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  1. #1
    Junior Member
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    Mar 2019
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    Going crazy...Buckeye or Mill City (2019)

    Months of internet research, emailing and talking to distributors.

    I have at least narrowed down my decision. Older posts list way different information. As roasting machines have upgraded, so has inflation of pricing.

    I've never tackled a commercial roaster, only home roasters, and I need to up my game. My roasts are becoming a thing and friends & family want more. My plan is to become a business.

    I was set on a Mill City 1K, reason for the size is that I've not roasted on a commercial roaster before so I thought this would be the way to go. ($7,000 - 2019)
    My hesitation has been capacity batch no less than 1k. I want the ability to roast smaller batches and eventually keep my first commercial roaster as a sample roaster.

    In comes BC-5: this machine seems to have a batch size that ranges from 8oz. - 5lbs. This sounds like an awesome range. I could go from sample to production.

    Both have similar features, double walled drum is $500 extra on the BC-5, but at the same price, I'm leaning towards the BC.

    footnote: i'd like to stay under $8,000.

    Any feedback, I will love you forever
    Last edited by GypsyKat; 03-19-2019 at 12:06 PM.

  2. #2
    Senior Member
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    May 2012
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    Ireland
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    Keeping to a budget is certainly important but reality is more important. If you are planning on starting a business you'll drive yourself insane with a 1kg roaster or a 5lb roaster (not a lot of difference there really as they are both too small for a business). If you land just one coffee shop that is going through 20kg a week that's close to 90kg a month (4.33 weeks in a month). What if you got two of those? Do the math.

    IMHO . . . don't go down that road, even if it means waiting a bit longer and saving more for a larger roaster. Also don't be swayed by friends and family, they might be a little biased, it is the coffee shop owner, the foodie grocery store, the Bed & Breakfast, etc., that need to be swayed.

    We thought about a 5kg when we started, decided on a 10kg and were mighty glad we did. Yes the first few months we were doing smaller roasts, or roasting less often with full size roasts, or roasting a blend all together to achieve a full roast (a bad idea we quickly learned -- roast beans for blends separately and then blend). It wasn't six months though and we were past that phase and everything was a full 10kg roast. At this time we kicked ourselves for not getting the 15kg roaster

    As to being able to roast 8oz up to 5lbs in the same roaster, possibly you can with similar results but I'd look for other feedback on that. We don't like to roast less than 6kg in our 10kg roaster - a 40% drop in volume. But you're looking at what, a 90% drop in volume from 5lb to 8oz? Seems like a stretch but not having tried it I'm happy to be proved wrong.

    Finally, you'll find that my opinion, encouraging a larger roaster, is repeated over and over in this forum by folks who learned the hard way that that was the road to go down.
    Wrinkles only go where the smiles have been -- Jimmy Buffett (via Mark Twain)

  3. #3
    Senior Member
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    May 2014
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    Kansas City
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    957
    Just an FYI... most of the green importers will only send you 200-300g samples. My 'standard' to roast on my sample roaster is 100g or roughly 5 oz. I think you would struggle on a 1K to roast samples that small. I started with the Quest M3... and it gave me good experience controlling heat & airflow like a commercial machine. I now use it as my 'sample roaster'.

    Regarding your next step up - are you going to go after wholesale accounts? If so, I would only want a machine that has a finished output of 5lbs or great (since most wholesale accounts wish to 5lb bags. And if you're going to get into this business - it's a numbers game. Buy the largest roaster you can afford.

  4. #4
    Junior Member
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    Mar 2019
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    8
    Thank you Musicphan & Expat...

    As a beginner I don't feel comfortable learning on a large production machine. When my business grows, my machine will too. Meanwhile, something that I can learn on and not spend crazy money on makes more sense to me.

  5. #5
    Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by GypsyKat View Post
    Thank you Musicphan & Expat...

    As a beginner, I don't feel comfortable learning on a large production machine. When my business grows, my machine will too. Meanwhile, something that I can learn on and not spend crazy money on makes more sense to me.
    You're not alone... everyone goes through this difficult question. What are you roasting on now? That may be sufficient for your sample roasting needs.

    I have a touch of hands-on experience with the North Roasters, no experience with Buckeye. Mill City has really done a great job with the North Roasters. They certainly have taken an import product and made it a much better solution for small roasters. The support/infrastructure around the North Roasters will be better with Mill City. They are simply a larger organization with more resources, etc. However, as a result, you see the price points have jumped. Looking at the spec's they are pretty similar machines. For the difference between $6500 & $10K I would lean towards the Buckeye. One thing to consider - if your business takes off you will quickly outgrow either machine. If money is tight you probably would be better off spending the $3500 on green/packaging all the other ten million things that gobble up $$$.

  6. #6
    Junior Member
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    Mar 2019
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    Thank you Musicphan.
    After starting my thread and receiving different answers, I found myself back to the drawing board of what to buy. I've waited too long and asked too many forums, suffering the case of paralysis of analysis
    Randy at Buckeye has been super helpful, emails me back with answers immediately, even at 10:30pm. Even though MC's customer service has been less impressive, I've read about so many happy customers, seen a ton of videos about the roaster, their classes with Joe are awesome, their roasters hold their resale value. The 1kg has felt like a starting point from my beginning concept. So I pulled the trigger yesterday, and since I finally executed that decision I've finally felt a sense of relief. It's obviously not big enough for running a roasting business, but I need to get my practice in, and when I'm ready, I'll sell it and upgrade to a substantial size. Baby steps.

    Now I can focus on all the other supplies I need...time for a new thread!

  7. #7
    Super Moderator
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    When you grow I think you will change your mind on selling the 1 k roaster. I had a 2.5 ambex that I used for sample roasting. You can do it...stressful yes but possible on a 1k
    "Wine is for aging, not coffee."
    Ken Hutchinson, Starsky and Hutch

  8. #8
    Junior Member
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    Mar 2019
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    Quote Originally Posted by topher View Post
    When you grow I think you will change your mind on selling the 1 k roaster. I had a 2.5 ambex that I used for sample roasting. You can do it...stressful yes but possible on a 1k
    Thank you Topher!

 

 

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