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Artisan 2.5 Commercial Coffee Roaster Review 2018

An image of the two variants of Artisan 2.5, a capable fluid bed (air) roaster

Artisan 2.5 Commercial Coffee Roaster

8.3 Total Score
Artisan 2.5 Coffee Roaster

A small, but incredibly capable fluid bed (air) roaster.
Recommended for: Anyone. Don’t let its relatively low batch capacity fool you, this little roaster can keep pace with much larger drum roasters.

Capacity
7
Chaff Management
8
Customization Options
8
Ease of Use
10

Are you looking for a small, but incredibly robust coffee roaster for your business? Interested in exploring the flavor differences between drum and fluid bed roasters?

If you answered yes to either of those questions, then you’re going to love our in-depth review of the Artisan 2.5 coffee roaster.  It’s proof positive that good things sometimes do come in small packages.

Coffee aficionados tend to have strong preferences one way or the other regarding which is better; drum roasters or fluid bed (air) roasters.  You’ll find some people who claim that fluid bed roasters tend to produce superior results when roasting medium, while drum-based machines produce better dark roasts, but none of the differences in flavor have ever been conclusively proven.

If you don’t have a clear preference and want to experiment, or if you love the speed and convenience of fluid bed roasters, the Artisan 2.5 commercial coffee roaster is an excellent choice for a small and growing coffee shop or related business.

In the sections that follow, we’ll cover everything this plucky little roaster can do, so you have everything you need to make an informed purchasing decision.  If that sounds good to you, then let’s get right to it!

An Overview of the Artisan 2.5 Commercial Coffee Roaster

Form Factor, Footprint & Aesthetic

The Artisan 2.5 is almost shockingly small as commercial-grade roasters go, measuring just 12” x 19” x 57” and weighing in at a scant 80 pounds.  If you compare that to the other entries in the commercial section of our roundup review, it’ll give you a sense of just how much smaller this model actually is.

Given its size, this one should present absolutely no difficulty in terms of finding a permanent home in your commercial kitchen.  While it’s not a stunning machine to look at, it’s not ugly by any means, and it comes in both red and black, so it should blend in well with the other equipment you’re using.

Features and Capabilities

The Artisan 2.5 is a full-featured machine with amazingly simple controls.  In truth, it’s not much different than small countertop roasters like the Fresh Roast SR 700 which operates on the same basic principles.

Most of the magic happens via two simple knobs, one which controls the “bean loft” which describes the amount of air pressure blowing into the roasting chamber, and the other allows you to control the heat, with the temperature being displayed on a small LED panel between the two.

The system’s heating elements are controlled via a power switch separate from the unit’s main power.

An image of Artisan 2.5 Commercial Coffee Roaster's control knobs and switch

That’s really all there is to it, but from this simple console, you can exert a surprising amount of control.

The hopper is translucent, so you can clearly see what’s going on during the roasting process, watching as the beans go through their color changes, and listening for the first and second cracks.  If you can’t see as clearly as you’d like to, the 2.5 includes a conveniently located light which will help you get a better view.

An image of Artisan 2.5 Commercial Coffee Roaster's translucent bean hopper

The key advantages of fluid bed roasters are faster roasting times and ease of cleanup.  On average, you can expect a fluid bed roaster to get the job done almost twice as quickly as a comparable drum roaster, which is the secret to its high hourly output, despite having a smaller hopper capacity than the drum-based roasters it competes with.

One thing to make a note of is the fact that part of the Artisan 2.5’s shockingly low price stems from the fact that an exhaust blower is not included with your purchase, and must be bought separately.  On the company’s sales page, they recommend several blowers that work well with the machine.

All of these have an air moving capacity of at least 500 CFM (cubic feet per minute).  The exhaust ports on the machine fit perfectly with all the blowers they recommend, and you can vent using either 4” or 5” dryer duct.

Neither of these things adds significantly to the total cost of the unit, and even buying them separately, the Artisan 2.5 is still far and away the lowest priced commercial-grade roaster we’ve found.

Also note that this is not a gas-powered machine!  Electric only.  While that might not be a deal breaker for many users, the bottom line is that most serious roasters prefer gas.

Capacity

Don’t let the Artisan 2.5 coffee roaster’s relatively low 2.5-pound maximum capacity fool you (technically, you can roast up to three pounds per batch, but this is not recommended).  This little machine can crank out up to fifteen pounds of freshly roasted beans per hour if you need it to, so despite its small size, it can keep pace with the demands of even a bustling coffee shop.

