The Loring Smart Roast is the most advanced specialty-focused coffee roaster on the market. In this article, we will deep dive into why we chose this roaster, the process of getting one, and what else you need to know before you buy it.
Recently we received our S15 Falcon Loring. This beauty is rated to roast a full 15-kilo batch using recirculated hot air and a fraction of the natural gas we had been using on our previous drum roaster, a “snowflake” Diedrich.
Just a little background on our current Diedrich roaster built back in the early ’90s. This machine was made before they began seriously engineering their machines. We have a one-off roaster “snowflake,” that can hold up to 60 pounds of green coffee, but we never roast more than 40 pounds at a time. The reason being, it’s three infrared burners can’t push hard enough to get a larger batch roasted in under 15 minutes. The Diedrich is also significantly influenced by the ambient temperature of our roastery. On cold days in New York, your profile and settings can drastically change from warmer summer months. This change in weather will cause you to make adjustments throughout a roast you might otherwise not have to do.
Fast forward seven years, and today we are just about to start roasting on our new S15 Falcon from Loring. We chose this machine for a few significant reasons; some were quality-focused, while the others are production focused.
Why We Chose The Loring S15 Falcon As Our Roaster
Because the Loring is a closed system where the drum doesn’t move, air is recirculated, and you get a more consistent roast regardless of the ambient temperature outside. In New York, our seasonal temperatures vary widely. When roasting in the winter, the Diedrich draws in cooler air than in the summer, and that can throw off the roast curve quite a bit. With the new Loring, this is not an issue, and it’s one of the biggest reasons we chose this roaster. Also, as a modern roaster, it’s far better engineered, and the quality of the build and parts are far more advanced. Because of these advancements, we can follow our chosen profile consistently throughout the year, meaning a more uniform coffee regardless of when you purchase it.
TRAINING FUTURE ROASTERS
One of the most significant pain points for us at Path right now is our ability to have multiple people roasting and maintain consistency. The new Loring doesn’t have the quirks our Diedrich does, and being a more accurate machine; this makes training new people to roast a more effortless endeavor. With the machines automated roasting feature, almost anybody can jump on and roast to the specific profile we’ve created for that coffee.
It’s important to understand that automation doesn’t do the profiling for you. The machine doesn’t know the best way to roast a particular coffee; that’s your job. You need to roast and cup and roast and cup until you land on the profile that best suits that specific coffee. Automation takes the mundane process of production roasting and throws it on the shoulders of the equipment. There is nothing fun about roasting five batches of dark roast or ten batches of espresso. Letting the roaster follow the curve, with input from a person if necessary, gives the operator time to focus on other things while monitoring the roaster.
Automation also helps with warming up the roaster. Currently, we need to stand by our roaster for about 45 minutes and watch it warm up. It doesn’t have a smart feature that keeps it from going above or below a desired temperature, so if you aren’t there to watch it, it could get too hot or cool down. With the Loring, you can set a high and low temp, and it’ll just ping pong between them while you’re off doing more important jobs. This alone is a significant productivity improvement.
I call our Diedrich my “sledgehammer” because it doesn’t have the finesse I want in my roaster. We’ve updated it over the years by adding new and faster thermocouples, a digital gas gage, we rewired it from scratch, and we included an airflow gage. However, we can only set the gas so low before it cuts out. While this may not seem like a big deal, it makes it more challenging when you’re looking to dial in a roast profile to our exacting specifications. In essence, we need much for fidelity on our gas gauge. To avoid getting a big crash and flick after first crack, we now have to dump the gas altogether and bring it back at just the right time. This can be a challenge, inconsistent, and it’s not ideal. On the Loring, we won’t have to worry about that at all.
One of the frustrating things we encounter now with the Diedrich is the damper we have to use for our airflow control. Throughout the roast, we need to adjust the damper to keep consistent airflow through the drum. The airflow helps to remove any smoke and chaff that builds up in the drum during roasting. On the Loring, the airflow control is tied directly to the gas control, so they work in lockstep, and there is no need to adjust air throughout the roast manually. This makes the production roasting process more manageable, more consistent, and less stressful.
CLEANING THE MACHINE
Imagine cooking your food at home in dirty pots and pans. You can quickly see how your food’s flavor won’t be fresh and delicious because of the mess built up over time. The same goes for your coffee roaster. Traditional drum roasters require a ton of time cleaning. You need to clean the burners, and worst of all, you need to take down the pipes and clean them out. This can be a very arduous process, and I can’t imagine anybody finds this fun. Enter the Loring Smart Roast S15. This machine runs very clean; it probably is the cleanest running coffee roaster in the market. There is minimal weekly cleaning, and every few months, you take down the cold stack and wipe it out.
QUICK GREEN LOADING
Our current roaster does have a green loading system, but it’s honestly pretty slow. With the Loring, the cyclone sucks up green coffee into the hopper above the roaster in a fraction of the time. Who doesn’t love a speed improvement?
