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Author Topic: Roasting and roasting equipment - assistance sought  (Read 14700 times)

Steve_01

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Hello all.
I am going to do this in 2 parts, in case i run out of room to add all the information.
I am seeking assistance or advice from any good coffee veterans out there, who may be able to help.
Firstly; I am looking to purchase a coffee roaster.  So far, i have only seen one. 
Will Notaras at Roast Max Roasters is selling a 5kg gas fired drum roaster for $16,500 plus GST.
And a 10kg gas fired drum roaster for $19,500 plus GST. 
They are brand new machines imported from Turkey.  They look good, but the price seems a little
on the steep side to me, possibly.  I am still searching, and wondering what else might also be available.
At present, all i have is a Gene Cafe home roaster.  It does 300 grams, and i have only done a few roasts
on it. 
I would dearly love to have a much better understanding of the main basic principles of coffee roasting.
I am talking about things like 1st and 2nd crack.  Understanding more about acidity, what green beans
are high in acidity, what green beans are low in acidity, etc.  What to look for in blending?
What blends well with what, and why?  That sort of thing. 



Steve_01

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« Reply #1 on: 29/03/2013, 06:01 PM »
Carrying on from above.....
My first question is this;
Can anyone recommend a good coffee roasting coarse?  Or else is anyone willing to offer advice
and hands on training in roasting and blending.  Not expecting that for free of course. 
Second question; Is anyone out there selling a good quality 5 or 10kg commercial roaster?
My preference would be to purchase a 10kg commercial roaster from someone who would also be able and willing to include delivery, installation and training, along with the roaster. 
I want to walk away with a thorough understanding of the fundamental principles relating to green bean roasting, acidity and blending.  With that knowledge under my belt, i understand it would then be upto
me to practice and get better.  Just as long as i have enough to really get myself started off on the right track.
Any offers?
I am in Sydney.

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« Reply #2 on: 29/03/2013, 06:31 PM »
Most of the questions can and will be answered by yourself, as only the operator of the roaster knows its inner workings

As to questions to cracks, blending ect ?
On blending - you blend to a flavour that you like, only trial an error will achieve this
the reason I say this is because its equipment and operatir dependant
However once you find the blend to die for , a shortfall of a bean can scuttle your plans
This is where cupping samples is very important
Cupping with fastidious record keeping of flavour profiles is important and allows one to find a replacement bean if another is no longer available

Now on to cracks
This is mainly science
First crack is known to activate at 195 deg C to 205 deg C  dependent on a beans origin ect
Second Crack is known to activate at 218 deg C to 223 deg C - dependant on a beans origin ect

Now to answer the training question
If you purchase a new roaster from a reputable dealer they will always work with you to train you on how to use the equipment

Anything else is time time time on the equipment and learn learn learn like a sponge

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« Reply #3 on: 29/03/2013, 08:56 PM »
If you have not seen the industry news lately you may not be aware there are 800+ labels being sold in Australia which is by any account way too many.

In other industries and markets, depending upon the structural maturity any more than 5 brands can bee too many. Of course, coffee is not as controlled at the moment which by the same token does not mean there is a market opportunity begging.

I continue to be absolutely staggered by the high number of people wanting to get into the game - some sort of modern day gold rush and Internet forums continue to perpetuate this myth through the general sentiments that most of the coffee being sold is crap - which is really not the case at all.

How do I know this ? Because I am approached at least 3 times a week by "green" wannabe entrepreneurs wanting to either pick my brains or perform contract roasting to help them get started until they can work out how to do it themselves.

If you think $20k is a lot of money for a commercial roaster, then if the roaster is like 10% of the cost for establishing a very basic and bare-bones competitive business perhaps you might need to engage help in developing a business plan before you advance any further.

In terms of having someone "show you all the ropes", it may be easier to find the Loch Ness monster or handover a cool $250k as many roasting experts have probably spent >$M in developing their knowledge. That's right - years and years with tons and tons, hot, cold, dirty, smokey hard work. There is no glamour or romance - just very sore backs and injuries galore.

I doubt many active roasters will share their secrets so you may have no other option than to teach yourself and endure a long, hard road to improving outcomes in the cup.

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« Reply #4 on: 29/03/2013, 09:48 PM »
If you have not seen the industry news lately you may not be aware there are 800+ labels being sold in Australia which is by any account way too many.

