Planning your roaster build – For the Time Saver

This guide is intended for folks that just need to get roasting, and desire a turn-key project.  

 

In this path, we make most of the decisions for you based upon years of testing and happy customers.  

 

Choose this path if you’d rather focus on roasting and less on building roasters.

Choosing a drum\roaster

Choosing a drum size is a common question by many.  We've have a flow chart here for helping understand the process or, cClick one of the items below.

We recommend a 2LB Drum Everything kit for home and hobbyist users that expect very light use and have no intentions of ever roasting for business.  See all 2LB options here.  

 

If you consume large amounts of coffee you may want to opt for the larger 4LB Kits

 

It's quite common for you to begin roasting exceptional coffee, share with family and friends, and in no time people are willing to pay you for fresh coffee.  This has a curious way of turning a hobby into a business.  If you think that could end up being you, then opt for the larger 4LB drum Everything kit.  See all 4LB options here.

If you're on the fence, about going larger, go ahead and get the next size up, as we hear many folks wishing they had gone larger, but never wishing they had bought smaller.

 

 

DRUMIDEAL BATCH SIZEMAX BATCHMAX VOL /HR
2LB Drum2LB2LBup to 6LB per hour
4LB Drum4LB5LBup to 15LB per hour
6LB Drum6LB7.5LBup to 22.5LB per hour
8LB Drum8LB10LBup to 30LB per hour
12LB Drum12LB15LBup to 45LB per hour

IDEAL BATCH SIZE: Guaranteed even roast

MAX BATCH SIZE: Usually achievable with extra heat available, evenness may suffer in some machines, results may vary.

If you're looking to start a business, but you're unsure of yourself, your business plan or your customer base, you might start with smaller business drum.  While we've seen a few people start a business with a 4LB drum, it quickly will result in quite a lot of roasting time.  

At a minimum, we find the 6LB Everything Kit to be the most suitable for entry level business roasting.  

If you are sure of yourself, your business plan or business model, and have access to a substantial customer base, we recommend starting with the 8LB Everything Kit or the 12LB Everything Kit. 

Remember, these drums will roast these volumes 3x and hour.  So the 12LB Everything Kit can roast up to 45LB of coffee per hour when fully loaded, the 8LB,  30LB and so forth.  These volumes are calculated by overloading the drums by 20% 

 

 

DRUMIDEAL BATCH SIZEMAX BATCHMAX VOL /HR
2LB Drum2LB2LBup to 6LB per hour
4LB Drum4LB5LBup to 15LB per hour
6LB Drum6LB7.5LBup to 22.5LB per hour
8LB Drum8LB10LBup to 30LB per hour
12LB Drum12LB15LBup to 45LB per hour

IDEAL BATCH SIZE: Guaranteed even roast

MAX BATCH SIZE: Usually achievable with extra heat available, evenness may suffer in some machines, results may vary.

 

If you are sure of yourself, your business plan or business model, and have access to a substantial customer base, we recommend starting with the 8LB Everything Kit or the 12LB Everything Kit. 

Remember, these drums will roast these volumes 3x and hour.  So the 12LB Everything Kit can roast up to 45LB of coffee per hour when fully loaded, the 8LB,  30LB and so forth.  These volumes are calculated by overloading the drums by 20% 

 

 

DRUMIDEAL BATCH SIZEMAX BATCHMAX VOL /HR
2LB Drum2LB2LBup to 6LB per hour
4LB Drum4LB5LBup to 15LB per hour
6LB Drum6LB7.5LBup to 22.5LB per hour
8LB Drum8LB10LBup to 30LB per hour
12LB Drum12LB15LBup to 45LB per hour

IDEAL BATCH SIZE: Guaranteed even roast

MAX BATCH SIZE: Usually achievable with extra heat available, evenness may suffer in some machines, results may vary.

Choosing a heat source

A propane or natural gas grill is the preferred method for roasting.  Accurate heat control makes the roasting process much easier and quicker.  This is our recommendation.

 

Grills - Grills are the most common and easily accessible method.  Purchase one, or use one that you already have.  There are some requirements.  See below:

Grill Requirements for RK Drums

Understand that NOT ALL grills will work for your roasting application, so picking the correct grill is important. 

One of the most common questions we get is "Will this or that grill work?"  Determining if your grill will work is quite easy!  Please click the size of drum you have purchased or want to purchase below to see the requirements.

2LB Grill Requirements

4LB Grill Requirements

6LB Grill Requirements

8LB Grill Requirements

12LB Grill Requirements

While we don't recommend grills specifically, as of 2019, the following brands at Home Depot seem to work well for anything up to 12LB, and can be had or $180 or less.

