At first, finding the correctly-sized roaster for you can be an arduous and daunting task. And in addition to considering other externalities such as your given space and budget, you have to be cognizant of the coffee volume you plan to consistently roast.
Here are a few principles and strategies you can employ for your use in this business that we think can help you find the right roaster to suit your needs.
Choose the correct, suitable size
For the coffee roasting industry, bigger is not necessarily always better. In fact, most customers are often taken aback when they learn that pricing and size aren’t the most salient factors in choosing your commercial roaster. This will often lead to the rationale that a bigger roaster is necessary to ensure expansion, however, it’s not that easy.
Coffee beans being dumped and cooled during the roasting cycle by Visitor7 via Wikimedia Commons.
Simply put, this is not always the case—that is a larger roaster correlates to immediate profitability. For example, roasting 1,000kg of coffee does not necessarily mean you can sell that amount in full. Instead, you can execute a much more optimal approach by selling 1kg, 5kg, 15kg and so on as you exponentially increase your offerings.
Pick and sort the correct batch sizes
Following sample roasters, the next step up in terms of commercial scaling are small batch roasters. Typically, these are around the 1kg to 3kg threshold. These are generally suitable for micro roasters or coffee shops that want to roast their own beans. This is the quintessential option for a smaller establishment, and will typically provide enhanced consistency—which decreases as your scale farther up the batch size totem pole.
The Raven-Xr15 at Primo Roasting Equipment.
The next step up from this are small commercial roasters, which supply about 5kg to 15kg. Our Raven-Xr15 at Primo Roasting is one example of this, as it provides versatility and will provide a sizable investment for your business. From there, the scaling hierarchy is axiomatically as follows: medium commercial roasters (15kg to 30kg), large (30kg to 70kg) and extra large (70kg and up). Of course, sorting through these options also will depend on the size of your business, too.
Assess whether your business can house your roaster
To a third party observer, this would seem like an obvious point. However, you would be surprised how many customers overlook this inevitable reality they have to deal with. In addition to business floor surface area, gas supply, ventilation and other factors, there are other points of consideration you will have to assess when browsing commercial roasters. As mentioned previously, for example, the consistency will gradually decrease with a larger roaster. Therefore, the size of your roaster will also affect the coffee bean profiles you need for certain coffee types.
Unloading roasted coffee from the coffee machine by Marco Verch Professional via Flikr.
The next most front-and-center criteria is maintenance. With a larger roaster comes the demand for enhanced cleaning efforts. In addition, due to the moderate size of an apparatus that is 70kg or more, it becomes increasingly meticulous to maintain effectively, too. Typically with roasters of this magnitude, these are used for mass roasts and deviate away from the more pungent specialty coffee offerings.
So as you may have inferred by now, choosing the right coffee roaster for your business can be much harder than you may have initially thought. Luckily at Primo Roasting, we are here to provide you with inside knowledge and information about the industry to get you started. Give us a call today or check out one of our medium sized commercial roasters—the Sentinel Xr-20.