Before you can embark on your coffee roasting journey, you must choose the right commercial coffee roaster. Whether this is your first or fifth roaster, it’s crucial to make the right decision from the start. Commercial coffee roasters are a commitment, after all. The San Franciscan Roaster Company proudly builds the best commercial coffee roasters in the world. But what leads to a great coffee roaster? It’s all in the details. From the materials used to the ease of maintenance, it’s necessary to keep every detail in mind when you’re shopping for a new machine. Keep reading to learn more about what makes our machines the best of the best.
When investing in a brand new commercial coffee roaster, you need to make sure your machine will be as reliable as possible. You can ensure this is the case is by choosing a roaster that’s built with domestic steel instead of foreign steel. Many roasters are built with steel imported from Asia (most commonly, China). Foreign steel is typically made from scrap metal, which is then melted down and remade. The issue with most foreign steel is all that scrap metal tends to not blend together very well when it gets melted down, resulting in a sheet of steel with varying degrees of hardness. When recycling steel, all forms of hardness (from super hard to super soft) are mixed up. These hard and soft spots on the sheet often lead to issues with heat diffusion, which is crucial when roasting coffee.
Domestic steel, on the other hand, offers more even heat diffusion characteristics. Steel that’s made in the United States is a mild steel with a smaller percentage of carbon. Domestic steel is strong and tough but not tempered like a knife. Due to the superb heat diffusion characteristics of mild carbon steel, the temperature of the entire surface of the inside of the drum will be consistent. Mild, stainless steel uses iron, carbon as well as chromium and nickel. These elements make domestic steel food-grade. Although we use stainless steel in some parts of our machines (for the cooling tray, for example), we make a conscious decision to only use domestic steel in all of our machines. The result? Unbridled control and the best heat diffusion!
Control of the craft is another crucial step when it comes to commercial coffee roasting. By making use of excellent data-logging software such as Cropster and Artisan, today’s generation of coffee roasters is able to embrace creativity and experimentation. Technology can go too far, however, eventually turning a creative craft into something that’s more automated, lacking personality. Automatic roasters can be seen as the world’s slowest video game in which the roastmaster simply has to push a button and all the hard work is taken care of. But if the automatic roaster has a wrong setting for a digital input, then the entire roast will be thrown off. Having all the right data points may help in some regards but it doesn’t particularly mean you’ll make the perfect roast time and again. It’s necessary for roastmasters to embrace the craft of commercial coffee roasting; our roasters make that a reality! The San Franciscan Roaster Company strives to keep the spirit of artistry alive in the world of specialty coffee roasting.
This over-reliance can affect roastmasters on a more personal level, as well. If you have a wrong presupposition, all your conclusions are going to be off. But, if you have a basis where you have a good understanding of the craft and how to roast, the instrumentation will act as an aid instead of a crutch. At the San Franciscan Roaster Company, we like to say “don’t fear the craft, embrace it!” All that gadgetry may obscure the view of the craft, leading people to become too reliant on the digital aspect of coffee roasting. We think technology can save us from mistakes. But technology can very easily go awry when you have the wrong inputs. More often than not, people are afraid to use their own senses to bring correction to a roast. While the data might say it should be perfect, your senses may say “erm, no?” San Franciscan™ roasters are designed specifically to enhance the roastmaster’s ability to use his or her own physical senses while roasting. This way, you’ll be able to embrace (and control) the craft as completely as possible.
At the San Franciscan Roaster Company, we intentionally do not use double-wall drums in our roasters. Double-wall drums limit the heat application by conductivity.
Unlike double-walled drum roasters, our single-walled drums give roastmasters the ability to get as involved with the roasting process as possible. In this day and age, roasting has gotten a lot more technical; there is a lot of education available for people who want to learn how to roast. Back when double-wall drums were introduced, roasters didn’t even consider honey and natural processing. Now, there are more coffees that are processed with the natural or honey process and these coffees can really shine by precision conductive heating transfer, especially at the beginning of the roast. This is a type of precision of a conductive heat transfer that double-wall drum roasters—which are overtly convective in their heat application—cannot touch.
