Hi there, anybody have experience with the new method of superheated steam roasting? Or the roasters them selves and wether or not it would be practical to acquire a roaster for small scale production... I have read that it is a way to maintain maximum nutrition and health benefit...
Look forward to you sharing your experience!
I contacted Roastech and the prices of the ovens are very good. However, they really are continuous ovens and they want to be run all day long (24/7 would be better). The smallest one does up to 50kg per hour, and based on what I heard I would not try to run it for less than 6 hours at a stretch and 8-12 would probably be better for consistency ... as the roast is not entirely even with the drum has different amounts of product in it.
The temperature range is quite large and there is a VFD on the drum so you can select how long the product is in the roaster. This gives you some fine control over the roast. They also claim (but I have no way to verify), that the moisture coming out of the product is turned into steam and so does perform a sanitary kill step.
There's no one using one of them for cocoa in the US.
For small batch production I don't know that one of these makes sense. But I could easily see production situations where a 50kg machine (about US$6500) could be very useful.
That said, fine-tuning variables to get the roast you want might involve a lot of time and beans and there is no way to inspect the beans mid-roast that I know of.
Thanks for the reply that is pretty much what I was starting to put together from talking with them and one of the people that uses one for nuts down in texas. It does seem to be a very cost effective way of roasting large volumes but like you have said there seems to be quite a few variables that contribute to how good it might work for cacao. I certainly don't think I have enough experience myself to pioneer the roasting of cacao in this machine though the price to production ratio makes for a tempting option...