Nesco Coffee Roaster Review -Nesco Model CR-04-13

Sorry to disappoint you but this model is discontinued!

The CR-04-13 was subject to a recall by the manufacturer, Metalware, but we had already stopped buying them. It was a very slow roaster (for an air roaster) but we thought it was good at well-developed dark roasts. We aren’t clear if they recalled them for safety or function issues. We didn’t have reports of issues for the brief period we sold them. As with all roasters, you should never leave it unattended while in use!

Just choose from two pre-programmed roast profiles, “Medium” or “Dark,” and the Nesco will take care of the rest – and it has an automated cool cycle. 

The Nesco is a simple machine for those wanting a straight-forward roaster that just turns green coffee into brown coffee. It has a small footprint, is easy to move in and out of a kitchen cabinet and is a great, low-mess, low-stress way to roast coffee.

It roasts 4oz at a time. You can roast less, but not more. The chaff collector works great and will keep your kitchen counter free of chaff. Roasting coffee does produce smoke and you will have to roast in a space with good ventilation but roasting under a stove hood vent, near a window or fan will do the trick.

Those familiar with popper roasting will recognize the vents at the bottom of the roast chamber. The noticeable difference is the amount of agitation the Nesco does (or doesn’t) provide to the coffee beans. Most popcorn poppers offer much more air velocity giving you a nice show when your coffee beans start to dance around as they lose weight during the roast. The Nesco’s show is much less dramatic but the roasts come out nice and even.

See the Difference Between an Air Popper Roaster and a Nesco!

The Nesco Is Simple to a Fault

The controls are very simple. Three buttons…”dark”, “medium” and “cool down”. This means roasting with the Nesco will be very simple but at the same time, it offers you little to no control over adjusting your roast. If you are the type that likes to tweak recipes, adjust, customize and tinker, there are other machines that might fit your needs.

CLICK HERE to see the Nesco CR-04-13 Coffee Roaster in out web cart at Sweet Maria’s!

12 Responses

  1. When my iRoast from 2006 finally gave out (I repaired it multiple times) I decided to try this inexpensive option and after figuring out how to use it, I really like it! Just dump in just under 0.5 cup of green beans, place it outside on warm day (or under stove vent when cooler days) and let it run full cycle on Dark roast. Don’t bother watching it like with other roasters, just let it run full cycle. I believe the slower roast is a good thing. Very satisfied.

    1. Thanks Roland – Its good to know. It definitely is a no-fuss roaster compared to others. At first I was really concerned and confused by the lack of agitation – the air doesn’t move the coffee much at all early in the roast process! But it all works out okay has the heat level is quite gentle.

  2. I am looking for the price of the new Nesco toaster because I want to buy it if it is affordable (for ME and my budget). I just couldn’t find a way on your site.

  3. Has anyone gone to the trouble of profiling and plotting the temperature of the Dark and Medium programs? I ran mine through and monitored the temperature without any green coffee in the vessel and noticed quite a bit of cyclical variations. I didn’t know what to expect so I didn’t catch the number of cycles or timing. The initial heat would ramp up to 315F then cycle between 315F-250F for several cycles. Then it increases these cycles between 388F and 333F and again between 391F-350F. Then it goes through a final set of cycles at 480F-336F. At this final set of temp cycles you could see the bottom of the vessel glow red through the heat/air slots at the bottom. This seems like a complex temp-time profile. I would like to see that plotted out if possible. I don’t have data logging capabilities…yet.

    1. Thanks for doing the work to measure the profiles. We should do this too – I have a data logger but its a bit old and sometimes stops logging in the middle of the roast. Maybe its time for an upgrade… Anyway suspicion as far as the complexity of the profile it that it is not intentional. The machine works well, and is quite unique among air roasters. the roast profiles are definitely unlike any air roaster I know, or popper. But knowing the company a little, and knowing a little about the process of working with engineers overseas to have an appliance manufactured, the primary concerns aren’t to do with creating flavorful roast profiles. They end up with that almost by accident. The goal is to create a product that isn’t a liability, that can sell at a price point, and that basically does what it claims with a low rate of failure. Thats the reality, and why so many roasters need to be tweaked by the home roasting community to get the best results. Nesco is interesting and the roasts are unique in a way. I especially like it for espresso roast profiles -T

  4. I just tried this roaster and love it! I haven’t tried other roasters so I can’t compare it to the others, but it seemed to do a fine job for what I want. One little trick to separate the few beans that end up in the chaff is to wait until everything is cool, dump the beans/chaff back into the roaster, replace the chaff collector/lid, and run the cool cycle again. The chaff will be separated easily from the beans.

    1. Thanks for the comment … that’s a nice tip about separating the coffee from chaff by running the cool cycle again!

  5. Just saw this and before I send it to friends looking to enter the roasting world I am wondering why you discontinued selling it?

    1. Hi Chuck – I see we didn’t explain this on the page, sorry! I am editing it now…

      Honestly, we have had a lot of communication issues with this company, and they have left us completely in the dark about this roaster, and if they will come out with a new model. As I wrote- we aren’t even sure what the issue was… I assume it was safety, but we didn’t see any problems from our end. If you happen to have one, I would keep an eye on it for sure. But I don’t think it is going to explode or anything! It was a going basic roast option for dark roasts … too bad it is gone, but frankly we had so many issues trying to get answers from Metalware, I wouldn’t carry the roaster even if they reintroduced it…

    2. My latest roast with this roaster produced dark oily beans for both my decaf Columbian and regular Columbian. The oily bean is definitely over-roasted, but in the past I had trouble getting to a dark roast with the regular Columbian. I often had to run the dark roast, then just before it would go into the cool cycle I’d unplug it and run a medium roast for another 2 minutes. This gave a dark roast without becoming oily.
      My decaf Columbian would come out just right (dark but not oily) as long as I stopped the medium roast at 17 minutes. Today, even after stopping at 16 minutes they were dark and oily. Did an internal thermostat give out? Was this the reason for the recall? Also, the roasting chamber is difficult to clean properly if you are doing dark toasts. I am now upgrading to a Behmor, expensive as it is.

    3. It could be an issue if it gets darker faster than usual. Most people would really like to have that issue tho ! The roaster is very slow to get to the today temperatures people want. So some more heat etc might be seen as a good thing. Then again this inconsistency probably concerns you. The problem is that other small variables might cause this. Even a few extra beans in the batch can shift the roast. Ambient temperature impacts air roasters a lot too. If it’s colder out. So it might be hard to pin down. The people who made nesco have been very opaque in terms of what the exact problem was. I feel like we’re in the dark on this. But I can say this roast is long enough that many people probably get distracted while roasting. And if you Gad an issue like occasionally the timer does not advance or something – that could spell disaster. So I suspect it’s something like that.

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