The Aillio Bullet is a stunning and tech-packed coffee roaster that has quickly made a name for itself in the coffee industry.
Created by two Danish twin brothers, this machine is designed for home and professional use, offering a minimal footprint for a 1-kilo roaster.
I have been roasting on the Bullet for a few months now, so I’m ready to share my experience with the Bullet.
However, the story of how this machine came to be is almost as fascinating as the machine itself.
In this early look review, I’ll talk about why I finally took the big jump and upgraded to the Bullet and my first impressions of the roaster after having some more roasts under my belt.
So if you’re looking for an upgrade in your home coffee roasting setup and are curious about the Bullet, read on.
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The Aillio company was established in 2013 by Danish coffee-preneur Jonas Lillie. However, the company’s origins go back even further.
Before starting the Aillio company and inventing the Bullet coffee roaster, Jonas Lillie worked as a photographer in Hong Kong. It was during this time that his curiosity about coffee roasting began.
As a photographer, Jonas often found himself working long hours in coffee shops, and he took notice of the different types of coffee beans and roasts available. He became particularly interested in roasting coffee and started experimenting with roasting his own beans at home.
At first, Jonas found it challenging to find resources or information about home coffee roasting, but he didn’t let that discourage him. Instead, he began to research and experiment on his own, learning as much as he could about the process and different types of roasters. He discovered that there were few resources available for home roasters and that most of the information about coffee roasting was focused on commercial and professional roasters.
As he began to master the art of home coffee roasting, he became increasingly interested in designing and building his own coffee roaster. Moreover, he became obsessed with creating one that was more efficient by using induction heating instead of more traditional approaches.
A new technology
Induction roasting uses an electromagnetic field to heat a steel drum. Theoretically, this could be better, faster, and more efficient than traditional heating methods such as gas flame, hot air, or electronic heating. However, many people were skeptical about the idea early on.
Luckily Jonas Lillie’s twin brother, Jacob, a skilled engineer, believed in the concept.
So Jacob got on board and provided valuable technical support and expertise during a stark development process, where they would 3d-print early prototypes.
As Jonas worked to perfect the design of the Bullet, Jacob was able to help with the technical side of things. His knowledge of engineering and manufacturing proved invaluable, and he was able to help Jonas turn his ideas into a reality.
Eventually, the first version of the Bullet was released. It was designed to be compact, efficient, and easy to use, making it accessible for home roasters and professionals who needed a small machine for pilot roasting.
Thanks to the striking design and cutting-edge features, it was a huge success.
After a couple of years, Aillio released an upgraded V2 version, which I have.
It comes with a newly developed and even more precise infrared thermocouple. Again, this technology is entirely revolutionary in coffee roasting.
So even though Aillio is a new brand, they have already proved themselves with several game-changing ideas in coffee roasting.
Unboxing the Bullet
The Aillio Bullet R1 V2 comes in a double-boxed package with a foam insert to protect it during shipping. This ensures that your machine will arrive in perfect condition. There have been reports of issues with early models that had packaging problems and drum alignment issues, but this has been resolved in recent years.
The next step is to set up the roaster and its accessories. Again, this is relatively straightforward since Aillio provides easy-to-follow video documentation.
However, it’s also a good idea to reference the manual and take some time to ensure everything is set up correctly.
It is an advanced piece of technology that operates at blistering hot temperatures. So there’s a safety concern, and you don’t accidentally want to break something.
Additionally, you’ll need to download RoasTime, which is available for both PC and Mac but does not work on smartphones or tablets.
The Bullet connects to your computer via a USB cable (the old-school one, not USB -C, unfortunately), allowing users to monitor the temperature and save recipes for future use.
Here you can see one of my recent roasts. This level of data is what makes Aillio’s software so interesting.
My experience roasting on the Aillio Bullet
The Aillio Bullet was a considerable step up from my previous roaster, the small Korean-produced Kaldi Wide, in terms of size and technology.
The Kaldi Wide is a traditional drum roaster that relies on an external gas flame. It doesn’t have fancy features, and the total capacity is only about 300 grams.
