Loring vs other roasters energy usage

Discuss roast levels and profiles for espresso, equipment for roasting coffee.
namelessone

#1: Post by namelessone » Aug 06, 2019, 11:04 am

It's not directly related but I see a lot of roasters using Lorings claiming that it's more environmentally friendly. I wonder if anyone has done the math and found this to be case? I don't think a drum roaster, which is basically a glorified stove uses so significant amount of fuel for this to make a difference? Furthermore, I haven't seen any correlation with quality of the offering from a roaster vs what roasting machine they use. What's your thoughts on this?

archipelago

#2: Post by archipelago » Aug 06, 2019, 12:31 pm

I have a Loring Kestrel. I've roasted on Loring, Probat, Ambex, Diedrich, Sivetz, Giesen, North/Mill City.... and find that Loring is capable of producing coffee that tastes like it comes from any of those machines, but more reliably, more efficiently and on a better workflow. Seriously.

The fuel savings are real. Where I'm located, natural gas is pretty absurdly cheap — so it doesn't account for more than $500 or so a year of savings, but it uses about 1/4 of the gas per lb of roasted coffee based on my numbers from before/after we installed the Loring.

The biggest cost savings come from (a) higher throughput, (b) maintenance time, and (c) most importantly, higher yields. Roast loss for a light roast on a Probat might be around 13.7-14.5%.... on a Loring I'm looking at around 11-11.5%. If you're selling 50,000 pounds a year roasted, that's about 12-15ish 60kg bags of coffee that you don't have to ship, finance, store, handle, roast, clean chaff of.... and that's where you start to see the roaster pay for itself, particularly at scale.

EDIT: one more thing — no need for an afterburner as the stack is just hot air. all particulates are burned up during the recirc

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Almico
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#3: Post by Almico » Aug 06, 2019, 1:07 pm

I think Loring's claims of energy savings are based on comparing their machines to other roasters that use an afterburner in conjunction. I roast without an afterburner and generate about 550*F. Lorings operate at 1450*F, which burns off smoke in the process. It's hard to believe that 1450* for a 10 minute roast is more efficient than 550*F in the same time...unless there is an afterburner involved.

namelessone

#4: Post by namelessone » Aug 06, 2019, 2:37 pm

archipelago wrote:I have a Loring Kestrel. I've roasted on Loring, Probat, Ambex, Diedrich, Sivetz, Giesen, North/Mill City.... and find that Loring is capable of producing coffee that tastes like it comes from any of those machines, but more reliably, more efficiently and on a better workflow. Seriously.

The fuel savings are real. Where I'm located, natural gas is pretty absurdly cheap — so it doesn't account for more than $500 or so a year of savings, but it uses about 1/4 of the gas per lb of roasted coffee based on my numbers from before/after we installed the Loring.

The biggest cost savings come from (a) higher throughput, (b) maintenance time, and (c) most importantly, higher yields. Roast loss for a light roast on a Probat might be around 13.7-14.5%.... on a Loring I'm looking at around 11-11.5%. If you're selling 50,000 pounds a year roasted, that's about 12-15ish 60kg bags of coffee that you don't have to ship, finance, store, handle, roast, clean chaff of.... and that's where you start to see the roaster pay for itself, particularly at scale.

EDIT: one more thing — no need for an afterburner as the stack is just hot air. all particulates are burned up during the recirc
Thanks for the info. Still I guess the gas saving isn't substantial unless you're roasting very large amounts, but workflow gains would be more significant. What causes less loss in a Loring?

Regarding taste/consistency, that's quite interesting to hear. I've tasted coffee from lot of different roasters and the ones who roast on a Loring didn't seem to be better than anyone else.

archipelago

#5: Post by archipelago » Aug 08, 2019, 1:47 pm

No better, or no worse? That's sort of what I'm getting at. IMHO Lorings *can* produce superior coffee, but there's a lot that goes into that.

Lower roast loss theoretically comes from having a higher moisture level and slightly lower oxygen roasting environment, supposedly.

lsun22

#6: Post by lsun22 » Aug 14, 2019, 12:18 am

archipelago wrote:I have a Loring Kestrel. I've roasted on Loring, Probat, Ambex, Diedrich, Sivetz, Giesen, North/Mill City.... and find that Loring is capable of producing coffee that tastes like it comes from any of those machines, but more reliably, more efficiently and on a better workflow. Seriously.

The fuel savings are real. Where I'm located, natural gas is pretty absurdly cheap — so it doesn't account for more than $500 or so a year of savings, but it uses about 1/4 of the gas per lb of roasted coffee based on my numbers from before/after we installed the Loring.

