We have entered the golden era of the sexy small-scale roaster. First it was Ikawa’s minimal countertop home roaster, and now we have RØST, the elegant Norwegian sample roaster that just won Best New Product in the Technology category and 2017 World of Coffee Event in Budapest.
Originally setting out to design a home roaster, mechanical engineer Sverre Simonsen took a one-kilogram prototype to Nordic Approach’s Tim Wendelboe and Morten Wennersgaard who challenged Simonsen (along with his brother and company co-founder Trond), to create a better sample roaster. Three years later, the RØST is the product of that challenge.
The 100-gram sample roasters is beautifully simple in its design but incredibly versatile in functionality. It uses a combination of a touch screen and a single dial—the touch screen to select the setting and the dial to change it—for fully manual control of any given roast. Or, if you are a little more hands off, programmable “fully automatic” profiles can do all the work for you (the apostrophe'd designator comes from having to tell the machine when first crack begins).
But the RØST is more than just another sample roaster that has been given a facelift. It comes equipped with some smart updates to the typical small-scale roaster. For one, it is a hybrid of a drum and fluid bed roaster, which helps promote evenness and more accurate bean temperature measurement, Simonsen tells me as he demos the roaster on the World of Coffee Budapest showfloor. The RØST also comes boass with its own cloud-based, proprietary software, allowing for wireless recording and monitoring of each roasting session on the linked tablet.
And perhaps the cutest feature, the tiny trier is rounded at the end, allowing the opening in the drum to close when the trier is removed as a means of retaining heat. “In such a small roaster, a lot of heat can escape through [the trier hole],” Simonsen tells Sprudge. It is a functional design decision, and also adorable.
The RØST retails for €5,000 ($5,600 USD) and will be available later this year in October. To celebrate winning the Best New Product award, the Simonsen brothers are offering all of Europe a 10 percent discount pre-orders of the RØST, with more details available on the product's official website.
But if you think you’ll be the first person to get your hands on the RØST, you are mistaken. Wendelboe and Wennersgaard—the ones who originally challenged the Simsonsens—were so pleased with the product that they have already ordered multiple units for Nordic Approach.