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  1. #1
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    Sample roasting on a 3 kilo?

    I am in the process of setting up a small specialty coffee roaster, and was hoping I could get a little advice from someone with more experience. My business plan is to sell retail online and do a small amount of wholesale locally. In other words I am talking about a very small scale operations. I've been looking at 5 kilo production roasters because I feel that would be an ideal size for me. But, I would certainly need a smaller sample roaster to go along with the 5 kilo for sampling and profiling. I'm starting to wonder is a 3 kilo could serve double duty as a sample roaster and shop roaster as it would be about half the price as a 5 kilo + sample roaster.

    I'm pretty sure that a 3 kilo would be big enough for me to start out on production wise, but my question is, is it really too big to use as a sample roaster for a small operation like I am doing? Is anyone sampling roasting on a 3+ kilo machine (1 kilo min batch) that could share there experience? As far as I can tell most green importors are providing samples of 1 kilo, so I could roast that sample on a 3 kilo machine, but I would only get one go at it so to speak. Whereas on a 1 pound US Roaster or San Franciscan I could do multiple profiles of each 1 kilo sample.

    FYI the 3 kilo in question is the Joper 3 Kilo. If anyone has any experience with that machine, or with Joper in general that would be great to hear as well.

  2. #2
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    I have a 12 kg machine that can roast a pound at a time. I'd be surprised if a 3 kg roaster could only go as low as 1kg batches. The trick, imo, is to roast sample batches when the roaster has't had time to get too hot.

    As far as I'm concerned, a 3 kg machine is a sample roaster.

  3. #3
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    The trick as eldub alluded to is knowing your roaster well enough to compensate for small batches; whether it's fully warmed up, how it reacts to airflow, having your temp probe adjusted so it reaches a smaller bean mass.

    I roasted for years with a SC/TO (Stir Crazy/Turbo Oven... google if you're unfamiliar). Two of them will roast 6-7 batches per hour, net me that many samples or 4lbs. I currently only use them for samples. So, while they will follow any profile, they don't necessarily carry over exactly to the way I roast full batches on my Ambex. But, if you're only looking to roast/cup samples, something like that would serve you well, and then you'd develop profiles for your shop roaster after committing to full bags.

    Also did you mean your samples are 1lb, not 1kilo? The importers I work with send out either 8oz. or 1lb. samples.

  4. #4
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    Love these expert roasters. lol

    I just got some beans from Bixa.
    They are all 1/2 pound package.
    I hate roasting 1/2 pound.... I just can't seem to get good roast on my drum bbq roaster.

  5. #5
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    Thanks for the responses guys, this is exactly why I ask first. I'm certainly not an expert, just diving into the coffee world so to speak.

    I've only dealt with one importer and they do 1 kilo samples but you guys are saying .5-1 pound is more the norm, wouldn't that be even more problematic on a 3 kilo? My concern would be with constancy. I know you CAN roast .5 pounds on a 3 kilo but I guess my concern is whether you can do that easily with consistency and repeatability. I understand 3 kilos is a very small roaster in the scheme of things but is a 1 pound sample roaster not going to roast a half pound of coffee more consistently and evenly than a 6 pound roaster? Is it just not a big enough issue to warrant the extra cost? I appreciate the input!
    Last edited by nickwin; 11-07-2013 at 07:51 PM.

  6. #6
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    Bingo! I don't think it's a big enough issue to warrant the extra cost. How consistent do you really need to be with sample roasts?

    I've developed great relationships with a couple of importers. We usually purchase beans without ordering samples ahead of time. Specialty beans sell quick enough that if I wanted to roast and evaluate samples from the best lots our importers receive, the lots would generally be sold out between the time I ordered the samples and got back to them to place a real order.

  7. #7
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    Yeah, I've had that issue with one big broker in oakland: I'll order samples, cup them, find one I like, and call them, only to find they sold out in the week between them mailing them out and me calling them back. Ugh.

    There are very very few places I'll order sight unseen. I like to cup them. But yeah, it's going to be very hard to roast samples on a 3kg. I'd get a coffee tech 2kg, or quest.

  8. #8
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    There is a member at another coffee forum I belong to, greencoffeebuyingclub.com by the name of Steve Green who is importing North Roasters from China. He bought one direct (his wife is Chinese and could help w/ the language barrier) and seeing that they are well built and the manufacturer is willing to adopt design changes per his requests, Steve decided to start a business solely for importing the North roasters.

    More info here; http://www.greencoffeebuyingclub.com...?topic=16743.0 You may not be able to view that w/o registering...

    For the price, it may be worth looking into. There is a group-buy shipment already in action, so I don't know how quickly you could get your hands on one, if you decided to go that route. I also recognize that more and more people are developing an aversion to buying more and more stuff from China.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by peterjschmidt View Post
    There is a member at another coffee forum I belong to, greencoffeebuyingclub.com by the name of Steve Green who is importing North Roasters from China. He bought one direct (his wife is Chinese and could help w/ the language barrier) and seeing that they are well built and the manufacturer is willing to adopt design changes per his requests, Steve decided to start a business solely for importing the North roasters.

    More info here; Login You may not be able to view that w/o registering...

    For the price, it may be worth looking into. There is a group-buy shipment already in action, so I don't know how quickly you could get your hands on one, if you decided to go that route. I also recognize that more and more people are developing an aversion to buying more and more stuff from China.
    Thanks, I will certainly check that out. I wouldn't say I have an aversion to buying stuff from China, but in my experience even though products from China might be less expensive up front, there not always a better deal in the long run… They certainly can be though. I'm open to all possibilities.

  10. #10
    Dan
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    The FZ-94 by Coffee-Tech Engineering does 100 grams and up to 2.4 Kg
    you might want to consider that

 

 
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