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Home roasting business - Why do roasters need to be certified?

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  • Home roasting business - Why do roasters need to be certified?

    Hopefully someone is able to assist with the legalities surrounding my question.

    We're starting a home coffee roasting business in Victoria and have found a 3kg gas roaster, though I was under the impression that the roaster needs to be certified for insurance purposes/council regulations, etc. The seller is stating that because it's not hard wired (as it's a 15amp plug) and is LPG gas, that as long as the roaster is installed by a professional gas fitter / plumber, the machine doesn't need to be certified itself. The installation is certification enough. Is this true? Particularly for VIctorian laws? Who would be able to clarify this?

    Your input would be greatly appreciated.


  • #2
    You are wise not to believe the seller. Go ask your council about permits etc. You'll have to speak to them about registering as a home business anyway.

    You'd have some hoops to jump through, distance to surrounding buildings for fire safety could be critical. Only last week a friend borrowed my laser measuring tool so he could measure the distance between his house and his neighbours on the sly as he didn't want them to know what he was up to just yet. I'd imagine they'd want to know how you plan to deal with all the smoke too.

    And a little anecdote, I visited a very upmarket cafe about a year ago who had recently installed a beautiful new Diedrich roaster. They told me they were just waiting on council approval. A few weeks later I saw the roaster on Gumtree. Seems council didn't give them approval after all. It happens.


    • #3
      Commercial roaster installation | Talk Coffee


      • #4
        The seller is right, but not helpful. The machine itself doesn't require certification, however it must meet the standards required by the Vic regulator when the Class B gas-fitter installs it, or they will not be able to certify the installation. If they will are unable to certify it, they will be highly unlikely to install it in the first place. That's only one of the issues to be dealt with, as MrFreddoFrog and >Talk_Coffee's information have indicated.
        Get the name of the Class B fitter that did the install and speak to them. They may be familiar with the machine and be able to tell you what their requirements would be to install and certify.

        Different councils have different requirements for the the environmental impacts so depending on your zoning you may have to install an afterburner or some form of scrubbing tech to deal with the smoke.

        There are other things to consider but I haven't had breakfast or coffee yet so I"m a bit dim.



        • #5
          Thank you. I think you guys have clarified it more for me than some of the 'experts' in their fields.
          This is my understanding in a nut shell. It's like a car, even though it stills works, when you sell it secondhand, you still require a roadworthy certificate. That about right?


          • #6
            My advice to you, from a person who has been in this industry a while and installed numerous roasters, is to seek a commercial premises from the get go.

            If you can't afford to rent a commercial factory, or sub-let some space in an existing facility, then you may wish to reconsider your plans because the rent and cost of compliance for roasting equipment is a small ratio of the overall investments needed to survive in what is a chronically saturated and tough market.

            These days, Councils don't play a role in environment impacts because of liability and legal risks, however, they may act when there are complaints, or they will refer the complaint directly to the EPA after attempting to notify you of the issue.
            Councils tend to defer to the EPA for opinion as they are the subject matter experts. EPA may then refer your case to ESV which is where you may end up dealing with a raft of regulatory compliance requirements.

            Roasting coffee on a commercial basis is dangerous with identifiable risks. It's not something you do in Suburbia. It's not like baking cookies in an oven or running a catering business from your kitchen.

            Even when you follow the regulations, plan properly and invest a few $M in a suitable Industrial Zone 1 area, there are still complaints and issues to deal with.

            As to your 2nd-hand equipment, if it was certified in the state of VIC, then it will have a silver ESV compliance sticker fixed (about the size of a credit card) in a prominent position, typically near the operating controls/console. If it was certified in another state, then you have problems because it will not be recognized by ESV, requiring a full assessment and compliance exercise.

            There are only a small handful of Type B providers in VIC that will take on such a job as most will only touch hi-end furnaces. So don't expect that because you find a Type B on google and then proceed to call them up.......9 times out of 10 they may not take on the job......such is the challenge.

            Do not, under any circumstances, attempt to bypass the Type B process by using a standard Type A plumber to get you up & running.

            Victorian laws in respect to Type B appliances are the toughest in Australia.


            • #7
              Your advice is much appreciated. The commercial premises is a difficult one, as this will be a side gig (until such time as its a viable option to take it in that direction). As I'm the sole income earner for our family, you can probably understand my reasons for this.
              The smoke issues you refer to will probably be my biggest hurdle, though our neighbours are great, some consultation will need to occur (maybe even bribing them with bags of coffee). Let's hope they like coffee.
              We're looking at either a 2kg or 3kg roaster to get us going, any thoughts on that? Our budget is $15,000 for total costs to get the business up and running.


              • #8
                You would be far better getting an electric roaster as that avoids the whole compliance issue. No way is $15k enough to get the business up and running with a gas roaster. It will be marginal with an electric. You could start with a KKTO or something similar to keep your start up costs right down. I roast about 15kg per week with a modified KKTO. I have looked at bigger roasters but its just not viable to buy an off the shelf gas roaster and deal with the compliance issues. I am currently designing and building a fluid bed roaster to expand my capacity grows - but then I live in an area where compliance with nosy government agencies is a non-issue!


                • #9
                  Hi. I'm a gas fitter sparky. Is the roaster over 1000mj? Does it have an approval badge?
                  If it's under 1000mj and not listed as a class b appliance then there no issues with a using a Gasfitter with class G. If it's an approved appliance then you don't need someone to install it in most cases. It's plug n play like a bbq.
                  Send me the details and I'll look into to it properly and give a correct response.


                  • #10
                    Dave - are you sure about the capacity of 1000mj you have referred to above ?

                    Reason I say this is because I don't think that's actually correct - but I could be wrong because I'm not a plumber, gas fitter or combustion engineer - just someone with a lot of experience.

                    Perhaps you mean it's rated capacity needs to be under 10MJ/hr in order to bypass the Type B category. A 1000 MJ appliance is massive, e.g. similar to a large 90kg industrial roaster, a large capacity afterburner, big spray booth/oven or furnace.

                    I'm not aware of any 3kg Gas Roasters being classified as a Type A appliance as they are all imported appliances and require changes either at the factory or retrofitted in Australian standards, e.g. AGA approved components.
                    It's going to be a Type B (or complex installation) in any case due to the burner power required to drive a 3kg roaster should be in the vicinity of 11 - 14KW (unless it's using low-tech direct-on-drum method), meaning it sits around 40 - 50 MJ/hr - that exceeds 10 MJ/hr threshold and hence falls into a Type B complex installation.