The Story of How Our Roaster Broke

If you're a follower of our social media or subscribe to our newsletter, then you are aware that our coffee roaster has been having some issues. Below is the story of what happened and how we almost had to close the business!

Several days before Christmas, our gas-powered, 10 burner roaster ran into some problems; specifically, 5 of our 10 burners stopped working, which meant we couldn't get enough heat to properly roast coffee.  We thought it was an issue with the burners, so we went through the painstaking process of taking apart the burners and checking each one, eventually replacing all 10 just to be safe. But the problem persisted. We realized it was likely an airflow issue and disassembled as much of the roaster we could, cleaning out every pathway to allow better airflow.  This improved things a bit but not enough to start roasting. We replaced several parts, thinking perhaps that was the issue, but nothing worked. At this point we needed to alert our customers about the issue and start calling any technician who could help us solve the problem. Unfortunately, we could not get anyone to come to our shop! Either they did not work on roasters or did not work on our specific roaster.

If this wasn't enough stress, our lease on our retail space was up for renewal. We had no idea if we should sign the lease because we didn't know if our roaster was ever going to work again. There were serious discussions about ending the business due to the uncertainty and poor timing. But we love our business and love our customers and partner organizations. One way or another, we were going to fix the roaster and not let it defeat us. We signed the lease and hoped for the best. 

Two days later, our HVAC technician came to service our unit. We figured since they were already on the roof, they might be able to look into our exhaust ducting and see if they noticed anything. Sure enough, they investigated and found we had a clog halfway up our ducting. This clog was a mixture of coffee chaff and typical smoke buildup. After clearing the obstruction, our roaster started working like new! Hallelujah!. 

We excitedly announced we were back up and running, and then two days later the power went out to the roaster. We thought we were cursed. Knowing nothing about electrical, all we could think to do was turn off all power at our shop, unplug a few wires, and then replug everything back in and flip the power back on. To our immense relief, everything worked! We were officially out of the woods.

There were two lessons we took away from this experience. First, don't forget to clean your ducting every so often! Second, success in business and life sometimes comes down to luck and timing, with a healthy dose of stubbornness Things will go wrong at some point, and often at the absolute worst time. How many businesses failed because of things completely out of their control, or just bad luck and bad timing. We were fortunate that we had a ton of support to rely on in case things truly became overwhelming, but so many others do not. They do not have the safety nets or resources to sustain a business, a career, or even their health through bad luck and bad timing. 

That's why amazing organizations like Live and Learn exist, because everyone will experience hardships but not everyone will have the support to overcome them. We are so proud to continue operating our business because we can then support these amazing organizations

We want to thank everyone for the support they showed during this time and for sticking with us. We truly would not have continued without your support.

With love and hoping for a problem-free 2023,

Denise & Zach

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