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Chinese Roasters - Professional Opinion

BeanGrinder

New member
Aug 11, 2004
176
0
North Georgia, USA
China has been getting a lot of bad press lately. Don't look to me for reassurance. I have had several inquiries about coffee roasters that are manufactured in China. I have researched several of these machines and one or two of the most active manufactures. The bottom line...you get what you pay for.

Everyone has experienced cut-rate junk from China. If you have ever shopped at Harbor Freight Tools you will understand what I mean. If you are a professional running a shop, I recommend you don't risk your business on one of these machines. When this machine fails you will be hard pressed to get technical support or repairs. With their present marketing tactics, these manufacturers will take weeks to get parts to you and your business will be belly-up by the time you get your roasters up and running again.

If you are a home/hobby roaster looking for a cheap way to take your roasting to the next level up from the popcorn popper in your kitchen, you would be far better off buying a rotisserie cage for your gas grill - it will save you many hundreds of dollars and the quality of the roast will be every bit as good, not to mention you'll be less likely to burn your house down in your pursuit of the perfect cup of coffee.

Also, be warned about the ads for Chinese roasters on eBay. The seller says that the product ships from California, at the top of the page. But read on...shipping is calculated from China and it is shipped from the factory in China, not actually from California. And while the seller has 4 roasters available, this person also states that the roaster is "custom built" and also that it will take 4 to 6 weeks to ship. Then it goes on to say local pick-up is available. So, where exactly is the truth in this ad? Somebody should alert eBay to these inconsistencies...there needs to be some truth in advertising. The "every roaster's dream" from China could well be your worst nightmare in the long run, mark my words.

If you really want to buy a coffee roaster from eBay, you would be better off with a reputable seller and a quality roaster such as Toper, Garanti or Ozturk. The factories for these firms are located around the city of Izmir, Turkey, and they have been in the business for decades. They do an outstanding job with the metal fabrication and the roasters are very durable and built with precision. I am not endorsing any eBay seller, only stating that the Turkish roasters are very dependable, have a proven track record and have a broader base of support after the sale. I have worked with these Turkish-built roasters and they do a very nice job.

Of course, the best business recommendation I can make is to shop at home. Diedrich and Ambex turn out very well built machines that will last for years. I have worked with roasters from both of these companies and been well pleased. These firms are here in the states and both offer decent customer service and parts are readily available. There are also technicians in various parts of the country that will work on these American-built machines and can help you avoid serious business losses if your roaster goes down.

I have been roasting coffee for years and do not represent any roaster companies. I have worked with a variety of roasters and the opinions in this post are based on my own experience and research. Take it for what it's worth.
 
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namballe

New member
Aug 24, 2012
335
0
Lima, Peru
thanks for the above info.
i recently received an email from the Chinese Roaster Co. and they sent me a link to ebay. i am currently in Lima, Peru, and their price includes shipping to the Peruvian port! talk about cheap, what the hell!
i would be concerned of machinery failure as well, being its a new company. btw, the company name is North Coffee Equipment Co., Ltd.
 

CoffeeJunky

New member
Dec 7, 2012
1,802
0
Michigan, US
China has been getting a lot of bad press lately. Don't look to me for reassurance. I have had several inquiries about coffee roasters that are manufactured in China. I have researched several of these machines and one or two of the most active manufactures. The bottom line...you get what you pay for.

Everyone has experienced cut-rate junk from China. If you have ever shopped at Harbor Freight Tools you will understand what I mean. If you are a professional running a shop, I recommend you don't risk your business on one of these machines. When this machine fails you will be hard pressed to get technical support or repairs. With their present marketing tactics, these manufacturers will take weeks to get parts to you and your business will be belly-up by the time you get your roasters up and running again.

If you are a home/hobby roaster looking for a cheap way to take your roasting to the next level up from the popcorn popper in your kitchen, you would be far better off buying a rotisserie cage for your gas grill - it will save you many hundreds of dollars and the quality of the roast will be every bit as good, not to mention you'll be less likely to burn your house down in your pursuit of the perfect cup of coffee.

