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Toper Cafemino vs Coffee-Tech Eng Artgiano, Torrefattore, SOLAR... Thoughts?
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Discussions > Coffee > Home Roast > Toper Cafemino...  
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jworlledge
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Joined: 15 Sep 2009
Posts: 25
Location: Lodz
Expertise: I live coffee

Posted Fri Sep 18, 2009, 1:54am
Subject: Toper Cafemino vs Coffee-Tech Eng Artgiano, Torrefattore, SOLAR... Thoughts?
 

Hey everyone!

I have been reading up on this subject for about a week straight now, and there has been some useful posts out there, but thought I would start my thread and ask my question specifically.

I own a coffee shop in Poland and I have experience home roasting. I have an OK supplier of beans, but not amazed with them and don;t trust their freshness. I would like too bring a shop roaster into my business to accomplish two things; intrigue the customers with the roasting process and smell of fresh roasted coffee and begin supplying my roasted beans. I am working into my business plan an integration process that would take maybe 1 to 3 months to get some profiles sorted and find a good blend.

Problem 1: my business location is in an old factory building, very unique place, but there are no gas lines or rather the gas lines are buried about 1m below the floor and to dig in and bring a gas line up would cost far too much in closed time, permits and labor. Thousands of Euros. That leaves me with an electric option... for now (read on).

I have looked at two roasters, or rather one roaster from Toper, the Cafemino and then a couple of roasters from Coffee-Tech Engineering (Artigiano, Torrefattore, SOLAR). I have talked directly with both companies and they seem friendly enough, but business is business and selling requires a smile and friendliness. I like the maintenance claims that the CTE roasters have, that the parts are easily accessible anywhere in the world and that they will deliver it to your door if you can't find it. They also seem easy to repair and maintain.

The gas Topers seem a better route, but not a possibility now. In the near future, say 2 or 3 years, there is another development opening up that will have gas and we are already considering a move into this area (second opening). But that is neither here nor there.

Has anyone experience with either of these two companies, especially the Coffee-Tech?
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DavecUK
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Joined: 21 Sep 2005
Posts: 1,415
Location: UK
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Fri Sep 18, 2009, 2:03am
Subject: Re: Toper Cafemino vs Coffee-Tech Eng Artgiano, Torrefattore, SOLAR... Thoughts?
 

I have significant experience of the Toper Cafemino
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jworlledge
Senior Member


Joined: 15 Sep 2009
Posts: 25
Location: Lodz
Expertise: I live coffee

Posted Fri Sep 18, 2009, 2:21am
Subject: Re: Toper Cafemino vs Coffee-Tech Eng Artgiano, Torrefattore, SOLAR... Thoughts?
 

DavecUK Said:

I have significant experience of the Toper Cafemino

Posted September 18, 2009 link

I read some of your posts... How do you find it regarding temperature consistency, warming up and holding temperature and ability to roast a full kilo? I think you also described it as a brick sh*thouse... Still an accurate thought?
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DavecUK
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Joined: 21 Sep 2005
Posts: 1,415
Location: UK
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Fri Sep 18, 2009, 3:47am
Subject: Re: Toper Cafemino vs Coffee-Tech Eng Artgiano, Torrefattore, SOLAR... Thoughts?
 

Yeah, it's good, as long as you get the heating elements sized right and they should have that sorted by now. I found it roasted best at a full Kilo unlike some other roasters which don't like punching at their fighting weight.

My only minor Niggle was the 13-15 trapped beans in the sight glass recess that never seemed to roast as well as the others. The actual glass for viewing the tumbling beans was in a small recess and a few beans used to get trapped there.....not a major issue though. I understand the Topers now have variable air flow, so a lot easier to set the machine up to roast even better for a particular set of circumstances.

Everything on it is proper industrial, the motors if they fail you should be able to source from anywhere and it really is built to run for hours and hours on end. I once roasted for 15 hours straight on it when I had a LOT of coffee to get done. I roasted about 45-50 Kilos on total. Which might want to make you pause for thought!!!

I can assure you that a 1 Kilo roaster will not be big enough, they are great as a show-piece and to supply beans for your own cafe/coffeeshop.....if your business is selling roasted Coffee in any significant amounts to make money, the minimum size is really a 5 Kilo. Otherwise you will spend too much time in front of the roaster and believe me I know what I am talking about.
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jworlledge
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Joined: 15 Sep 2009
Posts: 25
Location: Lodz
Expertise: I live coffee

Posted Fri Sep 18, 2009, 7:24am
Subject: Re: Toper Cafemino vs Coffee-Tech Eng Artgiano, Torrefattore, SOLAR... Thoughts?
 

DavecUK Said:

Yeah, it's good, as long as you get the heating elements sized right and they should have that sorted by now. I found it roasted best at a full Kilo unlike some other roasters which don't like punching at their fighting weight.

