Monday, January 23, 2012

Gene Café

Gene Cafe with big chaff collector
I bought the home drum roasting machine, Gene Cafe, last year because I wanted something more for my home roasting than uneven oven roasts. At that point I bought quite expensive green beans and roasted these in my oven, but then I wasn't aware of the huge difference a even roast gives to the cup. Back then I actually were happy with my result from the oven roasts, but the smoked produced in the oven were massive for my apartment, which could last for a couple of days when dark roasting. Finally I pulled myself together and bought this wonderful machine with the big chaff collector at my local coffee shop. I was advise to take the big chaff collector, because the original small collector would be filled with chaff and add out coming smoke but also send smoke back in the machine and affect the roasting flavors.

How does it work?
Roasting drum
The Gene Cafe CBR-101 has a special 3D mixing system, which ensure that the beans get an even roast. In comparison to the oven roast, the beans are put on a plate and aren't moved until the roast is finished. The Gene Cafe drum is constant moving the coffee beans by the vortex twisting system. The drum is also designed with an internal knife, which cuts the chaffs into pieces and thereby allow these to pass the metal lattice.

Weight of beans before roasting
I normally weigh the coffee beans before and after the roast to ensure that enough water has disappeared. The roasted coffee beans should suffer a weight loss between 15-20%. The coffee beans chosen for this roast is my newly bought Brazilian Fazenda Senhora De Fattima Cerrado organic, which weight 220 gr. before roasting.

Filling the drum chamber
The Gene Cafe have a maximum drum capacity of 300 gr. of green beans, which is two and a half scoops (incl. item). There is for safety precautions printed a maximum capacity line on the outer PYREX glass to ensure that you keep this. In case of too many beans in the drum chamber, the consistency of the roast will lack and your cup will suffer of some sourness from the beans that aren't fully roasted. This could also be an experiment because the flavors will vary more. To fill the drum chamber, just pop the lid and fill in your green coffee beans.

The above youtube video is the first produced by Coffee Channel and is therefore this exact roast. The essence in this is simply to insert the drum chamber in the roasting machine and set the preferred roasting time and heat. The Gene Cafe will then roast the beans at the chosen temperature and heat and afterwards start its cooling cycle which last for 10 min.. A thing to keep in mind is that this roaster doesn't start at the correct temperature, but instead builds it up and thereby giving a slow roast. In this roast the roaster reached the set temperature 2 min. before ending the circle. 

Weight after the roast
The coffee beans have decreased their weight by 29 gr. which is a total loss at 15 percent. This is actually right on the spot for this Full City roast, so I'm pleased with the result. It was the first I have roasted this particularly bean and therefore its very easy to roast.

The final roasting result
The final result of the roasting beans is a beautiful sight, I can't wait to try it out for the press pot in 24 hours. The beans are actually small, but have a great scent to them just after the roast, which normally is a good indicator for a great roast or quality of the bean.

The Gene Cafe has a lot of great features, for example you can easily set the heat and the time of the roast. This makes it very easy to adjust to and therefore giving great roasts right away, which I really enjoy. Its a perfect roaster for the type of consumer, who never reads the manual and just go along with it, cause its so simple. BUT after you have learned the machine the roasting fun seems lacking, because the roaster just handles almost everything for you. You can't really fool around with it and program some custom roasting profiles, which is a shame. I would like for the future Gene Cafe to include a panel which allows the user to set different roasting profiles and experiment a bit more. The gene cafe also has its own cool down system, which is a nice feature but just a little too slow, because it takes 10 min. for the roaster to cool down the temperature and thereby the beans. Therefore I would like to see a better and more effective cool down system on a future machine. Otherwise its a perfect home roaster and I would recommend this to everybody in a heart beat, so if you are wondering if you should invest in a roaster, than the answer is YES! By the way, you can also save about 25-25% if you home roast, compared to the retailer price.

// Hendrup


  1. Peter Bjerre JensenJanuary 24, 2012 at 2:33 AM

    Looks very interesting!

    How much did you pay for the roaster?
    Do you know any other with more advanced features like the ones you write about?

    Does it not produce a lot of smoke similar to roasting in the oven? (I tried that once, without an exhaust hood, and that did indeed produce a lot of smoke and smell!)

  2. Hey Peter,

    I bought the complete package back in 2011 for a total of 2.800 DKK ($480), the big chaff collector that I use is alone worth 600 DKK ($110). But I think the normal price for the Gene Cafe with its original chaff collector is about 3.000 DKK ($520).

    There is one roaster with a lot more advanced features and is considered being the top off the line in the category of home roasting. Its called the Hottop and its about the double in price, but this roaster is actually a mini copy of the professional roasters. The Hottop comes in different models, where some are more adjustable, but check it out at this link (
    Want I know of is that this roaster is producing more smoke and reducing less chaff, which I value a lot.

    With the big chaff collector I don't have any problem with the smoke, because I just place it under the hood and turn up the air stream. So after I'm done roasting there is no smoke or smell left in the apartment, so compared to the oven roast its a lot less smoke and smell producing.