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Thread: The economy of scale...

  1. #1
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    The economy of scale...

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    Was having a discussion with the wife about home roasting. She is against it for several reasons.

    1. We live in a townhouse, so shes not sure how the neighbours will react to someone roasting coffee at home (read smoke and noise).

    2. We dont buy enough roasted coffee to take advantage of discounts for buying in bulk.

    3. The inherent costs for home roasting (machine outlay not included) i.e. power consumption, cost of beans that have to be thrown out because of failure, etc., might be more than what it costs for already roasted beans.

    Could someone please explain the pros and cons, along with some sort of comparison of the costs involved?

  2. #2
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    Re: The economy of scale...

    Home roasting for me isnt about the possibility to save money, it is more about getting to know more about coffee in all its forms. I think I end up about square financially. Typically I would pay between $32 and $45 a kg for freshly roasted local beans. When I buy from someone else Im getting:

    Hopefully well roasted beans with appropriate equipment.
    Someone elses expertise, knowledge, experience and time.
    Consistent quality.

    Green beans you could say average around $8 per kg. You lose approx 15-17% of that weight during the roast so maybe $9.35 would be a closer average cost of green beans. Still a lot cheaper than roasted. Then you need to roast the beans so you buy a popper or a heat gun or a bbq drum. I use one way valved bags that cost approx $0.50 for each 300g I roast. So the cost of kg roasted is out to $11 give or take. Still cheaper. Here comes the the biggest cost... your time. If you have plenty of spare time then it probably doesnt matter too much, but if you value your time it can be expensive. In one session I usually roast 4 or 5 300g batches (HG). From start to finish that would take me approx 2hrs and I end up with 1.25kgs of roasted beans so $11ish (not counting electricity and cost of HG) for the beans and bags plus whatever your time is worth. Even at a measley $15 an hour youre looking at $40 or more per kg of finished product and hopefully youve done a decent job and the coffee tastes good. I have blown through a fair bit of coffee testing and rejecting blends and beans varieties.
    I suppose if you had a roaster that could handle a kg or more you could get away with one or two roasts and reduce the time taken...

    Bottom line it probably isnt the money saver that you might think, but the freshness and hopefully quality is guaranteed. I also get to try lots of interesting coffees I might not otherwise be able to.
    I see it in terms of a hobby or interest, not something I do to save money.

    -Stephen-


  3. #3
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    Re: The economy of scale...

    Nunu,

    The major advantage of home roasting is that you will end up with coffee that is far better than stuff you buy for $30 plus per kilo.... The taste of fresh coffee is such that you could never go back...

    I am sure that you can find a green bean hobby supplier that would sell you small quantities of beans for around the $7 to $8 per kilo mark, plus postage....do the sums on this, taking into account the post roast shrinkage...

    The problem for you is the smoke...you need to devise a clever means to vent the smoke...maybe roast under the exhaust fan...I found that roasting in the kitchen was not successful, in that the smoke alarms would always go off.

    As far as the power goes....you are just using an electrical appliance for a short time every few days....probably cheaper than running your toaster....

    The cost of the roaster....from very cheapish to very expensive....

    And as far as failed roasts go, they are few and far between, once you establish the boundaries!

    And the romance of roasting....that is something else!

    Cheers....

  4. #4
    Senior Member robusto's Avatar
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    Re: The economy of scale...

    PRO: Nunu, the biggest pro is having FRESH coffee which produces wonderful crema.
    PRO: Knowing what type of bean youre brewing
    PRO: Satisfaction of having roasted yourself to your taste
    PRO: It is fun. truly.
    PRO: Cheaper, much cheaper, though that was never a consideration when I started out.

    CON: Obviously not as convenient as dipping into the bought beans and grinding away.
    CON: Chaff can be/is a problem.

    SMOKE: Ive never found this a problem outdoors. Have never noticed it if its there
    NOISE: Again, negligible. Youre talking about a small fan whirring for about 5 minutes.
    SMELL: Make that "aroma". My neighbour loves it. And who doesnt like coffee aromas?

    COST-electricity: a 1200 Watt popper running 5 minutes consumes 100 watts, or, 1/10th of a kilowatt, which is about 1.3 cents. Yes, 1.3 cents. In that time you can do 60 to 100 grams which is enough for 3 to 5 doubles. In other words, amotised over each shot, its really not even worth considering.

    COST- wastate: only ever tossed out 50 grams of underdone beans in very early attempt.
    COST- Popper: About $20. No need for expensive electronic gadgets costing $ hundreds.
    COST-green beans: At $6 to $8 a kilo, a fraction of the price for inferior supermarket stuff.

    Hope this helps.

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    Re: The economy of scale...

    Thanks for the help so far...

    It will still take a bunch of convincing. Shes not one to give up very easily. Its funny, The coffee machine is hers, the grinder is hers, yet I use it much more than she does (has something to do with more spare time I guess). Then when I want to get into roasting as a hobby, shes really against it.

