Yes, the Behmor 2000AB does indeed look like a microwave oven.
So before you start using this clever machine to heat up last night’s left over pizza, let me explain what it is that sets this roaster apart from others, not only in appearance but also in how it works.
An oblong box shape with a door that pulls down to reveal the drum inside, this roaster is finished in a black matte stainless steel.
That is for a specific reason – previous Behmor models were finished in a shiny silvery stainless steel, and because many users complained that the roasting smoke stained the shiny surface, the makers decided to make their new model in a matte black.
A clever ploy – it probably still gets stained, you just can’t see it.
Hey, if you can’t see something, it’s not really there, right? So it is genuinely “stainless”.
Visibility is an important part of the roasting process – we use our sight to determine the current roast level.
Behmor 2000AB has orange heating light bulbs and visually it’s hard to tell what stage are your beans at.
In this regard, some users advice using a flashlight besides stock bulbs to have a better view of what’s going on inside the drum.
Anyway, the door handle is strong and secure, and the door features double-paned glass so you can still see what’s happening inside.
What’s good about Behmor 2000AB that it is well insulated and gives you even roast (almost) every time.
Inside, the body of the machine is aluminium-coated stainless steel, and the first thing you see is a perforated steel tray, which turns out to be the chaff collector.
(Chaff is the silvery paper skin on the green beans that peels off during the roasting process, and it needs to be removed by the machine.)
Leaving the chaff mixed with the roasted beans can change the flavour of the coffee, and not in a good way.
To my view, it’s not so effective, as on Fresh Roast or Gene Cafe machines – you have to brush the chaff outside after every use.
Because of the messiness, many users prefer to roast outside.
The roasting drum in the Behmor can easily hold up to a pound (456 grams) of green beans which makes it almost a small commercial machine.
Of course you can roast less if you want to, but if your coffee drinking runs into several cups a day you might be happy with the extra capacity.
Café owners who do specialty roasts in small batches will also appreciate the volume available, especially if they “roast to order” for customers.
At this level of capacity, the Behmor is at the top of the market.
Technology and Controls
The Behmor uses quartz heating elements, that produce a powerful level of heat.
On the right of the door is the instrument panel, which at first glance you might think looks a little complicated.
Above the control panel is a digital display.
Compared to some other roasters where the main control is an on/off switch the Behmor control panel needs careful study.
First there is the weight – you need to tell the machine how much coffee you are roasting, in pounds (lbs).
To make it simple there are only three weights allowed :
- A quarter pound (1/4 lb)
- A half pound (1/2 lb)
- And a full pound (1 lb)
Obviously this is important, so you need to check the weights preferably on a digital scale (Don’t have a digital scale? You should probably buy one!).
Next the program buttons. These determine the length of the roast time, depending on the weight of the beans (see, I told you it was important) and the required roast profile.
The roast time can be adjusted manually by the next two keys :
- The Plus key in 15 second increments
- The Minus key in 10 second decreases
The 5 profile keys allow for variable roast methods combining heating levels to give different flavour profiles and enabling you to choose roast types.
The profile can also be used for beans with different natural qualities such as hard or soft beans, espresso blends, even single origin beans like Kona and Jamaica Blue Mountain which all have unique properties.
How dark can you get?
One point to note, the User Manual states that Behmor 2000AB cannot be used for French, Italian, or Vienna roasts which are the dark end of the spectrum.
However, guys from Sweet Maria’s will show you how to get any type of roast with this machine.
Anyway, many users admit – it’s best used for a medium roasted coffee.
Get used to control panel
To be honest it is a complicated process even understanding the whole control panel thing.
Buttons play different roles in “automated” and “manual” modes.
The key is to find your favourite profile and remember it.
You may have plenty of enjoyment screwing your beans until you find the one that best suits your tastes.
The other buttons are self-explanatory (but I will explain anyway) :
- There is the on/off switch for the light
- a Power on/off button
- a Start button which starts the programs
- and a Cool button.
The cooling cycle happens automatically when the program finishes but you can use the Cool button to keep it running or start cooling at any time during the roasting process.
However, advanced users recommend not to use the cooling feature at all, because it takes too long. You should cool your beans in 4 minutes or less.
You can open the roaster’s door during the cooling cycle – it’s actually the most used technique.
Or take the drum with the beans out and cool them by yourself. In this case, chaff can make a mess and it’s recommended to roast outside.
