The Quest M3 Coffee Roaster
The Quest M3 Coffee Roaster
The Quest M3 now comes with a thermometer that reads in °F.
It's hard to define exactly what the Quest M3 Coffee Roaster is, exactly; it falls in-between the current categories of small scale coffee roasters. It is hand-built, one at a time, in a small workshop factory in Taiwan. It has no advanced electronics, no motherboard or chipset, no heat profiling or automated cooling cycle. This is basically a miniature shop roaster scaled down to sample roaster size. It is a very manual machine and therefore most suitable for an experienced professional coffee roaster. It's not a Probat sample roaster (nor is it priced like one!) Yet it has some similar features: a sample trier so you can view coffee from the drum while roasting, a glass view window to see roast progress, manual temperature control (a dial adjusted gauge shows you the amperage sent to the heat elements), air speed control (fan speed controls volume of air pulled through the drum. A timer essentially functions as an on/off switch and allows you to cool the roaster down when you are finished with your batches, as well as acting as a safety shut off if the roaster is left unattended. It has an ingeniously simple way to cool the coffee; you dump the batch into the tray like a little shop roaster, open the rear door to the chaff collection chamber, and set the tray there so cool air can be pulled through it. Outside-the-drum cooling in 3 minutes or so ... another great advantage over most home roasters. Important! Turn the amperage all the way down when cooling your coffee. The drum will retain heat with the amperage down, but if left on it can overheat the roaster.
The Quest is designed for continuous roasting, once it is properly warmed up you can roast for hours. In fact, this is the way to use the machine, as heating it up to do one batch and cooling it back down right away could cause wear and tear on the drum. So, in this sense it is much more like professional sample roaster. The Quest M3 has lots of power and, as a miniature shop roaster it requires a knowledgeable operator too. You can have a chaff fire in a hurry without cleaning it, and it's not so consumer-oriented in safety design either; like a Probat, there are lots of hot surfaces to remind you where your fingers should and should not be during roasting.
With an Allen wrench and a screwdriver the Quest M3 can be stripped of it's bodywork, the drum pulled out of the motor drive, and any part accessed in minutes. It is incredibly straight-forward in terms of wiring and parts. For example, it uses a commonly available computer fan for air intake. Heating elements can be changed out quickly, if need be. It is ready for any type of modification you might desire, such as PID control of the burners. (Not that I would want to automate anything here - the idea is a manual roaster with a trier to pull samples. Yes, it's a tiny, tiny trier but it works!) One improvement you might want to add over time is a thermocouple into the bean mass to read bean temperature while roasting. Roasters now come with a second hole drilled to accommodate this addition - it comes covered with a small bolt. The analog dial thermometer acts as an effective drum air temperature (environmental) reading. We did have trouble with the initial heating elements sent with the machines, but we worked with the manufacturer so now the heating elements have a higher electrical rating (up to 130v). We do have some in 220v available from this page. The Quest M3 is very quiet, and runs on standard US voltage (120v, 60 hertz). You'll be impressed with the ease, convenience, and consistency that you can achieve roasting coffee with this electric roaster.