Roaster to Buy?


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Mar 27, 2006
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I am trying to figure out which roaster to buy and I am getting more confused as I go. I have been reading everything I can find and a lot of it is contradicting. The wallet only has so much cash and I am trying to spend it wisely.

First of all brand Ambex, Diedrich, Toper, etc. They all seem to be good brands how do you determine which to go with. I also see Delaware offers a roaster at a decent pricing including freight, I have never heard much about them and their roast chamber is kind of a funky shape which I do not know if it affects anything.

Then what size. I seem to get the impression to buy bigger so you are not a slave to your roaster. My question here is if you buy oversize and you want to roast a number of varietals is it feasible to be roasting way under capacity at first and are you going to have to redo all the profiles as you increase capacity? Also unless you also buy a sample roaster do you not have to roast fairly large batches when you are trying to figure out a new profile?

And then you get to profile systems and automation. I can see the benefit to these but it adds a lot of cost to the roaster. Do you buy a bigger and better roaster and forgo the automation with the thought of possibly adding it later or do you buy a smaller roaster with the automation. And then there are variations on automation. Take Ambex for example, you can buy the base roaster or you can buy the roaster with Data Logging hich also includes touch screen, fire suppression, etc and then you go to their Profile Plus RT with all the toys.

Then there is learning how to use this thing, I am thinking that one of the roast class's through Diedrich or Ambex is the place to start. Is one better than the other and does this give you enough base info to get started. I realize working with another roaster would probably be best but not really practicle at this point.

Any and all advice will be appreciated. I am trying to avoid the "I wish I had bought ___"
I have used both Ambex and Diedrich roasters with much more experience on the Ambex. My Ambex experience is with the YM-2 and a YM-10 with and without their complete profiling system. I have some experience on the Diedrich IR-7. I have attended both of their short courses. At the time I attended, both courses helped develop basic skills and also hands on roasting. The hands on portion gave a glimpse of both of the brands performance. Since purchasing a roaster I have had an opportunity to use these roasters at a number of the SCAA shows and the Roasters Retreat. Both of these brands perform well and will produce a excellent product. Like most pieces of equipment, the majority of the variables lie with the operator. Once you learn the basics of roasting you will feel comfortable on both of these roasters. If possible find a local roaster willing to show you how their machine performs. Sample coffee from both machines and if possible find a roaster that produces coffee on both machines. I would attend both manufactures short courses as well as any hands on roasting events you can find(I think there is regional event in Jan, 2010 in NC).If you are ever in Mpls. stop in to take a look. Let me know if you have additional questions.
how do you determine which to go with?
Instead of taking a class from Ambex or Diedrich, I'd use that time and money to visit and buy coffee from as many roasters as possible. Most roasters are happy to share their experience with you. From there narrow down to one or two roasters whose coffee you like the best; whatever brand those roasters are using that would be the brand to go with. Heck they might even share with you how they roast.

Then what size.
What is your anticipated current and future volume? And how many hours per day/week you plan to roast? Figure that out and you will know the size you need.

profile systems and automation.
If you have the money, you should get one.

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