some newbie questions


New member
Apr 27, 2004
Hello all,

A friend is opening a cafe and he would like to roast as well. He offerred me to be partners in the roasting portion of the business. It will most likely be setup as a seperate business.

I am curious on the numbers in the roasting business, things like how big a machine (or small) is required to roast approx how much coffee and how much can I expect to pay for the green as well as end product. Im sure some of you have already played with these numbers. I can easily whip up a spread sheet but I wanted some real live numbers to work with.

Also, what is required to properly exhaust these machines?

Where is a good and affordable place to learn how to roast? We are in the San Fransisco - Bay Area, CA.

Thanks for now, more questions to come!

Coffee Guy

New member
Oct 19, 2003
Seattle,Washington USA
Hi Biaggio:

Start up cost in roasting is very expensive, taking into account all the equipment required. For example the roaster itself, after burner, weight and fill equipment, sealers, mixers, bags, permits, and especially the cost and volumes of green beans. Right now the green bean market is climbing and without having the ability to purchase large amounts, you will be at the mercy of buying smaller quanities at much higher prices. You are talking in upwards of 100K or so depending on the size of the roaster and after burner. I know roasting sounds great and all, but if you don't have the funds right out of the gate, I would suggest that you open the coffee shop and work it for a year or two first before putting up an investment like that. Unless of course you have deep pockets :D . As for a good school I would recommend Diedrich's school in Sand Point Idaho. Their toll free number is 1-877-263-1276. Ask for Stephen Diedrich or Greg St. John and tell them Sean sent you.

Hope this helps.


New member
Apr 27, 2004
Thanks, I think?

I realize there will be significant startup expense, fortuntely we have several things working for us that will ease this pain. I didnt really think I could just get a toaster oven and start roasting :) .

Anyhow what Im looking for is some real world numbers from smaller roasters.

Anything on the venting.?

Hello Biaggio, welcome aboard. I am a small(ish) roaster and had many of the same questions when I was looking at starting up. To be honest...I think you would need to have some projections of your own before anyone could give you some answers. Costs would be somewhat relative to what you think your volume would be- the size of the roaster, the stock levels of greens, the type of afterburner, size and type of packaging machine, flue design, mixing equiptment etc...etc.... could be estimated from this. I don't mind letting you know what my start up costs were if you could give me a little more of an estimate. However I think Coffeeguy's estimate of around $100k, for a US based roaster, is probably a good number to use at this stage. Re- the exhust system for your roaster...really depends on the local environmental covenants- how strict they are etc. Afterburners are not cheap :shock: . Anyway good luck.


Super Moderator
Staff member
Aug 14, 2003
Boca Raton
Actually after-burners are not that expensive anymore...well they are not as bad as they used to be...I will post the number of the company that I bought mine at later

Topher's Discount Code!