How to Choose a Coffee Roaster Machine

Roaster

Don't buy a coffee roaster without doing your homework. You've been warned.
Many people ignore the homework and are also fearless enough to buy USED coffee equipment.
But buying a used roaster is not the same as buying a used stove or refrigerator.
The comparison could be made, that you are basically trying to install a high temperature propane or gas BBQ grill or the equivalent of a metal forge, but INDOORS!
In other words, if you don't do things properly the roaster can kill by noxious fumes or simply by burning down everything in sight.
So all this being said, your “buying a used coffee roaster machine” checklist should include the following:

  1. Find out if local bylaws even allow you to install a coffee roaster machine at your location.
  2. If you are buying an electric coffee roaster, you may have to upgrade your electrical panel.  If you don't know what this entails then ASK an electrician!
  3. The same goes for gas coffee roasters. Does your location have a gas line? Is that gas line big enough!? If not, do you need to tear up the sidewalk or road (at your cost of course)?  Ask a Gas fitter !!
  4. Even if the power or gas at your location is adequate, your problems could be just beginning. Do you know what kind of venting you need to handle the toxic and hot exhaust fumes?  And no, it's not like venting a clothes dryer, (which by the way, if you don't do it properly even a clothes dryer can kill you or burn your house down)!  Ask someone who has installed coffee roasters before.
  5. Once you understand what's needed to handle the exhaust, you now have to deal with the particulates and volatile organic compounds in the exhaust. Ask someone at city hall !

Believe it or not, there are many people who have skipped the above steps and just went ahead and bought their used coffee roaster machine. 

Some of those people got lucky and haven’t had any issues. Others have been less fortunate and ended up spending much, much more money than they originally expected. In other words, that used coffee roaster machine wasn’t such a good deal after all.
One final note:

Buying a roaster and saying you are going to learn how to roast coffee on the job is a lot like saying you are going to buying a Ferrari and saying your going to start your career as a professional race car driver.  Having the car isn't enough.  You need training.  The same goes for coffee roasting. 

But, if you still insist on ignoring all of this advice and want to take your chances, then at least consider this.
If the roaster catches on fire... what's the first thing you should do?

  1. Go to your office and catch your breath, maybe pour yourself a scotch?
  2. Take a few minutes and call your insurance agent and ask "am I covered for fire?"
  3. Play a game or two of fruit ninja?
  4. Reach for the fire extinguisher !

If you answered number four, “reach for the fire extinguisher”, congratulations! You possibly burned your place down assuming of course that you didn't consider installing a sprinkler system either.

The correct answer is to call a roasting consultant. And call a lawyer. 

If you have made down this far into this post, and have committed to all of the above, here is a list of roasting equipment and dealers to consider: 

Small-ish Roasters:

  • Aillio Ltd.,Taipei City, Taiwan (Bullet Coffee Roaster)
  • Arc Coffee Roaster, Showroom Coffee, Brooklyn, New York, USA
  • Cormorant Roasters, Killigarth, Polperro, United Kingdom
  • Huky Coffee Roaster, manufactured by Kuanho Li in Taiwan
  • Kaldi Coffee Roaster, Seoul, Republic of Korea
  • Quest Coffee Roaster, Taiwan

By the way, does your location, inspector and municipality require your coffee roaster to be CSA approved? Sometimes the answer is “yes” and sometimes it’s “no”! Surprisingly, there is no consistent response to this question in our great country from coast to coast to coast. Ask around. See if it's expected because most, if not all, of the roasting equipment dealers on the list above do not get their coffee roasters CSA approved before shipping to you in Canada.



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