hey gang, have recently gotten the bug to start roasting some green beans...will be my first time ever! looking to increase some sales to my small coffee business, hoping i may be able to sell to customers in person, and some internet sales as well.
the quest m3 has caught my attention, though like many others i feel it is a bit overpriced...coming in around $1300 retail. someone said you can order directly from the manufacturer in taiwan and save about $200.
anyways, i first thought of purchasing the genecafe roaster which sells in the neighborhood of $500. but, i think i want something with a bit more "hands on" involvement, a bit less automatic, if you will.
inviting other roasters and roasters-wanna-bes to jump in the conversation here and offer any/all opinions and experiences and recommendations.
the coffee hound
Have you done the math on roasting? The m3 ideally holds 120 grams of green coffee. Expecting a typical moisture loss of 16% leaves you with roughly 100 grams of roasted coffee per batch. One pound is equal to 435 grams, so you'll need to do no less than 4 roasts to achieve one pound of coffee for sale or use in your shop. If it takes you 12 minutes to do the roast plus four minutes to cool, you're talking about 3.5 roasts per hour. If you're paying yourself a roasting wage of $15/hr, then you're talking about a pound of coffee that's really costing you about $18-20 per pound.
That would cool my roasting bug for commercial use real quick.
If you're really serious about roasting for the shop and for whole bean sale, then you need to look at larger roasters - maybe in the 3K/5# range (or larger). Then you'll get some level of scale that makes roasting more efficient and cost effective. With a 3K roaster, presuming you're producing 12 pounds per hour, you're now talking a cost closer to $4.50 per pound and then you can start to make some money.
Jay while I share your sentiment got a chuckle out of your post. (453.59g not 435g to a pound:-)
The only place a Quest M3 has in commercial usage is as a sample and/or profile development roaster.
I envy you.
The 16% is a pretty good overall loss number.
Hey, the nice part about underestimating demand is that once you realize how popular your coffee is among your customers (and what it is actually like to production roast on something tiny) that little Quest will make a great sample roaster.
If you're gonna add it to your operation, I'd say do it as a first step and plan for how to quickly accommodate a bigger guy ASAP. I'd also keep a low profile while you do your first batches until your stuff is good enough for other people to drink. Once you do start sharing your stuff you can get a feel for initial response. If it's good enough you can think about pulling the trigger on something bigger.
As I understand, the Quest is quite happy running back-to-back, which you need with that small of a batch size. A model like the Hottop has more capacity and good control but not as well suited for back-to-back roasts. Both will need plenty of ventilation though.
Hope that helps. I'm not a roaster, but have played around with stuff at home and done quite a bit of looking at these beasts. Good luck!
thanks guys for your input...if i were roasting as my sole venture, yeah the quest wouldn't be my first choice. but, as an adjunct to my business, to offer another choice for customers, and to increase sales some...i think it mightbe a worthy adventure/investment. some days at the shop i have additional time, plus my power there is free, so it would offer me the opportunity to explore roasting. 16% chaff waste?...had been hearing more in the range of 10%. ??