If you’re interested in starting a coffee roasting business, there’s a lot you don’t need. You don’t need many employees; you don’t need a storefront; you don’t even need a wealth of experience. These are all reasons that starting a coffee roasting business can be a fun and profitable venture. But there is one thing you’ll undoubtedly need: a good roasting machine. Here are some tips on picking one out.
- Small Batch Coffee Roasters
If you’re just getting started, it’s best to stick to a small batch roaster. This cuts down on your initial investment (dropping a price tag of say $20,000 to the neighborhood of $5,000) and allows you to experiment and perfect your roasting process. And since beans are best when they’re ground and brewed as soon as possible after roasting, you’ll be able to sell small batches while they’re still fresh.
There’s also an appeal to consumers if you can say you’re using an artisan coffee roaster. All types of buyers are seeing the value of food that is produced under close supervision and in low volumes, so you can work your approach into your marketing strategy.
- Drum Vs. Fluid Bed Coffee Roaster Machines
There are two basic types of coffee roasters, though the goal of both of them is to keep the beans moving around above the heat source so that they roast evenly. The first is a drum roaster, which tumbles the beans in a drum (think about how your dryer works).
The second kind, fluid bed coffee roasters, work in a manner somewhat similar to a hot-air popcorn popper; superheated air is forced through a screen, which causes the beans to lift and tumble on their own. This can provide a more even roast, and also prevents chaff and broken beans from burning (as they often do in drum roasters) and adding an unpleasant aftertaste to the beans.
- New and Used Roasting Machines
While it’s possible to buy used machines, it’s best to invest in a new one if you can. There are several reasons for this. First of all, buying directly from a coffee roaster manufacturer ups the likelihood that you’ll be able to get replacement parts as needed without having to hunt down older designs. And second, the technology has advanced rapidly in the last five to 10 years, so by buying new you’ll get a better product for a price that’s not too much higher.
Would you be willing to invest a few thousand dollars in a fluid bed coffee roaster? Ask questions and share advice, if you have some experience, in the comments.