This is a classic example of “Why do we do that?” Diedrich has been building roasters for 40 years and over time we have grown, innovated, and improved. A Diedrich roaster today is a lot more sophisticated than the ones first built in Steve’s dad’s garage. So the reason we named the roasters IR and CR is a little lost in history.
As far as I can tell, Steve knew he wanted to use infrared burners on his specialty coffee roasters. He knew that they used less gas to produce the same BTU’s and produced a clean heat evenly across the drum. He also knew that using less gas meant he produced far fewer dangerous chemicals that would get drawn through the beans. Steve was all about producing the cleanest and freshest cup possible and that discipline drives our designs today.
Then along came a customer who wanted a BIG roaster. Steve wasn’t so sure he could source infrared burners that would produce enough BTU’s to support a big load of coffee so he built his first CRs (Commercial Roaster) with an atmospheric burner. The same flame throwers that are in our competitors’ roasters.
Through testing however, Steve discovered that he was wrong! He discovered that he could design larger burners that produced a lot more BTU’s using a lot less gas. Soon all of our roasters, big and small, used infrared burners.
This has produced a lot of confusion and rumors out there. To make in worse for the past couple of years we started calling IRs “In-Store Roasters” which doesn’t come close to describing all the ways folks use the IRs.
So to clear things up…
- All our roasters use infrared technology to roast coffee
- Infrared is the cleanest and most fuel efficient source of roasting heat, period!
- Infrared at full gas far exceeds the full BTU output of comparable flamethrower roasters
- Reduced combustion gases in the drum produce a cleaner cup
I personally would like to give our roasters real names; I think the IR-5 should be called Charlie. I suppose it is a good thing that it isn’t up to me.