Best Commercial Coffee Roaster 2023: Buyer's Guide

buyer's guide

Inside this guide

Types of commercial coffee roasters
Main things to consider when choosing a commercial coffee roaster
Best commercial coffee roasters in New Zealand
Used commercial coffee roasters — worth considering?
Warranty and insurance
Coffee roaster FAQs
Coffee roaster terminology
How to maintain your commercial coffee roaster
How often should a commercial coffee roaster be serviced?
Save your cash, use ours!



New Zealand’s coffee culture is powered by passion and is set to grow in the coming years.

Roasting beans in-house gives cafes more control over the flavour profile of their coffee and enables them to offer customised, in-house blends.

According to Statista Market Forecast, New Zealand’s roast coffee segment is expected to grow at an annual compound growth rate (CAGR) of 5.45% from 2023–2025.

Whether you’re a first-time buyer or looking at upgrading your current unit, this buyer’s guide gives you the information you need to choose a roaster that works best for you.


Types of commercial coffee roaster

Commercial coffee roasters are generally categorised by machine configuration and size.


Classic drum roasters

Tried and tested, these machines feature a drum rotating over a gas-powered flame.

With the aid of a fan, hot air is pulled from the burner, through the drum and out of the roaster.

They can be prone to creating more heat than required while roasting.

However, this issue is largely restricted to roasters with a single-walled drum, which is thinner and so heats up more, and which may have inadequate separation between the drum and burner. 

The thermal stability of drum roasters tends to be better than that of other types of machines. However, their reaction to gas changes is typically slower.

For the abovementioned reasons, you may wish to consider a roaster with a double-walled drum and a burner with the appropriate energy ratings (BTU/hr or kJ/hr).

Best for: Cafes wanting to start roasting in-house or a roaster looking to upgrade their machine.


Indirectly heated roasters

In these roasters, the drum and burner chamber are separate. Hot air from the burner chamber is passed through the drum.

Because the flames are not in direct contact with the drum surface, it stays cooler.

However, compared to drum roasters, indirectly heated ones are more challenging to control.

They need skilful management of the airflow for optimal roasts.

Best for: First-time coffee roasters, including cafés.


Recirculation roasters

In these roasters a portion of the warm roasting air is recirculated into the roasting chamber via the burner.

Recirculation roasters are renowned for their superior energy efficiency.

However, reintroducing the roasting air risks tainting the beans with smoky flavours.

To avoid this, the air is heated to high temperatures — close to those found in the afterburner unit — before being recirculated.

This rids the air of pollutants that might spoil the flavour of the beans.

Best for: Established roasters looking to upgrade to an industrial-sized machine or a café after a small or medium-sized roaster.


Fluid-bed roasters

In these roasters the beans are kept aloft and circulated by a bed of hot air.

One of the biggest advantages of fluid-bed roasters is that they take less time to develop the beans.

However, some experts consider these roasters to be too simple to achieve a roast’s maximum potential. Regardless, their popularity is on the rise.

Best for: Cafés with space constraints as fluid-bed roasters occupy less space than other types.

Sample roasters enable users to roast small batches of beans and cup them to determine their quality and flavour.

Sample roasters (50g to 500g)

Sample roasters enable users to roast small batches of beans and cup them to determine their quality and flavour.


Small-batch roasters (1kg to 3kg)

These machines are popular among micro-roasters and cafés looking at getting into roasting in-house.

Be aware that the consistency of the roast quality declines as more batches are roasted.

If you roasted 200 batches in a 1kg machine, for example, the margin for error would be much higher than roasting 100 batches in a 2kg machine.

Best for: Cafés and other foodservice establishments roasting beans for the first time.


Small commercial roasters (5kg to 15kg)

Versatile and capable, these machines not only roast small batches, they can also be used to profile beans to understand their behaviour when roasting.

As with any type of roaster, the more demands you put on these machines, the higher their maintenance costs.


Medium commercial roasters (15kg to 30kg)

Medium commercial roasters are a good option for roasters looking to upgrade to a larger machine to meet increased demand.

It often pays to hold onto your old, smaller roaster in case the new one malfunctions and you need a roaster to tide you over while the other one is being fixed.


Large commercial roasters (30kg to 70kg)

These machines are industrial coffee roasters. They’re usually found in large-scale commercial operations.

Before installing one, you’ll need to make sure you have the required space and gas or electricity supply.


Extra-large commercial roaster (70kg and up)

These imposingly large and heavy roasters are designed for roasting massive quantities of coffee beans.

They weigh more than two tonnes and require roughly 50–60 square meters of floor space for installation.

