Fluid Bed Roaster for Startup

royljestr

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I am looking to start up a small coffee roaster and have been researching roasters for a few months now. I have been drawn to fluid-bed roasting because it seems unique and only a few high-end roasters are using it like the Roasterie and Kaladi Coffee. Granted they are using Sivetz, but since they are out of business they seem hard to locate.

Anyhow, I have seen a few lower-cost ones but one that has really struck my interested in the Artisan V by Coffee Crafters:

http://coffeecrafters.com

Any I was wondering if anyone has any experience or advice regarding it.

Lastly, here is my list of what I am planning on getting, does this sound reasonable or am I forgetting something?

BUNN 3lb Grinder
Heal Sealer
Scale
Food grade mixer (for blends)
Cupping supplies
 
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Jmsronan

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May 2, 2013
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Hey Royljestr,

I also have looked at this machine and have had a few back and forth emails with Ken ( the Owner?) I'm assuming that you have watched the Video that they posted?

I just live about 150 miles from Liberty Lake, Wa where they are located and was thinking of driving over to tour their place and to also get a hands on demo of the Artisan V.

Looking at it I have some concerns about the controls. However, based on the price of the machine making a few changes should not add much as far as the price. Would like to see more control over the heating elements rather than just turning them on and off. Also, I would like to see some way to know the temp of the beans, not just the air that is flowing through them. All in all though it does look like a good foundation for a float machine.

Cheers
 
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royljestr

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Yeah I've had a few emails back and forth too. Yeah I watched the video and had the same concerns as you.

He says that he can outfit it with a thermometer, which is nice. My father-in-law is an electronics engineer and he said it would be a simple thing to hook up a thermometer to it and have it so you could set a temperature that you want it to stop at and it could shut the heat off at that point. I'm sure you could also make the heating element have a finer tuned control. Since it has two heating elements you could probably make it do certain roast profiles??

I'm kinda new to this whole thing, but it looks like a pretty good starting point
 

CoffeeJunky

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The used Sivets are still around and available. since earlier this year, i have seen many of them for sale.
Artisan V is nothing more then upgraded home made roaster. They are trying to market it for commercial use but they are about 4-5 generation away from being commercial grade. I have seen few of them at work and they really need to refine their product.

If you are looking for smaller roaster, go back to drum roaster. Or wait for used Sivetz roasters. They are around.... It won't take long to find one if you are truly looking for one and willing to spend the money. In my opinion, Artisan V will be waste of money if you are going to many batches at a time.
 
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royljestr

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The used Sivets are still around and available. since earlier this year, i have seen many of them for sale.
Artisan V is nothing more then upgraded home made roaster. They are trying to market it for commercial use but they are about 4-5 generation away from being commercial grade. I have seen few of them at work and they really need to refine their product.

If you are looking for smaller roaster, go back to drum roaster. Or wait for used Sivetz roasters. They are around.... It won't take long to find one if you are truly looking for one and willing to spend the money. In my opinion, Artisan V will be waste of money if you are going to many batches at a time.

Thanks for your input CoffeeJunky. How do you feel about fluid bed roasting in general?

Also, does my list above seem OK for starting out, or is there something I am missing?
 

Burner0000

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I also like fluid bed roasting. I also like the fact that it can produce such an even roast. I chose the Sonofresco because it's fool proof, awesome to watch and it's already commercial grade. Not to mention a good price point. Sonofresco will be releasing a manual roast control board next year. This is a big plus because you are currently limited to it's built in profiles.

As for other equipment I would consider the Grindmaster bulk grinders as well as a commercial espresso grinder. If your blending green then roasting a mixer won't be needed.
 
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CoffeeJunky

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I also don't consider Sonofresco as commercial quality roaster. Because of their size and roasting time. The maximum you can roast with Sonofresco would be around 8 pounds per hour if you are lucky. Also, they are not very durable. I have seen them break down after few years of use.
 

Burner0000

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I also don't consider Sonofresco as commercial quality roaster. Because of their size and roasting time. The maximum you can roast with Sonofresco would be around 8 pounds per hour if you are lucky. Also, they are not very durable. I have seen them break down after few years of use.

I can live with that. I plan to use several roasters commercially. I figures from the get go that they will obviously break down from time to time which to me is fine because the part's aren't that expensive. It's basically built from the same parts as a furnace. My idea personally isn't just for the commercial roasting but freshness and viewing of the roast is what makes it unique.
 
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royljestr

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The thing that I liked about the Coffee Crafters one is thast it does 5lb batches so it could do basically 30lb per hour.
 

Jmsronan

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The thing that I liked about the Coffee Crafters one is thast it does 5lb batches so it could do basically 30lb per hour.

I don't think you'll be able to do 30 pounds an hour, not with cooling, moving beans etc. I would think 20 would be more in line. 15 minutes a batch. Just MHO
 

CoffeeJunky

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with the cooling time, you won't be able to do 20 and also my question is not about how many batch an hour but how many batch can this machine handle per day or week.
Also, Sonofresco would be good idea for the show( i did think about this) What good is it broken roaster on your show room. Also sonofresco gets pretty dirty around glasses and that also discourage me to purchase it few years ago.
It would be better to put used drum roaster as display then brand new sonofresco.
 

coffeecrafters

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The thermometer we use isn't shown on the website. We mount the food thermometer on the handle with the probe bracket inside the hopper to hold the probe in the bean bed. We don't measure air temp, just bean temperature. We tested these thermometers accuracy at WSU when we did our thermal testing and they were just as accurate as the university testing equipment and the PID controller and probe we used.

The main issue with roast air is keeping it within an acceptable range. When I was on my roaster "walkabout" I talked to everyone I could find about temperature control etc. In my end analysis there were few common thoughts on temperature ramp and adjustment throughout the roast. Most drum roasters never use the temperature control. They roast manually until their desired profile is reached. I trained with Michael Sivetz some years ago and the impression that stuck with me is accurately monitoring bean temperature to reproduce roast profiles.

If you're near the factory give us a call and we'll give you a tour and let you try the machine.
 

coffeecrafters

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I've roasted 30 lbs. in an hour but if you're roasting with the cooling pot on the machine your estimate of 20 lbs. per hour would be a comfortable pace. If you need more out of the roaster it's best to use an external cooling tray that will cool 8 lbs. The roaster is actually an 8 lb. machine but we advertise it as a 5 lb. machine because that's all the cooling pot on the machine holds. With an external cooling tray it will roast over 30 lbs per hour. My average roast time for 8 lbs. is 12 minutes. Our heat and air source is the same as Sivetz had on his 8 lb. machine.

I've been using the prototype for 4 years and haven't had an element or loft motor failure yet. This is a manual roaster though. If someone is looking for a machine to start the roast and walk away this would not be the machine for you :eek:)
 

coffeecrafters

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The Artisan V will do 8 lb. loads back to back but the larger loads require an external cooler. The base model comes with the bean thermometer but a PID controller for the roast air heat is an option. I'm running one on the factory roaster. If the definition of a commercial roaster is one you can roast on continually I think the Artisan qualifies. The prototype with the same element/blower/control setup has been running for 4 years without a mechanical failure. Our heat/airflow is the same as the Sivetz 8 lb. electric shop roaster. It does have some drawbacks. If you want to roast unattended this is not the machine for you. Like the Sivetz you have to adjust the roast air as the roast progresses. That's an advantage with the Sonofresco. We've provided connections to the wiring harness inside so you can install any type of PID controller you want if you're into adjusting ramp/soak times. Our standard option PID controls the heat chamber max temp only. FYI
 

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