Also, be warned about the ads for Chinese roasters on eBay. The seller says that the product ships from California, at the top of the page. But read on...shipping is calculated from China and it is shipped from the factory in China, not actually from California. And while the seller has 4 roasters available, this person also states that the roaster is "custom built" and also that it will take 4 to 6 weeks to ship. Then it goes on to say local pick-up is available. So, where exactly is the truth in this ad? Somebody should alert eBay to these inconsistencies...there needs to be some truth in advertising. The "every roaster's dream" from China could well be your worst nightmare in the long run, mark my words.

If you really want to buy a coffee roaster from eBay, you would be better off with a reputable seller and a quality roaster such as Toper, Garanti or Ozturk. The factories for these firms are located around the city of Izmir, Turkey, and they have been in the business for decades. They do an outstanding job with the metal fabrication and the roasters are very durable and built with precision. I am not endorsing any eBay seller, only stating that the Turkish roasters are very dependable, have a proven track record and have a broader base of support after the sale. I have worked with these Turkish-built roasters and they do a very nice job.

Of course, the best business recommendation I can make is to shop at home. Diedrich and Ambex turn out very well built machines that will last for years. I have worked with roasters from both of these companies and been well pleased. These firms are here in the states and both offer decent customer service and parts are readily available. There are also technicians in various parts of the country that will work on these American-built machines and can help you avoid serious business losses if your roaster goes down.

I have been roasting coffee for years and do not represent any roaster companies. I have worked with a variety of roasters and the opinions in this post are based on my own experience and research. Take it for what it's worth.


I have few problems with your statement and also agree with you on some of the ebay sellers.

1. Ambex is not American made. They are turkish built and assembled in US so you should be careful about origin of the equipment
2. Saying all Chinese roaster are bad is very faulty statement. And no proven record is just your opinion. I am not a seller of any or represent any of the roaster companies but there are over 1200 chinese made roasters are in Korea, Japan, Thailand and many other asian countries. There maybe many bad chinese roasters are out there but there are many reputable makers as well. You just need to be able to find one.
3. California seller is just a reseller of the just one of the manufacture in China. The brand is same as what i have researched on. He must have few 1kg machines in stock but thats about it. You can actually buy one direct for about 500 dollars cheaper. I do not know much of this maker.
4. If you have 35-40k laying around your bank account, please buy American over priced machine. And they are very good or you can also purchase some very expensive European versions as well. But if you are in budget crunch and would like to purchase cheaper machine, you should look for Turkish and Chinese. There aren't any decent Chinese brand supplier here in US but I believe there are very good Chinese made Roasters.....


You have good points about parts availability and after service problems since there aren't any dealers but just strictly pricing point, you can't beat Chinese made. Personally I would buy Chinese machine if I need to since I can fix most of the problems myself or fabricate through few of the machine shops in US but i would not recommend buying Chinese machine to anyone who is expecting some type of Warranty, after service and tech support..... Those will be very minimal.....
 

CoffeeMate

New member
Jan 12, 2013
53
0
.....Somebody should alert eBay to these inconsistencies...there needs to be some truth in advertising. ....

Thank you BeanGrinder for your report. China does get bad press. However, if you are privy to the information in your post then perhaps "YOU" should report them after all you know more about this particular situation then the rest.

I buy on eBay from China quite often and have been burned many times. However, I have saved a great deal of money as well by buying from China. Quite a few of the vendors will follow-up (not required) andd email me to ensure all is well.

One of the notorious areas to stay away from or to be leery of is the electronics department. I am heavy into computer electronics and have bought my cables from there (phone, DVD's, printer, laptop, etc..). I will gamble on the cheaper priced items if I am not in a hurry for the product and the results have now been about 90/10 that I will be satisfied with the product which ironically is the same percentage I am seeing when I buy U.S. except in the U.S. I can get immediate satisfaction at little cost whereas from China you just have to bite the bullet because it will cost more to seek restitution if the seller isn't accommodating.

I have been hard-headed and so forgiving in that I got burnt three times by buying fraudulent flash drives. The first two was out of complete ignorance then I read that eBay banned a lot of China sellers because they would say the flash drive was 32gigger but really was only an 8 gigger made to read as a 32g. Only after you try to retrieve the data did you discover that you have been had.

