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 is paper-like skin that comes off the coffee in the roasting process. Chaff from roasting is part of the innermost skin (the silverskin) of the coffee fruit that still cling to the beans after 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.
Fresh Roast SR540 Detail Photos
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.
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.
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.”