The next installment of roaster knowledge from Neil Maree, co-founder and chief engineer behind Genio Roasters.
Now that you have decided on which roaster you need, you’re excited to go ahead and want your roaster delivered yesterday. But the manufacturer just sent you a list of add-ons that you can choose from to customise your soon-to-be new roaster. What do you add? What do you leave? Let’s take a closer look.
The specifications of a roaster will vary between manufacturers. The available options can range from must-have features, such as roast profiling software, to custom colours and wood trimmings. More than likely your roaster manufacturer will push you in one direction, while you only really need the bare minimum. Here is my list of suggestions:
If there is the option to take an external chaff cyclone, you should take it. An external cyclone adds an independent roasting fan which greatly increases your machine’s ability to catch the chaff husks as they are separated from the beans during roasting. Many models still have internal systems built into the machine.
In my opinion, crawling around on your knees with a vacuum is not the right way to run a roastery, so always opt for the external system. There are exceptions to this. For example, our Genio 3 roaster comes complete with a built-in chaff cyclone. The word “cyclone” is important here as it speaks to the filtration method; don’t settle for a simple filter or separator.
Gas control is like the accelerator pedal on your car; it determines how fast you are going. Having a gas gauge is like looking at the speedometer.
Take the gas gauge if it is an option or ask your manufacturer to install one as an extra. We use our included gas gauges as a major metric when speaking to our customers about their machines’ performance, and I cannot imagine roasting without one.
This is the big one. Do not tell me you are an “artisan” and you don’t need temperature logging. The best artisans in the industry insist on having some form of digital temperature logging, if not full profile control. A professional profiling system can determine whether you will move from a small lifestyle roastery to a scalable business that can grow and thrive. Many people choose to go with third-party systems, the biggest of which is Cropster or Artisan Scope. Cropster is a professional solution. Over many years it can become pricey, but it is well worth the money. You can even submit the reports to the government if a tax on roasted/green coffee is applicable in your country, as Cropster has an inventory tracking module.
Artisan Scope is immensely finicky, but it’s free! It is packed with features and can make a big difference in your quality control, but you will need to spend some time on user forums to get the most out of it. It also has an inventory tracking feature although this is a paid option.
At Genio, we have designed our own ProRoast system. We still offer easy integration with third-party systems, but try our ProRoast system before you do anything else. You might just be pleasantly surprised that it has everything you need, already included in the system!
If computers and screens are an optional extra, I suggest just buying your own laptop. It will probably be far cheaper, and you can get local support for it. With that said, our Genio’s have an included Samsung tablet that connects to the machine via Bluetooth.
For many roasters, their machines are an extension of their brand. Having a beautiful, custom coloured roaster can be a key feature in your coffee shop or roastery. But be aware that pink and baby blue roasters are more difficult to sell when you eventually need to upgrade to a bigger size. My advice is to stick to classic, timeless colours and features that can be easily upgraded as your brand evolves and your company grows over time.
Genio just launched a state-of-the-art customisation service. Our customisation team will schedule several sessions with you to assist with every aspect of your machine, from basic colours to wood and leather finishings.
We have recently sat down with Dario Scilipoti from Bluebird Coffee Roastery, one of our first customers who went on this customisation journey with the team. Read more about his customer experience here.
Be sure to watch for hidden costs, like the shipping crate, import duties, and local certification requirements. Shipping via sea freight is completely normal and is the de facto transportation method for roaster manufacturers. Air freight is also possible, but the cost is generally 3 times that of sea freight. The advantage of air freight is that the goods are normally handled better and the transit time is usually 1-2 weeks instead of 4-6 weeks for sea freight.
We often have customers who want to save costs and ship the machines themselves. I would warn you against this, as international shipping can be very tricky and immensely time-consuming. Manufacturers deal with this every day and know the ins and outs of getting their equipment around.
Remember to include insurance when shipping your roaster. All of Genio’s shipments, whether local or abroad, are insured. We use specialised marine freight insurance companies, so the risk lies with us. If you prefer to handle the shipping of the roaster yourself, the risk passes to you as soon as the machine is loaded onto a truck at our factory. Individuals are often not geared for this type of insurance. There is a real risk of a roaster falling or being damaged somewhere in a port or warehouse during transit.
Even if you are an experienced roaster, make sure that your manufacturer offers you training of some sort. You will inevitably need some sort of guidance, and your manufacturer should make it clear what type of training they can offer.
Genio has recently taken a big step towards offering comprehensive training programmes for our customers. All of the training is included for free, as we believe that empowering our customers significantly enhances the quality of their roasting experience.
This is probably the most important aspect of all. Anyone can make a roaster and anyone can sell it to you. But looking after you as a customer, after the sale has been done, is a mammoth task (and one that only a few companies consider as important).
Many manufacturers nowadays do not offer free support. They require you to provide them with your credit card information, before they will even speak to you. Or worse, they do not speak your language, are not available after office hours in their country of residence, or they employ inexperienced people to assist with highly technical issues.
After-sale support needs to be your top priority when considering add-ons for your roaster. Because it should not be an add-on. There is an easy way of choosing a manufacturer: their commitment to resolving your problems: put them to the test!
Last but not least is the warranty and technical support. This is the one place where budget and professional manufacturers are differentiated. Most manufacturers offer only a 1-year warranty. Some only offer a few months on electrical equipment, and most warranty clauses require you to fly the manufacturer’s technician out (sometimes at business class rates) to commission or service the roaster, for the warranty to be honoured. These are red flags that should be considered. Be careful of distributors that cannot offer the same technical support as what the warranty specifies.
At Genio Roasters, we also only offer a 1-year warranty. BUT, this can be extended up to 3 years in total and includes electrical and mechanical components and workmanship. By simply requesting warranty extensions from us and completing a few basic checks on your roaster, you can have peace of mind when purchasing a Genio in any country around the world. In other words, we will honour our quality commitment to you and replace any parts covered under our warranty agreement at no cost to you, provided that you look after your roaster. We guide you every step of the way with interactive online guides, videos and telephone support.