In other industries and markets, depending upon the structural maturity any more than 5 brands can bee too many. Of course, coffee is not as controlled at the moment which by the same token does not mean there is a market opportunity begging.

I continue to be absolutely staggered by the high number of people wanting to get into the game - some sort of modern day gold rush and Internet forums continue to perpetuate this myth through the general sentiments that most of the coffee being sold is crap - which is really not the case at all.

How do I know this ? Because I am approached at least 3 times a week by "green" wannabe entrepreneurs wanting to either pick my brains or perform contract roasting to help them get started until they can work out how to do it themselves.

If you think $20k is a lot of money for a commercial roaster, then if the roaster is like 10% of the cost for establishing a very basic and bare-bones competitive business perhaps you might need to engage help in developing a business plan before you advance any further.

In terms of having someone "show you all the ropes", it may be easier to find the Loch Ness monster or handover a cool $250k as many roasting experts have probably spent >$M in developing their knowledge. That's right - years and years with tons and tons, hot, cold, dirty, smokey hard work. There is no glamour or romance - just very sore backs and injuries galore.

I doubt many active roasters will share their secrets so you may have no other option than to teach yourself and endure a long, hard road to improving outcomes in the cup.

Great post Jeff!  I've heard long established Queensland roasters saying exactly this only with more colourful language.  I've been asked as a home roaster time and time again to provide beans for friends and family and coffee carts no less.  All I do is give them directions o the nearest quality local FRESH coffee roaster and TA Da... Mystery solved of why my FREsHLy roasted beans taste so good.  No matter how I do the figures, I'd need to sell more other stuff than coffee to make a viable business unless I move to a really remote location.... TI might be an option. Good luck Steve!
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Lacehim

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« Reply #5 on: 29/03/2013, 09:56 PM »
I would dearly love to have a much better understanding of the main basic principles of coffee roasting.
I am talking about things like 1st and 2nd crack.  Understanding more about acidity, what green beans
are high in acidity, what green beans are low in acidity, etc.  What to look for in blending?
What blends well with what, and why?  That sort of thing.
Hi Steve,

You haven't given us any background as to why you want to become a commercial roaster.  What's driving you to become one?

From your questions is sounds like you've never roasted before.  :laugh:  I think before you go spending 10-20k on a roaster, you might want to take a step back, buy a selection of green to sample, and roast them on your genecafe roaster, it sounds like you've started but haven't got a lot of roasts under your belt.  Attend a few cupping courses might help, and I'm sure there are some roasting courses out there.

Roasting coffee might seem like a gold mine,  but mycuppa who posted above works his ass off, working long hours, trouble shooting customers problems, buying green, testing green, dumping 100s kg of roasted coffee in a dumpster too just bedding in a new roaster!  To enter any business you have to really want it, and have a passion for it, if you want it to work.  Is this really the business for you?

As a hobby business roasting for your mates, it might be a fun adventure though, and you'll probably learn loads about roasting, and blending along the way.  You won't need a 10kg machine for that though!

Fresh Coffee

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« Reply #6 on: 30/03/2013, 02:01 AM »
........I am looking to purchase a coffee roaster.  So far, i have only seen one.  Will.......is selling a 5kg gas fired drum roaster for $16,500 plus GST.
And a 10kg gas fired drum roaster for $19,500 plus GST. 
They are brand new machines imported from Turkey.  They look good, but the price seems a little
on the steep side to me, possibly.  I am still searching, and wondering what else might also be available.............

Steve, these ARE the el cheapo end roasters, and you havent told us whether that is just the price of the roaster ex warehouse before delivery and commissioning,  or if that includes commissioning....but thats still irrelevant, because as stated these -are- the el cheapo end roasters.

You have given us a list of your wants, but it seems you may not understand.....coffee roasting is a long time apprenticeship. Its not something where you buy a roaster, get a few tips, and away you go.

What isnt clear to me...and perhaps that is my fault for not reading your posts closely enough.......is whether you want to go into this commercially, or if you are simply very interested and have decided its going to be your hobby. 

Some people pay over 20g's for motorcycles, boats etc, so spending similar on a 5 kilo roaster  for a hobby interest is no big deal....except that the batch size really is inappropriate (far too big) for household use.

