behmor 1600You know the saying—where there’s smoke (and noise, and chaff), there’s a home coffee roaster. Only not so much of that with the Behmor 1600: A Smokeless Home Coffee Roaster ($299).

{OK—not entirely smokeless, but closer to that platonic ideal than most.}

Behmor was the first brand to break the $300 price point with a home drum roaster, and they added features that make home roasting a much, much more enjoyable experience.

As we noted in our post on Home Coffee Roasters, roasting coffee can be time intensive, labor intensive and messy. The design of the Behmor 1600 takes some of the guess-work and much of the messiness out of the process.

Behmor 1600 Product Features

Smoke and Chaff are public enemies #1 and #2 to the home coffee roaster. The patent-pending smoke suppression system on the Behmor features a secondary ceramic heating element that treats the fumes coming off the drum, reducing smoke to a trace on all but the darkest roasts. The chaff tray was redesigned, and has positive reviews for its ability to corral most (not all, but most) of the chaff debris.

The 1600 is also remarkably quiet. This is not only soothing to the coffee roaster’s nerves, but it allows for the quiet contemplation space that allows you to optimally hear the snap of the first crack (and if heading for this target, the crackle of the second crack).

The batch size is also a strong point. The 1600 can handle 1/4, 1/2, and 1 lb. batches. (The manufacturer recommends starting with smaller batch sizes until you and your machine have had time to get to know one another.) It’s hard to find a home machine that can handle 1 lb. batches with consistent results.

Other notable features include: Preprogrammed roast times, roast heat curve profiles, automatic cooling cycle and a glass window with interior light (giving you an all-important “eye” on the process, albeit an eye trying to see through a drum). The 1600 comes with a one year limited warranty, and is specced to handle a minimum of 900 1 lb. roast cycles. (With the proper care and cleaning, it will no doubt exceed that number.)

Behmor 1600: Awards and Reviews

The Behmor 1600 was named the best new product at the Specialty Coffee Association of America 2007/2008 Expo. Design improvements (like the chaff tray) have continued to raise that bar.

Sweet Maria’s conducted extensive product testing on the Behmor 1600, and concluded: “The Behmor roaster has a strong feature set, but it’s not without its quirks.” The primary drawback they identified is that it is not particularly well suited to dark roasts. Other reviewers would like to see even more customization and flexibility in the programmable profiles.

Bonus Reviews: We highly recommend the five page extended version of their online review, with video. For additional perspectives, see CoffeeGeek’s compilation of member reviews, and this excellent in-the-trenches review from The Other Black Stuff.

We want to leave you with one final thought: The manufacturer cautions home roasters to remember: “Never leave the Behmor 1600 unattended, as it is not a set and walk away device. Like any food product placed close to high heat, if over-roasted, coffee beans can ignite.” Fires can and do happen–so please take all necessary precautions and be a safe home roaster.


Are you home roasting? With smoke or without? Share your first crack experiences with us in the comments below!

Content photo: tonx

Robyn is a freelance writer, editor and a serious foodie. A native of Seattle, she has found a new home in Northern California where she splits her time about equally between hiking in the redwoods and typing in local coffee shops. In addition to writing for CoffeeKrave, Robyn is currently working on a project to produce a short animated documentary—"Clipped and Tucked"—about her adventures in cooking recipes from antique cookbooks.

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