So I did something a little crazy...

Coffee_Noob

New member
Jul 22, 2019
10
0
And purchased all of the assets of a local coffee shop in my neighborhood. We have a lot of pastries and things, but this is a coffee forum, so I'll stick to that topic. Among the items purchased was an old 1980 Probat GN12 roaster, a Cecilware Venezia espresso machine, a Super Jolly Mazzer grinder, a Grindmaster 875 grinder, three old Hobart grinders (too bad I can't find burrs for these, they're pretty cool looking), and some crappy old plain Bunn drip coffee brewers.

One of the awesome local coffee people came in and convinced me to buy a La Marzocco Linea EE. Also got a fancy Bunn grinder, but I can't recall the model, unfortunately. Also got a new Bunn ICB-TWIN brewer and both this and the La Marzocco are hooked up to a brand new filter. So that's good.

Got new burrs for the Super Jolly. So that's good. Only issue with that is that some of the coffee I roasted ended up slightly dark and the oil from the beans seems to gum it up pretty quickly. I was advised not to put the darker, oilier beans through the SJ, and to leave those for the Grindmaster, which can power through those beans.

Which comes to the roaster. Oh man, there are so many things to know and it's a bit overwhelming. The previous owner of this unit owned it for about 14 years. It's a 12kg machine, so I guess it made sense for him to throw 24 pounds in it? From what I've read, that's a big no no. I should be running it at about maybe 60-70% capacity, so, 16-18 pound batches, right?

So my first roast went like this. The PO told me, "get it up to 400 degrees. Let it preheat for 10-15 minutes at 400. Drop the beans in, and as soon as it hits 435, dump it." That's what he's called a medium roast for 14 years. From what I could tell, it came out a little bit past medium. It was a little darker, but I don't think it was all dark. Some beans had a little oil, some beans did not. And now that I Google it, 435 is about where second crack starts, and this could be called a Full City roast. Whateva.

There's no...adjusting the temperature or airflow at all in the way the guy did his roasting. It was drop it at 400, and as soon as it got to whatever temperature, he'd dump the beans. It seems ridiculously oversimplified and...maybe the word I'm looking for is "careless"?

The PO also said that he had the exhaust cleaned every few months, yet when I disassembled it, there was about 3" of chaff clogging up the exhaust. His roasting practices weren't just careless, they were very dangerous. Exhaust is scheduled to be cleaned tomorrow morning at 8am.

Anybody have some quick advice on roasting? It sounds a bit insane, but this coffee shop is probably going to open in two weeks or less. I have about 700 pounds of coffee to roast between now and then. Going to be interesting. And stressful.

I know, it's a bit ridiculous to make this kind of a purchase without knowing anything about the industry, but this is my wife's dream, so...why not?
 

topher

Super Moderator
Staff member
Aug 14, 2003
3,737
13
Boca Raton
Welcome to the wonderful world of coffee! Where are you located? You said the exhaust is being cleaned tomorrow....by whom? If you have someone coming out..watch them. It is not a fun job but pretty simple. You can save some money doing it yourself.
 
OP
C

Coffee_Noob

New member
Jul 22, 2019
10
0
  • Thread Starter
  • Thread starter
  • #3
Thanks! I'm in Richmond, Va. We had a chimney sweep company come out. It's not a difficult process, and normally, I DO do a lot of my own things, but I'd have to lug around a 40ft ladder to get on the roof. For $250 every couple months, I'm fine with paying somebody.
 

Musicphan

Active member
May 11, 2014
1,510
4
Kansas City
Take a look at the Mill City Roasters 'Roaster School' video's on youtube... Steve & Joe have done an excellent job creating free content. It sounds like you are roasting pretty dark... just for reference on my roaster I hit the first crack around 385 / second crack at 435. I drop most of my 'medium' roast coffees in the range of 410-420 degrees. Keep in mind everyone's machines and thermocouples are diff and you will see diff temp #'s.. but that should give you a good range.
 
OP
C

Coffee_Noob

New member
Jul 22, 2019
10
0
  • Thread Starter
  • Thread starter
  • #5
I have watched either four or five of them, I can't remember if I finished episode 4 or if I'm in the middle of the fifth. I'm going to watch as many as I can before we start roasting this weekend.
 

shadow745

Active member
Aug 15, 2005
1,595
4
Central North Carolina
Call me 'crazy', but I honestly think it's a bit crazy to try roasting 700 lbs. within a 2 week (especially having never roasted) or less time frame as that's A LOT of coffee to get rid of before it goes south in flavor/body.
 
OP
C

Coffee_Noob

New member
Jul 22, 2019
10
0
  • Thread Starter
  • Thread starter
  • #7
Possibly, but there is going to be a good bit of trial and error in there. One of the guys who roasted for the previous owner over the past year or so has volunteered his help getting it going, so maybe I won't waste all of the beans.
 
OP
C

Coffee_Noob

New member
Jul 22, 2019
10
0
  • Thread Starter
  • Thread starter
  • #9
This is about what the previous guy goes through every six weeks. The shop has been closed for renovations for about two months and the opening is going to be a little nuts. It's going to be that way for at least the first couple of months before it slows down to regular business.
 

