How to purchase a roaster


New member
Aug 6, 2006
Topeka, Kansas
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I'm in the process of building a business plan for a coffee shop. We want to roast but don't know what size roaster would be appropriate. We're going into a brand new strip center. 1200/sq.ft. with a drive-thru. This is an underserved area with emerging retail. No coffe shops in the area - none within a 20minute drive in any direction. Two grocery stores less than 5miles away. Neighbors are sports bar and grille, c-stores, several banks, a sonic, a doctor's ofc. Less than five miles away is mature, established retail - fast food, grocery, gym, hair, dry cleaner, banks, the whole bit. Median income is above 70K annual. We're on a key intersection leading to town, and the interstate that goes to the downtown professional area. According to the traffic counts, 37,500 cars go through the intersection each day. We'll be open 7 days a week. There are three big churches within a two mile radius. We figure we'll get slammed on Sunday afternoons! Any idea on how to calculate what size roaster we'll need? I figure on about 700 customers a day @ an average sale of $3.50 each. Then I thought maybe 1131 pounds of whole bean sales per month. I've guessed at about 55 pounds a day. Am I crazy with these numbers or am I in the ball park?

Topher - looks like you're the roasting god - totally impressed with your pics. Any opinion on the above?


New member
Feb 3, 2006
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I am not Topher, but I thought I'd jump in...

It would be very hard with the limited information that you have provided to say much about your volume estimates. In the end, it is a combination of good planning and good luck.
Are you looking to roast your own coffee in the same building that you serve coffee? Are you looking to only manufacture for your own internal sales or will you be selling wholesale? Have you looked into the permitting required for roasting? Are you prepared to run a roasting operation, and do you have any roasting experience? How difficult will be installation be? Do you expect any environmental issues with roasting? Are you mechanically inclined? There are many, many questions to be answered and you need to be really clear on what you are getting in to. We roast and sell on the same site, but have our retail business physically very seperate from our roasting operation. I am amazed at how few actually think about the work involved in roasting (it can be very mentally and physically demanding) and whether or not they want this noisy, sometimes smokey, busy operation in their retail store. You also need to think about staffing - although at the volumes you are quoting even on a small roaster you will be roasting less than one shift per day. For 55 lbs per day is 25 kilos/day. A 5 kg roaster making 3 batches an hour (very achievable) will produce 15 kg per hour, meaning that you will need to roast approximately two hours per day! This is not overkill, as it would give you room to expand and grow. I don't know if your 55 lb/day figure is first year, or a figure that includes growth, so this as well is important. A larger or smaller roaster might be adequate, depending on your staffing levels and what you see as your growth opportunity. Our roaster routinely yields 3 kg finished goods (accounting for losses) per batch, and it will be quite a while before I am out of capacity. But we are a small store.
Good Luck!


Nov 3, 2004
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Before you move too far along the roasting route, you may want to talk with some of the folks at local or regional coffee roasters (if you have not already done so). Some of the better coffee roasters in the country are within a close proximity to your town; whereas, anyone can learn how to roast coffee in 10 minutes, it takes years of experience to do it well, and that's before you consider the skill involved in green buying.

You may also consider reading my article in last month's Tea & Coffee Trade Journal, entitled "For whom the retailer roasts" that touches on this very subject in more detail, here: For Whom the Retailer Roasts. You will need to register with this system to read the full text, but it's free.

Best of success,

sonofresco v. montster

please refer to my or NW JAVA's post reguarding monster coffee and thier roaster. Now the MFG of thier roasted and monster coffee have parted ways.

the MFG is:
and they also have the same preblends that monster has/had. Give thier site a visit and call is you are interestd. I am in no way compensated for this post or affiliated with either buisness mentioned. I have however used the roaster and been totaly happy with all aspects of it performance and reliability. It's a perfect way to roast for a one location buisness, and a little more, buisness.


Coffee Guy

New member
Oct 19, 2003
Seattle,Washington USA
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CM is right, you should visit a local coffee roaster before considering taking a huge plunge straight out of the gate. Learning to roast is easy, the hard part is being consistent. Determine the type of roasting you want to do...for example, fluid bed roasting or drum roasting. Those of us that have been roasting for awhile have our own opinions regarding the differences, however that is one thing you should consider if you are thinking of roasting. Blending is also extremely important, and green bean buying, and cupping, etc. etc. etc...I won't bore you with any more. :D But starting of with a smaller roaster especially on-site is not a bad idea. johng99 also made some good points...Long story short (after I've already rambled on)...There are a lot of things to consider and pencil out before making an investment in purchasing a roaster.