German coffee roaster manufacturer Probat continues to scale up production of drum roasters that avoid natural gas in favor of alternative energy sources.
The company’s latest global release is the P12 E, which represents the company’s largest-capacity all-electric-powered roaster to date. The P12 E follows last year’s global launch of the smaller P05 E, and the more recent launch of the all-electric P01 sample roaster, which permanently replaced the long-running Probatino.
The expansion of Probat’s electric roaster portfolio constitutes a remarkable shift in the 151-year-old company’s production focus.
While the soft blue and orange gas flame under a steel drum has often been used by marketers to express the warm vintage industrial appeal of classic roasters, it also inspires some questions related to environmental emissions and even costs, as natural gas prices fluctuate globally.
All three of Probat’s electric-powered-burner models fall into the P-Series line — designed for smaller commercial operations — which was formally relaunched in 2020 with updated control systems, stylistic design changes, ergonomic design changes and more.
While the P01 is only available in electric, the P05 and P12 models are available in either gas or electric versions. The final roaster in the existing line, the P25, is currently only available with natural gas.
Like the P05 E before it, the P12 E boasts approximately the same footprint and capacity as its natural-gas-powered counterpart. Probats specs say the P12 and P12 E have batch capacities of approximately 1-15 kilograms (2.2 to 33 pounds), with an overall production capacity of 40 kilograms (88 pounds) per hour.
Probat’s innovations in electricity have come as a small wave of new manufacturers — notably including California-based Bellwether and South Korea-based Stronghold Technologies — have entered the commercial roaster market with novel all-electric solutions.
In addition to moving into electricity, Probat is also leading the way in introducing hydrogen power to commercial coffee roasters. The company is planning to roll out new “green hydrogen” models in Europe this year, while offering hydrogen retrofitting for some existing gas roasters.
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Nick Brown is the editor of Daily Coffee News by Roast Magazine.