If you are thinking of opening up a coffee shop or selling coffee online, one of your first considerations might be the type of roaster machine to purchase (depending on if you will make your own coffee or retail someone else's).
With so many different types and brands available on the market today, it can be difficult to make this decision without investing time in research.
You need to consider price, quality, durability, ease of use and maintenance costs. You need to invest in something that is affordable yet efficient enough for your needs. Although it may seem like more money is being saved by buying affordable equipment, cheaper products tend break down faster, leaving you without a coffee maker or having to shell out more cash for repair work.
The following guide will help you choose the best coffee roaster for your business needs.
What is a Coffee Roaster and Why Do You Need One?
A coffee roaster is a machine that roasts coffee beans. It is an alternative to buying coffee which is pre-roasted or purchasing a bag of green coffee beans and doing it yourself.
A lot of small businesses use this machine for two reasons:
1. The cost of using pre-roasted coffee is usually much higher than roasting it yourself and buying raw beans wholesale.
2. Small businesses which serve coffee to employees or customers may want to ensure that the coffee they serve tastes just as it should. Pre-roasted beans might not be fresh, so roasting your own can ensure better quality control.
A coffee roasting machine works by taking raw beans, heating them up and allowing the hot air to pass over them.
This process is called sublimation.
Sublimation is the process of converting a solid to a gas without going through the liquid stage. This happens because the raw beans are heated to such a high temperature that they start to evaporate and turn into a gas which means that they don't have to go through liquid-to-gas phase and vice versa.
Basically, the roasting process turns coffee from green to brown so it can be used in drinks like latte or cappuccino.
How to Choose the Right type of Roaster for Your Business
There are a few things you need to pay attention to when choosing the best coffee roaster for your business.
Roasting capacity is important because it tells you how many raw beans you can roast at once . If your business needs only 1-2 kilograms of roasted coffee, then choose a machine that can accommodate this. But if your business needs more than 5 kilograms at the same time, be sure to buy one that's made for bigger batches.
Heating system should also be looked into carefully . Some machines use radiant heat which means that it emits heat that surrounds the bean and acts like an oven around it. Other machines use convectional heating where hot air passes above the beans causing them to spin rapidly.
These heating methods affect different qualities of the coffee.
Radiant heat preserves moisture better while convectional heating raises caffeine content in beans. Therefore, it is best to get a machine that uses both of these methods for the best results .
It's also very important to consider space because roasting machines can take up a lot of it. Before buying one, make sure you have the space for it!
Also be mindful that the dimensions of a coffee roaster can vary depending on the type.
For example, a drum roaster is going to take up more space than a smaller batch roaster.
Choose a Drum Roaster or Smaller Batch Roaster
When choosing between a drum roaster and a smaller batch roaster, think about your needs.
A drum roaster is a machine that uses a rotating drum to roast coffee.
A smaller batch roaster is a machine that can handle more than 1-2 kilograms of roasted coffee. These usually have less capacity than drum roasters, but the trade-off is that they are much quicker and more energy efficient.
Smaller batch roasters are great for small offices or coffee shops that want to serve fresh coffee . However, if you need to roast more beans at the same time, then a drum roaster is perfect! You can get one that's easy to use and will handle all your roasting needs.
FAQs about Coffee Roasters to Help you Make an Informed Decision
In addition to knowing what type of roaster you should get, there are a few questions that will answer all your burning curiosities.
What is the difference between drum and batch roasters?
Drum Coffee Roasters: These work by using a rotating drum to roast beans. The drums containing coffee beans turn at a high RPM to roast the beans evenly.
Batch Coffee Roasters: These can roast more than 1-2 kg of beans at a time. They are usually less energy efficient and have less capacity, but they are great for small coffee shops or offices that want to serve fresh coffee quick .
How do I operate a coffee roaster?
When you purchase a coffee roaster, you will have everything that you need to roast your own beans. You can read the manual for easy reference. The first thing that you should know is how to set up the machine properly. Once this part of the process is done, you can begin operating it by using its control panel.
It helps if you are already familiar with the controls of your coffee machine because using the control panel is like using an advanced version of it. So, if you are not already familiar with how to use the buttons and knobs on your coffee maker, make sure that you read up or take some time out to practice.
What is the average cost of a coffee roaster?
The cost of a coffee roaster can range from $2,000 to $15,000. So you will need to go back and choose the right amount for your business. When choosing your machine, make sure that you compare different models and brands because even if they cost the same, their performance may differ. Besides looking at their price , check out their features too. Some machines can be operated remotely while some have automatic timers which are great for convenience .
How much coffee can a coffee roaster roast at one time?
The size of the batch that your machine is capable of roasting will depend on its model and brand. You can find small to large machines so you can choose one that can fit your business size. Some machines can roast up to 200 lbs of coffee beans per hour while some only roast 1-2 lbs at a time .
How do I maintain my roasting machine?
When you want the machine to last for years, regular maintenance is essential. Roasters are sensitive appliances which require more cleaning than your other kitchen gadgets. So, in order to get the best out of it , you should clean your machine regularly. Give them a monthly wipe down. If there are any spills or beans that end up in the wrong place, make sure that you take care of them right away.
Can I rent a coffee roaster?
If you are unsure about investing in a roaster, you can always look into renting one instead. You can rent them in some specialty coffee shops or online .
What is the lifespan of a coffee roaster?
A good quality machine usually lasts for at least 10 years when it is well-maintained.
A List of Some of the More Popular Coffee Machines
La Marzocco: Strada is a popular coffee machine with a group head and an accessory kit. They come in different sizes, but they're all great for home roasting as well as commercial roasting.
The pros of using La Marzocco: Strada is the ease of use and the ability to roast for many people at once. The con of this machine is that it isn't very portable, but if you're using it as a commercial roaster that probably isn't an issue.
The Nuova Simonelli: Magister is a great, simple machine with a built in scale. Also available are accessories for the coffee roaster machine.
Being mostly manual makes it more cumbersome to use as well. It's great if you're interested in smaller batch sizes for commercial use, but if you are doing larger batches you'd do better with something different.
The pros of using this machine is the consistency and ease of use. It's not very difficult to operate, and it provides great quality coffee each time.
The Aillio Bullet R1 is a nice and small roaster that is great for someone who just started roasting coffee. It's really easy to use, and it provides an even roast every time. It does come with a lot of drawbacks though: it can only roast up to 2.2 lbs of coffee beans at a time. But that's very likely enough to get you started before you really start to scale.
The right coffee roaster machine can help you grow your brand and offer consumers something that they’ve never seen before. Whether you want to produce small batches of specialty coffees or roast larger quantities for commercial sale, the perfect machine is out there waiting for you.