[Homeroast] Quest M3 Arrives, Is it worth it?

Sergio Kusevitzky sergio_kuse at yahoo.com
Wed Dec 15 03:53:50 CST 2010

Thanks Tom

Good ingredients, some knowledge and passion!!!...., that is all you need for a 
good roast!

(I roast with my air-popper, the stove popper, the precision roaster and the 


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From: Tom & Maria - Sweet Maria's Coffee <sweetmarias at sweetmarias.com>
To: "A list to discuss home coffee roasting. There are rules for this list, 
available at http://www.sweetmarias.com/maillistinfo.html" 
<homeroast at lists.sweetmariascoffee.com>
Sent: Tue, December 14, 2010 9:48:58 PM
Subject: Re: [Homeroast] Quest M3 Arrives, Is it worth it?

I appreciate this conversation and have been holding back from weighing in here. 
People are entitled to their opinions, and home roasters have never held back. I 
look at each roaster as something unique, each with ups and downs. I think you 
can get good roasts in many of these machines. There was a real change around 
here when I decided I could no longer roast all my samples on a home roaster. 
The volume of samples was just too great, and I needed a multi-barrel roaster 
that could roast and cool at the same time. But I still use most all the 
roasters (I even have a Poppery 1 on the bench, across from a vintage  3 barrel 
electric Probat and a 3 barrel Gothot gas roaster). I do not "profile" sample 
roasts - it's a straight line from start to finish, within a range of about 9-11 
minutes, with minor adjustments in a session if I find the roast times creeping 
up or dropping off. I use the green coffee batch size to adjust the roast as 
well. If I roast a batch in the Quest (or the Poppery 1 for that matter, or I 
Roast or Behmor or Hottop) I don't expect it to be better or worse. I expect it 
to be slightly different, that's all. We compare roasts regularily- I did 6 
separate batches of a decaf arrival in the Probat (imagine how much time it 
would take in one behmor!) and we did a Behmor batch as well. Behmor cupped 
quite favorably. My Probat allows me great control, as the quest m3  does, as 
well as much greater opportunity to ruin the coffee as well. In not of this are 
we talking about larger batch roasting, which we do a bit of in the L-12 Probat, 
and on that we use several basic adjustments to air and gas during the roast. 
The key on the L-12 is to have it properly installed, and very clean ducting 
because it has low air flow. I think the L-12 roasts are nice, but I feel that 
the critical factor is what you are putting in, the coffee. I can say for sure 
that i MIGHT like an L-12 batch of a particular Kenya, but it will have a 
different taste profile than my sample roasts. Usually I produce many sample 
roasts of each coffee, and if I toss one L-12 batch on the table with these many 
sample roasts, I guarantee you I will find one of the sample roasts I like 

My point is this; It might seem that it's about the machine, and the operator. 
True, it is. But you have no chance of quality without putting in good 
ingredients, and without targeting a specific end point. With small (home roast 
size) batches, I get many snap shots of the same coffee, and several seconds 
difference in degree of roast is where some coffees can really shift. Getting 
really good at targeting that roast degree is difficult; doing it in a Behmor is 
even harder. That (and cooling within the same space you roast in) are my gripes 
with most home roasters, and those factors make a difference in successful 
results. To a large degree, other differences are secondary. If a Behmor no 
longer meets your needs and a Quest might, fine. That would be like me at the 
point I found I could not possibly produce enough samples in a home roaster. A 
Quest is not a Behmor. A Quest is not a 3 barrel Probat nor an L-12. All are 
tools with different capabilities. It depends on what you are trying to do with 
them. The thing I find endlessly amusing is that you can produce AMAZING coffee 
in an air popper.

There is not one right way. If you spend 4x as much money, you can still produce 
horrible coffee. People do it every day on $250k of roast equipment. With care, 
and accepting some limitations, a $2 thrift store find can result in great 

Anyway, just trying to chime in with some perspective from a different place... 
now I am going to go roast a Guatemala sample in the Behmor!
-- -Tom

"Great coffee comes from little roasters" - Sweet Maria's Home Coffee Roasting
              Thompson & Maria - http://www.sweetmarias.com
    Sweet Maria's Coffee - 1115 21st Street, Oakland, CA 94607 - USA
            phone/fax: 888 876 5917 - info_at_sweetmarias.com

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