My only minor Niggle was the 13-15 trapped beans in the sight glass recess that never seemed to roast as well as the others. The actual glass for viewing the tumbling beans was in a small recess and a few beans used to get trapped there.....not a major issue though. I understand the Topers now have variable air flow, so a lot easier to set the machine up to roast even better for a particular set of circumstances.

Is there any chance you could cut and replace the glass with a thicker bit, or add another layer of glass to fix this problem? Seems like it is only a few beans in every roast, but they all add up, don't they...

Everything on it is proper industrial, the motors if they fail you should be able to source from anywhere and it really is built to run for hours and hours on end. I once roasted for 15 hours straight on it when I had a LOT of coffee to get done. I roasted about 45-50 Kilos on total. Which might want to make you pause for thought!!!

That is A LOT of time in front of a roaster. How many times did you calculate, "If I had only bought a 2.5kg..."

I can assure you that a 1 Kilo roaster will not be big enough, they are great as a show-piece and to supply beans for your own cafe/coffeeshop.....if your business is selling roasted Coffee in any significant amounts to make money, the minimum size is really a 5 Kilo. Otherwise you will spend too much time in front of the roaster and believe me I know what I am talking about.

Posted September 18, 2009 link

I hear that... Initially, we are not going to sell coffee to make profit as there are a couple issues that prevent us from getting a bigger roaster to do so (no gas) and, well, we will need to time to perfect our roasts and profiles as well as develop the taste that we want from our profiles and blends. This is kinda an expensive way to bring a hobby in home into the business and try to see if it is going to work. There are a lot of other tiny issues and details, but they aren't really necessary right now...
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DavecUK
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Joined: 21 Sep 2005
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Location: UK
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Fri Sep 18, 2009, 8:55am
Subject: Re: Toper Cafemino vs Coffee-Tech Eng Artgiano, Torrefattore, SOLAR... Thoughts?
 

The 10 or 15 trapped beans were a bit of a PITA because they have to be removed, but then you have to sort through the roasted coffee anyway....I used to mount magnets on the exit of the cooling tray as well. I think the problem could be rectified as you said, and perhaps no longer exists in current models.

If gas is only a temporary problem, you could investigate using bottled gas.....large bottles.....so this may persuade you to get a larger roaster, because you will regret not doing so. The Toper in the long run is too big for home use only (and probably too large as a sample roaster) and fits in the niche market I suggested. As business builds, you will find 1Kg not enough. It was exactly the problem I had, and in the end sold the Toper, not because I didn't like the roasts, but because it was just too much for home use......now had it been a 500g roaster, then it would have been great for home use.

As for profiles and perfecting the roasts, as soon as you change roaster, you will have to relearn all that. If you just want to learn about coffee and roasting get something like a Gene Cafe (do the stage 1 and 2 dimmer modification on it), modified it will allow you to experiment with the effects of many different profiles and learn a bit about roasting on the way. The 1kg Toper is not the best way to do this.

Just realised my review is still available on the net, so you might find it interesting, the company concerned no longer sells it, because of the niche market, it didn't really have the volumes they wanted to shift. However they seem to have left the review accessible

Click Here (www.bellabarista.co.uk)

If I was going to buy again, I would probably spend the extra and get a gas over an electric (but of course a larger roaster).....flue requirements are of course more demanding though.

Oh just something to think about, the 1kg Toper weighs in at a whopping 82Kg (and this is a conservative estimate)....this is a very, very heavy machine. Look at the weights of comparable roasters and even roasters with larger capacities (some of which you have mentioned). Lightweight coffee roasters are in general not a good thing as this weight is usually in things like industrial motors, chain drive, bearings, frame drum, gears etc..! When I sold it the buyer and I struggled mightily to lift it from the trolly into the back of his Van.....a distance of about 7 feet. Both of us were over 6ft tall and well built.

P.S. I personally found Toper really good to deal with, very helpful and supportive.
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jworlledge
Senior Member


Joined: 15 Sep 2009
Posts: 25
Location: Lodz
Expertise: I live coffee

Posted Fri Sep 18, 2009, 1:08pm
Subject: Re: Toper Cafemino vs Coffee-Tech Eng Artgiano, Torrefattore, SOLAR... Thoughts?
 

I would love to get a gas unit, even the increase in price I am willing to pay, but there are some serious uncertainties and issues with the space I am concerning gas. I have the ventilation, that is no problem, but we don;t know if we can use cans of propane in the store or if this would break some safety codes. ANyone in EU have any experience? I know it MAY vary from country to country, but I also think that safety and building codes are being set to a uniform code... we'll see.

The Toper is frankly too small, despite the good reviews you gave it, Dave, which leaves me with the Coffee-Tech, but I can;t find one independent review on their products and I know CHris does a lot to answer questions, and I have spoken with Ram in Israel.... I am just nervous... I have watched their video several times and my mind is now convinced that i see inconsistent roasts.... I know I am crazy, but without some sort of affirmation and objective feedback based on experience............................

