Noteworthy Roasteries and their Tools of the Trade

Last Updated on

Our curiosity about brewing the best coffee compels us to ask questions like “how do the passionate pros roast their coffee?”

One of the biggest influences on the taste of the coffee are the beans, of course. It starts there, and once the beans are harvested, it’s on to roasting.

Grinding comes next, but hold on.  Rewind.  Let’s stick with the fine art roasting for a moment.

Here we’ll share the roasters that some of the biggest and or smallest, but definitely BEST shops across the US use to stock their coffee, and why.

For this article, we had to dig deep, do some research, talk to people, get the deal-io, and learn as much as we could about how these folks who make roasting their life, operate.

Table of Contents:

Let’s get into it!

Conduit Coffee Roasters

This company is located in Seattle, Washington. They’re a pretty unique company. Conduit offers classes for regular Joes who want to see how the coffee is roasted and packaged.

They have a Tuesday Open House if you’re ever in the area. Anyone is allowed to go to the studio and learn about coffee. There are cuppings every Tuesday at 2 pm.

They also deliver their coffee by bicycle around their immediate area. This allows them to concentrate on making the best coffee without worrying about distribution.

As you can see in the picture, they use a Diedrich Roaster for their production. It’s an IR-5, which Diedrich calls their most versatile machine.

It handles a variety of batch sizes from half a pound to 11 pounds. In an hour, the roaster can produce 44 pounds of coffee beans.


Mad Priest Coffee Roasters

mad priest coffee roasters

We actually got a hold of Michael McCreary, the wholesale director for Mad Priest Coffee, and he was able to field a few questions behind the roasterie.

Tell me a bit about Mad Priest Coffee Roasters.

Mad Priest was started in 2015 by Michael Rice as a small, Wholesale roastery based out of Chattanooga, TN with the mission to craft excellent coffee, educate the curious, and champion the displaced.

We achieved this mission by sourcing excellent and approachable coffees from reputable importers and working closely with the refugee community of the South East.

Since then, we have grown to have 2 cafes, a craft cocktail bar and restaurant, a dedicated roasting space with 3 employees, and 95 wholesale accounts all over the east coast.

What brands of roasters do you use and why?

We roast ~1000 lbs./wk on a 2017 Probat 12 kilo roaster.

Probat 12 kilo roaster

We chose this roaster because of its sleek design, intuitive controls, approachable price, and the way that it carries its thermal energy through the roasting process.

Our head roaster enjoys the set airflow feature of the Probat roaster as it is conducive to a simple workflow.

Tell me a few awesome things about your roasting process.

Our head roaster is incredibly data driven, while still appreciating the art of the sensory roast. This gives us highly consistent roasts that are both expressive and familiar.

If you were to upgrade your roasting setup, what would you change? (Do you have any brands on your wishlist?)

Upgrading is imminent! We would love to increase capacity by adding a 25 kilo roaster, production roaster, and an auto-bagger. One brand that we love and would like to work with is Giesen roasters.

We like them because of their adjustable drum speed and airflow.


Stumptown Coffee Roasters

This company was established in 1999. They have shops in Portland, Seattle, and New York. All cities that absolutely love their coffee.

The Stumptown roasters swear by Probat. In fact, they have seven of the suckers working all the time to roast their beans. They have said that these drum roasters are like using a “seasoned and well-loved cast iron skillet.”

Stumptown uses their Probat roasters to make a medium roast with the beans they bring into their facility.

The head of their roasting department’s quality assurance has said that Stumptown doesn’t want the “roasting approach to be more important than the growing process.”

They seem to have a great respect for the farms that grow and process the beans. But, there has to be credit given to the roaster for doing justice to a beautiful bean.

While we don’t have all the details on the type of Probat the company is using, we’ve perused the Probat website.

Stumptown is using the Probatone60 for their roasting needs. It’s the largest roaster sold by Probat.


Union Roasted

The Union Roasted company buys their beans from Union Direct Trade farms. It’s to ensure that coffee farm workers are getting a fair wage for their work.

Sustainable prices ensure that there are no shortcuts in the coffee bean production chain. It’s part of why they named their business Union Roasted

The roasters contribute in other ways to the coffee community. They have trainings for interested people as well as coffee professionals.

There are courses like Introduction to Roasting and Further Roasting where roasting professionals can advance and learn on Union’s Giesen15kg drum roaster.

They also use original Probat’s from the 50s in their roasting. They’re cast iron and have a proven track record. The roastmasters – as they’re called at Union – are constantly checking and hovering over the beans to ensure that they’re roasting perfectly.

If you can’t visit the roastery in London, they have a variety of ways to connect with them like social media.

They have Introduction Packages that allow you to sample their specialty coffees without a huge commitment.


What Happens Inside A Coffee Roaster

This isn’t a video specific to any of these roasters, but it’s appropriate for roasting in general. If you’ve ever wanted to know what happens inside a roaster, this will be a fascinating video.

They put a GoPro in the roaster. You’ll see the beans spinning and tumbling, the chaff being collected, and the progress of the bean during roasting.

Thanks for reading!  Leave your comments down below…

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.