Every San Franciscan Roaster is designed and built with magnehelic gauges to measure pressure. Magnehelic gauges give roastmasters the ability to easily measure how much air is flowing through the system or if there is air flow in the system itself. When you change airflow velocity, the pressure changes; this change in airflow velocity is shown on the magnehelic gauge. Since this tool can be used to measure, roastmasters are provided with more information and freedom so they’ll be able to experiment or perfect their roasts.
Every San Franciscan™ roaster is made proportionally. With just a few minor adjustments, you’ll be able to duplicate roasts across our entire line of machines. In fact, you won't be able to tell the difference in blind cuppings! This is particularly impressive if you’d like to develop a premium profile that can be easily duplicated with a larger roaster.
Size is a big factor when it comes to choosing the right commercial coffee roaster. Perhaps your roasting business is just starting out or maybe you’d like to expand your workload. No matter where you currently find yourself, the San Franciscan Roaster Company has the right machine for you. Our five size options are as follows:
SF-1: Roasts 1 pound/500 grams
SF-6: Roasts 6 pounds/3 kilograms
SF-10: Roasts 10 pounds/5 kilograms
SF-25: Roasts 25 pounds/12 kilograms
SF-75: Roasts 75 pounds/34 kilograms
The SF-6 and SF-10 are excellent roasters for small-batch coffee roasting, while the SF-25 and SF-75 are more adept for large quantities. Due to its small batch size, the SF-1 is ideal for training and sample roasting. If you’d like to learn more about the size of our machines, click here. You could also give us a call or send us an email and we’ll be able to provide more detailed assistance. If you’re just getting started on your commercial coffee roasting venture, you probably won’t need to purchase an SF-75 right off the bat. Or maybe you’d like to start roasting 75 lbs/35 kilograms of coffee on Day One, we won’t judge! No matter your needs or goals, we’ll be able to provide the right machine (or machines) for you to completely embrace the craft of coffee roasting. But, if you’re roasting more and more and you require a more efficient machine for large-batch roasting, then the SF-25 or SF-75 will be perfect. Our two largest roasters also come standard with afterburners. Again, choosing the right size depends entirely on your particular situation, needs, and requirements.
By changing the rotational velocity of the outside diameter of the drum, roastmasters can also change the contact time the bean has with the drum. This changes the ratio of conductive vs. convective heat transfer. It’s important to point out, however, that one does not have to change rotational velocity very much to get a different outcome in the cup. This design option is only available in the SF-10, SF-25, and SF-75 roasters.
Commercial coffee roaster maintenance is not only important, but it’s also crucial for the overall usefulness and functionality of the machine. The task of maintaining and cleaning a commercial coffee roaster is always unpleasant. For this reason, we’ve designed our machines for maintenance to be as efficient and palpable as possible. Roastmasters are able to easily get to every part of their San Franciscan™ roaster. Everything is easy to access. Since the parts are removable, cleaning becomes less of a hassle.
As for the maintenance of the machine, the San Franciscan™ team is here to help. We provide lifetime maintenance assistance over the phone or through email. All of our machines also come with a 1-year limited warranty so if anything were to go awry, you won’t have to worry! We understand the importance of this investment so we want to make your ownership of your roaster as seamless and frustration-free as possible.
In addition to only using domestic steel, we also build every single machine by hand right here in our factory in Carson City, Nevada. Not only do we aspire for our clients to embrace the craft of coffee roasting, but for us to embrace the craft ourselves when building machines. Our products are never mass-produced. Each roaster is built with your exact needs and specifications in mind. We also provide excellent personalization options. With thousands of color choices available, your future San Franciscan™ roaster will perfectly represent your coffee house’s brand colors or your particular aesthetic. When a product boasts the “Made in the USA” distinction, people notice. We hold ourselves to a higher standard and we want to make our customers proud of the product they’ve purchased.
This information only scratches the surface. So many details go into the design and construction of our machines. Every single detail, from the most minute to the most significant, is accounted for. Our goal is to offer the best commercial coffee roasters on the market. If you’d like to delve deeper into our commercial coffee roaster equipment or if you’re ready to purchase a new machine, give us a call! We’d love to answer any questions you may have. Before long, you’ll be setting up your brand new San Franciscan™ roaster and you’ll be able to witness the true beauty that comes from embracing the craft of coffee roasting.