There is more to roasting than just the equipment!


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Aug 11, 2004
North Georgia, USA
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I'm waiting for the freight truck to deliver a small chaff collector for my shop roaster. I've been waiting for months.

The saga: This has been a three month saga filled with delays, excuses and poor service. The order for this chaff collector was placed in early April. I have done everything I was supposed to as a customer. The roaster company said the delays were due to problems with a 3rd party manufacturer. Never accepting any responsibility, there has been a litany of excuses as to why this chaff collector has been reported as shipped, then not appearing. They include "waiting for a part - it will ship next week", "paint is drying - it will ship next week", "part damaged in transit - it's being fixed and will ship next week", "Thought it was already delivered to you - we're surprised and it will ship next week". I've heard the last one twice.

Last week it came to a head - "the equipment was shipped to an address in Texas instead of to you (in Georgia)." But the roaster company saved the day! They were able to contact UPS and get it stopped before delivery to the Texas address! No doubt, someone in Texas would have received this and wondered what the hell to do with it! There was never any explanation as to why they next switched freight companies and I'm rightfully suspicious.

Finally, the chaff collector was supposed to be here yesterday, but the freight dispatcher in Chattanooga said it was being "stored" there at their facility and he didn't know why. I e-mailed the roaster company about this new delay. The reply suggested this delay was probably due to the hurricane (now heavy storm system)... "Chattanooga is expecting the worse!" Being as I live in suburban Atlanta, I can't imagine Chattanooga was going to get it any worse than we did. Not to mention that weather was not the explanation the dispatcher at the freight company chose to offer. He seemed to think there were special instructions forcing the delay, but was unable to produce any viable reason. So, he suggested it would "probably" be shipped out today.

Resolution?: Well, for all of my grief the roaster company offered to reduce the $700 price tag by $100. Filled with glee on this news I had to laugh, as this no doubt made everything right in the world. The only reason I agreed to accept the part after all this time (aside from the fact that I'm a nice guy) is because I haven't researched alternatives well enough. At least this part is supposedly designed to work with my roaster. Perhaps that will enhance the deal when I sell it this Fall for something bigger. I haven't figured out what my next roaster will be, but I feel pretty sure I know where it isn't going to come from. In retrospect, I should have delayed sending payment for three months...fair is fair!

The owner: Through all of this I have attempted to contact the company owner and clearly been avoided. I'm told he is busy. Like I'm not. But I think I'd have to get involved when my staff starts making the company look stupid. Come on..."the paint is drying - it will ship next week"???

Sorry, but if you order $700 worth of fresh roasted coffee from me and I put you off for three months, what would I expect? Perhaps this is just too small a dollar amount for the owner to be bothered with. But when can you tell if the customer that buys one $8 bag of coffee might own a nation-wide chain of restaurants that turns out to be your biggest client.

The moral of this story:
I strongly advise anyone in the market for roasting equipment to seek out users and talk frankly with them about their experience, both with the equipment and the distributor. When the roaster goes down, your business grinds to a halt (no pun intended). You have to know that the company from which you bought this equipment will get you back up and running quickly. Coffee customers can be fickle - if you don't deliver, someone else will. If your shop roaster quits, what do you do? Sneak in Maxwell House for three months?

Benefit of the doubt:
I may be the one problem case out of a thousand customers this company has dealt with. At no point in this have I been ill-tempered or unreasonable...quite the opposite. I won't tell you not to buy their equipment, but my point is to simply warn you to do your homework. Fair is fair, but I honestly don't think I have been treated fairly in this situation. Should circumstances turn better or worse I will update this post.
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The chaff collector arrived...broken. I skipped the roaster company and called the 3rd Party manufacturer directly. The contact agreed to replace the part. It took a while, but the replacement part showed up along with a fabricated tool to install it.

Then came an e-mail from the roaster company. The freight company wanted an extra $60 for the delivery. I told them to deal with it - I wasn't paying another dime. Finally, the owner of the company actually called me.

In short, he apologized, told me not to deal with the extra shipping - they would handle it. He admitted that he was aware of everything I was going through and that it wasn't they way they liked to do business. For now, it seems resolved.

I don't really understand why he wasn't involved much earlier. He gave no real explanation of why I "fell through the cracks" or how he would fix this in the future. That wasn't too reassuring considering I'm in the market for a roaster.
Can you PM me the name of this equipment company? I'm getting ready to buy a roaster and don't want to give that company my business.

Poor service like that should be known to all IMHO.
I just flew in from boston and boy are my arms....sorry but seriously I just got back from checking out a Toper roaster in Boston....I loved it!! We are looking to buy the 120 kilo....I hope this is the route we go...nice control on the coffee...cast iron drum....and the price is great!! Oh well just thought I would throw that out there :wink:
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ManaMan said:
Can you PM me the name of this equipment company? I'm getting ready to buy a roaster and don't want to give that company my business.

Poor service like that should be known to all IMHO.

MM: I'm going to hold off - the story continues to unfold. They are fixing the problem and I want them to give them every opportunity to fix the problem.