NEXGRILL
DYNAGLO

SPECIAL NOTE:
If you are planning on buying a grill anyway, go ahead and buy a grill that will fit a 12LB Drum, this way, since all of our kits are cross-compatible you can just swap the drum out if you wish to upgrade later on.  

 

volume

The easiest way is to choose one of our kits that has most or everything you need.  Select a roast volume below to see the kits.

  • 2LB Roasters - Roasting for the family or for the professional sample roaster.  ¼LB-6LB per hour volumes.
  • 4LB Roasters - Entry level hobbyist or business roaster.  ¼LB-15LB per hour volumes.
  • 6LB Roasters - Mid-level hobbyist or business roaster.  ¼LB-23.5LB per hour volumes.
  • 8LB Roasters - Large volume business roaster.  ½LB-30LB per hour volumes.
  • 12LB Roasters - Largest volume business roaster.  ½LB-45LB per hour volumes.
  • Need bigger?  We have custom drums up to 150LB/hr.  Call us. 470-798-9464 or Skype Logosm  NAME: rkdrums

5.  Not sure what you need?  Check out the roaster flowchart here to help you decide.

selector tool mini

Grill Requirements for RK Drums

Understand that NOT ALL grills will work for your roasting application, so picking the correct grill is important. 

One of the most common questions we get is "Will this or that grill work?"  Determining if your grill will work is quite easy!  Please click the size of drum you have purchased or want to purchase below to see the requirements.

2LB Grill Requirements

4LB Grill Requirements

6LB Grill Requirements

8LB Grill Requirements

12LB Grill Requirements

While we don't recommend grills specifically, as of 2019, the following brands at Home Depot seem to work well for anything up to 12LB, and can be had or $180 or less.

NEXGRILL
DYNAGLO

SPECIAL NOTE:
If you are planning on buying a grill anyway, go ahead and buy a grill that will fit a 12LB Drum, this way, since all of our kits are cross-compatible you can just swap the drum out if you wish to upgrade later on.  

While we don't recommend grills specifically, as of 2019, simply because it's a major task to keep track of all of them, and most of them will work in any case.  The following brands at Home Depot seem to work well for anything up to 12LB, and can be had or $180 or less.  Please, double check these brands against the below requirements. anyway with a tape measure.  Nothing worse than dragging your grill home, only to find out it won't work.

NEXGRILL
DYNAGLO

 

SPECIAL NOTE:
If you are planning on buying a grill anyway, go ahead and buy a grill that will fit a 12LB Drum, this way, since all of our kits are cross-compatible you can just swap the drum out if you wish to upgrade later on.  

One of the most common questions we get is "Will this or that grill work?"  Determining if your grill will work is quite easy!  Please click the size of drum you have purchased or want to purchase below to see the requirements.

2LB Grill Requirements

4LB Grill Requirements

6LB Grill Requirements

8LB Grill Requirements

12LB Grill Requirements

 

It will probably work for one drum or another, you'll need to make sure that the BTU and size requirements are met, see the requirements question above.

Most likely it will work on one of our drums, see the requirements above.

NO!  Do not feel the need to buy an expensive grill for the coffee's sake.  If you want it for your own reasons, knock yourself out.

Charcoal Grill Requirements for RK Drums

Understand that NOT ALL grills will work for your roasting application, so picking the correct grill is important. 

Dyna-glo Heavy-Duty Compact Charcoal Grill, Size: 568, Black

Make sure that your charcoal grill meets the dimensional requirements below.  You'll still need the equivalent BTU heat output to roast well however, but usually this means "more charcoal".

2LB Grill Requirements

4LB Grill Requirements

6LB Grill Requirements

8LB Grill Requirements

12LB Grill Requirements

Yes.  You can do this either on a gas or charcoal grill.  

You can smoke the green coffee beforehand and then roast, much like a pork butt, or other meat, or smoke during the roast process.   Your results may vary.  We are hearing more and more of this, particularly from folks looking for a roasted coffee niche.

Check our Youtube channel for a demo of this:

https://www.rkdrums.com/roast-videos/

Charcoal presents a more challenging platform for roasting in that it is more difficult to add and remove heat precisely, quickly.  If your charcoal grill has a way of managing heat well, this may be less of an issue.   In coffee roasting, timing is everything, and we use heat to speed up the roast or take away heat to slow down the roast.  

Check out the recommended roast profiles for target times and suggested temperatures here.

In this way, you may find dialing in the correct time for the roast for each given volume more challenging.   For this reason , we recommend gas\propane as you can control the heat with the turn of a knob.

 

Once you understand the amount of airflow required to adjust heating for your particular roast volume, then you may find that heat control is less of an issue.

 

Some people, however, interpret the charcoal as imparting unique flavors to the coffee and it may represent a niche, business advantage, or simply a more interesting cup of coffee.