Connecting the Dots

Every step along the path from the farmer to the customer is important. Some will claim that one might be more important than the others. While they ARE all important, one step is the most ‘transformative’ and that is the roasting process. Roasting can add flavors and take them away. If you screw up roasting, the best barista can’t fix it.

Roasting professionals make tons of choices when deciding what equipment to use as well as how to roast a particular coffee. Often the second decision influences the first and vice versa. Let’s look at the key questions and factors in designing and implementing a roasting plant.

First: What kind of roaster do you want to be when you grow up? Different volumes require different choices.

Second: How do you plan to source coffee? If you are just buying from local importers you will have a different cupping room and QA department vs. those doing direct importing. This may include sample roasting.

Third: Where will you locate? There are needs to have retail traffic for a roaster/retailer that may work against a company primarily driven by wholesaling coffee to others. What kind of roasting you can do (if any) will be determined by the zoning departments of your city and county.

Fourth: Are you the type to ‘feel’ the roast and trust the art or do you prefer computer-based accuracy when matching profiles?

Fifth: Do you have the budget to do it right the first time or to grow when you need to? Many companies get stuck once they have grown because they have long leases in facilities that no longer meet the needs of the business.

If you have the answers to these questions, you can dive into the decisions about getting your roastery set up or expanding an existing one. Here are some helpful tips:

A)    Decide on how much control you want. Temp readings, air flow, data logger, automation and burner type.
B)    Factor in service record and operating cost.
C)    Size your roaster for about 50% growth.
D)    Size in appropriate smoke abatement via afterburner, scrubber, catalytic converter, or recirculation. Other countries use other interesting devices that may not work in the US.

Other plant equipment:
A)    Green coffee loaders, de-stoners, cleaners, and storage bins need to be sized to meet production requirements and should be easily upgraded for future expansion.
B)    Conveyance systems move coffee from load-in through the roaster and out to packaging. Designing a flexible system that can grow with you is a good idea.
C)    Grinding equipment comes in different forms and sizes. Pick a unit that can keep up with your packaging line and not be the bottleneck. Also plan for ground coffee storage prior to packaging for a degassing period.
D)    Packaging can be as simple as a bucket, scoop and a floor sealer all the way up to a fully automated machine that requires little-to-no human interaction. A good system will be scalable and expandable to handle multiple packaging sizes and have options like nitrogen flushing, valve application etc.

Lab Equipment:
A)    A sample roaster can be a crucial tool for any roasting company. It is a tool that assists in the purchasing and acceptance of green coffee as well as a way to initiate roast profiles for coffees before heading to the production roaster.
B)    Color readers help a roaster to be more precise in their final products color both internal and external finished color.
C)    Cupping record systems bring a sense of history as well as quality control for roasting companies.  On the low end you put cupping notes in a paper file. On the high end you store electronic data in the cloud and share information with your production partners in the coffee growing regions.

Deciding on a space and layout of the plant can now be done once you made the decisions above. As with most businesses, location is important. In a manufacturing plant like a coffee roasting company the functional layout of the space is crucial for reduced operational costs, purchasing costs, and production efficiencies. This is true regardless of size of your company.

Being the middle of the supply chain and being the most transformative piece of the system means that it is important to choose equipment wisely. It is equally important to factor in size of plant for growth and the location to put your business.

Cablevey Conveyors Enclosed Tubular Coated Cable & Disc Conveyors
by Cablevey Conveyors | 641.673.8451
No Metal Shavings! 1-Piece Discs for Easy-to-Keep-Clean Material Processing. Strong, Reliable Conveying Machines for over 40 Years – Over 30,000 Conveyors Installed! Cablevey Conveyors continually demonstrates “best in class” conveyors with the least amount of damage, spillage, foreign material contamination or operating costs.
Cable & disc technology gently move products through an enclosed tube without the use of air. Systems can convey up to 1240 cubic feet (35 cubic meters) per hour.


Infinity Roast™
by Buhler Inc | 905.754.8389
Buhler’s InfinityRoastTM coffee roaster is leading the way into the future of coffee flavor creation. The InfinityRoastTM  assists in creating roasting profiles for customized flavor characteristics and physical bean properties. The roaster is designed with variable air-to-bean ratios and sets superior standards for safety, reliability and energy efficiency.


