What's inside this buyer's guide
- Types of commercial coffee roasters
- Commercial coffee roaster size and capacity
- Things to consider before purchase
- Best commercial coffee roasters
- Frequently asked questions
- Commercial coffee roaster glossary
- Keep your cash, use ours!
Welcome to the world of commercial coffee roasting, where precision, passion, and the right equipment blend together to create the perfect cup of joe.
Whether you're a café owner, a coffee enthusiast, or an entrepreneur stepping into the coffee industry, understanding commercial coffee roasters is your first step toward brewing success.
In this guide, we'll explore the different types of roasters, the key factors to consider when investing in one, and the leading brands that are shaping the industry.
Remember, a commercial coffee roaster isn't just a piece of equipment; it's the heart of your coffee business.
So, let's embark on this journey to discover the machine that will help you unlock the full potential of those magical coffee beans.
Types of commercial coffee roasters
The structural design of a commercial coffee roaster is a key factor in its categorization.
Below, we delve into a few types, each with its unique advantages and disadvantages to consider before making a decision.
Classic drum roasters
This design is a classic, featuring a drum that spins over a flame powered by gas. It's commonly seen in roasters with smaller capacities.
A fan draws hot air from the burner, through the drum, and out of the roaster.
Traditional drum roasters are known for their reliability, but they can sometimes generate excessive heat during roasting.
This is often due to the use of single-walled drums, which may be thin and heat up excessively.
Another cause of overheating can be insufficient separation between the drum and burner.
Despite these issues, traditional drum roasters excel in thermal stability.
However, they respond to gas changes more slowly. If you're considering this type, opt for a double-walled drum and a burner with suitable energy ratings (BTU/hr or kJ/hr).
This design is versatile, with capacities ranging from sample to industrial-sized roasters.
It's an excellent choice for a café starting in-house roasting or a roaster looking to upgrade.
These roasters use an indirect heating method, where the drum and chamber sections are separate.
Hot air from the burner is channeled through the drum, keeping the drum surface cooler as it's not in direct contact with the flames.
However, compared to traditional drum roasters, indirect heat roasters are more challenging to control and require skilled airflow management for optimal performance.
This type is ideal for novice coffee roasters and/or cafés, much like the traditional drum roaster.
In these roasters, a portion of the heated roasting air is recycled back into the roasting chamber via the burner.
Recirculating roasters are recognized for their energy efficiency.
However, reusing the roasting air can risk contaminating the beans with unwanted smoky or polluted flavors.
To mitigate this, the air is heated to high temperatures similar to those in the afterburner unit before recirculation.
This process purifies the air of any elements that could spoil the bean's flavor, and this clean air is then reintroduced into the chamber for effective roasting.
These are typically found in industrial sizes and are suitable for established industrial coffee roasters seeking an upgrade.
However, smaller to mid-size options are also available, making them a viable choice for cafés.
Fluid-bed roasters achieve an even roast by using a bed of hot air that keeps the coffee beans floating and circulating.
One of the significant benefits of fluid-bed roasters is their ability to develop the beans in a relatively shorter time.
In theory, fluid-bed roasters have no drawbacks.
However, in practice, these roasters are often seen as too simplistic to fully realize the roaster's potential.
Despite this, their usefulness and popularity appear to be growing.
This type is an excellent choice for cafés with limited space as they take up less room compared to drum roasters.
You must identify the flavor profile you aim to create, as different machines yield different results.
Commercial coffee roaster size and capacity
The capacity of a commercial coffee roaster is a key factor in differentiating the various models.
Sample roasters (50g to 500g)
Sample roasters are primarily used to evaluate the characteristics of a batch of beans under roasting conditions.
It's vital to understand these characteristics before purchasing large quantities of that particular batch.
Small batch roaster (1kg to 3kg)
This type is an excellent choice for cafés considering in-house roasting and is also favored by micro-roasters.
However, while the batch size is convenient, the consistency of producing quality batches tends to decrease as the number of batches roasted increases over time.
This type is a good starting point for roasting your beans, but consider upgrading to a higher-capacity roaster in the near future to keep up with the demand without compromising the quality.
Small commercial roasters (5kg to 15kg)
Small commercial coffee roasters are versatile and efficient.
They can handle tasks ranging from profiling small quantities of beans to producing larger quantities to meet regular demand.
However, increasing the volume of roasted beans to the highest limit will lead to a significant rise in maintenance expenses.
Medium commercial roasters (15kg to 30kg)
Medium commercial coffee roaster machines are suitable for roasters seeking to upgrade their current setup to accommodate growing demand.
Often, when upgrading to a larger size, the smaller roaster is sold to manage cash flow.
Experienced roasters advise against this, as having a backup roaster is a valuable safety net in case the larger one breaks down.
