What I love about the RK drum is what I think scares most people away. At first look, an RK drum with a BBQ looks like you have no controls. The opposite is true! With a RK drum setup you have total control! It is the only home roast system that I know of where you have the power and control to roast from 4 oz to 4 pounds of coffee. Where people get in trouble is not realizing the flexibility of this system of roasting because they don’t go beyond the first look. After 20 years of homeroasting
using every type of roaster from the new commercial home models to roasting over fire with an antique popcorn popper, I think I am qualified to say the RK drum is the best home roaster you can buy for less than $1,500.00. I have not found a limitation to my RK system yet. After spending $150.00 on a commercial machine a few years ago, it only took me a month to go back to my $3.00 popcorn popper.
The RK drum reminds me of roasting over fire with the popcorn popper except it gets rid of those dimensions that need to be consistent for a good roast every time. The RK drum moves the beans at a consistent rate. The RK drum keeps the beans at the right place to receive the heat they need to roast. The RK drum gives you a way to control the heat. So, instead of five dimensions to control, the RK takes care of three and leaves the roaster with the two most important dimensions to control, time and temperature. It lessens the need to be accurate in how much coffee you roast because of its power. Try to vary the weight of an air roaster by more than an ounce without it having a major effect. As you will see below, load does make a difference, but again, you have control over it before you start the roast. All electronic machines handicap your roasting by their inherent limitations. Once you learn how to use your RK drum it is very easy to have perfect roasts every time.
The last thing I like about my RK is that it can be used to roast like a fluid bed (air) roaster or like the commercial drum roaster depending on your profile. Right now in my roasted supply I have an espresso blend that was roasted like a big commercial drum roaster. It has those deep complex coffee flavors that drum roasting is known for. On the other hand, I like the taste of a bright Central American coffee roasted in a fluid bed roaster. I have a Costa Rican coffee that is nice and bright and makes a wonderful vacuum pot of coffee. No other method of roasting that I know of gives that kind of flexibility. I have my thermometer mounted so it is even with the middle of my drum.
Personally, I have settled on one to two pound roasts most of the time. At Christmas I did two four pound roasts and at times I do as little as four ounce roasts