If its commercial roasting you are interested in....what about the business that needs to be set up around it. Or do you just want to learn so you can roast coffee in someone elses business. If so, afraid it doesnt work like that. Do the rounds of the coffee roasters in your area and try and get a job doing anything, so that when an opporunity comes up you will be there to be given a go. That's the way we do it, by offering existing employees that show promise, a go.

For the rest of it, mycuppa has already said it.

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Lacehim

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« Reply #7 on: 30/03/2013, 10:10 AM »
If you want to have fun as a hobby and move away form the genecafe, check this out.  http://www.bestcafes.com.au/forum/classified-user-wtb-and-for-sale/for-sale-ccr-1kg-electric-coffee-roaster/

Steve_01

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« Reply #8 on: 30/03/2013, 08:41 PM »
Hi all
I start reading through the posts.  The first thing i see is negativity and more negativity.  It's a good
thing i don't get depressed by that sort of thing.  It's like water off a ducks back to me, thank God.
Lacehim is the first person to actually respond with a question.
Why do i want to be a roaster?
I have a trade certificate in electronics.  I used to be a computer monitor repair man / electronics technician.
When people stopped fixing televisions, i started off down the track of becoming an alarm installer. 
That was until i lost my security licence, for reasons which i won't go into here.
Next job i got was fixing a coffee machine.  I worked at Saeco for 3 years.  I then picked up commercial work. 
Became an expert at fixing Carimali, Iberital and Boemas.  I have acquired a lot of spare parts for Carimali,
Iberital, Boemas, and many of the old Saeco domestic machines - Via venezia, Incantos, Royals, Magics, etc. 
This is where my trade lies.  I have been doing this for many years.  So roasting seemed a natural way
forward.  I fix coffee machines, i sell coffee machines.  Why not roast and sell coffee beans to ? 
And no, i don't think roasting coffee machines is a gold mine.  If it was the only thing i have, i wouldn't
do it.  But i am a technician as well.  I have that under my belt. 
Plus back in 2009, i worked for most of that year doing sub contracting, and picked up customers of my own.
I have been servicing their machines, but never been able to offer them coffee or product. 
In my many life years, i have learnt many valuable lessons.  One of the most important lessons was this;
Treasure those people who have knowledge to share and wisdom to offer.
Get rid of those people who are jealous. or who seek to stand in your way, shut them out immediately.  Never
argue with losers, don't listen to losers and don't waste time with losers.
If i had no skill to offer of any kind, and was setting off down a track in the hope of seeking my fortune as a
coffee roaster, then i would say, yes, everyone is right, i am an idiot. 
But i have been in this industry for many years, just not as a roaster. 
I hope this answers one question.   

Steve_01

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« Reply #9 on: 30/03/2013, 08:47 PM »
I meant to say i don't think roasting coffee beans is a gold mine, not roasting coffee machines.
My apologies for the typo error. 

Steve_01

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« Reply #10 on: 30/03/2013, 08:55 PM »
Does anyone have the contact details for Peter Wolff

Koffee Kosmo

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« Reply #11 on: 30/03/2013, 09:03 PM »
Does anyone have the contact details for Peter Wolff

Tell Peter that KK sent you

Contact for Wolff Coffee Roasters

Studio Espresso Pty Ltd

ABN  31 986 358 991

Unit 14 - 23 Ashtan Place
Banyo Queensland, 4014 

Telephone: +61 7 3267 5551
Fax +61 7 3319 6881
Telephone: 1 800 WOLFFY / 1 800 963 339
Business Hours: Mon - Fri 8:00am to 4:00pm

 
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Steve_01

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« Reply #12 on: 30/03/2013, 09:15 PM »
Fresh Coffee says; Do the rounds of the coffee roasters in your area and try to get a job going anything, so that when an opportunity comes up, you will be there to be given a go.
Great idea, there is just one problem.
There is no guarantee i will be given a go.
Second, i am not unemployed, i currently have a full time job, and that is in the coffee industry.
Third, doing the rounds and offering my services, even begging, didn't help when i wanted to be a sound
recordist in a television station.  It didn't help when i wanted to get involved in the film industry, and it
didn't help when i was looking for an apprenticeship fixing computers.  So why should it help now? 

