I think the batch size thing is a bit of a double-edged sword, either way. The Ikawa does seem to be a very different creature from popcorn poppers,though there is the visual similarity of the vertical design.But then, if you’re going to use the fluid bed method, it kinda has to be vertical. One review I watched (the hour long one) did point out it’s very solid, and surprisingly heavy. Their website points out it’s a single piece (uni-body) aluminium frame weighing some 5Kg, and the top is precision-cut glass. In other words, pretty substantial. It’s also a ‘Home’ version of the Professional versions used in industry (such as for grading) and, for that matter, extensively in competition.
There is, of course, a relationship between batch size and roast time. The Ikawas are designed specifically for small batches, like sampling. I mean, they are sample roasters, after all. One use case is where commercial buyers are sent, well, ‘samples’, often 100g, prior to (the seller hopes) placing bulk orders. Then, you really need small batch sizes, which is why the Pro version gained a separate 50g version because it allowed two roastings from that 100g rather than just one, so maybe two profiles, or one for filter and another for espresso. Also, they’re fast.
My point is that they’re proper commercial machines, built for a very specific job, sample roating. Also for coffee grading, and as a development roaster. The Home version is a simplified version of the 100g Pro version.
And, as they point out, they are designed for back-to-back roasts. Given fast roasts (typically 6-10 minutes), I could always do two or three back-to-back 100g roasts if I need, say, 300g, rather thn a single 250-300g roast in the Gene or Behmor.
I think my fairly specific circumstances might well suit that better than the Gene/Behmor approach. This is what I meant when I said I started out thinking Gene/Behmor, but the more I thought about it, the more the smaller batch seems to fit my needs well. Either way, there’s advantages and disadvantages. Doing two or three back-to-back roasts certainly has a downside, but then the bigger home roasters aren’t ideally suited to doing multiple, small roasts, perhaps to test the impact on taste of varied roast profiles. It very much depends on how they’ll be used.
As for £970, I agree they’re expensive BUT …. if it does the job well, I don’t care. I’d rather have it cost that and be right for me, than £500 and not be right. For instance, given my disability, the method of getting beans in, and out, is a very marked advantage over the Gene, Behmor or evem Sandbox. I know I won’t struggle getting the cage in (or worse, out, when it’s very hot).
But then, the iOS only thing, at the moment, is an issue. I did find a vague reference to the “new” Home app wasn’t available yet, but it implied the existing Android version of the Pro app was, and would work. I think I need to talk to Ikawa about that.
If, and I stress if the price is justified, then it’s not a concern. After all, some things are expensive, but justify it, like Rolls Royce, Patek Philippe watches, the Dorchester hotel, BMW (though that one might be controversial) or Porsche. If it’s a ludicrously over-priced popcorn popper then that’s different, but it isn’t how it looks to me.