Fresh Roast SR540 Coffee Roaster

The Fresh Roast SR540 is a new and improved version of the much-loved older SR500.

The Fresh Roast SR540 has new features and an updated control board.There is a single knob that controls heat, fan, and time – just push the knob to toggle between parameters.

A quick turn of the knob to the right will display real-time temperature readings – no need to add a thermocouple to the roast chamber! There are now 9 levels of heat adjustment compared to having a Low, Medium, and High adjustment. We like the general design concept because it doesn’t try to automate anything and allows direct user control.

The chaff collector works well and, although it doesn’t have a smoke reducer, the top of the machine slows the flow of smoke so roasting under your oven’s hood fan will eliminate most of the smoke.

The SR540 does a great job of agitating the beans and the new, wider roast chamber allows for a more even roast compared to the SR500. Switching to “cool” in order to extend the roast is a good trick to help with roast control.

We have Fresh Roast Product Support Page to pull together all our Fresh Roast information in one place. Here’s a link to our shopping cart listing to buy the Fresh Roast SR540.

Fresh Roast SR540 Detail Photos

Goodbye SR500. Hello Fresh Roast SR540.

At first glance, there’s been a noticeable change to the glass roast chamber and control panel. The wider roast chamber has a very grabbable handle and better visibility. There are small bumps protruding from the side of the chamber’s metal screen to keep it in position. Just because it’s wider doesn’t mean it’s immune to getting knocked off the base unit so be mindful when moving around your work area.

The chaff collector lid has been improved too. Redesigned are the small tabs that keep it in position on the glass roast chamber. As usual, it does a great job of collecting chaff . It doesn’t eliminate smoke but it does minimize the rate at which it flows from the lid, making it easy to minimize smoke in your kitchen when roasting under your stove’s hood fan.

New wider roast chamber with better visibility and better handle.
These tabs keep the chaff collector in place but you can still knock it off, if not careful.

The control panel has similar styling to the the SR500 but is much more minimal. The display looks odd at first but after clicking on the knob to toggle between displays, it becomes very intuitive. We really like the real time temperature display and the nine levels of heat settings compared to the SR500’s low, med and high switch.

The simple control surface offers a lot of functionality.

Overall, we are really impressed with the SR540. If you are new to roasting, or upgrading from a DIY method like a popcorn popper we think this will be a great machine for you. If you already have an SR model like the SR500 or  SR700, and are happy with it, we encourage you to do your research before busting out the credit card to buy an SR540 because although the new features and wider roast chamber are attractive, the 4oz batch size is the same. If you were hoping to roast more coffee per batch, check out the new Fresh Roast Extension Tube for your SR500 or SR300.

CORRECTION from the video: The chaff basket from earlier SR roasters will not fit on the new SR540 because the new roast chamber is much wider in diameter but the lid will fit all previous models. Fresh Roast SR540

A commenter adding some great additional information… Thanks Andrew!

“For clarity, since she forgot to mention what “turn down my power setting a little bit” really means @ 4min, later you can see it was turned down to 7. So:
0:00-1:00 = F9 P9 8.0,
1:00-4:00 = F7 P9 7.0 ,
4:00-8:00 = F7 P7 4.0
8:00-11:00 = F9 — C.3 (cool for 3 min)
Also, the timer is actually really easy to use. Unintuitively, the tenths place is 0-9 (e.g. 4.5 = 4:30) but all you really care about is the minutes anyway for the most part. Just set your timer to 8.0 (8 minutes) and after 8 minutes it will automatically enter cooling mode.”

7 Responses

  1. I’m enjoying the 540; however, during the last roasting session, the control knob no longer controls the fan or heat settings. That is, whenever I attempt to turn down the fan–let’s say to 6–the setting immediately jumps back to 9. The same can be said for the heat setting. The problem has now continued through a good half dozen batches. Terribly frustrating. What can I do?

    1. Hi Bret – sorry we are just seeing this now… I think Tim at Freshroast is the best person. I am having trouble imagining exactly what might be causing this… We can help if you email us at [email protected] . I am thinking you probably already have done so…

  2. I have not roasted before but I am considering it. I have a couple of questions:
    What is the minmum amount of beans you can effectively roast in this roaster?
    In a different article you mention a “lifespan” of 2 years. What if you are roasting only the “minimum” amount of beans once a week?
    I’m confused by the roasting terms “city roast”, “vienna roast”, etc. I buy “dark” roast coffee, so what is the technical name I should call it and will this roaster deliver that for a minimum amout of beans?

    1. Hi Reg. Great questions. 

      We recommend not straying too far from the manufacturer’s recommendation for roasting with 4 scoops (scoop is included). This should be around 4.5oz. Roasting less might extend the time of your roast for too long.

      A Freshroast’s lifespan depends on many factors and we have heard of folks using their machines for the past 12 years while roasting 2x a week with no issues.  We think with proper care and cleaning, it will probably last you until the day you decide to buy another coffee roaster.

      Here’s a great guide that explains the roast level terms., your Freshroast will allow you to roast dark and we definitely support you in experimenting with different roast levels. Dark roast names are Full City, Full City+, Vienna and French (in order from lighter to darker).

      Good luck! Let us know if you have any other questions. We are here to help.

    2. Hi Reg – My input on this would be a bit different than the recommendations – if roasting just once a week it really should double that life span of the machine. That is fairly minimal use. We estimate life span based on 3-4 roasts per week. Now, your question on the minimal amount of coffee you can roast is a new one for me. Everyone wants to know the maximum ! I have roasted 50 grams in the Freshroast with very consistent results. I think one might roast 40 grams too.

      Yes the roast terms are indeed confusing! Generally “dark” means Full City + or French roast. Air roasters are not the best for getting darker than that. The Stovetop Popper is the best for this who like dark roasts! But that method actually needs a bigger batch. 50 grams is too little. It needs 225 grams – 450 grams ideally. ( 1/2 Lb to 1 lb).

  3. I’m this video what catagory of roast did that s achieve? Light to dark? We’re hunting for light roast beans.

    1. Hi Roxy,

      It’s roughly City to City+, definitely on the lighter side of the development range. We’re happy to help with light roast recommendations! You can reach out at [email protected]. Off the top of my head, I’d recommend Burundi Kayanza Munkaze (LOVE this one!), and Kenya Kiaguthu AA (brighter cup). You can also sort our Green Coffee list by “light and bright” to see our current list of coffees recommended for light roasts (or just click here.)

      Thanks again for your comment!


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