Steve_01

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« Reply #13 on: 30/03/2013, 09:29 PM »
Thank you KK.
Pity he's in Queensland and not Sydney.  But thank you for the info.
If anyone wants to, or is able and willing to help with anything previously mentioned
about roasting and blending, i might fix your coffee machine for free as a return favour, maybe.

Steve_01

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« Reply #14 on: 30/03/2013, 09:33 PM »
Hello Fresh Coffee
If these are the el cheapo end roasters as you say, what should i be looking at then?
Have you had any previous dealings with Will Notaras, or these roasters?
Thanks

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« Reply #15 on: 30/03/2013, 10:02 PM »
Now that we have a background I can see why you are taking an interest.  Your in the industry and interesting in expanding your scope of product.

From what I've read (which is the only information I have remember) you might be better roasting for yourself, and maybe offering some of your repair clients your coffee to buy or offered to test on their machine.  That might build up some local businesses.  I don't think you necessarily want to jump into a massive commercial roaster BUT you might have more fun using something like the roaster I posted above.  Only 1kg, but you'll learn on the way about beans, countries, profiling etc, and you might make a few pennies on the way selling to your customers, and nearest and dearest.

I realise you got a lot of negative feedback, but you have to remember that we only got half the facts to start with, and it was a bit hard to know what knowledge you have about roasting and the coffee business.  I think baby steps are the best approach, start out small, building up your knowledge.

I couldn't expect to get positive feedback if I wanted to be a pro surfer having only been surfing 10 times.  Most people would tell me I'm mad, BUT if you have the motivation, and the deep desire to do it, go for it!  No one is stopping you, the comments above are more of a reality check! :)

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« Reply #16 on: 30/03/2013, 10:38 PM »

Get rid of those people who are jealous. or who seek to stand in your way, shut them out immediately.  Never
argue with losers, don't listen to losers and don't waste time with losers.


What if you are considered a loser by others?


What if you have knowledge to share and wisdom to offer?



not saying that is the case, just a couple  thoughts to ponder - they are not mutually exclusive

Incidentally, I appreciate your threads. Trolls can be good at times.
"There is never interpretation, understanding and knowledge when there is no interest,"
Edward Said

Fresh Coffee

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« Reply #17 on: 30/03/2013, 10:49 PM »
I didnt see any negative feedback and as the penultimate post says, what I saw was reality check.

My company has been in the fortunate position to give people a go on several occasions, when they came round with their CV's and asked for a job when there was none advertised. We respect that, and if we see an oppportunity that goes both ways and can make some room for someone new, we take that opportunity.

Also and because you didnt give your background earlier, while you seem to think the idea of pounding the footpath looking for a job in coffee industry is a waste of time, now that I know you are working as a coffee machine tech I think it is advantageous to you when knocking on professional coffee roastery doors.  If you knocked on my door looking for A job, you would be a very very serious contender even without any positon advertised, because of your related trade...

I know Will N and he has been selling equipment for some years. You mentioned that you thought the price for a 5 kilo Turkish roaster was a little high, and I merely informed that they are bottom end roasters. From there the price only goes up. Peter W can suggest better roasters, and the price will be higher. Note, people that sell and commission coffee roasters dont hold your hand and teach you how to roast coffee. All they show you to do, briefly, is how to operate the equipment. Equipment operation and expertise in coffee roasting are two different things.

Another reality check here. There is nothing stopping you from "affiliating" yourself with a commercial professional coffee roasting business and offering their / your product to your clients. Whether you do it that way or roast it yourself, you can expect that once other roasters cotton on that while you are servicing their clients equipment you are also recommending another coffee supply, the referred work from them will dry up. Its a risk you take either way.

Also, think on the capital investment required to start up in roasting, and calculate what kind of turnover will be required to eventaully get your money back, and I think you may find it is a lot easier to become an agent for a professional roasters brand OR, have coffee packaged for you under your name and forget going into your own roasting where you have no professional expertise and will take considerable time to pay back the investment if ever in this market.

This is not negativity, its reality, and when you ask for advice, you have to be prepared for whatever replies the wind blows in.

Good luck in whatever you decide, you have chosen a very tricky industry to become involved in at this time, and I dont see why anyone would think there is any natural progression from repairing coffee machines, to coffee roasting. If you like the idea that is a different story, but there is no progression from one to the other that I can see.

Please do not mistake blunt honesty for negativity. You ask the question, presumably you want straight replies.