The final time and a couple of years after eBay made there announcement that they have cleared them out but for the buyer to still be cautious as the China sellers would just start up with a new name. I saw another good deal (so I thought) because it appeared that the seller was a power seller with several thousands of sells and had been an eBay seller for over a year - cool I thought but alas, the drive was not what it was advertised to be. I chalked it up as a final lesson learned.

I will still buy from China but I am and have also develop a favorite seller list for my goods and don't be afraid to ask one of the vendors from your favorite seller list to recommend someone for a particular product because the reputable sellers do indeed value their good name.
 

wmark

Member
Nov 12, 2008
485
5
Canada
I import some things from China and have friends that import alot of things from China. It is ALWAYS buyer beware. If you do not have a relationship, the alternative is to use a trusted third party verifying agency but that will add approximately 10% to your cost.

The Chinese are very good at copying equipment. That is, they tear it down and rebuild it HOWEVER, I have seen simple thing copied that they did not understand how it worked. When you try to fix it, you realize that the mechanism doesn't work because it was put together without understanding its purpose.
 

CoffeeMate

New member
Jan 12, 2013
53
0
The Chinese are very good at copying equipment. That is, they tear it down and rebuild it HOWEVER, I have seen simple thing copied that they did not understand how it worked. When you try to fix it, you realize that the mechanism doesn't work because it was put together without understanding its purpose.

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! WMark, that was just toooooooo funny for a simple LOL.

I laugh because it sounds like me at the age of 7-11; I simply tore stuff up. However, it paid off later in life as I have been able to use my creativity to produce a nice dollar even in this economy.

I know you were serious, but thanks for the laugh! :)
 
OP
BeanGrinder

BeanGrinder

New member
Aug 11, 2004
176
0
North Georgia, USA
  • Thread Starter
  • Thread starter
  • #7
CJ: You are right and I should be careful about how I generalize. My focus was intended toward the couple of Chinese built roasters that are showing up on eBay. Southeast Asia may be full of coffee roasters, but I am primarily concerned with the new batch of shop-size roasters people are seeing on eBay and inquiring about. What I have found is that there are several different Chinese firms that are selling equipment that is actually made in only a few factories, and only two of those factories are of notable size, and neither is turning out a quality product.

And, true that Ambex was getting metal work done in Turkey and adding controls and burner units here. At one point they were moving away from that and I am pretty sure they were fabricating the YM-2 completely here in the US. I have not kept up with them, but it was my impression that they were going to try to manufacture most of the shop-size roasters locally. If anyone has an update please chime in. I should make a pilgrimage to Florida and pay them a visit.

An added point about Turkey and Ambex roasters...I can't speak for Ambex, but Turkey has historically been known for their outstanding metalwork, which is why a number of roaster companies have utilized Turkish manufacturing skills for the "shell" of the roaster. It would seem advantageous for Ambex to add their own controls so they could mate their profile roasting software to the roaster, not to mention general compliance with standards in the U.S.
 
Last edited:

Hankua

New member
Nov 11, 2011
128
0
Jacksonville, FL
I've spent quite a bit of time in China and there are huge industrial parks in every city with all the famous US and European names on the Factories. China can produce any quality point the customer wants to pay for. It just so happens most customers want dirt cheap so the quality is minimal but consistant. Your iPhone is made where? China (by a Taiwan Co)

Has anyone roasted on the gas version of North Co. Machines? Steel is steel right? Are the motors, bearings, gears, etc the same quality as US Roaster Corp? Of course not at the 3K price point; but if you can reach first crack in 9 minutes then there's a possibility. if you want to direct import, the builder and customs broker can handle details. If I were to get one, it would be the LPG TJ-001 with the cast iron drum and some spare parts just in case. :???:
 

wmark

Member
Nov 12, 2008
485
5
Canada
Those huge industrial parks with name brand factories also have company supervisors and inspectors ensuring quality standards, packaging etc.
As a little guy, unless you can pay for third party verification, it is buyer beware.
 

CoffeeJunky

New member
Dec 7, 2012
1,802
0
Michigan, US
I am asking what company is located in huge industrial park that has supervisors and inspectors....I am kinda confused?

