Coffee roasting software: Which should you choose?

Esther Gibbs
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May 17, 2023
An image of a coffee roaster using coffee roasting software in an article on which coffee roasting software is best for your business

Once you have begun roasting coffee, it is essential to have a way of recording the profile to ensure it is accurate and repeatable. As there are many variables that can affect the flavour of coffee, having a repeatable roast profile is essential for quality control, as it provides you with accurate guidelines to follow.

While it is possible to do this by hand, it can be time-consuming and often requires intense concentration. Recording a roast profile by hand requires you to note the temperature every 30 seconds or more, which could often be in the form of a graph or table. However, noting the changes made within a roast requires quick reflexes, especially if the beans are behaving in an unanticipated way. More so, to understand the rate of rise (RoR), you will need fast mental maths while the roast goes on, and all the data will need to be extrapolated and calculated manually.

Then, at the end of it all, you are left having to compare several papers to denote the changes in a roast, which can make it difficult to find the information you need. Coffee roasting software can help businesses save time and do most of the hard work on their behalf. 

Coffee roasting software is able to record reading from the bean probe and the airflow probe every second, providing a “live reading” of the temperature. Furthermore, most coffee roasting software can plot the information for you on a graph in real time so that you can follow them exactly. Read on to learn more about coffee roasting software and discover which may work best for you.

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An image of freshly roasted coffee beans emerging from a coffee roasters thanks to coffee roasting software in an article on which coffee roasting software is best for your business

What coffee roasting software is currently available?

It is important to note different software will have various additional tools within them to enhance and improve the roasting experience. Therefore, you should do extensive research into the benefits of each one. 

Artisan

Artisan is open-source software that enables you to record, analyse, and control roaster profiles. More so, it allows you to connect your roaster and record graphs in real-time. Additionally, if your equipment allows, Artisan allows you more control over variables, including flame, drum speed, and airflow. The software also has to note colour change, first crack, and end of roast, which helps calculate your percentage for drying, the Maillard Reaction, and development.

Once the ideal roast has been found, it can be saved for quality control purposes and even set as the standard for the next roast. Artisan allows you to add as many notes onto the profile while roasting as necessary. In turn, this helps track changes in gas and airflow, even if these variables are not connected directly to the software through the roaster. 

Artisan is able to switch between Fahrenheit and Celsius, and it has roast comparators to compare roast profiles. More so, the software boasts a roast simulator: a designer feature allowing you to plot, adjust, and plan roasts. It can be used on a wide range of roasters and is easy to connect, or you can purchase “phidgets” from the Artisan website in order to connect to your roaster. It is a fantastic free service for roasters to track their roasts and extrapolate the necessary data for improvement. Artisan can be used offline and set to send reminders for preventative maintenance on your roaster. It is an extremely useful tool for those who are looking to track, build, and grow their business.

Cropster

Cropster is one of the most popular management tools for coffee roasters. The platform offers sample management, green coffee inventory, quality control, and advanced roasting technology, with options for full automation. Cropster tracks the roast profile in real-time, allowing for play-back options and greater control over gas, airflow, drum speed, and between batch protocols. More so, the software can create production schedules and detailed reference roasts and profile recipes.

The software is able to predict when you will run out of green coffee, as the inventory is tracked automatically after each roast and the software can predict future usage. Additionally, using advanced artificial intelligence (AI), it is able to predict if the coffee is likely to ‘flick’ at the end of the roast. Cropster also features a cupping app that can be used to score coffees alongside each profile using the SCA cupping form. This can then be compared against the scores of coffees from other roasters.

Subscriptions begin at around £50 per month, and while it may be costly, Cropster is the ultimate software for a roaster looking to manage everything easily in one place. 

Firescope

A new roastery management software that has come out of Korea is Firescope. Notably, it is only currently compatible with Giesen, Probat, and Diedrich roasters, or by using additional phidgets. This software allows you to compare roasting records by comparing the variables that affect roasting. More so, it allows you to confirm a number of productions are roasted consistently, and analyse how new coffees differ from similar ones.

Firescope offers green inventory management and all roasting information is stored digitally, allowing for easy access from anywhere. Additionally, inventory is automatically updated after each roast. The software lets you change chart ranges depending on the roast style, and save the settings in order for them to be recalled quickly.

Roasting ratios and RoR are calculated in real time and are then used as an indicator for consistent roasting for quality control purposes. You can also set a profile as the standard, allowing you to reproduce a roast profile accurately, while the analytic features allow you to gather data to create new profiles easily. 

An image of a coffee roaster using coffee roasting software to determine a roast profile in an article on which coffee roasting software is best for your business

Deciding which works best for your business

If you are looking for free roast tracking, Artisan may be the best option – and it is a fantastic starting point for all coffee roasters. It is able to track and maintain optimum roast profiles, which is essential for sufficient quality control. 

However, if you are looking for software that will optimise management within your roastery, the premium features from Artisan Plus are worth investing in. Large-scale roasters who want to optimise productivity across multiple sites and want to cup and score as part of quality control management should consider investing in Cropster. Small-scale roasters looking to invest in a new technology that is likely to improve and develop quickly may want to try a free trial with Firescope and see if it is a good fit. 

The world of coffee software is constantly advancing and improving. With each new development comes a way to make your roasting process more profitable and efficient and less wasteful. It isn’t necessarily a quick fix that will automatically make all your roasts run smoothly. However, roasting software will help every roaster in your business to improve their skills and their understanding of the roasting process.

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Esther Gibbs
Esther Gibbs

Esther has been in the specialty coffee industry for 14 years working as a Q Grader, SCA Trainer and ESTA trainer. She’s also offers her services as a coffee consultant through Hope Espresso. Her passion for writing comes from her love of sharing stories about the industry and ensuring knowledge is accessible to all.

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