Need owners’ opinions and answers before clicking the “buy” button


#1

Hello people :slight_smile:

I joined this forum because I’m seriously considering ordering myself a Bullet R1 V2.

However I have a lot of questions running up my head that only real life owners would have answers to.

I’m sorry for the amount of questions but this is almost a once in a lifetime opportunity for me as I don’t see me buying another roaster if this one fails to meet my requirements :frowning:
————————————————————————
First and foremost - maintenance and repairability - as this is not a traditional roaster.

  1. I am really concerned about the roaster’s high-techiness and chances or malfunctioning and issues. How often does it fail ? I see some posts of malfunctioning BT probes causing ROR craziness. Posts about squeaking noises and other issues. How often do these issues arise and how easy is this to fix them - especially after warranty expires. What are the chances of something very expensive and not repairable breaking ? For some reason the induction board and controller scares me the most.

  2. What about spare parts availability and prices ? Do you know if aillio guarantees a certain support period where it must provide spare parts ? Again - outside of warranty?

  3. How easy is it to self repair ? - currently I do not have in my country a local distributor like US’s Sweet Maria’s.

  4. How much preventive maintenance is required ?

————————————————————————
Now for the fun part - normal user experience and features.

  1. How capable this roaster is at getting “Specialty Roasts” ? I assume this answer should be “Very Capable” just making sure I’m not missing big here.

  2. How easy is the learning curve of this thing ? Meaning - how easy is this to reproduce the same roast with minor and specific variable tweaks to get it to perfection?

  3. Is it possible to “design” a profile before starting to roast ? I mean - can you create a specific bean temperature curve in advance and then hit the “play” button for the roaster to follow ? Or is it just able to replay the same actions the operator performed in a previous roast without altering it ?

  4. Profile sharing - will I benefit from getting a profile of another user of - let’s say - Yirgacheffe or Kenya and replaying this profile on my roaster with my Yirgacheffe or Kenya beans ? Part of this question relates to lack of knowledge I guess and part of it to the variability between roaster - e.g fan speeds that I read differ from one roaster to another.

  5. Is it possible to use the roaster offline ? Without the RoastTime cloud ?

  6. Is it possible to download your roast profiles ? Or is it just cloud based ?

  7. Can you use Artisan instead of RoastTime ?

Thank you very very much for your patience and answers (in advance ;))

Jonathan.


#2

Full disclosure that I am an employee and write the software, so I am biased. But I DO use the roaster multiple times a week, so I feel I can answer your questions.

Answers 1:

  1. I have not had 1 issue with my actual roaster. I do a lot of the development on a test controller and have used the same one for 3 years. I don’t think you need to be concerned about this.

  2. @kafei can answer this, sorry - not my area of expertise.

  3. I have never had to self repair anything, but everything was made in a pretty easy way to maintain and repair.

  4. There is a good article on basic maintenance here: https://legacy.sweetmarias.com/library/bullet-r1-maintenance-basic-cleaning/

Answers 2:

  1. You are correct in your assumption :smile:

  2. I found the Bullet easy to learn when I first started working for Aillio. I had no experience roasting at all and was able to jump right in. If you use our software, we have overlays, playbacks, and recipes to make it even easier to get your roasts reproduce-able. We are also working on some machine learning with the roasts to predict things for you.

  3. Yes, we have recipes in RoasTime. You can base it off another profile or start from scratch.

  4. I use other peoples profiles quite often as I am not a professional and find them useful. I never use them exact, but they are nice to test out as a base and make minor alterations or create recipe.

  5. Yessir, you can roast offline and things will sync when you go online.

  6. Your profiles DO live locally on your machine (as well as in the cloud), but they aren’t currently exportable.

  7. Yes, some people do use Artisan instead of RoasTime. I will say, RT v3.0.0 will be coming out this year and will have a lot of improvements and cool features (private roasts, more config options, better sorting/ui elements, re-hauled usb lib, etc).


#3

Hi Jonathan,

I’ve had my roaster since January of 2019, so I think it is a Version 1.5. I’ve been home roasting since about 1999, starting with hot air, then an alpenrost, then a couple of Hottops, and now the Aillio. I roast about a pound a week for personal consumption only. So I am familiar with the process.

