I am in the process of setting up a Roaster.
I own and run a successful coffee & equipment import / distribution business for over 15 years. I know and love espresso.
I am working with a professional consultant who is well known in the West Coast coffee industry.
Based on my price point we discussed the IR-12 from Diedrich, PRIMO PRI-35 and a Renegade 15 KG roaster.
If I go Diedrich or Renegade I want to go automated.
The PRIMO is on the list as it is the least expensive option.
In my research I understand the trade-offs and pluses & minuses of each machine.
I just wanted to ask some questions that I cannot get answered.
1) Diedrich and the lack of a cyclone. As a shop roaster the compact build is good but the lack of a cyclone makes little sense. Almost all roasters from any brand have them.
My concern is the exhaust permeating the coffee beans during the roast cycle. Any thoughts/comments on that?
2) I met with Diedrich and they listed all the bad things with buying a Primo (They have a history). The build quality and insulation is something that struck me as the best part about going with Diedrich. However the Diedrich does not have a Manual mode if you go with their Automated software which I think is a major issue. Can anyone comment on this?
3) Renegade - I have heard good things about Renegade but they are pricey.
Has anyone have experience on a 15Kg automated unit that they can share?
4) PRIMO - Any thoughts or experience on PRIMO is appreciated.
I worked for about 6 months on a Diedrich IR-24 (no longer made.) The chaff collection is handled with a baffle setup below the cooling tray - definitely not as effective as the cyclone behind a Probat in my previous roasting job. It allowed more chaff to pass through to the exhaust pipes and it filled/clogged more quickly (the people we bought it from said they emptied it after every 2-3 batches!) Can't say if the baffle system is better or worse on the IR-12.
As for the second part of your Diedrich question, could you clarify? Not sure what you mean about exhaust permeating the beans. The airflow through our Diedrich was conceptually the same as other drum roasters I know, so I'm not sure what exhaust issue you're talking about.
I've never roasted on a Primo, but the only one I've seen with my own eyes had a bizarre temperature control system that I didn't like the looks of. Rather than manually controlling heat input (amount of gas burning) it had you set a temperature on a digital display and it would cycle the heat on and off to hit that temperature. Judging from the internal plumbing and valves, it appeared to be all or nothing on gas flow, sort of like the way your furnace at home is all-on or all-off, cycling periodically to keep your house as close as possible to the target temperature. If I'm right about how it worked, it would be an absolutely miserable way to control a roaster. Ever since I saw the guts of this thing, I've wanted to know more. I may have been misinterpreting what I saw, so if anyone reading this comment can clarify, please do!
Thanks for the reply.
A couple of questions:
How old is your IR12 and do you have a cyclone on it?
If not, how does the IR12 remove the exhaust smoke? Is there a dedicated fan connected to the exhaust pipe?
How are you able to roast manually? Diedrich says that you cannot override the automation.
Timothy Pellizzer said:
I have a Ir12 w/automation. I used to have an Ambex. I learned with the Ambex to vac out after every four batches to avoid embers in the chaff collector. I have continued this process with the Diedrich IR12. It takes about 20-30 seconds to vac out the Diedrich. I roast all the time in manual. With the auto Diedrich you can manually roast by using your laptop to make changes in temp and air, the only difference being that you are touching your laptop vs. a gas valve and a air value. I have attempted to use my roaster on auto but without much luck. I know a number of roasters that are successfully using the auto on all their roasts. If I had to do it over, I would buy the Ir12 without automation just a good data logger. I think the auto works best if you plan on having a new roaster take over. PM if you would like to discuss further.