Safety First | How To Prevent Coffee Roaster Fires

Roasted coffee beans and stainless steel coffee bean scoop

Recently I have had a few roasters share that they had NEVER cleaned their roaster. One of them, a new roaster, ended up starting a small fire. Fortunately everything ended up coming out okay, but it was a big lesson learned—and could have ended in a complete catastrophe. That said, cleaning and maintaining your roaster is the key to consistent roasts and producing the best tasting coffee. Regular maintenance will help prevent coffee roaster fires and protect one of your most important investments.

Cleaning For Safety And Quality

Learning how to properly clean and maintain your roaster is a critical component of operating your roastery for both as a method of maintaining long-term quality standards and for safety purposes. A roastery that regularly inspects and cleans their roaster can be relied upon to consistently produce great cups of coffee.

For starters in order to optimize airflow and to prevent fires, make sure that you regularly:

  • 1: Empty or vacuum out the chaff bucket
  • 2: Check for clogs in the cooling tray
  • 3: Clean the tips of gas fuel jets
  • 4: Scrape out the gunk buildup gunk from every spot in and around the roaster INCLUDING the air duct!!

Residue buildup in ducting can substantially reduce airflow and thus greatly increase the chances of a fire.

Consistency Is Key

Make cleaning your roaster a favorite habit. Schedule regular cleanings and use a maintenance log. Remember not all roasters are the same, and with that in mind I suggest doing a search online and checking Reddit roasting forums on how to clean your specific type of roaster from actual people that have performed the cleaning themselves.

Recommended Cleaning Tools

Below I’ve listed some recommended cleaning tools and an example of a generic cleaning schedule.

  • • Headlamp
  • • Eye Protection
  • • Gloves
  • • Dust Mask
  • • Heavy Duty Vacuum (bagless with hoses)
  • • Compressed air gun
  • • Heavy duty steel hand held scraping/ chipping tool
  • • Food safe grease (for lubrication)
  • • Stiff bristled roller (for holes on cooling tray)
  • • Towels
  • • Allen wrench, phillips/flathead screwdriver (whichever your roaster requires)

Create A Cleaning Schedule

Please Note: Your personal cleaning schedule should be determined by how quickly residue builds up in ducts and the cooling tray—this is generally based on your roasting volume.

Coffee roaster and machine dropping roasted coffee into cooling trayFresh roasted coffee in cooling tray

DAILY:

  • • Empty chaff bucket when half full or less. Don’t wait until it’s topped out!!
  • • Check cooling tray to ensure no holes are clogged
  • • Wipe dust off the roaster and hopper

WEEKLY

  • • Vacuum cooling tray and area around the burners
  • • Make sure all joints are properly greased

MONTHLY:

  • • Disassemble roaster, scraping all ducts and cooling tray

YEARLY:

  • • Measure airflow, pressure and inspect afterburners

If you’re already practicing these measures then you’re on the right track. But if you’re lacking in some of these basic procedures, we HIGHLY recommend incorporating them. Yes, it will add more time to your roasting schedule, but believe me the extra work will pay off!

Happy Roasting,

June Kamyia, Coffee Trader for Vournas Coffee Trading
June Kamiya
Coffee Trader
june@vournascoffee.com


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To view a full listing of our current coffees please visit our coffee offerings page. For additional info on coffee growing, processing and roasting, please visit our farm-to-cup guide.

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Feel free to email us anytime or call to speak with our friendly staff M-F, 8AM – 4:30PM PST about coffee roasting techniques, maintenance and how to prevent coffee roaster fires. We’re also happy to offer you the inside scoop on our current stock of coffees, what we have coming in and how we can help improve your roasting business. 800.761.JAVA