ambex roasters and learning to roast on the job


New member
Nov 8, 2004
silver spg, md
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I am looking to start a business. I am interested in the the ambex roasters. Is it possible to make profit off the small ambex roaster? Do you have to continually roast to do so?

what are your expereinces with the roasters out there? I suppose it does not pay to take short cuts when buying a roaster for the sake of saving money.

Most importantly, do you recommend trying to open a roastery without roasting expererience? Is this a trade one can learn while running their own business? Or is this a recipe for failure?

Any other comments are greatly appreciated.



New member
Oct 18, 2004
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Have you ever roasted at all? At least at home?
Once thing you need to have in business (any business) is product consistency. That really can only be achieved through practice.
Be prepared to lose money for a while, while you are learning! :D
I would agree with JavaQueen. If you have very little (or no)experience in roasting or retail sales it really is a big step to try and go cold turkey and start a business selling roasted beans. My suggestion would be to keep your day job and to spend a year or so roasting for making roasting a hobby rather than trying to use it as your main source of income. I think it would be fair to say there are a lot of succesful roasters in the business who began roasting for fun in their garages at home.... there are also a lot of people no longer in the business who took the plunge, invested in equiptment based on a notion that they would automatically be able to make money from roasting.

Buy the Ambex (they are great roasters) and experiment. It is going to take some time to work out roast profiles any how. Give the coffee away or sell it to friends...enjoy the experience, learn and then take it from there.

Good luck :grin:


New member
Jan 26, 2005
Morris, Illinois
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I see your post is old, but I'll give you my two cents in case you are still on the fence.

I did exactly what you are saying. Over the last year, I've spent well over $20,000 in starting a little roaster business in a building I have on my farm property. I went to SCAA in Atlanta, took a couple roasting classes, purchased a Ambex YM5 and went for it. Glad I didn’t go and quit my day job for sure. Over the last four months I've been selling to friends, co-workers and family. My consistency took some time to get down. Took about a month of roasting at least two batches a night. It's been fun, but sales are not going anywhere right now though. I expected to get a little more word of mouth, but it ain’t happening. I was getting about 70% repeat customers, which I thought would contribute to ever increasing sales. Sorry to say, when March 1 hit, it was like the business fell off the end of the earth. I guess all I'm saying is, don't expect results over night. Don't expect you know what it takes to please everyone and even if you do have a good product, don't expect people to promote it. At least I have not found the secret formula for that, yet. At any rate, like I said, I'm chugging along and selling a bit here and there. If that is all you're hoping for when you start then go for it. If you wait for perfect conditions you may never discover what a cool trade coffee roasting is. I love it and don't regret anything yet.

Best of luck,

Chris Kay

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Feb 1, 2005
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I realkly believe that the roasting bit is only a small part of whats required.
Your knowledge on all things coffee is important. You have to have an idea on what goes with what... brewing wise. What coffees are good for espresso .. drip etc.
You must know how to make a coffee on an espresso machine, how to tune the grinder, maintain and clean equipment.
you must have a target market and attack it.. there are so many ways to sell coffees and so many niches. Espresso..? you must be able to understand and in many cases supply espresso machines... offices???.,.. Turkish coffee?? Organic shops??? web site??... Delis??..The market is limitless but you have to get up off your backside and talk, talk , talk.. give out samples, be enthusiastic,passionate and dont give up.
You have the tools.. you have the roaster.,that roaster can produce X amount of coffee for you.. its up to you how muck of it you can sell.
Most of it is about how you can promote what you have to the people out there. Its a huge world.. just get positive and really chase it.
Once you get a basic clientele it all snowballs.
I dont think its an industry with a ceiling.


New member
Aug 11, 2004
North Georgia, USA
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There's a LOT to know about the business. But I believe Ambex offers training for their equipment, if you can afford to go down to Tampa. It's worth a call to the company to ask.

In our case, I think having a retail location has helped to gain exposure for our products. We sell every bag of coffee we display at our coffee kiosk.

As for the YM-2 and production, we can roast enough in one evening to coffee for a few days of business. So, we set up a schedule to ensure that we have fresh coffee shipping out at all time.

Contrast that to our 1-lb batch air roaster which would just about have to run all day to keep up. We use that for our "custom while-u-wait roasting." It can handle a bag of coffee and get the customer on their way, but would have to work overtime to keep up with our demand.

So, you have to gauge your business potential as realistically as possible and then buy a roaster that can keep up and offer some room to grow. In our case, we'll probably buy another roaster, but likely another YM-2 or a YM-5 because we don't need huge capacity, just the ability to roast in multiple locations.