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Discussions > Regional > Australasia > Roasting in a...  
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Senior Member

Joined: 27 Aug 2007
Posts: 29
Location: Melb
Expertise: Pro Barista

Espresso: W: Synesso
Grinder: W: K-10, Mini
Posted Thu Nov 22, 2007, 3:19am
Subject: Re: Roasting in a residential area

"I would hope that the coffee world will keep the art true and not ride on internet knowledge"

This is true to an extent, but its probably more important to keep the art evolving, through knowledge sharing. How large scale roasters doing the same thing again and again with an eye on bottom lines can do this is questionable. I think its the smaller roasters who can really do this, particular when they find their niche. I can think of one in Melbourne in particular who is really pushing things as far as the local scene goes.

Going the backyard route is probably the more arduous and dangerous one, but its not to say it cant be done. I'd hope that the people on here who have been so quick to criticise would be just as quick to advise our friend. After all, I'd say more meaningful success is often found by those that think outside the box than those that remain safely within it.

Good luck mate, have a good hard go. Hope next time I'm up your way its your beans I'm drinking!
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Senior Member
Joined: 25 Sep 2002
Posts: 911
Location: Auckland
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: wega, fiorenzato
Grinder: Growing collection of...
Drip: yes people call me that...
Roaster: collection building...
Posted Thu Nov 22, 2007, 1:58pm
Subject: Re: Roasting in a residential area

Luca Said:

I have met a fair few commercial roasters now, and I think that we probably have people who started in three main ways:

1) Training with the big boys and then spun off to do their own thing.  Surprising how many people who run great roasteries now started off at places that ... well ... you wouldn't really buy any coffee from.

2) Getting a good grounding in business, building up their palates, possibly whilst running a cafe, then deciding to make the big leap into roasting.  These dudes make a plan and save up.

3) People who just shove a roaster in their shed.

Posted November 20, 2007 link

that would about sum it up - I am category 3, but have never had a shed :)

Luca Said:

In general, I think that it's not unfair to say that category one and two roasters are more likely to produce a great roast than category three.  Which is not to say that there aren't great category three roasters - several certainly did well at golden bean recently.  

Posted November 20, 2007 link

You could also say that everyone has to start somewhere, and in a sense most start in a shed - just that a shed comes in many guises...

Luca Said:

To me, the big difference between the roasters in these different categories is how they have developed their coffee knowledge, including their palates.  Those in the first category will often had the benefit not only of tasting a lot of different coffee, but of tasting blends across a whole cycle of changing crops.  Those in the second category will have at the very least developed a good palate - they might not have a gut reaction in advance that a particular crop is a hot pick, but they know a good sample when they get it.  Those in the third category might well be in the same boat.  But they are the ones with the least invested in the idea of starting a commercial roastery and, consequently, from the consumer's perspective, they are the most likely to be opportunistic - either intentionally, or because they simply don't realise what they are buying, roasting and blending.  And with the Internet, everything is even less transparent than in the real world.  I have nothing but respect for people who home-roast well and nothing but support to people who home roast badly and are making an effort to learn, but I would feel duped if I bought beans that someone had bought on someone else's recommendation and roasted with a heat gun.

Posted November 20, 2007 link

I think the method of roasting is irrelevant - but if someone wants to grow, emulating a heatgun to roast 20 kg of green is going to be a challenge... I think irrespective of which category, the grass is often greener on the other side. The advantage of working for a large roasting operation and the exposure to all the different beans can be as much a hinderance as an advantage - you are also more likely to come at stuff with a preconceived idea, the cafe or shed starting point is more likely to "break" rules and find cool stuff as a result.

The biggest risk I guess is to write off a roasted coffee based on the size of the roaster (Company, and equipment)

Luca Said:

Meanwhile, I think that the established roasters need to take note of the new generation of micro-roasters.  Some of them are doing truly fantastic work.  But from the consumer's point of view, it's impossible to tell without tasting the coffee.  

