1kg-3kg: Fluid Bed vs Drum (First Post) - Page 2

Discuss roast levels and profiles for espresso, equipment for roasting coffee.
SolaRoaster (original poster)

#11: Post by SolaRoaster (original poster) »

Hi Jim. When researching the smaller fluid bed roasters, the manufacturers do not typically focus much on the control of the roasts, but mainly the simplicity-with the exception of Artisan (in my opinion).

Going back to my original post, my primary goal starting out is to learn as much about roasting as I can before I do any selling, and I think the best avenue for that is with a drum roaster.

Based on your experience, are there any drum roasters from the 1/2 lb - 2 lb range that you would recommend. I'd love to go with the 500g Mill City, but that's a bit out of my budget for now.



#12: Post by PBJ »

another_jim wrote:I'll happily retract when I see the list of air roasting commercial coffee roasters or cafes from whom you bought coffee this year. My list is empty, as is every other person's I know. Is there anyone here who regularly buys coffee from a business using an air roaster?
With all due respect, Jim, how many people here know what kind of roaster is used by the company they buy from? I know one roaster in the Chicago area that does very well with a fluid bed roaster.

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#13: Post by HB »

civ wrote:There are many other ways to say "I don't agree with your opinion".
Agreed, and I've edited his post to take the temperature down a few degrees. As a reminder to contributors to this thread, Guidelines for productive online discussion includes "Be respectful" and "Encourage positive, shared discourse". If a post goes over the line, please use the "Report a post" (!) button. Thanks.
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#14: Post by tglodjo »

I apologize for my tone. It was late and I was honestly taken off-guard by Jim's comment. Again, for someone who's opinion I've respected a ton, it felt very dismissive and used broad strokes with statements that I know aren't true for a lot of folks who prefer fluid-bed roasters (myself included). Everyone I've engaged with regarding fluid-bed roasters geek out over the data, graphs, cupping, etc. While there aren't a ton of fluid-bed convos on HB, I'd encourage anyone interested to check out the Fluid Bed Roasters Forum on Facebook.

Similar to what PBJ said, I don't really go out of my way to research what machine a specialty roaster uses, though I know fluid-bed roasters are definitely less used among larger specialty roasters because there aren't many options for the 10+kg size. One company I am familiar with is Ethnos Coffee out of Memphis. They use an Artisan X-e and people locally rave about their coffee.

That said, I do apologize for the knee-jerk reaction. I was out of line. As someone who owns an Artisan 3-e and loves it, would like to grow a small business, and still cares about cupping and origins and the geeky side of coffee, I felt like my experience was completely dismissed or pigeon-holed as a cash grab by the comment.

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#15: Post by baldheadracing »

To me, some of the websites selling relatively-less-expensive roasting machines just rub me the wrong way, regardless of the technology used. However, that's their marketing strategy, and I don't have to buy - or recommend.

For example, on fluid-bed sites, I roll my eyes when I see Michael Sivetz being quoted without an understanding or acknowledgement that conventional drum roasting has evolved over the last fifty years, let alone the last few years. On drum sites, I'm shaking my head when sheet metal perforated drum roasters with no controllable airflow are said to perform like conventional drum roasters. In both cases, the potential customer is being mislead. I have a lowered opinion of these companies, regardless of the merits of their actual products.

(By "conventional drum roaster," I mean a roaster that more-or-less follows the form of a Probat UG. I am not saying UG's are the best roaster, or the best design. I certainly wouldn't buy a UG today (they're still being made). Pollution control, thermal efficiency, and protecting the roaster(the person) from airborne roasting emissions are all concerns that weren't on the radar until fairly recently.)


#16: Post by jfjj »

Honestly you can't go wrong with either, you need to learn the mechanics anyways so stick to your budget. There's a few roasters that do air roasting but the main issue is that air roasting has capacity limits, eventually for the same $$ you can roast 10x more on drum. I'd you you'd rather cry now invest in a 1kg drum and you'll be happy or get the artisan 3e and you'll be happy.
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#17: Post by luca »

another_jim wrote:Is there anyone here who regularly buys coffee from a business using an air roaster?
I think Heart sold their probat and bought a neuhaus neotec air roaster. Has anyone been drinking their stuff recently? I quite liked their coffee, but haven't tried it post switch.

There certainly do seem to be a few smaller air roasters that seem to be on the model that you pop them into a cafe, buy one of the five generic green beans that the supplier sells (single origins, in the sense that they have a country name) and all your employee has to do is to press the recommended setting button. Those seem like a recipe for mediocrity.
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#18: Post by another_jim »

luca wrote:I think Heart sold their probat and bought a neuhaus neotec air roaster. Has anyone been drinking their stuff recently? I quite liked their coffee, but haven't tried it post switch.
Yeah, that's not what I had in mind, the Neuhaus Neotecs used to start at 100K and end at 2million or so. I didn't realize that any smaller shop could even afford them. I guess they have a baby model now. I was thinking of the package deal automated roasters with bean supply you mention next -- they are the kiss of death. It appears the Artisan model people have mentioned is also a higher end, craft roasting effort.
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#19: Post by Alaroast »

SolaRoaster wrote:
Those that have been through this part of your roasting journey, do you have any wisdom concerning my next roaster? I'm open to all feedback, criticism and encouragement.
Tyler, I started roasting about 6 years ago first with a popper, then built a SC/TO, and then built a KKTO. I won't go into the details of what these are. There is plenty info out there on that. But last fall I decided to step up my game and was first considering a used fluid be roaster. My cobbled together roasters, as good as they were, continued to need tweaking and repairing. I just couldn't justify the cost of a new roaster. In my quest for used roasters, I stumbled upon a used 3kg gas drum roaster made by US Roaster Corp. Was it more than I needed? Absolutely, but I got an incredible deal on it. I went from roasting a pound every 10 days or so on the KKTO for my household consumption to roasting upwards of 40 lbs. a month. The smoke signals from my garage got a lot of neighbors interested and now I've got about 15 regulars who love the coffee including me. I am monitoring my roasts using Artisan software and have learned a lot about roasting in the process; things I would have never learned roasting on poppers and SC/TO's. I could have never afforded this roaster new nor would I have bought this size roaster starting out.
Just keep in mind that you can always grow into a larger roaster, don't shortchange yourself. You will likely not regret it. Also, keep your eye out for used roasters. Deals can be found if you're patient.

SolaRoaster (original poster)

#20: Post by SolaRoaster (original poster) »

Thanks for the info! Where have you found the most success finding used roasters?