Hope that helps.
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« Reply #18 on: 30/03/2013, 11:25 PM »
A reality check is wise advice and in many respects priceless. Could have done with a few of them myself at various points when mistakes were made except nobody was offering that sort of ***negativity***.

Beyond the roasting platform you need to look at factories, pallet racking, forklifts, pollution controls, ventilation, food safety compliance, packing machines and the list goes on and on - or you can strike a deal with a good roaster and have a quality product in your own label being offered to your customers in weeks instead of months and years and use the $300k to promote and manage your customer growth instead of risking product quality.

That is what business advisers do - recommend solutions to specific requirements. Principles can be applied across just about any industry with the right sort of parameters and variables.



Steve_01

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« Reply #19 on: 31/03/2013, 02:16 AM »
Okay. thank you very much to everyone for their input.
I would like to take up a few points. 
Firstly, my comment about losers and getting rid of them, wasn't meant to be aimed
at anyone here in particular.  It was meant more as a general remark, having had certain
problems with a few certain people in the past.  I was friends with someone for 2 years, then they
suddenly betrayed me when i wasn't expecting it.  Shit happens, que sera sera.   
Coffee....if i sell a few bags of coffee to a few people, i might not make much money.  But if that
person or persons is a regular customer, they might well remember me the next time they are
looking to buy a coffee machine or buy some product.  Then more cash starts to flow. 
Someone here raised a point about having somebody else roast the coffee, then i could simply
promote that brand under my company name.   
Good point, i already thought about doing that.  Had actually considered doing it with the Chai tea
instead.  Send me a message and let me know if anyone on this forum makes a nice chai tea powder.   
And thank you to everyone for being positive after all, and not making me feel like i am going to lose
before i even start. 

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« Reply #20 on: 31/03/2013, 02:32 AM »
By the way Jeff,
I bought a large house with a large yard and a double garage.  So i would have the space to do this,
without the need for a shop or a factory.  So if my venture did fail for any reason, i still have the house to live in.  I am not paying rent for a shop, not paying rent for a factory, and i am not trying to raise $300k. 
Plus my wife works to, and i don't have any kids.  So this helps to keep the expenses down a bit. 

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« Reply #21 on: 31/03/2013, 08:56 AM »
Hi Steve

Check local council regs before you set up a big roaster in your shed, just in case there are some guidelines you need to follow. Maybe consider an afterburner too as the chaff might annoy the neighbours.

If I was in this position I would look into contract roasting as you have mentioned, then if proven successful learn to roast. It can be time consuming and I would not want to see you burn yourself out for a few dollars.

Peter Wolff is a very helpful guy and also sells/installs roasters and can help you. Would probably do a package with training too I assume. Nice guy and helpful, but won't tolerate tyre kickers too much.

Hope this helps
FYI I think most of the info on this forum is really helpful even if it comes across as being negative. There are some wise people posting great advise and that is hard to come by for the price of admission  :thumb:
Happiness is not a destination
It is a way of life
and a good coffee of course

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« Reply #22 on: 31/03/2013, 09:01 AM »
The prices you quoted for coffee roasting machihnes were for the roasting machine assembly only. If you start using a 5 kilo machine in your garage in a suburban area, and the neighbours WILL complain when you fill the area with acrid black smoke from the roasting process, the EPA and various other bodies will land on your doorstep and advise you to either, STOP conducting commercial operations in a non industrial area OR, tell you to fit an afterburner to clean up the smoke hazard. The afterburner may cost as much as the roaster or if not, a signficant percentage of the original price of the roaster.

Take note of Jeff's advice....there is a lot more to running a coffee roasting business, than the act of "Coffee Roasting" per se, and this is what most people forget OR dont realise when they are thinking on going into it.

http://www.beanroasters.com.au

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53 coffee awards 2016; 35 coffee awards 2015.

Importer of BFC espresso machines in Australia

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« Reply #23 on: 31/03/2013, 04:33 PM »
Some good points noted.
I shall give Peter Wolff a call, and see what he has to say before advancing any further.
Many thanks to all for the input.   

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« Reply #24 on: 31/03/2013, 05:08 PM »
Steve - regarding the Chai Latte question

As My Cuppa for a sample as lots of Crema members have sampled it and given his offering the thumbs up  :thumb:

KK
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