Posted November 20, 2007 link

and vice versa - it's a big mistake for a small roaster to ignore those that have gone before...

Luca Said:

On the other hand, opportunists really do irritate me.  True opportunists take advantage of what all any other purveyor of crap coffee does - the fact that for many customers an assertion that your coffee is good is the same thing as it actually being good.  I find this absolutely reprehensible as a consumer because I think that this attitude is at least partly responsible for the fact that I don't feel that I can read anyone's blend description and actually have a good idea of what it is going to taste like.  Who is going to write something realistic when that means risking losing sales to the scumbag down the street who is selling floor sweepings with a description oozing buzzwords?

I would love to see the ACCC start cracking down on unrealistic blend descriptions as "misleading and deceptive conduct" under the trade practices act.

Posted November 20, 2007 link

Yep, there is a big difference between a well roasted and blended coffee that you don't like, and crap :)

my favourite description "Tastes like coffee" - everyone can understand that one :)

The other one that most people get, but you will never see printed on a packet of coffee "tastes like crap"

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Senior Member

Joined: 30 May 2006
Posts: 66
Location: Sydney
Expertise: Professional

Posted Thu Nov 22, 2007, 8:45pm
Subject: Re: Roasting in a residential area

Great post Brent   :)

I'm also in Category 3  :-)

The best thing when starting small, is your exposure is small and risk accordingly. As you go, you learn more and more everyday. As your exposure increases, you grow.

I'm not all that interested in getting into $$$$ of debt - so it's slow and easy for me while I work a fulltime job. It's hard work, but passion helps you over the line  :-)

I also would like to comment that literature on the web regarding coffee is essential (amoung other things) to the learning process.
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Senior Member

Joined: 9 Jul 2006
Posts: 64
Location: Sydney
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Miss Silvia
Grinder: Compak K10WBC
Roaster: Gene Cafe
Posted Sun Nov 25, 2007, 8:02pm
Subject: Re: Roasting in a residential area

nunu Said:

The crux is you can't take no for an answer.

You obviously didn't get the replies you liked in another forum, so decided to try your luck here.  How many people need to tell you no before you get the idea?

You're better off selling ice cream.  At least you won't smoke up the place.

Posted October 27, 2007 link

I guess alt.coffee is next on the list then!!
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Senior Member

Joined: 13 Aug 2006
Posts: 115
Location: Hong Kong
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: LaScala L1 Butterfly
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Drip: Braun hand-me-down
Roaster: Hottop P
Posted Mon Nov 26, 2007, 3:34am
Subject: Re: Roasting in a residential area

You just can't take no for an answer

Ermm...why does he have to?  Copernicus didn't.  The Wright Brothers didn't.  James Dyson didn't.  The list goes on.  

Notwithstanding mistakes that result in death, ANYONE can learn ANYTHING given enough time.  Most of us however, choose to receive instruction in a subject as it results in an acceleration of the learning process as the school of trial and error teaches with a prohibitively slow lesson plan.

I say go for it Fenners.  You've received a number of warnings, hopefully enough to make your own informed decision.  If you're happy with the risks pertaining to Fire, OH&S and Council intervention/prosecution as well as the economic cost of slowly learning by trial and error....and you judge these risks to be acceptable...then go give it what for!  Whether you succeed or fail, either way you'll learn from the experience  :)

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Senior Member

Joined: 1 Jan 2008
Posts: 1
Location: NZ
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Tue Jan 1, 2008, 10:56pm
Subject: Re: Roasting in a residential area

Hi there.
I'm just new to the coffee roasting world and am looking at purchasing a 10kg Yucel roaster. I can't seem to find out much info about them. Just wondering what people know about them? Are they any good? I'm not going to set it up in a shed, beak any fire regulations or be worried about resale in 20 yeras. Just wondering does it roast well? Really keen to hear your opinions.
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Senior Member
Joined: 17 Feb 2007
Posts: 85
Location: Rome, Italy
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Vibiemme Domobar
Grinder: Anfim Best
Roaster: Gene
Posted Wed Jan 2, 2008, 7:02am
Subject: Re: Roasting in a residential area

Not really related to your backyard roastery but something to do with neighbours and the heavenly (to me, but not everyone) smell of roasting beans.

