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A picture of John Battaglia

John Battaglia

Coffee roaster

in coffee

Who are you, and what do you do?

My name is John Battaglia and I roast coffee.

What hardware do you use?

I roast on a Probat UG22. The "22" indicates its capacity in kilos. It's a vintage, restored German-manufactured coffee roaster, frequently sought after for its cast iron construction. There is a nearly ideal ratio of convective to conductive heating that can exist when working with a cast iron roaster. Another advantage is the slightly forgiving and consistently predictable rate at which heat is transferred from the outside to the inside of the drum. When filled with coffee and heated from below with atmospheric burners, this horizontally-positioned drum roaster rotates at rates typically ranging between 45-60rpm. Our UG22 is tricked out with separate controls for airflow, drum speed, and cooling air. These independent controls can open up a new and exciting world of variables and manipulation, when executed properly.

I also use a ColorTrack, which is a roast color analyzer. It shoots lasers at a coffee sample at a rate of 10,000/second and produces a numeric representation of the degree of roast. Lasers!

And what software?

The software I use is called Cropster, which is data-logging/inventory management software that basically uses a graph to represent the progress of each batch with time and temperature on adjacent axes as well as degrees-per-minute. The resulting curve is a very basic, but extremely useful visual representation of a roast. This roast curve, in tandem with degrees/minute, can help visualize factors which greatly affect coffee that are not as easily determined when using a more traditional approach.

A roast curve is logged for each batch, along with other information relevant to that particular batch, and is later referenced as one of several data points we utilize to more accurately correlate what we're doing in the roaster to what we're tasting in the cup.

What would be your dream setup?

My dream setup would be what I'm currently working on, but outdoors with fresh air.