Professional Sample Roasters from Sweet Maria’s

Brazilian sample roasters we once offered

10/05 – We sold all of these professional sample roasters – the three we had. Given how long we had to wait from when we paid for these and when they arrived- I am not sure we plan to bring in more…. So for now they are all gone. The review is here for information purposes only…. Maria

Well, they finally arrived. These are the sample roasters I purchased while traveling in Brazil last year. They are basically a Jabez Burns design, very straightforward. The improvement over a Burns is they have solid drums, not rolled perforated metal. They also have tube burners that distribute the heat nicely.

I am running the 3 barrel unit I brought in for myself using propane and getting very nice roasts. This is basically a machine that will last a lifetime and then some. It comes with a spare set of drive gears too … It can be easily modified to add a digital thermometer probing the drum (you can just run it right into the trier opening in the front!) It’s 110-volt electric, but I have left mine on a rolling moving dolly, with the propane tank underneath. I can roll it into a corner, roll it out, plug it in a wall, and roast.

Venting is up to you. It smokes, of course. You can roast in a breezy area and forget about it, or install a kitchen stovetop hood over it and vent to the outside. It has modest airflow control (right front know) and very good cooling (second knob on left). Capacity? I haven’t tested the upper limits yet, but it’s rated at 300 grams. I have done half pounds with ease. I think it can do more, and I will try a full pound next time I roast. (Update: Once the drum is heated, meaning after a couple of sample batches, roasting 1 lb. is no problem. Roast time at full flame was about 14 minutes, same as a full-size roaster). I have roasted as little as 80 grams.

Beefy worm drive gear moves the drum. Long pipe type burner is better than the old Burns stovetop-type round burners. You can also see the vent holes in the rear of the solid drum.

To the right is the reverse view, with the drum barrel tilted forward (how you dump the coffee to cool it).

My 3 barrel machine is basically identical, with the same motor etc. … it simply turns 3 pots instead of 1.

One issue: they paint everything on these roasters and I don’t really like it. You could roast it off, but it would mean dumping quite a bit of coffee in the meantime. I chose to take a grinder, attach a wire wheel, and strip off the paint on the burner rod, the sides of the flame chamber, and the drum exterior. The inside of the drum is not painted although the front opening is. I stripped that too. As said, it took an hour, maybe less. You could use a liquid paint stripper too, rather than a wire wheel.

We have 3 of these to offer, and a billion people in the trade and otherwise interested in them. We are going to sell these with a WYSIWYG understanding. In other words, it’s a sturdy machine, and you are on your own in terms of using it, maintaining it (a few grease points, oiling the bearings etc) and repairing it down the line. The machine is infinitely modifiable and reparable. It comes with a spare gear set. We are reasonable and if a machine is flawed, we’ll back you up on repairing it. But this is NOT a home machine, and you can easily burn your house down or whatever by not paying attention to the roast. This is not for everyone. Price? Professional single barrel sample roasters range from about $2500 and up. There are very fine ones out there, like Probat (new Diedrich is $3800 I believe). This single-barrel roaster is $1300, and will need to ship by truck frieght. (Update: we think this can ship UPS, actually). The roasters cost us about $900 each, plus the transportation, customs fees, Panama Canal fee (yes, it just went up) to the U.S. from Brazil was very pricey. At $1300 we are covering costs plus a very very modest amount. Email to get the latest (to see if any are available)

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