need to manually control the fan speed and temperature if you want consistent results.
We mentioned that if you feel that your house does not have a good ventilation, it’s best to take the roasting process outside to prevent the strong coffee smell from sticking into your clothes and furniture.
However, a disadvantage of doing this, as observed by one person, is when it gets windy outside. According to a previous buyer, the wind can interfere and slow down the roasting process. That said, you may have to re-do the process, or add more time to ensure that the desired roast profile is reached.
The chaff collector also does an excellent job in collecting the chaff.
Cleaning and Maintenance
The FreshRoast SR500 is easy to clean. As recommended by the manufacturers, you only need a stiff brush to clear the screen and get rid of chaff or any stuck-on particles.
Another option in cleaning the roasting chamber, chaff basket, and top cap is to use a little soap and water. If you want to put them in a dishwasher, you’re also free to do that as they’re dishwasher-safe.
This is not a perfect machine. It does have its share of limitations. Besides, it’s a home coffee roaster, so keep your expectations to a minimum.
Here are some limitations mentioned by previous buyers.
One, the removable parts are fragile and very delicate, so always handle them with care. Dropping them may cause irrepairable damage.
If you’re looking for a made-in-USA product, this is not one of them. The FreshRoast SR500 is made in China.
Also read: Coffee Roaster Reviews
Our Recommendation: FreshRoast SR500 Air Roaster Review
Let’s end this FreshRoast SR500 air roaster review right. Should you get one for yourself? Here’s our recommendation.
If you’re looking for a coffee roaster that roasts faster than a drum roaster, and one that gives you a more acidic-tasting coffee beverage, then get the FreshRoast SR500 air coffee roaster.
Alternatives to the FreshRoast SR500 Air Roaster
Unimpressed with the FreshRoast SR500? Here are other options you may want to consider.