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Probat vs. World

This is a discussion on Probat vs. World within the Coffee Roasters forums, part of the Coffee Industry category; I'm a baby coffee roaster. Been at it about a year and am loving it. Wish I'd started this 30 years ago but at least ...

  1. #1
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    Probat vs. World

    I'm a baby coffee roaster. Been at it about a year and am loving it. Wish I'd started this 30 years ago but at least I did start.

    So one reason I joined this forum was to learn, and I think there are a lot of folks like me out there. And there are some of you that are absolute encyclopedias of information and I appreciate slowly gaining roasting knowledge by reading your posts.

    If you've read any of my posts you know that I have an Ozturk 10kg roaster. For a newbie like me it has been, so far, a great machine. I call it a "Chevrolet roaster". It starts, it runs, it gets you from point A to point B and gets the job done, and we get there in, it seems, a fair bit of comfort (well, The Lovely & Talented Roast Mistress gets there in comfort -- and I must say, she seems born to being The Roast Mistress as each roast gets better and better). But I digress . . . . .

    What I want to know from you who are long time roasters, roaster repair men, roaster overhaulers, etc., is what is the mystique of the Probat roaster? It seems to be the iconic roaster, the Swiss Army Kinfe or Purdey shotgun of the roasting industry. I ask this question because someday I trust that I'll need a new (or used) bigger roaster. And as I read the posts on this forum I see a lot of people looking for used Probat machines but no one, or not a lot looking for a used Ozturk or Topher or San Francisco or Ambex or . . . . .

    You get the picture. Probat is the roaster that over and over again is asked for. Even 50 year old machines seem to be prized posessions.

    So if my Ozturk is a Chevrolet, is a Probat a Mercedes? Or is it a Ferrari? Is it somewhere in between? Or is it something more? Has it become a roasting icon and the 'must have' machine? Somehow I don't think it is advertising or marketing that has put Probat at the apex of the roasting world. They've been around too long for that. So I've got to think that Probat has come by its reputation quite honestly but please, those of you in the know, tell why, when I buy my next roaster, that I should scour the world for a Probat instead of another roaster (of which there are many "Cadillac" brands out there)? Or tell what a Probat excells at and what roasting niche it may fit into.

    Please pardon my naďveté in all this, I've just become fascinated by the religious following of Probat roasters and the fervor in which they are sought out, especially when the ones I've seen (mostly old and quite used) are totally rudimentary machines -- no bells and whistles, just, it seems, a lot of roasting muscle.

    So for those of you residing in the Probat Tabernacle please enlighten this benighted and novice roaster.
    Last edited by expat; 11-11-2012 at 12:43 PM.
    Wrinkles only go where the smiles have been -- Jimmy Buffett (via Mark Twain)

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  3. #2
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    Hi Expat,

    That's a great question, as Probats are ubiquitous. I've been roasting on a Primo PRI -35 for about 10 years, and it's been a solid workhorse. Consistent and reliable. My experience, talking with other roaster folks, is that they tend to fall in love with the machine they use (unless it's a lemon).

    With the roaster manufacturers we have here, here in the states, making really solid machines, why import? I'm curious to see the replies you get.

    Cheers!
    Dave
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