Large commercial roaster (30kg to 70kg)
Moving up to a large commercial coffee bean roaster machine marks the transition to a larger setup.
These industrial coffee roasters are typically found in large-scale commercial operations.
Budgeting becomes critical as expenses scale up.
Thorough planning, including considerations for space, gas mains capacity, electricity, and other factors, must be done before installation.
Extra-large commercial roaster (70kg and up)
The final category based on capacity is the extra-large industrial coffee roaster.
These roasters, used for mass-roasting coffee beans are impressive in size and structure.
These commercial coffee roaster machines typically require a dedicated team of trained personnel for operation.
Depending on their size, they require about 150-200 square feet of floor space for installation and can weigh over 4000 pounds.
Things to consider before purchase
When choosing a commercial coffee roaster, several factors come into play.
You must identify the flavor profile you aim to create, as different machines yield different results.
Understanding your current and future demand is crucial to determine the roaster's capacity.
Considerations like available space and budget will further guide your choice of the perfect roaster.
Select the right utility
Commercial coffee roasters can use either gas or electricity to power the roasting process.
Both types work efficiently and can deliver the expected results.
The primary difference between the two lies in the fact that the gas roasters are more responsive to temperature changes compared to the electrical ones.
Electric roasters take more time to respond to any temperature changes and typically have a higher upfront cost.
However, they are more energy efficient and offer great flexibility in placement as you don’t need a fixed gas connection and there’s little to no emission.
On the other hand, gas roasters are comparatively cheaper and provide more precise control due to quick responsiveness to temperature changes.
They are more powerful but not as energy efficient and you will probably need a permit, plus a dedicated gas line to install one.
Installing a commercial coffee roaster machine require careful planning and coordination, from pre-installation to post-installation.
Always consult with the manufacturer before ordering, as they often require pre-installation preparations months in advance.
Consider the roaster's footprint and its placement for efficient workflow and safety during operation.
Ensure a safe workspace, considering the high temperatures and by-products produced by commercial roasters.
Electrical points and plumbing
Roasters require gas, electricity, and sometimes water for cooling drums, necessitating proper electrical and plumbing setups.
Piping and exhausts
Compliance with local guidelines for piping and exhaust installation is crucial, including the proper treatment of smoke and other volatiles.
Commercial coffee roasting is an energy-intensive operation.
Traditional models like classic drum coffee bean roasters may consume more energy than their modern counterparts.
It's crucial to evaluate the energy efficiency of a roaster before making a decision, as it can impact long-term costs.
Creating a safe, regulation-compliant environment is essential for commercial coffee roasting.
The process can expose workers to various hazards and by-products, including high temperatures, green beans (which can sometimes cause respiratory issues), and volatile emissions like CO, CO2, VOCs, etc.
Ensure the roaster you're considering has safety features such as afterburners to eliminate harmful by-products.
Additional safety measures like proper ventilation, dust monitoring, protective gear, and regular machine maintenance enhance overall safety.
A well-equipped first-aid kit, fire extinguishers, efficient workspace design, clearly marked emergency exits, and regular safety drills contribute to a safe and productive roasting process.
A user-friendly, well-designed interface is crucial when choosing a commercial coffee roaster.
Roasting experts spend a significant time monitoring the roasting process through the interface, so a clear display with an intuitive user interface is key to ensuring a quality roast.
Reliability and aesthetics
Commercial coffee bean roaster machines with fewer parts, robust construction, and less tech are often seen as more reliable and durable.
However, modern, tech-rich coffee roasters have also proven their worth by simplifying the roasting process and delivering consistent results.
Consult with roasters who have experience with various brands and models for insights on reliability and performance.
For cafés, the aesthetic appeal of a roaster is also important as it contributes to the décor.
Consider how the roaster's design will impact the space, depending on its placement.
The charm of an old, rustic roaster will differ from the appeal of a sleek, modern one.
Best commercial coffee roasters
Probat, a German company established in the 19th century, has a rich history of producing high-quality commercial coffee bean roasters.
Known for their blend of traditional craftsmanship and innovative engineering, Probat has become a trusted name in the coffee industry.
Their roasters are celebrated for their durability, reliability, and exceptional performance, making them a preferred choice for coffee professionals worldwide.
Probat has pioneered several new technologies in commercial coffee roasting, including their unique drum roasting method and partial recirculation system.
These innovations not only enhance the roasting process but also significantly reduce energy consumption, making Probat's roasters both efficient and environmentally friendly.
Probat offers a range of popular models, including the P60 Drum Roaster, the Px 120 Drum Roaster, and the Neptune Drum Roaster series.