A dedicated team of trained personnel is required to operate the machines.

Main things to consider when choosing a coffee roaster

Green bean sources

Your source of green beans is important, as it has a large influence on the flavour and quality of your roasted beans.

Make sure to sample beans from various sources before settling on one.


Flavour profile 

You must be clear about the flavour profile you wish to produce with your roaster.

Different machines suit different profiles — bear this in mind when shopping for commercial coffee roasters.

Achieving the desired flavour profile is a time-consuming process.

A lot of batches will be wasted in the early stages through trial and error.

However, patience and persistence should eventually produce good results.


Type of roaster 

As discussed above, you need to consider the type of roaster that would be suit you — both its configuration and size.



Commercial coffee roasters are normally professionally installed by the manufacturer.

Before ordering a roaster, make sure to consult and coordinate with the manufacturer.

This will help you identify all the things that need to be done ahead of the installation.

This preparatory work often needs to start at least 3 months in advance!

Here are the main things to take into account:



You’ll need to make sure you have ample space to accommodate the roaster and that its position will facilitate an efficient workflow.



Coffee roasters run hot and generate unwanted by-products.

So, you need to make sure your work area is designed with safety in mind, including ventilation.


Gas, electricity and plumbing

Most roasters use gas while others require electricity.

Regardless, you’ll need to ensure you have access to the required utility connections.

Some roasters use water to cool the drums, so plumbing may also be required.



Commercial coffee roasting machines produce smoke and fumes, so it’s important to have proper ventilation in place.

Make sure your ventilation system complies with local regulations and standards.

Commercial coffee roasting is an energy-intensive it's important to choose a machine that's energy efficient.

Energy efficiency

Commercial coffee roasting is an energy-intensive process.

Energy costs can quickly add up, so it’s important to choose a machine that’s energy efficient.

Look for a machine with a high thermal-efficiency rating and low energy consumption.

Modern roasters, for example, tend to use less energy than traditional drum roasters.


Safety features

Commercial coffee roasting exposes workers to high temperatures, green beans (which have been known to cause respiratory issues), and volatile emissions (like CO, CO2, VOCs, etc.).

You can minimise the risk of exposure by using the roaster in a well-ventilated area and making sure the machine has appropriate safety features, such as automatic shut-off, temperature sensors, and fire-suppression systems.


Ease of cleaning

Roasting results in many unwanted by-products, such as coffee oils, sludge and chaff.

It’s therefore important to clean the roasting machine inside and out, as per the manufacturer’s instructions.

In particular, the machine’s cooling fan and afterburner will need to be kept clean to ensure it continues to perform as required.



The demand for your roasted coffee beans will help you decide on the capacity of the roaster; the bigger the roaster, the more money you’ll need to set aside for it.

As well as the cost of the roaster — they range from about $17,000 for a 1.3kg roaster to more than $100,000 for an industrial roaster — you’ll need to factor in the incidental costs.

These include installation (e.g. chimney ductwork), QC equipment, a PC or laptop for monitoring data, coffee-roasting accessories, and fuel (natural gas or propane).


User interface 

A well-designed and easy-to-operate user interface (UI) is important, since the roastmaster is likely to spend 20–40 hours per week staring into the UI to monitor the roasting process.

The mark of a good roastmaster is their ability to reproduce the desired flavour profile time and again.

The more intuitive the UI is, the more consistent the results are likely to be.


Reliability and aesthetics 

Generally, machines with fewer parts and tech and heavier builds are considered more reliable and durable.

PROBAT’s simply designed UB series, for instance, has stood the test of time, performing excellently over decades.

Generally, more modern, tech-laden roasters make the roasting process easier and produce more consistent results.

If you intend to put your coffee roaster in the front of house, you’ll want to make sure it’s aesthetically appealing.

An old roaster with rustic charm will project a different image to a modern, shiny one.


Best commercial coffee roasters in New Zealand


A German manufacturer founded in 1868, PROBAT is a widely recognised and respected brand worldwide.

Its legendary UB series, built until 1958, helped establish the brand’s reputation for excellence.

PROBAT’s cutting-edge technology in its latest series of roasters has fortified the brand’s reputation.


PROBAT BRZ 2/4/6 Barrel Roaster

This is a battery sample roaster with two, four or six drum options. The capacity of each drum is 8–100 grams.

Each drum has a separate air temperature display, allowing the temperature in each of them to be adjusted. 

The machine’s chaff suction fan sits on a stand, and it has a flexible hose and a chaff-collector container at the bottom of the cyclone.

Each of the wood-mounted roaster units is powered by either gas or electricity.

