Bulk roasting Behmor 1600+

Discuss roast levels and profiles for espresso, equipment for roasting coffee.
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#1: Post by mckolit »

Not set in stone yet but if it goes through, I'm being asked to roast 125 pounds of coffee for Christmas presents. I have a Behmor 1600+. I usually roast 12oz batches. Most I've ever done in a session was four batches, which took roughly 2 hours. So at that rate it'll take me 40 days roasting everyday after work. Maybe go down to 30 days if I do more on the weekends. Buying a more capable roaster is out of the picture. Maybe getting a second behmor is an option, but not likely. Can the behmor take that kind of beating? I've had mine for a few years now and I don't know if it'll make it through the job.

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#2: Post by daustin777 »

Why not go to a local roaster and make a deal to either have them roast for you or buy their product at a bulk discount? Another option is to go to a co-roaster and rent time on a bigger roaster.
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#3: Post by ira »

When I was roasting with a Behmor I did the roasts as close to back to back as possible up to 5 roasts at a time with never an indication of a problem. If you're really worried, you can pull off the right side and make sure the circuit board has air circulation and that the fan on the side is clean and running. Far as I can tell, everything but that is allowed to get hot. I always figured the wait an hour between roasts was to avoid people wearing the machine out before the warranty expires as opposed to actually being necessary for the health of the machine. And that assumes it has an actual lifetime counted in number of roasts.

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#4: Post by yakster »

If you attempt this, make sure you have good ventilation to avoid health issues from that much roasting.

LMWDP # 272


#5: Post by TallDan »

Honestly, this doesn't make any sense to agree to do with a Behmor. Quick estimate says 96 hours spent roasting coffee. Probably more when you consider some packaging and handling time. How much money will you make on this venture? Will you effectively make minimum wage? You should probably include the cost of a new Behmor in your calculation.

Yes, I'm saying that this should be treated as a business venture. 100 hours of roasting will not be fun like roasting for a hobby can be. This is going to be a grind.


#6: Post by Milligan »

I'm also thinking is this for a fun project for charity/church or for large extended family gifts? It sounds like you are being asked to do it and didn't necessarily come up with the plan on your own. If it is for money then the economics don't work out from a labor point of view on your end or from a value per dollar on their end to do it in this way. However, if you are considering rolling your hobby into a side business (if that is what you are after) then I can see why you'd try to take it on for the experience and perhaps future business.

If you'd like to divulge more about why you are doing it then it may help guide the discussion (for business, just for fun, being roped into it begrudgingly...)

From a purely "run-what-ya-brung" point of view, I would try to modify your methods. I've used the Behmor in the past and if you make a cooling setup out of a PC case fan, cardboard box, and kitchen sieve then you can cool your beans while doing the next batch. I used to pull the beans after a 1min cooldown in the machine, then dump them in the tray and get the next batch going. I believe on some of the Behmors you have to unplug it and plug it back in to force a reset to the cooldown timer.

That way you could probably do 4lbs an hour which is still a snail's pace when we are talking 125lbs for Christmas. You also have to think of the time between the first batch vs the last batch. If you are doing these over weeks then the first batch will be stale for Christmas...


#7: Post by TallDan »

4lb/hr of roasted coffee would be 5-6 batches an hour. If that's possible, it's not going to be easy.

And even then you need to do it for over 30 hours!


#8: Post by Milligan replying to TallDan »

I assumed he had to roast 125lb of green coffee. If he needs 125lbs of roasted coffee then that is an even taller order.

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#9: Post by mckolit (original poster) »

Thanks for all the replies. Yeah, it's not a money making venture, it's for Christmas presents for staff where the bride works. They know I roast and were spitballing presents to give to staff. They estimate 8oz bags as presents for 250 people. All I will be taking care of will be the roasting. Packaging will be someone else's department.

I do cool my beans separately. I have a pail with a screen on top with a computer fan sucking out the air. The current cooling setup gets the beans cool in two minutes. I haven't tried starting a roast while cooling beans, which I will try even if I don't end up having to roast the beans.

If I don't have to keep the right side panel of the roaster on, maybe I'll just keep it off.

Pricing out beans now. Bodhi starts their bulk discounts at 66 pounds. I asked why 66 pounds, the sales lady wasn't sure. Did the math, it's about 30kg. Half a bag.

Also asking about their bulk roasted coffee options.

Great point, if it takes me 30 days to roast, the earlier batches will already be stale. I don't have enough room in my freezer to freeze all those early batches either.


#10: Post by TallDan »

Unless "the bride" works at a non-profit that you would donate your time to, this should absolutely be a profitable venture for you. I'm not saying that it needs to make you rich, but it should at least be enough to enable your roasting hobby for a while. Assuming this is for a for-profit business, you should also make a profit that will make you happy to do it again next year.

There are real costs here for your time and use of the roaster. From your first post, you're concerned about whether you even can do it.

I have a roaster of similar batch size, but is intended for back-to-back roasts. I would not be concerned about my roaster handling roasting 145lb in a few weeks. I still wouldn't agree to doing it. My max for something like this would probably be what I could feasibly handle in a weekend. Rough calculations for me put that at 80lb.