The P60 is known for its specially developed shovel mechanisms and surface burner, making it ideal for larger in-shop roasters and smaller industrial coffee bean roasting facilities.
The Px 120 stands out for its extended batch size range, optimized drum geometry, and increased cooling performance.
The Neptune series offers flexibility to develop any aroma, from light to very intense, catering to a wide range of roasting needs.
Diedrich Roasters, a U.S.-based enterprise, has carved a niche for itself in the coffee roasting sector over several decades.
The firm's reputation for quality, innovation, and exceptional customer service is well-known.
Diedrich's roasters are handcrafted and designed to deliver consistent, high-quality results.
Diedrich is recognized for its advanced roasting technology.
The company's roasters are equipped with state-of-the-art features that allow for precise control over the roasting process.
One of their notable innovations is the patented infrared burner, which provides superior heat control and stability, enabling roasters to achieve the desired flavor profiles consistently.
From small cafés to large commercial operations, Diedrich caters to a wide spectrum of roasting needs.
Some of the most popular Diedrich commercial coffee roaster machines include models from the IR series and the CR series.
Available in a range of sizes, the IR series roasters are equipped with Diedrich's infrared technology, offering unparalleled control over the roasting process.
CR-140 and the top-of-the-range industrial coffee roaster CR-280 are efficient solutions for large operations.
Giesen Coffee Roasters, a brand from the Netherlands, has been a significant player in the commercial coffee roaster industry for many years.
Their commercial coffee roaster machines blend top-notch performance with a user-friendly interface.
Giesen is known for its innovative approach to coffee roasting, and the company has developed a number of patented technologies that have revolutionized the coffee industry.
One of Giesen's most notable innovations is the Giesen Profiler.
The Giesen Profiler is a software program that allows coffee roasters to record and replay their roasting profiles.
This allows roasters to experiment with different roasting parameters and find the perfect roast for each coffee bean.
The Giesen Profiler has been praised by coffee professionals for its ease of use and its ability to help roasters achieve consistent results.
The W6 series coffee roasters from Giesen are popular in the USA.
A compact footprint and the flexibility to choose from an automatic, electric, or gas variant, plus commendable efficiency make it a preferred choice.
The fully-automatic roasters from the W-60 series and W-140 series are popular in larger operations.
These roasters combine the latest technology and offer maximum control.
Loring Smart Roast
Loring Smart Roast, a U.S.-based company, has been a trailblazer in the coffee roasting industry.
The company was founded in 2009 by Loring Balbach, who set out to create a more efficient and environmentally friendly coffee roaster that produced great-tasting coffee.
Loring Smart Roast is renowned for its advanced roasting technology.
Their roasters are designed with a responsive burner system and fast-reacting thermocouples for ensuring the exact roast profile.
This unique thermodynamic property allows roasters to deliver coffee beans with unparalleled flavor.
Furthermore, they come with integrated touchscreen control that allows effortless exploration of burner settings, bean drop and discharge, and roast profile tracking with real-time feedback.
Loring Smart Roast offers a range of popular models, including the S7 Nighthawk and the S15 Falcon.
These roasters are celebrated for their batch flexibility, allowing roasters to roast anywhere between 20%-100% of batch capacity with consistent results.
The model S70 Peregrine, in particular, can roast up to 70 kg of coffee in a single batch, offering considerable capabilities for large-volume roasting needs.
Joper Roasters, a family-owned business, was founded in 1962 by João Rodrigues Pereira.
Joper is recognized globally for its commitment to developing and producing high-quality equipment for the coffee and food industry, with a strong presence in various countries around the world.
Joper sets itself apart through its traditional handcrafting techniques, quality assurance, and the application of the best technology.
The company prides itself on its original designs and the use of durable materials that offer the best, long-term service for limited maintenance.
Joper's roasters are customizable, offering options for different colors, logo placements, and more.
In the USA, Joper's popular models include the Joper Roaster CRM-30 and CRM-60.
These models are known for their indirect airflow roasting system, quick cooling, and impeccable reputation for reliability and consistency.
The CRS-120 industrial coffee roaster from the brand with 480kg output per hour, is a trusted solution.
The BSR series roasters in different capacities are a preferred choice for roast masters' focused on artisanal quality.
Frequently asked questions
What sets a commercial coffee bean roaster apart from home-use models?
Commercial coffee bean roasters are designed for large-scale operations and offer a level of precision and control that sets them apart from home-use models.
They are engineered to handle larger quantities of beans, often in the range of several kilograms per batch, compared to the few hundred grams typically accommodated by home roasters.
Commercial roasters also feature advanced technology that allows for precise control over the roasting process, enabling the creation of a wide array of flavor profiles.
In contrast, home-use models are designed for simplicity and ease of use, with a focus on convenience rather than large-scale production.
