Your Thoughts on Buying a Bigger Roaster


New member
May 1, 2012
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The handwriting is on the wall, I need a bigger roaster so I wanted to tap into your collective wisdom as to what to keep in mind and watch out for when taking this step.

I'm in a rural location in NW Ireland so no need for an afterburner.

I'm partial to cast iron but not married to it.

My roastery is close to 500 sq. ft. Does it need to be bigger?

I have no access to natural gas, only bottled propane or electric.

I lean toward a 25 to 30kg roaster but for some manufacturers a 30kg roaster is the break point. They go from a shop roaster to a commercial roaster and this comes with a big step up in cost. Is this justified? What would be the benefits of going from a big 'shop' roaster to a 'commercial' roaster, if any?

Is 30kg the right size? Frankly, a 60kg roaster scares me (not in your league Topher, not even close).

Is the additional cost of a loader justified - 5,000 euro or so?

What about a destoner? When we first started a few years back we came across a lot of stones. Now almost none. It seems the quality of the picking has gotten much better so is spending 5,000 euro on the destoner a wise use of funds?

What about controls? Drum speed controls? Software to log and repeat profiles? Heat control? And is it easier or better to control a flame or hot air (I'm told by a manufacturer that uses hot air to heat the drum that you get a much quicker response controlling the heat of the air versus an open flame)?

And what are all the things I'm not thinking of that you did (or wished you'd considered before your big roaster arrived)?

Finally any recommendations on roasters you'd put on your short list to look at or completely avoid? And why?

Looking forward to your answers and thanks for taking the time to share.


Super Moderator
Staff member
Aug 14, 2003
Boca Raton
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At my last company we started with a 30 kilo and out grew it in a week. We installed a 60 in its place and out grew it in a month. This is when I almost died working 21 hour days. Once we built the new facility we added a 2, 10 and 120. You could tell the difference between the coffee that came out the 120 versus the other 3 machines. I will never buy over a 60 kilo again. I would rather have multiple machines and better tasting coffee. What is your volume now and what is your growth expectations? I can roast down to under 30 lb s on my 60 and I think I was getting consistent roasts at 14 lbs on my 30. As to space..if you buy a 30 kilo you could fit it in the 500 sq ft...the problem I have is storage. I have a 60 in just under 800 sq ft and it is a fight trying to slam all the coffee we buy into such a small space. I am stoked for you and your success!


Super Moderator
Staff member
Feb 28, 2008
Near Philadelphia, PA
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A bigger roaster? I suppose it depends on how much coffee you need :)

Hi "forwardvendors"

I'm thinking that it would have been better if you had read the entire thread before responding.

Here's the scoop.....

Expat, an active long-time member of this Coffee Forum, has built and grown his roasting business to the point where he (and his "beautiful and talented Roast Mistress") now are in need of a bigger roaster. We are fortunate to have been able to observe their progress and success over the years. Very happy indeed!