This is a good option for assessing a bean’s behaviour for multiple types of roasts simultaneously.



The defining feature of this roaster — a modern take on a classic design — is the ease with which you can adjust the flow of hot air to create different flavour profiles.

This feature-loaded gas burner ekes out 7–15kg per batch.

With a roasting time of 10–20 minutes, it can produce 30–65kg of roasted beans per hour.

A great option for a first-timer.



Boasting the looks of Probat’s classic UG series and the technical features of its G series, the G45 is a superb mid-size coffee roaster.

It has a flexible drum volume of between 20 and 55 kilograms.

Pneumatically controlled opening flaps on the bean container, roasting drum and cooling-seive outlet make the machine easy to operate.



Giesen’s commercial coffee roasters are manufactured in the picturesque town of Ulft in the Netherlands.

Giesen roasters come in a wide range of sizes, from humble 50–200g sample roasters to those delivering up to 140kg per batch.

Giesen base their designs on the traditional approach of German roaster manufacturers.

Strength and durability are the main focus, including the use of high-grade materials.

With tech-laden features added to the mix, Giesen has what it takes to deliver impressively.


Giesen WPG/E1 Sample Roaster

Giesen has not held back on the technology for the WPG/E1.

Retrieving data, comparing roasts and creating roast profiles are a breeze with the machine’s chic UI.

You can choose between gas (WPG1) and electric (WPE1) and batch sizes of 50–200 grams (a maximum output of 800 grams per hour).


Giesen W1A/1E

Geisen’s W1 series includes a gas (W1A) and electric (W1E) variant.

The machine features drum-speed control, airflow-control power regulation, and digital control panels.

It has a batch size of 1.5kg and an output of 6kg per hour.


Giesen W6 Pro

The pro edition of Geisen’s top-selling W6 series of electric roasters boasts a completely automated process.

It has large touchscreen controls, airflow and drum-speed controls, and a cooling time of two minutes.

It has a batch size of 0.5kg to 7kg and a maximum output of over 25kg per hour.


Loring Smart Roast Inc.

Company founder Mark Loring Ludwig’s frustration with the efficiency of standard coffee roasters led to the invention in 2002 of the first Loring roaster — the world’s first machine capable of smokeless coffee roasting. The rest, as they say, is history.

Built in North Carolina, USA, Loring coffee roasters are known for their unique design and cutting-edge roasting technology.

They offer exemplary control over the roasting process and can create different profiles with consistency.

The brand comprises four models of recirculation roasters with different capacities and all with the same single-burner convection design.

The company claims its machines use up to 80% less fuel!


Loring S7 Nighthawk

Made of stainless steel and with a batch size of 1.4–7kg, the S7 Nighthawk is Loring’s base model.

The fully automated machine features a touchscreen interface that shows the burner and fan-speed details and comes with a high-speed cooling tray with paddle stirrer. You can even save profiles on the software.


Loring S15 Falcon

In addition to the features the S7 Nighthawk has (see above), the S15 Falcon comes with optional attachments such as a destoner and a green bean cart with a scale.

It handles batch sizes of 3–15kg and includes a green bean vacuum lift for easier loading.


Loring S35 Kestrel

This is the first model Loring made and the S35 has only gotten better with time.

It has a batch size of 7–35kg and features touchscreen automation, an auto hopper, an auto roast-chamber door, and even vacuum-elevator loading.

The S35 also comes with optional attachments.


Stonka Roasters

Stonka is a New Zealand-based brand that was founded by Nigel Walsh.

In the early days, the firm built afterburners for customers in and around Christchurch.

When a customer asked them to go even further and build a complete 20kg roaster, Walsh and his team built a masterpiece that performs excellently to this day. Shortly after, Stonka Roasters was born.

Stonka roasters are well-crafted machines with excellent build quality and materials.

Currently, Stonka have three models ranging in capacity from 100g to 5kg (they’re also capable of building industrial coffee roasters with capacities of up to 70kg).


Stonka Sample Roaster

Stonka’s sample roaster is a drum roaster with a stainless-steel drum.

It handles batches of 0.1kg to 1.5kg, uses LPG and natural gas for fuel, and has digital bean-temperature and elapsed-time display.


Stonka Mini Roaster 3 kg

The Mini is a classic drum roaster, with steel plates, a stainless-steel drum, and a batch size of 1–3kg.

It also comes with a bean-temperature and elapsed-time display.

Powered by LPG and natural gas, it houses a 1.5-litre chaff collector.


Stonka Roaster 5 kg

The Roaster features a mild-steel-construction drum with paddles and mixers.