To answer you questions, I think that the first thing I would like to say is that this is not a toaster. Roasting coffee is an interactive process that requires a lot of hands on work. And you are dealing with very high temperatures which are not friendly to electronics, and a lot of chaff and dust which are not friendly to mechanics. So be prepared to work on the machine, but you would have to work on any machine you chose.

To get to the specifics, I have had some problems with the machine, and I have found the support from both Sweet Maria’s and Aillio to be excellent. I am not afraid to take things apart, (getting them back together, though…) so repairs and replacements are straightforward if you have patience and a steady hand. I have had to replace the IBTS, and then the IBTS fan. I have had to re-solder (this is the one part I did not do myself, but one of my co-workers has done a lot of PCB work and helped) one of the pins from the IBTS control chips that came loose. As far as I can tell, there is NOTHING on this machine that is not replaceable. SO to answer #1, if you are handy with a screwdriver you should be comfortable with this machine. But remember, this is not a toaster.

All my spare parts have come under warranty, but I have no doubt that Aillio and Sweet Maria’s will do the right thing - as long as you take care of the machine. (Thom has a good post about someone who was trying to scam him. Don’t do that)

As I mention above, if you have ever replaced a board in an old IBM PC, or a hard disk in a laptop, you will have no problem. Patience and a steady hand are all you need.

As Matthew says above, there are a lot of resources about maintenance. It is not onerous. Make sure you empty the chaff collector.

You can roast however you want on this roast. I can tell you that even with 20 years experience, this is a better roaster than I am a roast manager. It does what you tell it.

The learning curve is steep. (that is the good learning curve.) You can learn very fast. Use the seasoning roasts to help understand the cycles and the various controls. You are going to throw those beans away anyway, so take advantage of them. I have never had much of a problem hearing the first crack (I know some folks do) but pay attention here. I have only gone into second crack during the seasoning roasts, but it is fun to hear that, too.

I have not designed a roast in advance. But I don’t know why you couldn’t. I usually buy 5# of beans at a time, and seldom buy the same beans again, so I sort of revel in the “hands on” approach.

You can share profiles. They’re here on-site.

You can roast with the control panel alone, but I think that you will miss the analytical part of the roast. I like to look back and see what I did “wrong”

Matthew answered the cloud question.

You can use Artisan. I downloaded it and used it once. I prefer Roastime. I think if you are already familiar with Artisan you would probably want to keep using it.

I really enjoy this machine. If you are willing to get your hands dirty, I think you will, too.


#4

I don’t have enough experience on the Bullet to answer many of your specific questions, and fortunately they have been addressed by others. The Bullet is an innovative product with some interesting design features but some of the concerns that you have raised are quite valid and worth consideration, especially that it is a “high tech” type of product that relies on complex electronics to function.

My primary roaster is a Diedrich IR-1 natural gas roaster. In all honesty, you couldn’t pry the Diedrich out of my cold dead hands, but you could do so with the Bullet, absolutely.

I’m basically an “analogue” type of guy and given the choice of a well-functioning, well-designed, heavy hunk of metal drum roaster like the Diedrich I own, vs. the Bullet, I’ll take the Diedrich 100 times out of 100. It just works, there’s no fussing to do, and you don’t need a hooked up computer to operate it. My sub-par roasts on the Diedrich are so uncommon that I can’t even remember the last bad one, probably it was 5 years ago. I can remember my last bad roast on the Bullet, in fact it was my last roast, a week ago. Perhaps this will improve with experience, I can only hope so.

The Bullet is expensive for what it is, almost $3000 in the USA. I would look seriously at what you can buy in your country for that much money, or a little bit more. If you are space constrained, or you love high tech things, then the Bullet deserves very serious consideration. If on the other hand in your country you can buy a competent, big, heavy metal drum roaster for a price within your budget, and you have room for it, the decision would make itself, at least it would for me.


#5

It is the best home roaster IMHO, however like most of the products you buy, if you know what you want, get it, don’t look back.

It also needs a learning curve and time. The sharing I disagree everyone of us is living in different locations, i.e. Temp. / Humidity is always different.

with time you get better and better, if you are willing to do so (reading, learning and spending time)

Best coffee like home made bread, pasta and what so ever no comparison