Whether roasting coffee commercially or running a small specialty coffee roastery, maximising efficiency is essential.
A properly planned and efficient roastery can lead to higher output, a lower risk of injury, and an overall better product for consumers. It can also reduce long-term costs and boost your potential for growth.
Read on to find out how you can improve the efficiency of your roastery.
See also: How Long Does It Take Coffee To Degas?
Arrival & Storage Of Green Beans
One of the first points to consider when creating an efficient roastery is how you will receive and store green coffee beans.
Experienced roasters will be all too familiar with the delivery of green coffee beans at inopportune moments throughout the day. Therefore, ensuring a smooth delivery and storage process is a good way of minimising the impact of these interruptions.
Unless you are in possession of a forklift, pushing, pulling or carrying sacks of fresh green can be time consuming and labour intensive. Therefore the aim is to keep the distance between where you unload and where you store green coffee as short as possible.
Daily Coffee News states that you should have ample clearance for pallets to move in and out of your roastery when delivering stock.
They suggest that if a loading dock is unavailable, you should look to install bay doors through which a truck can reverse to keep your coffee protected from the elements while it is unloaded.
Once the green beans have been delivered, it’s important to store them correctly to minimise the risk of contamination from outside sources and ensure consistent roasting results. Consistency is important; each time a customer buys your coffee, they want to know they will have the same experience they had the first time they bought from you.
To achieve consistent roasting results, Scott Rao recommends that any bags of green coffee you intend to roast straight away should be kept in proximity to the roaster, while the rest should be kept in a climate-controlled environment. In some roasteries, this is referred to as a “staging room” fitted with a thermostatically controlled space heater.
It’s also a good idea to install shelves to free up floor space. Bags of green coffee beans cluttering your roastery space will not only reduce the amount of space you have available, but also pose a risk to the health and safety of your staff.
Roastery Size And Workflow
Before establishing your roastery, it’s key to make sure that its size caters to the level of production. When starting out, it can be tempting for roasters to opt for a smaller, more cost-effective space; however, the long term implications for efficiency and relocation can be costly, with factors such as gas supplies and venting runs to consider.
An important part of determining the size of your roastery is working out your anticipated roast volume. While this can be difficult for smaller or independent roasters to predict, it’s important not to limit your potential for growth while still being realistic. Additionally, your staff will appreciate a greater floor space when they’re working, particularly as it reduces the chance of them bumping into each other.
As your operations expand, you may need to consider upgrading to a higher-capacity roaster or even incorporating a café area. This is much more achievable when you don’t have to move premises to accommodate any new developments.
However, a spacious facility does not automatically translate into a more efficient work space. It’s also vital to implement a system that enables a smooth workflow throughout the day.
An effective way to achieve this is by creating a process flow chart. This chart illustrates the processes your product goes through, from the delivery of green coffee through to roasting, packaging, and distribution.
A good process flow chart will map out where each process occurs physically in your facility, and helps determine how certain constraints may affect the efficiency with which your product flows from start to finish.
According to a 2017 article published in Roast Magazine, for operational efficiency, your product should flow through your facility from green bean to packaged product in a straight line or a circular route.
Packaging And Distribution
Once your beans have been roasted, they need to be stored, degassed, packaged, and distributed to cafés, shops, and homebrewers.
It’s important to keep the packaging and preparation areas separate, as this allows more than one person to work without getting in the other’s way, and creates a more productive supply line.
When filling and sealing bags, it’s a good idea to keep scales within reaching distance to reduce time and effort. The packaged bags then go straight into labeled boxes that can be stored alongside the equipment used to distribute orders.
An effective way of reducing the amount of space required for storing roasted coffee is to use packaging that requires minimal storage space, such as stand-up pouches (SUPs). Not only are SUPs lightweight and malleable, they are freestanding and stable, making them ideal for storing either in boxes or on shelves.
Most roasters will also want to consider incorporating a degassing valve. Degassing valves can be added to packaging during or after manufacture, and allows roasters to keep their roasted coffee fresh while preventing oxidation.
As a specialty coffee roaster, creating an efficient roastery has a number of benefits. From raising output and improving productivity to increasing quality and reducing risk of injury, it’s worth taking the time to properly plan how you to maximise your workspace, and establish a productive working environment.
At MTPak Coffee, we offer a range of packaging solutions that can help make your roastery more efficient. Our range of versatile, flexible pouches take up minimal storage space (such as SUPs and quad seal pouches) when stacked or packed.
We also offer features that extend shelf life and maintain freshness in storage that can be added to packaging, as and when they are needed.
To discuss options for space-efficient coffee packaging, contact our team.
Photo credit: Cottonbro, MTPak Coffee
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