    Ive been shopping around, and the cheapest popper is just under 20 bucks. Shes worried about starting the place on fire. I can easily go out and do it in the garage, to this she has no reply.

    I just reckon shes overreacting a bit with how sensitive the neighbours are. The whole complex just got a reminder about the strata by-laws, and one thing they mentioned was noise, and installation of exhaust fans.

    Whatever am I to do... :(

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    CoffeeSnobs Owner Andy's Avatar
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    Re: The economy of scale...

    Whatever am I to do...
    Easy fix to this problem is to roast some coffee (Saturday morning or similar non-offensive time) and before you get in trouble, invite your neighbours over for a REAL cuppa.

    ...in no time at all you will have the strata rules changed to "NO INSTANT DRINKERS" and all the punters will be roasting in the newly installed 5kg roaster in the courtyard.

    [smiley=thumbsup.gif]


  7. #7
    Senior Member robusto's Avatar
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    Re: The economy of scale...

    All things considered, you need a good lawyer. Not for the body corporate. A divorce lawyer.

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    Re: The economy of scale...

    Quote Originally Posted by Andy Freeman link=1124368097/0#5 date=1124461009
    Whatever am I to do...
    Easy fix to this problem is to roast some coffee (Saturday morning or similar non-offensive time) and before you get in trouble, invite your neighbours over for a REAL cuppa. *

    ...in no time at all you will have the strata rules changed to "NO INSTANT DRINKERS" and all the punters will be roasting in the newly installed 5kg roaster in the courtyard.

    [smiley=thumbsup.gif]
    giggled like a schoolgirl *

    [smiley=thumbsup.gif]


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    Re: The economy of scale...

    Theres a sign across from the garage on the opposite block of townhouses...No parking at any time. I can grab the sign, white out the no parking bit, and put No instant coffee drinkers at any time.

    The wife really enjoys the whole coffee thing, but shes not very keen on roasting at home, go figure.

  10. #10
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    Re: The economy of scale...

    Nunu,

    I think you need to involve her in the process and sampling later. Once hooked, shell never go back... guaranteed [smiley=thumbsup.gif].

    Dont you know someone who loves a good coffee and owns a house? Its a lot less offensive than mowing the lawn or whipper-snipping the edges.

    Mal.

  11. #11
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    Re: The economy of scale...

    Just do 1 batch and let her taste a fresh home roasted cup of coffee. There will be no turning back. The bang for buck in terms of quality, will definitely convince her that her fears are but minor inconviniences to getting the best out of your machine at home.

    As for neighbours, isnt noise from leave blowers, lawn mowers, jig-saws, hammering of nails, more offensive then the whirring of a popcorn popper?

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    Re: The economy of scale...

    Talked the wife into letting me get a popper. In exchange, she got one of those emjoi things that pulls your hair out :o Should have seen the guy in the stores face when I asked him if he could demonstrate it for us :P

    I got the short end of the bargain, but in the long run, I will easily come out on top.

  13. #13
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    Re: The economy of scale...

    Well done, Nunu!

    Roast away..... 8-)

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    Re: The economy of scale...

    Quote Originally Posted by nunu link=1124368097/0#11 date=1124696152
    Talked the wife into letting me get a popper. *In exchange, she got one of those emjoi things that pulls your hair out *:o Should have seen the guy in the stores face when I asked him if he could demonstrate it for us *:P

    I got the short end of the bargain, but in the long run, I will easily come out on top.
    Nunu - let me tell you. *You got the better end of the bargain, believe me, *and your wife will profit as well.
    Anyway, those Emjoi things are no good for roasting, grinding or brewing.

    Plug that popper in, put about 100g in (with your chimney) give the beans a bit of a stir with a chopstick until they jump around on their own - and be ready to cool the beans.
    Then - 10 seconds after youre drinking the FIRST REAL COFFEE YOU HAVE HAD IN YOUR LIFE, wonder why you didnt start doing this years ago, and give praise to Coffeesnobs and the internet which makes this all possible -for *the awareness and then the confidence to give it a go. *Now GET ROASTING!

  15. #15
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    Re: The economy of scale...

    Two comments:

    1. Forgiveness is easier to get than permission.

    2. I roasted some very smokey Costa Rican a few weeks ago (I live in a small town house complex where the four back courtyards are basically connected). One of the neighbours (poms) were out. I was concerned about the smoke - they said they loved the smell!

    Finally, just dont go to the 3rd crack, otherwise the smoke may really become a problem.

    P

  16. #16
    CoffeeSnobs Owner Andy's Avatar
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    Re: The economy of scale...

    Beans are on their way.... and now we all wait with great interest for the first roast report ::)

    (and hope its not after a night on the couch) ;)

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    Re: The economy of scale...

    Behmor Coffee Roaster
    Hopefully Ill get them to roast this weekend. Ill keep you posted.



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