The Behmor 2000AB has a safety feature – about three quarters of the way through the roasting process a symbol will start blinking on the digital control display, and the timer will start a 30 second countdown.
If left unattended when the timer reaches zero the machine will automatically switch to the cooling cycle.
Before it reaches zero, just hit the start button again to show the machine you are still alive, and the roasting process will continue.
You should never leave the machine unattended, and this feature is there in case you do.
Also always use welding gloves when pulling the drum out.
The machine also lets you know when the roast cycle has nearly finished. There is an “audible warning” – a beeping noise – in the last 15 seconds of the roast. If you want to roast a bit longer, this gives you time to hit the Plus key.
The Behmor 2000AB has patented smoke suppression technology which does indeed reduce the amount of smoke during roasting.
Note the word “reduce” – there will still be some smoke, although not as much as other roasters, but you should still use it under an exhaust vent or near an open window.
Cleaning and Maintenance
After use, just brush out the chaff tray and when the machine has cooled completely you can wipe out any chaff or debris inside the machine.
You can also wipe down the drum and the vent for the smoke exhaust to prevent build-up of oils from the smoke.
For detailed cleaning inside and out, always use a non-caustic, non-abrasive cleaner.
Price / Value
Surprisingly, given the technology involved, the Behmor 2000AB is very reasonable priced.
While it may not be the very cheapest on the market it is still in the lower price bracket and given the quality of the machine itself, that represents quite a good buy.
Most comments are generally positive, especially from customers who have upgraded from the Behmor 1600 to the 2000AB.
A point that is often raised by regular users of the Behmor 2000AB is that for a good quality roast you should not use it at the full capacity of 1lb of beans. Aiming for a maximum of 80% (12 to 13 ounces) will give a better, more consistent roast.
Although it is not recommended for dark roasts, some users have found that by programming the machine for 1lb of beans but actually only using a quarter pound the roast will be a lot darker.
Most customers note that the roast goes very quickly after the first crack, so you have to keep a close eye on it.
People with small apartments say that the smoke suppression system is great and works well in poorly ventilated situations.
Advanced users say that automated profiles are useless and won’t give you a high-grade batch. They adjust it manually, depending on the state of beans and sounds of first and second crack.
There have been some complaints about the safety cut-off feature. If you miss the chance to press the “start” button the roast will stop and the beans are wasted.
The problem seems to be that during the safety alert there is no beeping signal, just the digital read-out flashing which can be missed if you are not staring at the machine the whole time.
Tips and Tricks
- When putting the beans in the drum, because beans can vary in size it is a good idea to give the drum a good shake, so any small or broken beans will fall out through the mesh. If you keep them in they might fall out anyway while roasting, or they may burn which could affect the flavour of the beans around them.
- You should keep in mind that the heating elements do not cool immediately, and the beans will continue roasting for about a minute or so after the roast finishes and the cooling cycle starts.
- The roasting process needs close attention until you get used to it. Each roast profile starts off very slowly but progresses rapidly towards the end of the programme.
- It is a good idea to run the machine on an empty cycle every 5 or so batches. This helps to keep the smoke reduction system clean.
- When the cooling cycle finishes, open the door and leave it for a few minutes to make sure all the metal parts have cooled down before you remove the chaff tray and the drum, thereby avoiding burnt fingers.
- Freshly roasted coffee beans are at their best after 3 to 5 days after roasting, and their quality starts to deteriorate after 7 days, so think carefully about your weekly usage before getting excited and start roasting too many pound batches at once.
- The body of the roaster can get quite hot so it should stand on a heat-resistant surface and should never be placed near any flammable materials like curtains etc when roasting.
- The User Manual recommends preheating the machine for no more than 1 and a half minutes, on manual settings. Pre-heating actually reduces the roast times.
The previous models of Behmor roasters have always sold well and the brand is known for its good use of technology, quality of construction, and reliability.
The 2000AB with built-in smoke suppression and range of settings is a very clever machine that can produce consistent, even roasts.
Yes, the programming can seem complex at first compared to many others on the market but really it is no harder than mastering today’s TV remote controls, and it gives you detailed and precise control to get the exact flavour profile you want.
That makes it sound like a machine for coffee connoisseurs, and in a way it is. But hey, we can all be connoisseurs if we want to be, can’t we?
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