The biggest cost savings come from (a) higher throughput, (b) maintenance time, and (c) most importantly, higher yields. Roast loss for a light roast on a Probat might be around 13.7-14.5%.... on a Loring I'm looking at around 11-11.5%. If you're selling 50,000 pounds a year roasted, that's about 12-15ish 60kg bags of coffee that you don't have to ship, finance, store, handle, roast, clean chaff of.... and that's where you start to see the roaster pay for itself, particularly at scale.

EDIT: one more thing — no need for an afterburner as the stack is just hot air. all particulates are burned up during the recirc
why would the roaster cause a different amount of roast loss for a particular bean unless it was roasted with a different profile?

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Almico
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#7: Post by Almico » replying to lsun22 » Aug 14, 2019, 7:52 am

Good question; especially 2-3% less moisture loss. I find that very hard to believe. I've used an air roaster and a drum. Moisture loss differential is minimal, given similar profiles.

archipelago

#8: Post by archipelago » Aug 14, 2019, 12:42 pm

Why do you find it hard to believe? If you're ever in the area, please feel free to come by and see for yourself...

In most cases, we're not strictly talking about moisture loss. The MC of coffee I'm roasting is anywhere from [checks notes...] 10.3% to 11.8%. So theoretically, in almost all cases we're losing more weight than the moisture of the coffee. And if you look at the chemical analysis, there *is* still some moisture in roasted coffee.

So clearly — there's more to it than just green + profile.

We're volatilizing compounds in the coffee in addition to losing water — but of course, water is necessary for some of these reactions.

Lorings are engineered to inject water vapor into the cyclone, which increases the moisture in the roasting environment. FWIW, the oxygen in the roast environment is also lower (I've heard Loring engineers cite 16%) which also reduces oxidation.

Overall, these two things combine to mean:
- less roast loss. Across the board. Even in coffee roasted all the way to Starbucks roast levels (I used to see 18-20% loss on a Sivetz or Probat. Now see ~17%)
- longer shelf life of roasted coffee.

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Almico
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#9: Post by Almico » Aug 14, 2019, 1:12 pm

That's not less roast loss, that's injecting water to artificially enhance weight. Water is not coffee (flavor); it's...water.

IIRC, Lorings pull in cooling ambient air during the roast. How does this result in lower oxygen? It's not like the coffee is roasting in a vacuum.

Still hard to believe that, if two roasts of the same coffee, after being matched for profile milestones so they taste the same, the Loring would produce coffee with 2-3% less moisture loss.

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TomC
Team HB

#10: Post by TomC » Aug 14, 2019, 1:18 pm

namelessone wrote:It's not directly related but I see a lot of roasters using Lorings claiming that it's more environmentally friendly. I wonder if anyone has done the math and found this to be case?

I'm sure Loring could share objective measurements, but it's pretty clearly established that their design greatly reduces NOX, and thus, is more environmentally friendly in that regard, and in addition, the fact that they don't need a massive afterburner running, means more environmentally friendly usage since you're using less fossil fuels/resources to begin with.

namelessone wrote:I don't think a drum roaster, which is basically a glorified stove uses so significant amount of fuel for this to make a difference? Furthermore, I haven't seen any correlation with quality of the offering from a roaster vs what roasting machine they use. What's your thoughts on this?
You're right, they don't until you're roasting at commercial capacity and the air quality resource board and other state/local regulatory bodies require you to burn a crap ton more natural gas via an afterburner, in order to reduce the production of NOX. Some areas have these regulations in place for roasters above 5-10 pounds. The local inspector told my friends who own AndyTown Coffee Roasters here in SF, back when they opened, that they could shut them down simply on an odor complain alone. They started on a Probat LE5 and were afraid of compliance issues, in light of a hipster new restaurant in SF that got shut down just over odor complaints around the same time. That restaurant was solely focused on expensive bacon.

Separately, on the lower O2 and "moister" plus positive drum pressure environment that the Loring claims, there was some old discussions here, notes from myself from a meeting with Mark Ludwig (founder of Loring), John Laird (early proponent of the Loring and an excellent roaster) etc that try to describe it all. The claims were lower Agtron delta levels between ground and whole beans because they were roasted "more evenly"/ less darkening or roasting on just the surface, which also yielded more mass ultimately, than a traditional drum roaster.

You can read a bit more about one of these discussions here and see where I pulled my own foot out of my mouth, mid-thread, because the link to Loring that used to describe the phenomena above was on the second page, not the first that was linked. It's now gone entirely.