On the other hand, the Bullet can roast up to 1 kg at a time and is packed with software and technology.
So it almost felt like jumping from the stone age into a sci-fi future when I began roasting on the Bullet.
The difference is probably comparable to jumping from a La Pavoni lever espresso maker to a Decent Espresso Machine.
Of course, there was a learning curve at first. Still, having roasted my coffee at home for around 15 years, I quickly understood how to translate my ideas and preferences into the new territory of the Bullet. After the first dozen batches, I was comfortable manipulating the roast profiles and curves.
The Bullet will let you control fan speed, drum speed, and heat/power. So you have plenty of parameters to tweak. In contrast, I could only really control the flame setting on my previous roaster.
Besides that, the Bullet also features some practical things that make a huge difference in daily use:
- It features a built-in chaff collector, making the roasting process much less messy.
- There’s a trier and a glass window to follow your progress as you roast and see the color change.
- It also has two built-in temperature probes: One is traditional, and the other uses an infrared sensor to provide real-time, accurate temperature data with no lag.
- And there’s also a built-in cooling tray that’s surprisingly powerful.
However, the most impressive feature of this product is its software, which allows you to connect it to your computer and monitor the temperature as it rises or falls. You can also save recipes, so if you want to repeat a roast or try something different, you can easily do so.
The software allows users to replay all their actions, making it easier to repeat successful roasts. It also has manual buttons for those who prefer not to use the computer.
I have been blown away by the consistency AND customization that Aillio’s app offers. I would even say that the Bullet is a viable option for those looking to start a small roastery since it’s so easy to repeat a roast profile once you’ve settled on the proper one.
Aillio also has an interactive web interface called Roast.World where you can download other users’ roast profiles and recipes. I have yet to explore this interface fully, but this will probably be the next step for me once the novelty has worn off. However, if you don’t want to utilize the “social” aspect of coffee roasting, you don’t have to. You can easily rely on the software (or physical buttons) for your roasting needs.
Would I recommend it?
Coffee roasting is a hobby that has been gaining traction recently, and for a good reason. Roasting your own coffee beans can be incredibly rewarding, as it allows you to customize the flavor of your coffee to your exact preferences, whether you like light, medium or dark roasts.
I genuinely think that roasting coffee at home gives you a deeper understanding of coffee in general, so if you’re a real geek, I think it’s worth taking up just for the coffee education it provides.
For those looking to take their coffee roasting journey to the next level, the Aillio Bullet is an advanced and expensive option that may be worth considering.
However, this highly advanced device requires some coffee roasting knowledge if you want to reap the full benefits.
At the same time, it’s an expensive roaster with a price of around $3500, so it’s no small investment.
For that reason, I wouldn’t recommend the Bullet to newbies who are just getting into roasting.
However, if you’ve been roasting for some years and are looking to get a bigger capacity and more professional controls, this upgrade makes a lot of sense.
Once you get over that 500 g capacity range, there aren’t many options on the market. The domestic drum roasters quickly start looking like small commercial models and come with the same practical demands and requirements as those.
So you’ll need a dedicated space for roasting, a powerful heat source, a venting system, and so on.
The Bullet strikes a nice balance here; that’s worth the extra money IMO. The capacity is semi-commercial, but the practical aspect means you can roast at home in a small apartment.
Roasting your coffee is a hobby that can be very fulfilling, taking something raw and turning it into a finished product. In addition, it gives you a deeper understanding of coffee in general and is worth taking up even if you don’t save money or the coffee could be better than the best roasters.
When I look back at my coffee roasting journey, I can see that each stage was necessary for me to progress.
The tools I used could have been more advanced, but they gave me tasty results that matched the level I was operating at during the time.
The Aillio Bullet has so been the culmination of my decade-long journey. It has allowed me to take my coffee roasting skills to the next level and produce better-tasting results more consistently than before.
If you want to upgrade your current setup, the Aillio Bullet should be on your radar. I don’t see another roasting on the market offering the same unique blend of semi-professional batch sizes, pro software, and a small footprint.
It might be black, but it is the silver bullet of home roasting.
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