The advantage of investing in small batch roasters is that they will not cost you an arm and leg like larger-capacity roasters. Typically, larger capacity roasters will cost you anywhere between $2000 and $15,000 while small batch roasters cost much less. You can find roaster machines that range from anywhere as low as $50 to as high as $2000. The cost takes into consideration factors, such as automation (manual or automatic), capacity, and quality.
Available Space and Ventilation Requirements
The issue of space for small batch roasting is still important. After all, space can very much affect the roasting experience. Nonetheless, it shouldn't be too much of a concern compared to large-batch roasting. Unlike large drum-style roasters, small batch roasters (about 1-2kg) capacity is ideal for small businesses and small roasting needs.
They don't take up as much space as the large floor drum roasters. They come in different sizes and designs you can fit on the tabletop or shelf. You can also opt for gas stove top options if you have enough staff to man the roasting process on a stovetop.
As you are choosing your machine, however, you have to also remember your conditions. A roastery has several needs including an effective ventilation system and storage space for green and freshly roasted coffee beans.
Sure, the intoxicating aroma of freshly roasted coffee beans is sure to draw in coffee lovers. But, you have to think of the backend part too. This includes the increased smoke created during the roasting process. You want to design a properly equipped ventilation system to boost airflow and eliminate the risk of high-temperature accumulation and fire hazards.
Further, coffee roasters can be loud – even those with "noise-canceling features". Take into account the type of space you have when investing in a machine. Also, consider an interior design that limits noise pollution, especially if you are running a café or coffee shop.
Note: While small batch roasters churn out small quantities of coffee at a time, they also come with their perks. Compared to drum roasters, they have a shorter roasting time and are more energy efficient. Plus, they make for perfect options for small cafes or roasteries.
Desired Level of Automation
Different roasters will pack a variety of features intended to boost your roasting experience. It’s a good idea to pay attention to the features and pick what works best for you. For instance, a good roaster features flame controlling and airflow abilities to ensure even roasting and quality maintenance.
Other useful automated features include low-pressure alarms, gas leak detectors, flame failure detectors, and safe shutdown. Individual roasters will also come with their proprietary automated features to help them stand out.
Overview of Recommended Devices and Their Features
In addition to the cost and size details, pay attention to the machine’s heating system. Coffee roasters generally feature radiant or convectional heating. Radiant heat-emitting machines produce heat that envelops the beans, like an oven.
This heating method allows beans to trap moisture. Convectional heating machines, on the other hand, produce hot air that passes above the beans to trigger rapid spinning. This type of heating is ideal for roasters that want to preserve as much caffeine as possible. The good news is that you can always find coffee roasters that offer both styles of heating.
Advantages of Owning a Coffee Roaster Machine
If you are rethinking a coffee roaster machine investment, here are its benefits to motivate you;
- Quality control: Since you are roasting beans in-house, you can guarantee freshness and quality control for every batch you sell and/or cup you brew
- Creativity freedom: Roasting your own coffee gives you creative freedom. You can put together the blends you want and experiment with different beans to achieve the ideal flavors. Customers can sample different blends that you freshly craft in-house. You can even craft blends based on customer suggestions and preferences.
- Cost-cutting: It is cheaper to purchase green coffee beans in bulk and roast them yourself compared to pre-roasted beans. In fact, if you can bridge your connection with farmers and producers, you eliminate the middleman. This way you foster long lasting relationships while saving significantly. Moreover, you will be selling transparent and traceable coffee – adding more appeal to your brand. Plus, based on the superiority of the beans and blends your craft, you can mark up your prices without chasing away customers. It’s a win-win situation – you get delicious and fresh coffee plus a reasonable profit!
Disadvantages to Consider Before Purchasing a Machine
As with any other man-made product, there are disadvantages to purchasing a machine worth noting. Knowing about the drawbacks of this investment will help you make a more informed decision.
- Expensive investment: While a small batch coffee roaster machine is affordable, setting up infrastructure is highly costly. You have to think about a lineup of other ad hoc costs. These include the improvement of your infrastructure, such as designing a separate roasting space, ventilation system, and cooling equipment, among others. Plus you have to invest in more physical space for the roasting. You also need to invest in roasting and safety training for your staff. These costs far exceed what you will pay for the machine alone.
- Safety hazards: Coffee roasting yields a beautiful aroma around. But, the actual process can be intense. You get smoke and high temperatures, among others. Making the smallest mistakes can pose hazardous risks of fires, intense smoke, or serious staff injury.
- Diverting focus: Roasting can seem appealing. But, it comes with its fair share of work. This is particularly true if you already run a café or coffee shop. You have to consider quality control, and storage measures (make sure the coffee doesn't go bad, keep pests away, maintain particular environmental conditions, etc.). With so much that goes into the roasting process alone, it can slightly distract the core parts of your business. If you hire more staff, that's an extra cost to your operating budget.
Tips for Using a Coffee Roasting Machine
Follow these tips for the best and most sustainable coffee roasting experience;
Proper Cleaning and Maintenance
A coffee roaster machine is pretty sensitive and as such, it requires more attention than your regular appliance. A roaster requires regular cleaning (at least after each roasting session). Ideally, you want to follow the manufacturer’s guidelines for cleaning your particular roaster machine.
Additionally, make sure you give it a good wipe at least once every week. During roasting, if you notice beans or other debris going to the wrong place, ensure you clean it up immediately. Doing so will help prolong the longevity of your machine.
Roasting Techniques to Achieve Desired Flavor Profiles
Ultimately, to achieve the desired flavor profiles, you want to know factors that actively contribute to coffee roasting. A good factor to consider example is time. Experimenting with time will have you achieve the profiles you want.
For instance, if you want to taste the true fruity notes of each bean you roast, a shorter roasting time is ideal. This produces a lighter roast. On the other hand, if you want bolder fruity, chocolatey, and nutty flavors to your coffee, a longer roasting time to achieve dark roasts is essential.
Best Practices for Storing Roasted Coffee
No matter the size or use, roasted coffee requires certain storage standards. This ensures your coffee remains fresh for longer without possible mold build up or fungal activity. Before storage, ensure you properly cool and degas the coffee. Roasted coffee should be stored in an airtight container or package with zero contact with oxygen, light, heat, or moisture.
With the right small batch coffee roaster machine, you can easily transform your coffee business. Whether running a small batch roaster or boutique café, roasting your own coffee gives you that creative edge. It’s also easy to build your brand and stand out by roasting the best tasting coffee. Along with being a coffee lover focused on quality tasting coffee, you will also save significantly as a business owner.