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  1. #1
    Junior Member
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    Aug 2017
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    3

    Which roaster to get

    SO this is the typical and ultimate newbie question. I'm not trolling but honestly seeking advice. My wife and I are looking into roasting coffee. I have contacted several roaster manufacturers and am unable to make up my mind. I hope to lean on your collective experience. We want to purchase made in the USA and have narrowed our choices down to the Sanfranciscan SF6, the Diedrich IR-2.5, and the US Roasters Corp 3k. I am very tempted to go a size up on each of these but am trying to temper our enthusiasm. Truth by told, we have no roasting experience so we are definitely diving in head first.

    I appreciate any and all advice.

  2. #2
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    Salt Lake City
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    1,034
    JP,

    All those are great choices. As far as roaster choice goes, it comes down to your ability to maintain and service your roaster and the responsiveness of the manufacturer. (ask questions, use your judgement). Your roaster is a tool. Take time to talk to each company - see how they respond to you, maybe narrow it down to 2 of the three and take a couple trips to see everything in person. It's a big investment, take the time and eyeball their operation and the people who you will need to have a great relationship with for years to come.

    THE most important issue is "Can you roast?" The basics are simple, but there is a giant chasm between managing a great looking roast and crafting a beautiful and nuanced coffee.
    I like the idea of "all in". Practice. Practice. Practice. Taste and adjust. Repeat 1000 times and when it's right, THEN "go to market."
    John Piquet
    caffe d'bolla
    Salt Lake City, UT
    caffedbolla.com

  3. #3
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Location
    Kansas City
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    553
    John's advice is spot on...

    Regarding machines - I run a USRC 12K and I'm happy with the roaster. It's not the fanciest or the most polished but it does a good job (for example, the manuals aren't great). When it comes to tech support, USRC tech support is pretty solid. I also like the fact I can drive 6 hours to their plant if I HAD to. I had a issue today (which was tracked down to a lose wire) and I have to say we worked on it for a few hours and the tech guy was great. I've heard other similarly positive experiences about San Franciscan... I have no experience with Diedrich.

    With all that being said... I would suggest you look at a starter roaster to learn, use it later on as a sample roaster. I home roasted for years... before I moved into business I spent a lot of time/beans really learning on how to be consistent, what each origin flavors taste like - I.E. - could you tell a Sumatra / Brazil / Guat apart from each other? If I had a 'do-over' ... I would probably invest in a nice gas 500g/1K (look at Mill City / nice economical roasters) roaster to learn...then I would buy a 5k/12k machine for production once you have all the basics down. Use the 500g/1K roaster as your sample roaster - you will need one to evaluate green coffee.

    Regarding sizing - are you going after wholesale business? If so, one or two nice customers could have you roasting 50-100lbs a week... keep that in mind. You may want to look at a larger roaster. And if you are going after wholesale customers, they will want 5lb bags. If your roasting on a 3K roaster you only get about 4.5lbs of output per roast.

  4. #4
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2017
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    3
    Thanks guys for the advice.

  5. #5
    Senior Member
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    May 2012
    Location
    Ireland
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    398
    If you're serious and this is going to be a business you are going to grow into a career . . . . get a bigger roaster.
    Wrinkles only go where the smiles have been -- Jimmy Buffett (via Mark Twain)

  6. #6
    Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2015
    Posts
    36
    You might want to look into the Artisan 6 fluid bed roaster from Coffee Crafters. It's not as sexy as an SF6, but it will roast anywhere from 1/3# to 6#, is very easy to use, has very few moving parts and only costs about $5K. I've been using one for 3+ years without issue and am about to move from part time farmers market roaster to full time coffee bar.

    It's a big advantage being able to roast very small batches while you're learning. If you get a 1K to start, you can always use it as a sample roaster when you upgrade.
    Last edited by almico; 08-14-2017 at 07:04 PM.

  7. #7
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2017
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    3
    Wow. That is a very different approach than the propane fired drum roasters that I have been looking at. It is a very attractive pricepoint. Do you get an even and consistent roast?

  8. #8
    Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2015
    Posts
    36
    Quote Originally Posted by jp2112 View Post
    Wow. That is a very different approach than the propane fired drum roasters that I have been looking at. It is a very attractive pricepoint. Do you get an even and consistent roast?
    Fluid bed roasting is the most consistent. Also, convection heat provides a greater heat transfer rate than conduction. Yes, drum roasters are partly convection, more or less depending on the roaster, but fluid beds are almost all convection.

    Another advantage while learning is that you can see and smell the seeds continuously throughout the roast.

  9. #9
    Super Moderator
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    Aug 2003
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    Boca Raton
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    3,107
    you can get an even roast. This is just my opinion but I feel that coffee roasted on these are lacking in body. I am basing this off personal taste experience.
    "Wine is for aging, not coffee."
    Ken Hutchinson, Starsky and Hutch

  10. #10
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2017
    Posts
    1
    Can anyone tell me the difference between probat p5/2 and their p5/1?

 

 
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