What about that budget?
If you have been following along, you will remember I originally budgeted just $20k for all my café and roastery equipment. Initially, I was looking to split the 20 down the middle, half for café, and half for a coffee roaster. This ended up being much more difficult than I thought, and some rearranging in the budget became necessary fairly early on. Throughout the summer I kept an eye out for a used La Marzocco espresso machines and in doing so gained a good idea of their value. It seemed that the available machines cost anywhere between $4-7k depending on the model, number of group heads, and condition. Now, there are plenty of espresso machines by other brands available, but I was committed to spending the extra cash on a reputable machine, as well as one with alittle bit of character. In addition to the espresso machine, I needed a bulk grinder, espresso grinder, fridge, and Point of Sale terminal, as well as a whole bunch of little things no one wants to read in a list. Luckily, a few weeks after returning home from the summer I found a local bakery/café that was upgrading all of their equipment and wanted to sell everything I needed for a nice little bundle. So after some negotiation I was able to obtain a La Marzocco 3 group FB80, two Mazzer espresso grinders, and 2 bulk Bunn grinders for exactly $10k, perfectly within budget.
The coffee roaster on the other hand did not come so easily. During the summer I had read up on several small batch profile roasters, and in the end felt Mill City Roasters was the best option due to their strong customer service, helpful video content, and price point. So I put my down payment on a 2 kg roaster sometime in June hoping it would ship early that fall. However, at the time, Mill City, was undergoing their CSA approval process which would allow the sale of their products in Canada. Although they warned me it may be a lengthy process, I figured I had enough lead time that it would be a none issue. After several updates during the summer it was beginning to look like the roaster would not be ready in time for fall, or even Christmas. In hind sight a later roaster arrival would have been totally fine as the entire project ended up falling off any form of planned timeline. But at the time, I was very concerned about the late arrival and felt the CSA approval process could drag out for months . When I voiced my concerns with Mill City they understood and suggested a refund on the down payment as it was hard to guarantee a day the CSA approval would complete. I was very happy to deal with such reasonable people. and really appreciated their respect for my timetable. If any one from Mill City is reading this, thanks again!
Although I was bummed out that I wasn’t going to get a Mill City roaster, my tight timeline allowed me to mentally justify an increase in the roaster budget. I decided to look at Diedrich Roasters, which are considerably more expensive, but have an extensive history, a great industry name, and are based out of Idaho, just a hop skip and a jump away from me in BC. Diedrich's close proximity would allow me to easily attend one of their Coffee Roasting Profile courses as well as pickup the roaster myself and save on the shipping costs. When I contacted Diedrich, they happen to have a IR 2.5 Roaster coming off a trade show circuit for sale, allowing me to skip the 13 week production line lead time. I will be the first to admit that perhaps I was abit hasty changing coffee roasters, but it really seemed like everything was lining up perfectly so I decided to go where the momentum took me. In the end, the Diedrich IR 2.5 would cost me around $20k, which is almost double what the Mill City roaster would have cost. In addition, there would be some extra costs associated with the border, tariffs, and importers that we will get into later.
Patrick Sills is the owner and creator of Double Decker Coffee Roasting. The purpose of the Build Blog is to share the story of the physical build, its components, Patrick's growing education in the coffee industry, and the overall creation of the business. Warning: if run on sentences, poor sentence structure, or simple spelling mistakes bother you to the core stop reading! The Build Blog has a very loose format, I am a builder not a writer, just thought some people might be interested in the story. Enjoy!