A Closer Look: The Quest M6 Electric Drum Coffee Roaster

Ready to upgrade to a commercial-grade roaster with a higher capacity?

The Quest M6 just might be the roaster for you!

A little about the Quest M6: these roasters are hand-built, one at a time, in a small workshop factory in Taiwan. The Quest M6 Coffee Roaster falls in-between the current categories of small-scale coffee roasters – it’s essentially a miniature shop roaster scaled down to sample roaster size. The Quest M6 is very quiet and runs on standard US voltage (120v, 60 hertz). You’ll be impressed with the ease, convenience, and consistency that you can achieve roasting coffee with this electric roaster.

Basement set up: the Quest M6 with a solid state thermocouple and digital thermometer. External cooling tray is on the left.

The Quest M6 might be the roaster for you if:

  • You want to roast a several pounds of coffee in a short amount of time.The ideal batch size is 400-450 grams and the absolute maximum batch size is 550 grams. The M6 is designed for continuous roasting – you can roast for hours once the machine is properly warmed up. The Quest M6 is ideal for sample roasting, but the increased batch size compared to the M3s means the M6 can also be used to quickly roast a few pounds in a single sitting.
  • You are an experienced roaster. The Quest M6 Electric Drum Coffee Roaster has lots of power and, as a miniature shop roaster, it requires a knowledgeable operator. You can have a chaff fire in a hurry without cleaning it, and it’s not so consumer-oriented in safety design either; like a Probat, there are lots of hot surfaces to remind you where your fingers should and should not be during roasting. There are no automated safety features beyond a timer that functions as an on/off switch – if the timer runs out, the M6 cuts power to the electrical heating elements. We say this about all of the roasters we carry, but it is especially important with regard to the Quest: NEVER leave your roaster unattended mid-roast.
  • You like manual controls and DIY modifications. With an Allen wrench and a screwdriver, the Quest M6 can be stripped of its bodywork, the drum pulled out of the motor drive, and any part accessed in minutes.The M6 has no advanced electronics, no motherboard or chipset, no heat profiling (beyond controlling amperage sent to the heating elements) and no automated cooling cycle. If you are interested in modifications, it is incredibly straightforward in terms of wiring and parts. Heating elements can be changed out quickly if need be. It is ready for any type of modification you might desire, such as PID control of the burners. Some folks have even hooked up the Quest to roast profiling software like Artisan – Home Barista has some great threads from Quest users discussing various mods.
  • You want an external cooling system. The M6 includes an electric cooling box and a small cooling tray for easy transfer of beans. Outside-the-drum cooling takes 2-5 minutes depending on your batch size – a great advantage over most home roasters.

On the other hand, you might think twice about the M6 if:

  • You want plug and play roasting. This is a very manual machine – there’s no way to push a button and let the roaster do it’s thing. That’s part of the reason we recommend the Quest for experienced roasters that feel comfortable creating and executing their own roast profiles. If you are in the market for presets and saved roasting profiles, the M6 is not the best choice for you.
  • Smoke/ventilation are an issue. There is no smoke suppression built into the M6, and it shows. Larger batches of coffee will produce more smoke regardless, and we’ve found that 3-5 back-to-back roasts will result in a very smokey room. Even roasting in my 1000 sqft basement with multiple windows open,
  • You only roast small amounts of coffee at a time. Because the M6 is designed for continuous roasting, heating it up to do one batch and cooling it back down right away could cause wear and tear on the drum. In this sense, the M6 is much more like professional sample roaster than your typical home roaster. If you only want to roast a pound or less in a given roast session, other roasters might be better suited to your needs.
  • You don’t want to deal with cleaning and maintenance. If you don’t keep up with cleaning, it’s easy to start a chaff fire in your M6. Remember, there are no automated safety features included in the roaster – the roaster will only shut off when the timer runs out. Cleaning is also more intensive compared to most home roasters – it’s not enough to simply empty out the chaff. In addition to emptying and vacuuming the chaff basket after each batch, we recommend taking the roaster apart and performing deep cleaning with Urnex or denatured alcohol to remove residual chaff and coffee oils.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.