Fuelled by LGP and natural gas, it can handle batches of up to 5kg.

On board are three Stonka ribbon burners for a well-controlled roast, an Omron temperature display controller, and Kromschroder gas-valve controls and air-pressure switch, among other gadgetry.


Used commercial coffee roasters — worth considering?

Spending thousands of dollars on a new commercial coffee roaster can put a strain your budget and cash flow.

If you’d prefer not to invest a lot of money in a commercial roaster, a cheaper, pre-owned machine might be the solution you’re looking for.

SilverChef’s range of ‘Certified Used’ commercial equipment is mostly ex-rental equipment sourced from businesses we know and trust.

The equipment is typically less than two-and-a-half years old, has been fully refurbished by us, and is backed by a three-month parts-and-labour warranty.

Considering the effective, or useful, life of commercial coffee roasters is about 15 to 20 years, you can be sure our Certified Used roasters have plenty of life left in them.

You can either buy or finance the ‘Certified Used’ (and clearance) equipment on our website.

We’re one of the few financiers, if not the only one, in New Zealand, that funds second-hand commercial kitchen equipment.

Read more about ‘Certified Used’ equipment


Warranty and insurance

Most equipment manufacturers provide warranties ranging from one to five years, depending on the type of equipment.

If the equipment develops a covered fault within that time, the manufacturer is obliged to repair or replace the equipment or give you a full refund.

Carefully study the warranty to understand exactly what is and isn't covered.

SilverChef offers a three-month parts-and-labour warranty on all our ‘Certified Used’ and clearance equipment.

Business insurance covers loss or damage to your commercial kitchen equipment and other property.

This cover typically includes fire, accident, and theft. Some insurers also offer equipment-breakdown cover.

Contact your insurer to confirm whether the equipment you’re getting is automatically covered by your policy or will need to be added to it.

If your insurer doesn’t provide flood cover as standard, you may wish to consider requesting it.

Coffee roaster FAQs

How does coffee roasting work?

Coffee roasting is the process of transforming green coffee beans into roasted coffee with desirable flavour, aroma, and colour.

The roaster is preheated to the desired temperature before the green beans are loaded into the machine.

During the roasting process the beans undergo several chemical changes that cause them to change colour and release volatile compounds that create the desired aroma and flavour.

The amount of beans and the time they spend in the roaster affects the final flavour of the coffee. The roasted beans are quickly cooled to prevent over-roasting.


How much do commercial coffee roasters cost?

Commercial coffee roasters generally range from about $30,000 to $250,000 or more, depending on the make and model.

Sample roasters can cost as little as $7,500. You’ll also need to budget for incidental costs, such as installation and servicing.


What is the shelf life of roasted coffee?

Roasted coffee beans in vacuum-sealed bags can last up to six months on the shelf.

After six months, their flavour changes noticeably (the flavour starts to change slightly after two weeks). So, the sooner you consume the coffee, the better.

Ground coffee tends to lose its flavour faster.


Coffee roaster terminology

Bean probe

A thermometer used to monitor the temperature of the beans in real time.

It sits amidst the beans and gives constant feedback on the bean temperature throughout the roasting process.



Green beans usually have a paper-like substance attached to them. This is removed during the roasting process as it’s undesirable.

During roasting, the skin either ruptures or is burnt away. These bits of dried-out silvery skin, called chaff, are carried away by the roaster air.

Cyclone separators are used to remove the chaff from the roaster exhaust and deposit it in a metal bin for disposal.



The part of the roasting process that involves preheating the roaster, shortly before the green coffee beans are added to the machine.


Cooling stage

The final stage of the roasting process, when the beans are transferred to a cooling tray and blasted with cool air.

The tray is also spun quickly to accelerate the cooling process.

The beans drop from about 200 degrees Celsius to room temperature in mere minutes.


Cyclone separator

A cyclone separator is used in the roaster’s exhaust to separate unwanted particles like chaff.

These particles and other exhaust pollutants are usually sent to an incinerator to burn them off.

Roasters with a cyclone separator and thermal oxidiser (incinerator) normally have emissions free of smoke and particles.

A destoner is a pneumatic machine that removes stones and other unwanted foreign objects that find their way into bags of green coffee beans.


Freshly roasted beans release carbon dioxide quickly; it’s a natural process.

That’s why, after roasting, the beans are typically left alone for up to 24 hours to degas.

Once they’re degassed, the quality assessment process can begin.



Sometimes, unwanted foreign objects find their way into bags of green coffee beans.

These include stones, glass, and metal objects that can potentially damage the roaster’s drum and coffee grinders.

