Sample roaster maker Ikawa and industrial roasting systems provider Bühler are seeking feedback from coffee roasters as they engage in a potential product development partnership for smaller- to medium-sized roasters.
The strategic partnership aligns two European coffee roasting equipment makers who to this point have occupied vastly different industrial categories, with Ikawa largely targeting the sample-roasting market through its Ikawa Pro line, and Bühler targeting larger industrial clients through its RoastMaster machine line.
The two companies have initiated what they’re calling a “research phase,” which involves soliciting feedback from commercial coffee roasting professionals. Participation info is available here.
“Our initial research will involve calls and visits to ask questions, test prototype designs and iterations based on continuous feedback,” Ikawa said in an announcement last week, noting that participating roasters will likely be called upon two or three times across a three to nine month period. “The ideal participant has either recently considered and purchased a production-scale roaster or is planning to in the near future. We are also open to hearing feedback from anyone in the coffee community who believes they have a valuable contribution.”
According to Ikawa, the partnership is ultimately designed to “explore the potential for product development between our market-leading Sample Roasters and Bühler’s RoastMaster series.”
“Partnering with Ikawa and strengthening our presence in the coffee roasting market is a key step for Bühler in many ways,” Michael Blatter, head of Bühler’s coffee market segment, said in a separate announcement last week. “Working together with Ikawa will help us to take new perspectives and therefore create innovative ideas to address the needs between micro and medium- to large-scale coffee roasting.”
Founded in London, England, in 2010 before publicly debuting in 2015, Ikawa has since made numerous functional upgrades to its core roasting machines. Earlier this year, the company launched the Pro100x, a follow-up to the 100-gram-capacity Pro100 sample roaster that launched in 2021.
Capacity for the four machines in Bühler’s RoastMaster line, meanwhile, start at 70 kilos of coffee per hour, up to 1 ton per hour. The Swiss company has been engineering industrial coffee systems for more than 50 years.
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