Musicphan

Active member
May 11, 2014
1,510
4
Kansas City
Roast 100lbs every week ... coffee is freshest within 15 days of roast. This will give you time to cup/taste each week and make adjustments. Just my advice... I would never roast for 1.5 months of supply.
 
OP
C

Coffee_Noob

New member
Jul 22, 2019
10
0
  • Thread Starter
  • Thread starter
  • #11
That makes sense. I think we're going to roast enough for a couple days at a time to keep it as fresh as we can. Sorry for being a bit ridiculous.
 
OP
C

Coffee_Noob

New member
Jul 22, 2019
10
0
  • Thread Starter
  • Thread starter
  • #12
It's been about a year since I made this post. A lot of times people make some sort of intro and they're never heard from again. The wife and I did open the coffee shop last August and it has gone pretty smoothly for the most part. It took a bit of time to figure out the new espresso machine, not that it was THAT much different from the previous machine, we just needed to learn how to do espressos correctly. Once we got in our groove, we didn't spend much time having to remake drinks anymore. One of the best compliments we received was from a New Zealand couple who travels the world and seeks out little independent coffee shops along the way. They ordered some flat whites and they said that our coffee was the best they'd ever had in the states. Maybe they both woke up on the right side of the bed that day, who knows, but it made us feel pretty good for awhile.

We had been slightly under breaking even since we opened. We got a little break when some Hollywood types were in town, liked our shop, and decided to shoot a scene in it. We shut the shop down for two days and they paid us enough that we could have closed the shop for a week and a half. So that was a nice little bump. And then the coronavirus hit. Business quickly slowed to a crawl, and other shops around us started to close. We were going to try to stay open for as long as we could, because if we closed, we were probably going to close for good. But then business started to pick back up, and it picked up enough that it was better than it had ever been. We are located on a busy street in the middle of a very walkable neighborhood. It turns out, that since the other neighborhood restaurants closed (I'm guessing because they had much higher overhead, such as a hostess, bartender, cooks, servers, etc) we became the go to for a quick bite. And since everybody was working from home, they were all now a lot closer to us during breakfast and lunch!

Roasting has gone pretty well. We sell about 225-250 pounds of coffee per month. We haven't gotten a website together yet, or sold anything through Amazon, although we do really want to get that going. I still have my full time job, and the wife has her contract jobs. In fact, she's trying to pick up another 20 hour per week contract. Oh yeah, I had rotator cuff surgery in February, and then found out I had cancer in March. Just finished chemo (well, I hope I'm finished) two weeks ago. So, definitely been too busy to do a website. Soon though!
 

PinkRose

Super Moderator
Staff member
Feb 28, 2008
5,219
6
Near Philadelphia, PA
Hello Coffee_Noob,

Wow! Thanks for the update. It sure sounds like you've had quite a journey in less than a year's time.

I'm happy to hear that the ongoing Covid situation didn't destroy your coffee shop. After all, you're just getting your business off the ground. It usually takes a year (or so) to break even before you can feel like you're getting somewhere. It's good that you were able to keep your doors open these past few months. I'm sure your customers were very happy that you were there for them.

I'm sorry to hear that you had to go through chemo in addition to dealing with running a new business and dealing with the Covid problem. I join you in hoping that you are all finished with chemo, and I really hope that it "did the trick" to banish the cancer. Since you only finished chemo two weeks ago, I really hope you're taking time to take care of yourself and give your body a chance to bounce back.

Thanks again for the update.

~ Rose
 

topher

Super Moderator
Staff member
Aug 14, 2003
3,737
13
Boca Raton
Lets say open and sell out. Great thing is you have your roaster right there. If you see it is going insanely well. You need to fire up the roaster and roast for the next day. Just make sure you let the coffee rest for a minimum of 24 hours. Last thing...have a water fire extinguisher or hose handy if you happen to have a fire. Good luck and let us know how you are doing.
 
OP
C

Coffee_Noob

New member
Jul 22, 2019
10
0
  • Thread Starter
  • Thread starter
  • #15
Hello Coffee_Noob,

Wow! Thanks for the update. It sure sounds like you've had quite a journey in less than a year's time.

I'm happy to hear that the ongoing Covid situation didn't destroy your coffee shop. After all, you're just getting your business off the ground. It usually takes a year (or so) to break even before you can feel like you're getting somewhere. It's good that you were able to keep your doors open these past few months. I'm sure your customers were very happy that you were there for them.

I'm sorry to hear that you had to go through chemo in addition to dealing with running a new business and dealing with the Covid problem. I join you in hoping that you are all finished with chemo, and I really hope that it "did the trick" to banish the cancer. Since you only finished chemo two weeks ago, I really hope you're taking time to take care of yourself and give your body a chance to bounce back.

Thanks again for the update.

~ Rose

Thank you for your kind words! I get about 5 solid hours of sleep per night. I'm the roaster and the baker, and I still have my full time job that I go to, so rest is a luxury I can't afford right now! Hopefully we get to a point where we can hire and train someone to do these things.
 
Top