Do coffee roasters need cleaning? It sure need, like all other food processing devices. The next question is how often it need cleaning and how easy it is to clean one? There is no doubt on home coffee roasters, but how about those commercial roasters?
Base on my study, experience and instinct, every equipment use for food processing purpose should be cleaned and dry well every end of the day. Preventing any microbial build up and getting it ready for the next day. If it won’t be use for a couple of days or so, then it should be washed again right before.
Easy to clean with screws that can be easily removed by hands or with the use of simple tools. If disassembly is hard, then there has to be other kind of cleaning mechanism, like passing hot water through, the method popularly used by beverage industry.
I am not a master coffee roaster, but I am trying to make one almost similar. Through my research and own 3D CAD drawings, I can say that every small to commercial scale coffee roaster are not easy to disassemble and clean. I’ve been figuring out how can I tweak it to a easy to clean version.
For roasters, cleaning may not be necessary. Every use is an sterilization procedure, subjecting the machine to high heat, killing harmful microorganisms and rendering the beans to almost char state. All left after taking the roasted grain out are nothing but chars which are not not suitable for microbial reproduction.
What I am thinking is the flavor. It develops during roasting process. I am not sure about it but it is likely to leave flavor that might absorbed by the next roast batch. Wood and charcoal heat source impart flavor to roast, and so the flavor left by the preceding batch might transfer to succeeding. Another thing are the beans which are incidentally left inside the roasting drum. They are 100% bitter black when mixed to the next.
Cleaning with soap and water is an option but I don’t think it is a good one. The equipment is commonly installed in a dry area with no good drainage facility. Its electrical components are not suitable for such method. Cleaning with dry ice blasting is a nice option I see. It allows any equipment to be cleaned without using liquid and liquid detergents and without damaging the electrical components. It is similar to sand blasting but the medium being used is a soft dry ice which has no abrasive effect. It is good but seems not intended for frequent cleaning. It is kinda expensive.
Still looking for an easy to clean assembly.
Marvin is the lead chocolate maker of Ben and Lyn Chocolate Inc. Has strong background in food research and development. Occasionally conducts training and lectures. Lecturer of Cocoa Foundation of the Philippines. Do coaching and consultancy services on his free time.