My "new" 5kg Turkish roaster has arrived

Discuss roast levels and profiles for espresso, equipment for roasting coffee.
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Postby Almico » Aug 15, 2018, 3:19 pm

My roasting capacity has needed and upgrade for a while, but the decision on how to accomplish that task has been difficult. The roaster I've built my business on is an 3kg air roaster, and while I can get a larger version of the same roaster, I've been itching to take on drum roasting; just to see the difference for myself.

I've been hemming, hawing and gyrating over a new drum roaster for too many months. What size? Where will I install it? How much $$$?!! If I get a 5kg roaster do I also get a sample roaster? Do I just get a 3kg drum and use it for sample and production roasting? etc. etc. There just didn't seem to be a best solution.

While waiting on divine intervention, I came across a used roaster not too far from me. I watched it on CL for months. It finally popped up on ebay and I contacted the owner and went to see it last week.

Well it didn't tick all the boxes: no classy European or US name brand name, no variable speed drum or fan, no profiling set up at all and scarcely any information regarding the mfg or specs. Why am I even considering it?

Well, it's only a year old with <100# of coffee through it and the price is about 1/3 of the more affordable 5kg roasters, and 1/5 of the big names.

The truth is I really wouldn't have a issue dropping $30K on a great drum roaster. But the main thing I've learned from this process is that I'm not completely sold on the fact that I will like drum roasting better than air roasting...period. And why make all that investment on a supposition?

There are many advantages to my air roaster:

1) Virtually no maintenance. I have done nothing except empty the chaff bag for 4 years.
2) Zero risk of chaff fire
3) No warm up required. If I need to roast a quick 5# of coffee, I can do it in <15 minutes total.
4) No trier needed. I can see the color of the beans just by looking in the hopper
5) I can also smell the level of the roast by cutting off the exhaust suction by briefly lifting the chaff lid
6) Being an electric roaster with thin heater coils I can make temperature changes on a dime...too fast actually.
7) The BT probe is immersed in the bean mass for very accurate BT readings.
8 ) So I really have complete control of the roast
9) Inexpensive. It was < $5k for a 6# roaster.
10) It roasts great coffee. I have developed a large loyal following in a short amount of time in a town with a 12kg Probat and Diedrich not far away.


1) It's not sexy. There is nothing cool or romantic about an oversized popcorn popper.
2) Most roasters use drums. If I want to be part of the roasting community and share knowledge, it seems I need a drum roaster. Why? See D1?
3) It's rumored that drum roasters impart more body to coffee than air roasters. I love heavy bodied coffee.
4) It is also rumored that certain flavor nuances can be unlocked by the conduction portion of the heat transfer process...

So we'll see if the quality of coffee outweighs the advantages of using my air roaster. If not, I can sell it for more than what I paid. If so, I'll be back in the market for the best drum roaster I can afford.

Here is the new addition next to old faithful. It's a 2017 Turkish roaster from Kuban, one of the many roaster msgs in Izmir, Turkey.

Gratefully, the old gal does not seem threatened.


The new roaster fits perfectly and I will be able to keep both online simultaneously, doing comparisons back and forth. The flue above is from a wood burning stove, removed to make room. Now that I will have propane in the garage, I can get a vent-less wall heater to keep the place from freezing in Winter. I can run the exhaust up a 10' straight shot through the existing chimney. More to come...

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Postby Chert » Aug 15, 2018, 4:34 pm

Well done.

Had the seller outgrown the thing, or why was it sold?

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Postby Almico » replying to Chert » Aug 15, 2018, 5:46 pm

He is a retired chef that thought he would dip his feet into the coffee roasting pool. He bought this roaster, hooked it up in his garage and set up a website trying to sell mostly online. When his website inbox didn't light up with orders, he sold a few bags to some restaurant contacts, but that's a tough market to break into from your garage...ask me how I know. He freely admitted he knew very little about coffee roasting.


Postby husamka » Aug 15, 2018, 6:08 pm

Looks like its successful investment, and the hardware is heavy duty. keep us updated about the controller which you will add and the performance.

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Postby Almico » Aug 15, 2018, 8:06 pm

Here's some close ups of the components:

I believe this is a double walled drum. The drum paddle in the pic is about 3mm. In this shot you can see what appears to be two layers of material for the drum itself. That little chunk of something is caught between the drum and the faceplate.

UPDATE: I now think that outer layer is just a support ring and not a 2nd wall.


This is the burner assembly.


The drum motor and drive gears


Fan motor. Someone had it apart at some point and gooped it up with some liquid gasket material.


This would be the air damper?


The most basic of control panels:


And the gas input gauge and valve:


The motors themselves seem to be pretty substantial. Here's the tag of the drum motor:


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Postby Almico » Aug 15, 2018, 8:10 pm

The first order of business will be to find a better place to locate a BT probe. You can see in the very first pic that the one that came with the roaster is above the centerline of the drum and above/right of the bean glass. No bueno.

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Postby Almico » Aug 15, 2018, 11:26 pm

I spent some time this evening getting to know more about this roaster and drum roasters in general. This is all very new to me.

While clearly not designed and built for precise controlled roasting, it sure doesn't seem like this is a skimped or hacked together roaster.

Some more pics:

Cooling fan and stirring blades motors




Very heavy cast iron front plate


Almost 1/2" thick


But Houston, we have a problem. I removed the sight glass to check for new probe position clearance and noticed that it was cracked. I found a borosilicate glass supplier on ebay that is selling 10 44mm x 4mm discs for $21including shipping. Now I'll have some spares.



Postby dowst » Aug 16, 2018, 10:18 am

Great score! I'm sure you will have no issues getting this machine situated with advanced controls. Indeed looks like a quality unit! Can't see why you couldn't roast coffee as good with this machine as with any other drum roaster. Any chance you might share what you picked it up for?

I am interested to hear about the learning curve coming from a fluid-bed roaster to this more conventional roasting method. Also will be very interesting to hear how the roasted product varies from this drum roaster to the fluidbed (ie same greens, same roast level, but fluidbed vs drum). I'm sure lots of users on here would be very interested in this information.


Postby beanman » Aug 16, 2018, 10:43 am

Maybe you can leave that temp probe there for drum temp (or even move it higher if needed) then add another one in the correct position for bean temp.
But overall, looks like a great roaster.
I've been doing a lot of internet reading lately because I want to upgrade from my Behmor. Maybe a Huky, Cormorant, or even splurge on a Mill City. Mill City's web site has a bunch of videos that may be helpful. One video I watched recently was about airflow control in a drum roaster.
Good luck, and keep us posted on your journey.

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Postby Almico » Aug 16, 2018, 10:50 am

dowst wrote:Any chance you might share what you picked it up for?

For roasting coffee... :wink:

But if you're asking how much...$6K + $200 to rent the lift gate truck to pick it up.

It's taken a while, but I've finally managed to gain a fair amount of control over my air roaster. The goal would be to duplicate that roasting ability on the drum machine. To the extent I'm welcome to here, I'm happy to post the entire journey.

If I succeed, I'm certain it will be very educational to me as well as anyone that might stumble upon this thread. There is a lot of air vs drum speak on the internet, but I believe much is hearsay, supposition and hyperbole. I haven't seen anyone posting air and drum profiles, on the same software, with the same beans, side by side under the same environmental conditions etc. and comparing the two in the cup.

With the air roaster clearly in the lead as far as convenience, the drum has to really kick butt in the cup.