A destoner is a pneumatic machine that removes these objects using a sieve.


Direct flame heater

A roaster heating system that uses gas with a burner (direct flame) to heat the drum.


Drum roaster

A type of roaster in which the beans are shaken and stirred in a large spinning drum to uniformly distribute the beans for an even roast. These roasters are the standard.


Fluid-bed roaster/ Air roaster

In this type of roaster, hot air is forced through and around the beans.

The coffee beans are suspended in a chamber of hot air, which creates a fluid-like motion, hence the name “fluid bed”.


Infrared heater

A roaster heating system that uses infrared waves instead of electric coils or a flame.

Pyrolisis occurs at 220 degrees Celsius, when the release of carbon dioxide from the green bean causes it turn medium brown and lose weight.

Moisture analyser

A device that measures the moisture levels of green beans.

This knowledge helps the roastmaster avoid spoiling or under-roasting the beans.



At 220 degrees Celsius, carbon dioxide is released from the bean due to chemical changes triggered by the intense heat.

The colour of the beans changes to a medium brown and they lose up to 13% of their weight.


Roast profiling

The process of analysing and manipulating various factors during the coffee roasting process to create a desire flavour profile in the roaster coffee.

It typically involves adjusting the roast time, roast temperature, airflow, and bean density to achieve the desire flavour, aroma, and appearance in the coffee.


RoR (rate of rising)

The number of degrees per minute by which the temperature of the beans increases at any point during a roast.

This data is constantly monitored and plotted on a graph to achieve what is known as a ’roast curve’.

A roastmaster will monitor the RoR to achieve a predetermined roast curve to deliver a batch of roasted beans with the required profile.

How to maintain your commercial coffee roaster 

Even the best commercial coffee roaster can get clogged due to the buildup of various by-products of roasting. And due to normal wear and tear, many parts of a roaster will need to be replaced over time.

It’s therefore important to regularly clean, maintain and service your roaster, which will ensure the quality of your roasts remains consistent and you don’t have any expensive breakdowns that temporarily put you out of business.

Here are a few cleaning and maintenance tips from Urnex:

  • Coffee oils build up in all types of commercial coffee roasters. The places this occurs, the frequency and so varies from model to model. Over time, you’ll be able to gauge the rate of these build-ups. Make sure to regularly clean them.
  • Empty the chaff-collection unit at the end of a roast day, after the roaster has been switched off and allowed to cool down.
  • Proper maintenance of your equipment goes a long way in extending its life and ensuring optimal roasts. For example, cooling fans, which help control roast temperatues, experiences a lot of buildup. If they’re not maintained (or replaced) and their efficiency drops, it will be harder for you to achieve your desired profile.
  • Often, a powdery substance from the beans is found sticking to the inner parts of the coffee roaster. Clean this off periodically with a soft brush, such as a toilet brush or large paint brush. Use a vacuum after the brushing is done. This process helps prevent oils from accumulating and getting thicker.
  • While the top part of your roaster’s cooling tray may look clean, the state of the underside might be vastly different. Make sure you pay attention to both sides when removing coffee oils and build-up.
  • Clogged grate holes will affect your roaster’s airflow and result in roasted beans with undesirable flavour profiles. A roller brush is a great way to keep the grate holes clean.
  • Use specialised cleaning solutions to remove thick, caked-on oil and residue. Brush off the build-up, spray on the solution, wait a few minutes (check the cleaner instructions) and wipe off the gunk. Spray the area again with clean water and wipe it dry.
  • Clean the outside of your roaster at the end of a roast day. Dust, chaff, residue — any number of flammable substances can settle on the outer surface. Wiping them off with a clean, dry or damp, non-abrasive cloth helps keep your roaster nice and shiny.
  • Change replaceable parts in time will help prevent other, more expensive and potentially irreplaceable components and systems from malfunctioning.

How often should a commercial coffee roaster be serviced?

As each make and model of roaster has its own service schedule, you should consult the manufacturer’s user manual for advice.


Save your cash. Use ours!

Hospitality equipment can be expensive and paying for it outright can put pressure on your business’s cash flow.

Our finance solutions allow you to get the equipment you want now and to pay for it in small, regular amounts out of the revenue it generates for you.

Rent–Try–Buy® not only helps you maintain your cash flow, it also gives you unrivalled flexibility to adapt your equipment to the changing needs of your business.

You can upgrade or buy the equipment at any time or, after 12 months, return or continue renting it.

If you decide to buy the equipment, we’ll give you back 50% of the net rent you paid in the first year and 20% of any rental payments thereafter — to put toward the purchase price.

Read more about Rent–Try–Buy