We have a new roaster at Mocha Joe's. It's a Diedrich IR-3. The machine is 10-12 years old. We installed it early August. It took a couple tries to get the venting right. We had to link it with the hot air venting from the Probat before the venting goes through the roof, up to the afterburner. We also had to move the sample roaster around and redo shelving and storage. But finally we are here. With a second roaster, fully functional, and used nearly every day.
There are a few reasons why we have it, and some larger hopes for it. But the first benefit I felt from having it was actually something I hadn't anticipated at all, and that was the efficiency that a small roaster brings to the production day. We have our Probat, with which we try to keep every batch at 40lbs. But there are many times that we just need a few pounds of coffee, and throwing a 40lbs batch for those few pounds is ridiculous.
Since having the small roaster, we knock those batches off the roast list for the Probat; anything under 6lbs we roast in the Diedrich, and anything over 6 lbs we throw a full batch in the Probat. And we run both roasters at the same time, so we cut time off the entire production day (3 batches is an hour's worth of work behind a roaster). To me it's counter-intuitive, I would think having two huge roasters would be the most efficient, but having very different roasters in our production room made us the most efficient we've been and produce the least amount of waste. Awesome.