Commercial roaster size for the starter


New member
Sep 29, 2004
Visit site
I'm looking for recommendations on what size roaster to start with. I've been advised to purchase one in the 15 lbs/per batch range(50 lbs/hr). I was leaning towards the smaller size of 7 lbs/per batch(25 lbs/hr) for a couple of reasons; It cost less (do the smaller roasters require an afterburner?) and I will be starting the biz in the garage (anyone else start out like this?).

My concerns with going with the larger roaster is the need for the afterburner($) and the possibility of getting into local ordinance and permit issues with the town/city

My concern with the smaller roaster is outgrowing it to quickly. I would hate to have to turn customers away because I simply don't have the capacity to take the orders or worse yet try to take the orders and faulter thus having an unhappy customer(probably the worst of all).

I plan on starting slowly with the retail/online customer with hopes of growing into a larger retail base with the possibility of a wholesale operartion.

I want to start in the garage for the obvious reasons of saving money on commercial space rentals.

I'm excited to start my own biz but at he same time scared to take the first step/leap and want to get it right the first time. :?
Starting out in your garage should be out of the question - check with your local Department of Health and/or Department of Agriculture. Also check with your zoning office - operating a food production facility in a residential area is usually against the law.

Having said that, the brand and type of roaster you choose will make a difference. I have an Ambex YM-15 (30lb batch) and have had good success dropping the flame and roasting 5lbs on it. My YM-2 (5lb batch) has roasted as small as 1/2 lb batches. From conversations here on the forum, I get the impression that not all roasters are that flexible. Choose wisely.

In all I have three different roasters in three different sizes. The advantage is that I have flexibility as far as roasting and if I have to take one of my roasters down for maintenance or cleaning, I don't fall behind schedule.

You really should start with a business plan and play with some supply/demand numbers before you invest in the equipment. But before you start there, check into the local regulations as I mentioned before - you might be out of business before you start.
Hey: BeanGrinder

You forgot one important thing; that is you must be inspected by the fire department to make sure you are fire rated. In addition you may be required to prepare your structure with additional protection to include a paripit wall(s). This means that in case you have a fire, your structure must be able to be contained for at least one hour before the fire spreads out side of the structure. But as B.G. says, it's not a good idea to roast out of your garage at home. If you are not ready to get another structure so you can out fit properly, you are not ready to start at this time.
Hey no prob...We all must stick together. If I knew then what I know now, I might have done a few things differently. Maybe even saved myself a few thousand dollars...But that's what learning from your mistakes is all about :wink:
Good point about fire safety, Coffee Guy - I tend to forget that because my coffee mill is located in a '50's vintage fire station - solid concrete and leased from the city's fire department. Naturally, they spend a good bit of time at my location!

Dude - you wouldn't believe how much coffee firefighters drink! They're a great group. I'm putting together a "Wall of Fame" in the old fire house to honor those public servants.

They show up sometimes at night when I'm roasting. Usually they see the smoke and stop in to "check on things." They always leave with a pound or two.