I have been exploring roasting methods. The general consensus seems to be that a rotating drum roaster produces the most uniform results. It seems that re-purposed coffee machines are common. Coffee roasters, however, are mega expensive - even used they run $15K and up.
Has anyone tried converting a commercial rotisserie oven into a roaster? The commercial oven are quite large and should be able to hold a drum with 10 kgs. The drum would have to be custom made - I have seen some on eBay for about $500. A used commercial rotisserie is around $1500.
Any thought, comments are welcome.
Maverick Chocolate Co.
I've been looking into the idea of using a commercial rotisserie oven for quite some time, and the Hobart KA7E is an example of the kind that has been catching my attention. New, these are more expensive than other options, including most new convection ovens, but less expensive than modified coffee roasters.
Yes, a custom basket does need to be made - not hard, and not expensive. I think what Alison has done with her bean sampling port and temperature probe are great additions.
One thing I like about this particular Hobart is that it is "self-cleaning." It's plumbed! One thing that often gets overlooked is that after a while the inside of the oven gets coated with an oily film of cocoa butter that attracts dust and cocoa particles that are blown about. This film does need to cleaned - how often depends on how much roasting you do. Having a built-in cleaning option designed to clean off cooked-on splattered chicken fat seems like a huge time saver to me.
I also like that it opens front and back as I can see turning the heat off, letting the basket turn, and blowing air (plain box fan might do) through the oven to help cool the beans down quickly.
I am one that is a lover of used equipment. I have purchased most of my stuff from this site. www.publicsurplus.com. Many people poo poo the idea, but I have only had ONE item out of perhaps forty that has actually been shipped (or picked up) that has not worked and I have not spent more than $2500. I own a 20q Hobart Floor mixer, Wolf Stoves, Candy Burners a couple of double stacks, fridges and much much more. Have you thought of doing the roasting on a smaller scale in a double stack? You could pull out the shelves and I think it may be easier to fit the drum in it. Also the Double stacks are a dime a dozen. I have bought them for between $78 and $200 each on that site. Look for Schools remodeling ... they all do it per law every few years so equipment is not hazardous.
I will say that I don't roast cocoa beans or any others for that matter.. I work with chocolate after that point.. but this sounds like a fun project. :)
Whatever you do, good luck!! How awesome!