When i was very, very young, just across the road from where i lived, was the roastery of "Danesi", a very well known (did not say "good") coffee name back home.
I think they are known here as well since i've seen their cups and coffee for sale in Brisbane if i am not wrong.

At the roastery they used to do retail sales as well. I still remember the place, in a garage, where my grandma used to buy those 100 grams paper sachets full of just roasted and just ground beans. I really don't think any safety precaution was in force at the time there (we still have car body repairers working with spraypaints in open air with a paper mask on.. in 2008)

Was great to my family to have a place like that because coffee was always freshly roasted, could be bought in small quantities, because was 20 meters away from our doorstep, and they also had a fidelity program, which consisted in giving you a plastic token with every purchase.
With a certain number of tokens you could have had little gadget, which made my short trips there more pleasant, since i did not drank coffee at the time at all (age four or five just a few drop in milk to add flavour were allowed), but i liked their gadgets.

What i really have fond memories of, however, is the good smell taking over the whole block. After almost 30 years when i smell the roasted beans in the backalleys of brunswick st, en route to Atomica, all that surfaces up again.

What was and still is heavenly to me, was apparently not to other neighbours though.

You could hear people complaining about that "bad smell" coming from their garage. I can understand that. There's people who cannot bear the smell of meat on a barbecue and many other things that make me drool.

So, in the very early eighties i guess, danesi closed that roasting facility, someone said because the many complaints of neighbours who had enough to smell coffee all morning and afternoon.
I don't know if that's true or they simply found a bigger and better place, in a more isolated location because was more convenient.
Our neigbourhood was slowly getting fagocitated into the living tissue of the city of Rome, making deliveries a bit harder because of increasing traffic, among other things.

The funny part of the story is that a car audio and alarm systems bought a part of the roastery and those complaining about coffee smell had to bear more than 10 nice years of alarms and louspeakers testing instead

As for my personal 2 cents, once you have taken your safety precutions and are cleared to operate by your local council, roast like mad and experiment.

If we had to trust those who follow silly dogmas, or have a laugh at you because of your (for now) small resources we would probably be drinking a lot of crap, and not the good stuff that originates from small roasteries.
Lots of people just like to put others down, discourage them, or say something because they feel the urge to... fortunately there are also lots of encouragements here coming from people who have a great deal of experience and much less arrogance

I would trade an illegally (who said you're operating illegally anyway...?) well roasted and well blended coffee with the stale crap made for the masses i found everyday served in 99.9% of bars of the world any day.

A reputation i really would like to stay away from is that of a big roaster catering for the masses. Also because being small and making crap definitely makes no sense
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Senior Member
Joined: 21 Oct 2013
Posts: 1
Location: Darlington
Expertise: Professional

Espresso: Faema Due, Sunbeam cafe...
Grinder: mazzer super jolly
Roaster: Diedrich IR12
Posted Mon Oct 21, 2013, 10:12pm
Subject: Re: Roasting in a residential area

I've done it... Am doing it, and it isn't easy, you have to read lots of fine print...
Everyone says it can't be done.

I set up in Darlington Sydney as a "Home occupation"
Permissible by council as long as neighbourhood amenity by way of smell/ noise is not adversly affected etc.

I roasted this way for a year, I have an ESP from NIT Korea and a Diedrich IR12, had some problems so am now applying for "Home industry" DA.

In my area Home occupation prohibit "Food manufacture". If you don't pour coffee, it is "Food process".
I got away with that one, my stumbling block was too hot exhaust was shutting down the ESP and causing smoke. I have fixed the problem now but too late to slide under the radar. The problem required cool air being mixed in with the exhaust gasses... I can tell you about that process if you care.

ESP's cost a lot less to run than afterburners, but they require regular cleaning.

Let me know if any of this interests you.
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