How much does a commercial coffee roaster cost?
Commercial coffee roasters can vary greatly in price, depending on their size, features, and brand.
On the lower end, smaller roasters suitable for cafes or small businesses can start from around $3,000.
Mid-range roasters, which are often used by larger cafes and small to medium roasting companies, can range from $5,000 to $30,000.
High-capacity commercial roasters used by large-scale roasting operations can cost upwards of $50,000, with some models even reaching into the $100,000 range.
It's important to note that these are approximate figures and actual prices can vary based on the specific model and any additional features or customizations.
How to roast coffee beans commercially?
To roast coffee beans commercially, you will need a commercial coffee bean roaster, green coffee beans of your choice, and a few other tools.
In brief, the process is:
- Prepare the green coffee beans.
- Load the coffee beans into the roaster.
- Monitor the temperature and roast time.
- Listen for the first and second cracks.
- Cool the roasted coffee beans.
- Package the roasted coffee beans.
The roasting time will change according to the type of coffee bean and the expected roast level.
Once the coffee beans are roasted, they should be cooled quickly.
The roasted coffee beans can then be packaged for sale.
Commercial coffee roaster glossary
This is a thermometer, shaped like a probe, used to continuously track the temperature of the beans during the roasting process.
It is placed amidst the beans for real-time monitoring.
Chaff refers to the thin, paper-like skin that is attached to green beans.
It is removed during roasting as it is not desirable.
The bits of dried-out silvery skin that are either ruptured or burnt away are known as chaff.
Commercial coffee bean roasters typically use cyclone separators to collect the chaff in a metal bin for disposal.
The term 'charge' refers to the preheating of all roasting equipment before the green coffee beans are introduced into the machine.
This is the final stage of the roasting process, which takes place after the beans have been moved to the cooling tray.
The beans are cooled rapidly by circulating cool air and spinning the tray.
A cyclone separator is used in the roaster's exhaust system to remove unwanted particles like chaff.
The exhaust from the cyclone separator is typically sent to an incinerator to burn off the smoke.
A roaster with a thermal oxidizer (incinerator) and cyclone separator is considered to have cleaner emissions, free of smoke and particles.
Degassing is the process where freshly roasted beans rapidly release carbon dioxide.
In most commercial coffee bean roasting processes, the freshly roasted beans are left alone for up to 24 hours to degas.
After degassing, the quality assessment process begins.
A destoner is a pneumatic machine used to remove unwanted foreign materials, such as stones, glass, and metal objects, which may be found with green coffee beans.
These materials need to be removed to prevent damage to the coffee roasters' components.
Direct Flame Heater
A direct flame heater uses gas as the main fuel.
The gas is used in combination with a direct flame to heat the drum that roasts the coffee beans.
In a drum roaster, the beans are agitated by a large rotating unit/container.
This ensures even heat distribution for a uniform roast.
Drum roasters are considered a standard for commercial-scale roasting.
Fluid Bed Roaster/ Air Roaster
In a fluid bed roaster, hot air is forced through and around the beans to start the roasting process.
These roasters are commonly found in home roasting and small-scale commercial roasting setups.
An infrared heater is one of the methods used to heat a drum for roasting coffee beans.
It uses infrared waves instead of electric coils or a flame.
A moisture analyzer is a device that measures the moisture content of unroasted beans.
The readings from this device help to prevent the beans from being spoiled or under-roasted during the roasting process.
Pyrolysis is a step in coffee roasting where the beans are heated to a high temperature resulting in chemical changes that alter the flavor and aromatics of the beans.
The beans also change color to a medium brown and lose up to 13% of their weight.
Roast profiling involves recording temperatures, monitoring the duration of various roast stages, and other variables during the roasting process.
This is done to document patterns, tests, and results for consistent output.
RoR (Rate of Rising)
RoR refers to the rate at which the temperature of the beans increases per minute at any point during a roast.
This data is continuously monitored throughout the roast and plotted on a graph to create a Roast Curve.
A roast master will always aim to monitor the RoR to achieve an ideal and predetermined roast curve to deliver a batch with the required profile.
Keep your cash, use ours!
Hospitality equipment can be expensive and paying for it outright can put pressure on your business’s cash flow.
Our finance solutions allow you to get the equipment you want now and to pay for it in small, regular amounts out of the revenue it helps generates.
Rent–Try–Buy® not only helps you maintain your cash flow, it also gives you unrivaled flexibility to adapt your equipment to the changing needs of your business.
You can upgrade or buy the equipment at any time or, after 12 months, return or continue renting it.
If you decide to buy the equipment, we’ll give you back 60% of the net rent you paid in the first year and 20% of any rental payments thereafter — to put toward the purchase price.