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  1. #1
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    Seattle, WA
    Posts
    5

    Help! Sonofresco trouble!

    So in August I bought a drive thru espresso stand south of Seattle. One of the selling points was that the stand has a Sonofresco 1.2 # roaster. Everything was fine and the former owner trained me on their roast (level 4 preprogrammed just past 1st crack before the beans get glossy)

    In the last 2 months I have had nothing but problems. Mostly overoasting sometimes heavy smoke. I have replaced the thermostat 3 times despite the fact that they are supposed to last 9 months. I have taken the entire thing apart to clean chaff that has fallen down to the burner. I have cleaned my smoke vent and replaced the venting tube from the machine to the ceiling.

    Today I came in and the afternoon girl reported that one of the morning girls had a problem with the roaster overheating and "charring" the beans. The girl threw out the beans so I have no idea what went on. she then cleaned the chaff collector, screen and made sure the canister was clean. I put in a batchof decaf and it roasted fine. As soon as I left the afternoon girl who has been using this machine for a year roasted a batch of our blend and it over roasted to such an extent that she manually chut down the machine. 5 to 10 minutes later smoke was pouring out of the machine and chimney and small flames were visible.

    I am at my wits end. I have called Sonofresco multiple times and done everything they suggested and the trouble just keeps coming. I have replaced or cleaned every part of the machine except the gas intake and the microprocessor. I'm calling Sonofresco in the morning and hopefully they will come out and look it over.

    Until then my question is: has anyone had an experience like this with the Sonofresco? If worse comes to worse does anyone have suggestions as to a good small batch roaster (fluid prefereably) good for compact spaces? Thanks for any information!

  2. #2
    Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Posts
    74
    I started with a Sonefresco machine and never had a problem in 1 1/2 year time period. I am concerned that the problem only occurs with your employees. I would start performing all of the roasting. Within a day you will know what the problem really is. In reference to your other question, try Ambex's YM-2. I purchased one about 2 years ago and recently bought a YM-10. I have been very happy with the performance. I produced as many as 35 batches(in one session) with the YM-2 without any problems. The coffee from the YM-2 will be different than with the Sonefresco. In my opinion much better. I hope this helps.

  3. #3
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Location
    North Georgia, USA
    Posts
    176
    I've had a Sonofresco for years. I've been through exactly what you are describing. Typically it is the temp probe. The Sonofresco has a horrible design flaw in that the probe is highly sensitive and yet is stuck out in a very vulnerable spot that requires cleaning.

    At one point I replaced the circuit board and the roaster never was the same. Instead of level 4 or 5, I kept it at 0 or 1. The technicians swore they had not changed anything in the design or program, but I could only get a medium roast on Level 0.

    Then, about six months ago it started burning beans. I replaced the probe again and it still burned beans. I gave up and bought a new sample roaster.

    Honestly, although the Sonofresco did an okay job, I stake my professional reputation on drum/flame roasters over fluid-bed air roasters hands down. If you want to solve your problem, ditch that Sonofresco and buy a 1 to 3 kilo drum roaster. I like Ambex and Diedrich. Toper makes a good roaster. Garanti is excellent, but you can't usually get them here - at least not yet. Garanti and Toper are manufactured in Turkey, while Ambex and Diedrich are US companies.

    If you want more info you can pm me or call me at (404) 788-4464.

    Good luck with it.

  4. #4
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Hawaii
    Posts
    6
    Beangrinder, great info! Between the Ambex and Diedrich, which did you you prefer? Are there specific nuances in the design that you found to be better? The only reason I ask is I have been looking at the fluid bed roasters, but have been using drum roaster design for years.

  5. #5
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Location
    North Georgia, USA
    Posts
    176
    Kona:

    Indeed there are design differences between Ambex and Diedrich. Do I have a preference? Maybe for Diedrich because it is very easy to dis-assemble and clean. Not that Ambex is really all that hard to clean. Anyway, here is my opinion:

    Diedrich is a very solid built, dependable roaster. It is classy looking - very nice sitting in your cafe. It uses less gas than the Ambex because it roasts using an indirect heat rather than flames in direct contact with the beans. There is no taste difference, it is just an efficiency point.

    Diedrich is more expensive than Ambex, but that is largely due to the design and style differences. This is a time when "you get what you pay for" applies.

    Ambex makes dependable roasters. They aren't necessarily as nice to look at, but you'll find it to be a true work horse. I've owned a couple and never had a moment's trouble. The follow a universal design concept for drum roasters.

    Both companies have great service and tech support. Here is an example - recently while cleaning our IR-3, I lost the "key" on the shaft that rotates the cooling arms. It is a short piece of key stock, but my local hardware didn't have the right size. I called Diedrich and they had the part to me in two days - didn't charge me a dime AND sent two in case I loose one again. They're nice folks.

    My bottom line - take your pick. If you plan to have your roaster in a highly visible location and want the appearance value, go for the Diedrich. Otherwise, go for whatever is available - you won't be disappointed.

  6. #6
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    Clearwater, Fl
    Posts
    27
    Quote Originally Posted by konafarmer
    Beangrinder, great info! Between the Ambex and Diedrich, which did you you prefer? Are there specific nuances in the design that you found to be better? The only reason I ask is I have been looking at the fluid bed roasters, but have been using drum roaster design for years.
    There are a few rosters on the Kona island. Ka'u Royal,Koa coffee,Kona Coffee pride, and ohana Malie Coffee Farm. i would see if any of these would answer any of your questions or let you see them in action.

  7. #7
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Hawaii
    Posts
    6
    Thanks for the great input. I'd rather learn through someone else's experience and improve from there than to start from scratch, only to learn what you already know today. Again, Thanks and Aloha!!

 

 

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