STiR Tea & Coffee Industry International

Volume 5, Number 6

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40 STiR coffee and tea / Issue 6, 2016 (December/January) By Anne-Marie Hardie I nitially used for verification of samples in the cupping lab, the role of bench roast- ers has expanded with each new coffee wave. Sensors feeding data into sophisti- cated profiling software enable roasters to utilize these $2,500-10,000 machines to fully explore flavor possibilities in small batches prior to industrial production. Accelerating sales of these machines is also due to the push for cafés to roast in- house. This is particularly true in Asia, but is expanding into North America. "In a country like Korea, there are close to 1,000 bench roasters being used for pro- duction in coffee shops," said Willem Boot, a well-respected consultant and founder of Boot Coffee in San Rafael, Calif. "The stores are small with limited amount of space, and this equipment creates the ambience of freshly roasted coffee," he said. In North America, consumers are eager to try exotic and single-origin coffees cus- tom roasted in small batches, which makes an in-house smokeless bench roaster highly desirable. "We are in the midst of almost an enhanced version of the third wave," explains Shannon Chenny, lab director, Coffee Lab International in Waterbury, Vt. "Consumers are more educated and are actively looking for custom products, initially beer, wine and now coffee," she said. These small roasters give cafés the ability to tailor the roast to produce exceptional coffees in limited quantities. The machines are definitely more sophisticated, explains Boot. Bench roasters track rate of rise and automatically calculate development time ratios — data routinely used to design sophisticated roasting profiles and create new blends. "The conversa- tion has become more about how they can play with roast profiles and test different roasting theories using a sample roaster," said Alex Georgiou, head of marketing at Ikawa in London, England. Developing new roasting recipes and blends using a bench roaster simply makes good business sense, said Boot. New technology that makes use of online resources and stored profiles, Bluetooth connectivity, optic temperature gauges and smokeless systems further expand the capabilities of these machines. Examples of sophisticated bench roasters include the Probatino Tabletop, a solid drum roaster from Probat Burns that processes 8.8 lbs per hour using the same control Bench Roasters: Small Batch Flexibility for Coffee Shops Shannon Chenny, lab director, with Coffee Lab International Latest generation sample roaster from IKAWA, London

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