The time came to step things up, adding a new hench-ass roaster to the ranks. It’s been a wild ride, but we have her up and running and damn she’s doing good…
As if we didn’t have enough going on last year, we also made the decision to move up to a new, bigger, gutsier coffee roaster. To say we put our current roaster through its paces is an understatement. In short, we’ve used and abused our little Probat LP12 and run it to within an inch of it’s life. There’s been good times, and there’s been very bad times. It’s been dismantled, repaired, re-fabricated and rebuilt more times than we can count right now. When your key player is laid out in bits in the warehouse, with the guys all over the tools grinding, welding and generally resuscitating the roaster. Well, you need to take some of the pressure off the old boy.
But don’t worry, old LP isn’t being put out to pasture just yet. It’s actually going to be our focussed roaster for single-origins and new coffee development - we’re working on some as we write.
We knew we would need to step up to a bigger Probat roaster eventually, and the time was upon us. We located a beautiful one in Europe with a 22kg capacity (up from our current 12kg roaster). The Probat UG22 we secured was an original from the 60’s, which got us all hot under the collar, but we’d have to wait a little before we could get our hands on it…
Not all Probat roasters are created equal
Production of these machines moved from Germany to Asia late in the 60’s, and the widely held opinion is that the quality of them declined. But that means getting hold of one of the original ones can require a little digging around - and a little TLC to restore. We located our new UG22 in Germany, where our old friend who restored our smaller LP12 roaster back in the day set to work on refurbishing this new beast. It was a lot of work, and with delivery restrictions slowing things up across Europe, we had a long wait ahead.
But it kind of worked out in our favour really, because we needed to make some alterations at the warehouse to accommodate the chunky bastard.
Turning the warehouse upside-down
The plan was always to keep the LP12 running for our single origins, so we needed to create a whole new space for the UG22. We don’t like to hang about here, so within a few hours Jay had ripped the arse out the green bean room and started to build an extension into the courtyard. This new extension has a viewing window into the roastery, but also a wall that can be completely removed to remove or repair the new roaster. We also used this time to better insulate the new roasting room as well as our green bean storage, doubling down on our temperature control so that our beans are kept at their absolute best.
Eventually, during our busiest period in the run up to Christmas, the UG finally turned up and the rigmarole of getting it set-up, wired in and fully installed began. Once we got her up and running, we then had to reconfigure all the roast profiles we had on our smaller roaster, which is no mean feat. Getting them into the Bad Hand sweet spot took some serious hours, but now we have them in the zone and tasting better than ever.
What this means for you and your coffee
Ultimately, the new roaster allows us to get more coffee roasted in a day, which helps us out heaps. Most importantly, it means we have more time for quality control, and for working with new coffees, singles, and funky experiments that keep us excited. We’re committed to keeping the bar high with our coffees - life’s too short for anything else - and we’re always pushing to raise it further.
We’re stoked to have the new UG fired up and running, and to use the little LP on a whole ream of new coffees.