Shore’s New Model 935 Moisture Tester
by Shore Measuring Systems | 217.892.2544
The Shore Model 935 Moisture Tester provides a commercial grade moisture tester for coffee, tea and cocoa. Easy to use, the Model 935 features an integrated scale and printer as well as a touch-screen display. Moisture testing calibrations are included for a variety of coffee, tea and cocoa bean commodities.


The UpShot Single-Serve Filters
by Lbp Manufacturing Inc. | 800.545.6200
The UpShot Solution is a line of Eco-friendly, single-serve filters paired with a flexible production model that allows roasters to take advantage of the booming single-serve market. Made from 100% polypropylene, it is recyclable and is compatible with Keurig® and other single-serve brewers.


The E20-CP Analyzer
by Agtron, Inc. | 775.850.4600
The E20-CP and the M-Basic II are the finest instruments available designed specifically to address the special requirements associated with evaluating and quantifying the roast of whole bean and ground coffee.


PLI-VALV one way degassing valves
by PLITEK | 847.827.6680
One-way degassing valves (often called freshness valves, aroma valves, or coffee valves) are critical to maximizing coffee’s freshness by allowing freshly roasted coffee to degas in its packaging. PLITEK’s complete degassing solutions, PLI-VALV® one-way degassing valves and valve applicators are the most efficient, reliable, and cost effective solution for degassing freshly roasted coffee in its packaging. For more information contact:


FLEXI-DISC® Tubular Cable Conveyor
by Flexicon Corporation | 610.814.2400
FLEXI-DISC® Tubular Cable Conveyors gently slide fragile green and roasted coffee through  stainless steel tubing, using polymer discs on stainless steel cable. The system can have single or multiple inlets and outlets, and convey over short or long distances. Offered as stand-alone systems or fully integrated with existing equipment.


The Diedrich Family of Roasters – from 1 kilo and sample roasters to 280 kilo roasters
by Diedrich Manufacturing, Inc | 208.263.1276
Diedrich Roasters, the only roaster made from the ground up in America, is the leading craft roasting solution for companies demanding a coffee roaster that delivers high quality, responsive control, clean taste, low fuel consumption, reliable consistency, and artisan sensibilities from a proven and tested manufacturing partner.


Nesco Home Coffee Bean Roaster
by The Metal Ware Corporation – Nesco | 800.624.2949
The Nesco Coffee Bean Roaster allows consumers to roast their own green beans controlling the roast darkness and time.  Designed for in home use, with a catalytic convertor to absorb odors,  this quality built, functional unit is a great addition to Coffee retailer’s product portfolios.


US Roaster Corp
by US Roaster Corp | 405.232.1223
US Roaster Corp provides a full line of services to the Industry.
Award winning High Efficiency roasters with lowest emissions and our Millennium models for every need.  Special models For Cacao and experience in roasting and grinding. Consulting and training for start up to complete plants. New Grinders, Rebuilt Equipment.


33 Cups of Coffee
by 33 Books Co. | 503.888.3532
33 Coffees is a coffee journal that provides an easy way to quickly record coffee tasting notes in a small, convenient notebook format. It’s perfect for coffee novices and pros alike. The flavor wheel included in 33 Coffees lets you record a coffee’s flavor in a unique, visual format.


Unbiased Scientific Analysis of Coffee Products
by Coffee Analysts | 800.375.3398
The true measure of any coffee program is the beverage quality: how does is taste?  Branding, promotion, and merchandising will capture the first sale, but only quality will keep your customers returning time after time. We do not sell coffee: we test coffee.  Our team specializes in the evaluation and improvement of coffee programs throughout the global coffee supply chain.


Loring Roasters–S15, S35, S70
by Loring Smart Roast | 707.526.7215
Highly consistent roasting regardless of weather and precision controls to guide the roast enable roastmasters to create & reproduce exceptional roasts at any time. Sustainable technology built into the roasting system for smoke abatement can save up to 80% in fuel costs over roasters that require an afterburner.


Flavors of all types for the beverage industry
by Beck Flavors | 314.878.7522
Beck Flavors is dedicated to providing our customers superior innovation, high quality flavors and world-class customer service and support. We continue to create a range of flavors for your beverage flavor needs. Our experienced innovation staff and low minimum order quantities are just a few reasons to call us today!


Xeltron’s XR-Q model for Roasted Coffee
by Xeltron S.A. | +506.2279.5777
Xeltron is with with you from the green to the roasted bean process. Our latest model will help you increase your yield even on the final process of roasted coffee by achieving a uniform appearance and consistent quality. Offer your clients the best looking roasted coffee on the market.

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