It’s also capable of producing roasts as small as half a pound if you’re trying something new and want to make a test batch.

An image of Artisan 2.5 Commercial Coffee Roaster's 2.5-pound bean hopper

Presets and Controls

The Artisan 2.5 coffee roaster doesn’t have any presets, nor is there a USB or Bluetooth connection, so you can’t create roasting profiles.  It’s eyeballs and ears all the way.

An image of Artisan 2.5 Coffee Roaster's control switch and knobs

Even if it had a USB port though, trying to use roasting profiles created on a drum roaster would be a lesson in futility anyway. This is a very different machine that uses a completely different method of roasting.

Smoke Suppression

Smoke suppression is excellent, and you won’t have any problems with setting off nearby smoke detectors because the machine is designed to vent it all to the outside.  As long as you use one of the recommended blowers, you won’t have any issues on that front.

Using the Machine

While some setup is required, actually using the Artisan 2.5 commercial coffee roaster is a lesson in simplicity

Once the machine is set up and ready, simply load your beans into the hopper, power the heating elements up, and turn the unit’s main power on, making sure that your “Bean Loft” knob is initially set to the lowest setting so that you don’t see your unroasted beans flying out of the hopper unexpectedly, then adjust to taste for the roast.

Once the beans reach the color and consistency you’re looking for, cut the power, and empty the beans into the 3-pound cooling tray.  You can load a new batch into the hopper right away if you want to perform back to back roasts, and the beans in the cooling tray only need to stay there for about two minutes before storing them in airtight containers for later use.

Chaff Management

Chaff management is also good, and borders on being excellent.  Most of the chaff winds up in the collection bag, and you won’t find too much debris mixed in with your freshly roasted beans.  If you do, then it’s a sign that it’s time for a good cleaning.

Cleaning and Maintenance

Where cleaning is concerned, the two biggest things you’ll want to do are wash and dry the bean hopper as needed (you’ll be able to tell if it needs it if you see the chaff stuck in the perforations), and you’ll want to keep a regular check on the integrity of the venting (dryer) hoses to make sure they’re free of obstructions.

An image of the chaff bags of Artisan 2.5 Coffee Roaster
An image of the exhaust hood and exhaust J tube of Artisan 2.5 Coffee Roaster
An image of the exhaust tubing of Artisan 2.5 Coffee Roaster

Both of these operations are quick and easy to perform, and won’t take you much time at all.

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Pros & Cons of the Artisan 2.5 Commercial Coffee Roaster

There’s a lot to like about the Artisan 2.5 roaster, but its key selling points as we see them are:

  • coffee
    It’s incredibly inexpensive (even considering the added cost of the exhaust blower) and capable, with a shockingly high hourly output, given its price
  • coffee
    Easy to use
  • coffee
    Fast
  • coffee
    Produces very consistent roasts

Having said that, the one drawback we see with the machine is the fact that it doesn’t have a USB port or Bluetooth connectivity, which means you can’t create custom roasting profiles.  

We know this is possible, because the Fresh Roast SR 700 offers this feature in the home/countertop market, and we feel it’d be an excellent addition here.  Certainly not a deal breaker, but something to keep in mind.

Artisan 2.5 Coffee Roaster Review Conclusion

We regard the Artisan 2.5 coffee roaster as something of a hidden gem in the world of commercial roasters.  It’s small but mighty.  Although it’s not for everyone, and there’s a segment of the roasting community that has a strong preference for drum roasters, we really liked this one’s capabilities.

While it’s probably overkill for all but the most serious home roasters, if you live in a large household filled with power drinkers, or plan to roast extensively for friends and your extended family, it could still work in that regard, although its size would make it unlikely that it could fit into a home kitchen.  It would be ideal for garage or workshop use, however, and it’s cheap enough that it won’t break the bank.

Based on the above, we recommend the Artisan 2.5 for the following groups:

  • coffee
    Business owners who want to compare fluid bed versus drum roasters
  • coffee
    Business owners who don’t have a strong preference for drum roasters, and who are looking for a low-cost solution that produces consistent quality
  • coffee
    Home users who plan to roast in quantity

Sources & Resources

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Don’t miss our detailed review of the Artisan 2.5 coffee roaster.  A compact, surprisingly robust machine that might be perfect for you!
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