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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2014

    New Roaster looking for advice?

    Hello Everyone,

    I have been an Executive Chef with The American Culinary Federation for over 25 Years.

    Trying to start up a Small Roasting Company, in the Philadelphia/ Atlantic City and the Jersey Shore Area.

    Mostly going to be dealing with other Executive Chef from The ACF.

    Just joined the SCAA and going to be joining The Roaster's Guild.

    Are there any Roasters in the NJ/PA/DE area that may work with me to supply me with Roasted Coffee, until I get my Facility Built and The Roaster Installed. It would be ideal if that Roaster, was also able to do, what a Rep from SCAA informed me was called a "Toll Roaster", so that after I gained some experience, I could try my hand Roasting on thier Roaster. Sorry in advance, if that it not a reasonable request.

    I have, over the years, Mentored many New Aspiring Chef's, and I would love to find a Mentor that could guide me in this confusing business.

    I am, as well, looking to get advice, on which Roaster to buy. Not opposed to buying good quality used equipment if anybody knows of any for sale. I was looking at an IR12 but also looking at used Probat, or a Fluid Bed Roaster, and an Air Roaster like a Loring. I would really like to get anyone's thoughts and ideas about this? Please Private Message me with any Roasters for sale.

    Trying to find a Green Room to work with in the NJ/PA area that I can do a Cupping at. I contacted Continental Terminal and was told to call a Sub-Broker to work with, and I keep getting the Run Around. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

    Not adversed to working directly with some Farmers but think I may be way premature for that. I eventually want to go that way, just not sure when.

    Some have asked me the volume that I expected to do, the truth is that I have no clue. However I am open to using several small machines, should the demand, outpace my reasonable output for a single Roaster and later use that Roaster, as a Sample Roaster.

    It is truly mind-boggling, on the amount of information, that is available out there on Coffee, and I am not sure what information that I truly need to Study and what I should not be concerned with. Until a few months ago I had no idea what just how many Varities, were available.

    As a Casino Executive Chef, Coffe was just a line item on my balance sheet. But there is more and more pressure to bring The Finest Coffee to the area Restaurants. I know that right now, there are some folks serving this market but I would like to be able to Educate, Fellow Executives Chefs, through Cuppings that I can do at my monthly ACF meetings.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2014
    You pose some good questions; and most of your questions have multiple correct answers. You referred to the business as confusing. We are here to help; so please take this advice as being communicated with the sole intention of offering the best and most meaningful advice: Get some experience under your belt before you invest in a roaster and roasting facility. Getting a job as a production roaster will teach you more about the field than anything you can possibly read online. I use this analogy when talking to other about entering the the domains of coffee roasting. One can read everything about flying a plane and become familiar with operating the controls of an aircraft. Would that person be a competent pilot? Absolutely not. There is no substitute for experience. Best of luck and do keep us posted on your progress.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2014
    Can you suggest someone that I might intern under?

    I have in the past, interned under Chef Michel at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris,
    Emeril LaGassi art The Captain's Table in New Orleans, and Wolfgang Puck at Spago's in LA.

    Whom can I work as a Jr. Roasters in my area? Any ideas?

  4. #4
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    In my opinion the best way to learn is by hands on experience. Buy a roaster and start roasting. US Roaster Corp , San Franciscan aka CoffeePer has some small roasters that many restaurants are using in there kitchens. The two I just mentioned have the best customer service available. Talk to 10 different people and you will never be told the same way on how to roast and when to grind and serve. I prefer a manual "Artisan" style roaster compared to one that has a profiling system. Check with the two I mentioned for refurbished trade ins. Plus you can visit and try roasting if they have a machine available
    If you are afraid of failure or losing money, quit while you are ahead

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    St Paul, Minnesota
    I would drop Todd Carmichael at La Colombe Co (in Philly) a tweet or email with what you have in mind. He has a network (and some <in>famy and I believe he would interested in seeing where a chef might work into coffee.

  6. #6
    Super Moderator
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Boca Raton
    Just sent you a pm. What casino are you or were you at?
    "Wine is for aging, not coffee."
    Ken Hutchinson, Starsky and Hutch

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2014
    Thanks for your words of encouragement seeingcoffee.

    Thanks chast, but the two folks that you suggested are in San Francisco, and Oklahoma City, respectively. They are both a bit of a drive from Philly where, I now live. Do you know of any in the PA, DE, NJ or NY areas?

    Thanks for the suggestion BoldJava, I will send an email to Todd, tonight.

    Topher I just sent you a Private Message, and I was at The Taj Mahal, 15 years ago. I left after a year. At the time I was a Single Dad to my 8 year old son and was tired of letting the Babysitter raise him, while I was doing 60-80 hour weeks.

    I please request, that anybody reading this, would comment. I see how many reads, that the post got, but would love to hear from others, as well, if possible.

  8. #8
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Arlington, Va
    I have been home roasting for a few years. The advice to just dive in and roast at home is spot on.
    Look into Boot Camp for online training as well as many other training centers, some are close to you.

    Feel free to drop me a message, we could compare notes. I am preparing to start a roastery within the year.

    Good luck.

  9. #9
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    I am curious how you've been proceeding, and what route you've chosen?

  10. #10
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2015
    Yorkshire, UK
    Hi David,

    The speciality coffee industry is a little different over here in the UK, but its very much up and coming, so i too have decided to take the dive and just go for it!

    The best advicee i can give you from my own journy is just trial and error!
    Iv been home roasting on a pop-corn machine for about 6 years and exprimenting with different bean origins, roasting grades and even roasting methods.
    Iv also been very fortunate to meet and shadow a couple of commercial roasters who also said the same thing of just go for it, you learn more doing it than reading about it!

    Although i must also say there are some pretty useful books id reconmend, scott rao's 'The roasters companion'.
    and also rob hoos's 'modulating the flavor profile of coffee'.
    Both great reads!

    Best of luck to you chef!



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