FULL BATCH SIZE ROASTING
One of the most significant issues we have as a roaster is not roasting full batches. While our Diedrich can theoretically hold sixty pounds of green coffee, we can only manage a forty-pound roast. Why? Because the burners are not powerful enough to move that roast to the end in a reasonable and manageable amount of time. Also, with more than forty pounds in the roaster, you don’t have much control over a roast, and power is essential when roasting high-quality specialty grade coffee.
With the Loring S15, you can roast virtually a full batch. Our roaster can hold fifteen kilos or thirty-three pounds. We will roast a uniform thirty pounds per roast regardless of the coffee. Not only are we maxing out the roaster, but because it’s so powerful, it’s not an issue. The Loring still gives us maximum control at this batch size, and we don’t lose any production efficiency like we currently do on our Diedrich. With the new Loring, we should get about four batches per hour, and now we are only getting around two and a half.
BETWEEN BATCH PROTOCOL (BBP)
What is BBP or Between Batch Protocol? It’s what you do between batches, and it matters a lot if you want to have spot-on roasts that follow the intended profiles. Why is this important? When you roast the same profile for a particular coffee, you get similar tasting results, which’s super important. Currently, our BBP takes us about eight minutes from the time we dump the roasted coffee into the cooling tray and when we can charge (drop green coffee into the roaster).
On the Loring S15, your BBP can be almost any amount of time you want because of how quickly it cools down and heats back up to your desired drop temperature (the temperature your roaster is at when you charge with green coffee). By setting our BBP to three minutes, we are essentially cutting out five minutes for every batch we do, and that can add up very quickly when you’re doing ten or more batches a day. This makes the Loring S15 a beast when it comes to speed and volume per hour.
MORE EFFICIENT ROASTING EQUALS GAS SAVINGS
The Loring is one of the most gas efficient roasters on the market. They say that the roaster can save you up to 80% on your gas per year, though that will probably depend on many factors. Regardless, with the use of hot air recirculation, you will see a cost reduction.
These are some of the most important reasons we chose the Loring S15 Falcon for Path Coffee Roasters. The Loring is better quality, more accurate, more efficient, more powerful, and has a fantastic automation feature.
The Added Cost of Receiving & Setting Up a Loring
The process of getting the roaster was relatively easy; however, there are a few things to know before jumping into the process.
HOT & COLD STACKS
The first thing is that Loring doesn’t provide your stacks. For their machine, you need a hot double-walled stack and a cold single-walled stack. Depending on the height of your space and your location’s requirements, your stacks can cost about $500 per five-foot section. We have about twenty-four-foot ceilings, and our stacks cost around $5000.
Transportation of your roaster to your roastery is another added cost that you need to consider. As you can imagine, this is an expensive and delicate piece of equipment, so Loring only allows over the road, air-ride trailers, or they will not release your equipment being shipped in the US. It’s imperative to work with a reputable transporter and make sure to get additional insurance on your load just in case. The insurance that comes with the container is not always sufficient.
To transport our machine across the country to NY was over $4000. Air-ride trailers are more expensive, and COVID also caused additional price increases.
MOVING THE CRATE FROM THE TRUCK TO YOUR SPACE
One thing that can get overlooked is how you’re going to move this large wooden crate that weighs around 2000 pounds, from the trailer to your space. We were lucky because our next-door neighbor had a massive forklift with extra-long forks. If you don’t have this piece of equipment, you very well might need to rent it. This could cost you dearly if you can’t get your load off the truck.
Loring does not cover installation costs, and they can be quite expensive unless you have an experienced team in place that can put the machine together. We were lucky because we had a team with extensive knowledge putting together roasting equipment. That being said, we did receive a quote of over $6000 to get the machine put together.
Please remember that if you put the machine together or even have a Loring certified installer, you CAN NOT turn the machine on yourself, or that will void the warranty. A Loring certified commissioner needs to come out and commission your equipment for two days. This is the one part of the setup that Loring does pay for; however, you will need to provide lodging and travel if that person is not local.
GAST, AIR & WATER HOOKUPS
Gas is a separate hookup, and you will need to consult with a certified plumber with experience running gas lines. For us, in our area, we were quoted around $2500. Ensure the gas you have coming into your building is enough to power the Loring, or else you might need a booster.
The Loring requires compressed air and water to run correctly. Again, we have a compressor already, and waterlines were installed for a previous roaster, so there was no added cost here for us. You should consider these two things as added costs if you don’t already have them available.
Well that’s pretty much it on receiving and setting up our machine.
Path Coffee Roasters is located in Port Chester, NY, where we roast and package all our coffees weekly for our wholesale, retail, and dropshipping customers.
Please reach out to us if you have any questions. We’re here to help.