Oklahoma City-based coffee roasting equipment maker US Roaster Corp (USRC) has launched its largest electric coffee roaster to date, the 16-pound-capacity F16 Revelation.
The machine was unveiled and launched for sale at the 2023 SCA Expo in Portland, Oregon, late last month, among numerous other new commercial and home roasters.
Available either as an all-electric machine or as a gas/electric hybrid, the F16 includes a built-in electric catalytic converter for smoke and odor purification, freeing the machine from the need for an afterburner.
Venting is still required for managing the heat of the exhaust, although as an electric machine with clean exhaust it can still be operated in populated areas with standard clean air regulations, according to USRC President Dan Jolliff.
“I would not recommend any roaster bigger than a 1-kilo for use without a vent,” Jolliff told DCN in Portland. “But one thing [the F16] does save, though, is that you don’t have to worry about the chance of fires in the vent because this is a clean hot air. You can use a B vent. I recommend to a lot of people to use a fireplace type vent. It doesn’t have to be Class A.”
Arriving at a price of approximately $37,000, the F16 offers a fully on-board roast profiling and automation system that stores up a thousand roast profiles or “recipes,” as the company calls them. Users can interact with the program and view data from roasts in real time via wireless connection to external devices.
The F16 can also integrate into Cropster and other third-party software systems, although automated roasting functionality is exclusively handled by the on-board PLC for safety.
“We don’t allow them to run it; we’ve never believed in letting a roaster run off a computer,” said Jolliff. “Computers lock up and go into resets and everything all the time. My notebook locks up at least once a week. I would never dream of running a roaster off of it.”
USRC’s new electric machine follows the F5 Revelation, a similarly box-styled roaster with a 6-pound batch capacity that launched in 2020. The F5 is also available either in all-electric or gas/electric hybrid fuel options. Jolliff said the company will set its sights next on a 35-pound-capacity electric F35.
“We’ve got an engineer working on inductive heating right now as a new method of heating,” said Jolliff. “By using inductive heating we’re hoping to keep the F35 under 150 amps, or basically 75-amp three-phase.”
Recent years have seen a sharp increase in the number of options available for electric commercial production coffee roasting equipment. Established brands such as Probat and Giesen are continuously developing machines designed to look and perform like existing gas models, while newer companies like Bellwether and Stronghold are approaching the market from different aesthetic directions.
“I’ve been building electric roasters for over 20 years, and what I’m seeing is a market shift,” said Jolliff. “I think electric tastes a tiny bit better, it’s a little bit of a cleaner roast, but considering how it’s harder to control, I’d rather roast on gas. Also gas costs less money for the same amount of heat. But everybody wants a cleaner environment right now.”
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Howard Bryman is the associate editor of Daily Coffee News by Roast Magazine. He is based in Portland, Oregon.