I know some of the company has pretty good size factory but all the coffee roaster company is pretty small scale and most of the owners have input on most of the stage of manufacturing.

There are many Chinese manufactures are actually much bigger then any of the US Coffee Roaster Manufactures. Coffee roasters are just one of the small business they got into...
 
Last edited:
OP
BeanGrinder

BeanGrinder

New member
Aug 11, 2004
176
0
North Georgia, USA
  • Thread Starter
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  • #12
Valid point by wmark - quality control and supervision make a very huge difference. Not all iPhones are Chinese built, by the way...some models are entirely assembled in Ireland. So...point? That if it has an American name on the building then there is a process driving that production and they will govern the quality control regardless of where the product is built.

No, steel isn't just steel, especially in the manufacture of food handling equipment. Metals have to conform to USFDA safety standards, as do paints and other materials used in the equipment. Metals must have a "food grade" compliance or might otherwise leech toxins into the food the contact. Do you forget the big row with Walmart selling porcelain mugs and plates made in China that turned out to contain high levels of lead? It was a few years back so I'm sure that is water under the bridge and nothing like that could ever happen again.

I'm not saying that China can't produce good products, but I know that none of the Chinese produced roasters I have seen and/or researched have had any kind of FDA rating or inspections. Mechanically they have not been ISO certified, so I would have some safety concerns there as well.

From a liability standpoint, I would not want to buy a cheap roaster and find out that the steel processing included lead or other toxic metals that are going to slowly poison my customers. That would hurt my bottom line over time! It would be a really smart move for North, or Zhengzhou Hongle or others to take that step and ensure product safety.

Bottom line - as I said before - you get what you pay for.
 

CoffeeJunky

New member
Dec 7, 2012
1,802
0
Michigan, US
1. Do you know if these factories are not ISO certified for fact? I can name few factories that are ISO certified.
2. In US we do not make Iphones, We have not made TVs in like 10 years. So as you put it, are u saying we can't build the Phones here in US because we do not make them here?
3. Yes there have been many incidents in China where they have used products that are not food quality but do you know for fact make this kind of statement that the roaster are used none food quality metals?
4. How many Chinese roaster have you seen work? One? Two? Maybe none?
5. So you know for fact there is any incident some of the customers have been poisoned by Chinese made roasters? NOT
6. have you ever checked american factories are all ISO Certified or used Food quality metals or not poisoning your customers?

Making all these unsubstantiated claims or points only confuse other members.
There have been many cases some of the Chinese manufactures used faulty paint, metals and other none safe product to threaten our health but if you consider how many things are made by Chinese we have on our table, office and on our backs their products truly have changed our lives in major ways.

I am not a huge fan of Chinese or Turkish made product. I am going to order Probat roaster next year(saving up for them now) but making the faulty statements like above only make us look ignorant and irresponsible.

Bottom line, I hope you do not use any Chinese made home appliances or product... From coffee makers to plastic containers or packaging items for you coffee or shoes you are wearing....
 

Hankua

New member
Nov 11, 2011
128
0
Jacksonville, FL
Hey, we're only talking about a coffee roaster not a rocket ship. This is really old school technology and not very precise. Taiwan, which is Chinese (don't tell anyone from Taiwan that) makes some really fine roasters, and I've got one. Taiwan roasters have scored pretty high on coffeereview using the same brand I have: Yang-Chia Machine Works Ltd. you can order from Mr. Yang with no worry and he will arrange all the shipping. BUT they do not speak English and offer no warranty.

The 1k Chinese from the mainland sounds like a good deal but is too small for commercial and the Huky500 is a better choice for the 500g size. The guy who builds the Huky is a retired teacher and his machine has been around for awhile and beautifully made. The Huky would be a better choice for someone starting out and learning how to roast.

So if your buying Chinese, get a Yang roaster or a Huky. You won't be sorry!
 

CoffeeJunky

New member
Dec 7, 2012
1,802
0
Michigan, US
Hankua: I am just sick of people assuming all the Chinese made roasters are crap or health hazardous. Can you post up pictures of your roaster? Post up some good Chinese made or Taiwanese made roaster on here please. Maybe you can find some dealers to carry some of those machines.....
 
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