Please, someone has to have purchased one of these machines?!?!?!?
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DavecUK
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Joined: 21 Sep 2005
Posts: 1,415
Location: UK
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Fri Sep 18, 2009, 3:29pm
Subject: Re: Toper Cafemino vs Coffee-Tech Eng Artgiano, Torrefattore, SOLAR... Thoughts?
 

Toper do a 2.5 and 5kg machine (TKMSXPL range)....I will stress again about the weights. The Toper 2.5kg roaster weighs in at 462 pounds....the 2.5 kilo Artigano weighs in at a mere 132 pounds!

The Toper has 4 motors not the 2 of the other.....even my Cafemino had 3 motors. I have not used the Coffee tech products, but based on specification, when deciding whether to go for the Toper or the Coffee tech products, it was not a hard choice...sure they might be brilliant, I don't know?

I have used a 25kg probat as well and that was built really heavy, the Toper was more a scaled down commercial roaster than many others.  Other commercial businesses I have had dealings with all have had roasters, like probats, Samiac, Lilla etc...the one thing they have in common is plenty of industrial grade motors (one for each major job) and lots of mass.

Whatever you decide....good luck

P.S. There are other manufacturers like Ambex to consider.
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Oolooloo
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Joined: 18 Sep 2009
Posts: 2
Location: Fiji Islands
Expertise: I live coffee

Posted Fri Sep 18, 2009, 6:37pm
Subject: Re: Toper Cafemino vs Coffee-Tech Eng Artgiano, Torrefattore, SOLAR... Thoughts?
 

Hi,
I am in a similar position to you. I have a cafe in Fiji and want to start roasting beans for our own consupmtion and also to retail to our local market.
I was wondering how you have progressed in your choice of roaster, any advise would be very helpful.
At this point I have shortlisted the Toper Cafemino 1kg electric and the Coffee Tech Solar 2kg Automatic and am trying to finalise my decision.
I do not have any roasting experience, but am committed to learning how to do it well and creatng good profiles and blends. that is why I am taking the plunge and not starting out with a small roaster like a hottop to learn on- I figure Ill learn on the roaster I will use -which should have the capacity to meet my needs for a couple of years. Once I am confident using the roaster, and happy with the roast quality, then i will train my staff on now to do it, this means that the machine should be as simple and user freindly as possible. (yes I know that the process is not as simple as put the beans in and come back in 20min...)
We currently consume about 12-15kg per week, and I hope to retail an additional 10kg per week.
I have also read many of the posts/review from DavecUK, about the Toper. However i have not heard many reviews or comments about the CT Solar. DavecUK, do you have any comments on the solar vs. the toper?
If anyone else has experience with either roaster could please post your comments.
Also, as Im not in a position to travel and attend a roasting course, does anyone know of a good online tutorial that would be helpful?
Thanks,
Mike
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jworlledge
Senior Member


Joined: 15 Sep 2009
Posts: 25
Location: Lodz
Expertise: I live coffee

Posted Sat Sep 19, 2009, 7:52am
Subject: Re: Toper Cafemino vs Coffee-Tech Eng Artgiano, Torrefattore, SOLAR... Thoughts?
 

Oolooloo Said:

Hi,
I am in a similar position to you. I have a cafe in Fiji and want to start roasting beans for our own consupmtion and also to retail to our local market.
I was wondering how you have progressed in your choice of roaster, any advise would be very helpful.
At this point I have shortlisted the Toper Cafemino 1kg electric and the Coffee Tech Solar 2kg Automatic and am trying to finalise my decision.
I do not have any roasting experience, but am committed to learning how to do it well and creatng good profiles and blends. that is why I am taking the plunge and not starting out with a small roaster like a hottop to learn on- I figure Ill learn on the roaster I will use -which should have the capacity to meet my needs for a couple of years. Once I am confident using the roaster, and happy with the roast quality, then i will train my staff on now to do it, this means that the machine should be as simple and user freindly as possible. (yes I know that the process is not as simple as put the beans in and come back in 20min...)
We currently consume about 12-15kg per week, and I hope to retail an additional 10kg per week.
I have also read many of the posts/review from DavecUK, about the Toper. However i have not heard many reviews or comments about the CT Solar. DavecUK, do you have any comments on the solar vs. the toper?
If anyone else has experience with either roaster could please post your comments.
Also, as Im not in a position to travel and attend a roasting course, does anyone know of a good online tutorial that would be helpful?
Thanks,
Mike

Posted September 18, 2009 link

Hi Mike,

I have been looking everywhere for reviews on the Coffee-Tech SOLAR et al. and just can't find a damn thing. I mean NOTHING!

The Toper has been reviewed by DavecUK and Breezer I believe if you search for their posts, but I want something a bit bigger, which has lead me to prefer the Coffee-Tech machine, but I am also a bit leary about buying one without some sort of feedback on it... Please PM me if you are able to find anything I have missed or overlooked.

The Cafemimo is pretty solid and, as DavecUK described it, a brick sh*thouse.... good one that.
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