A question I get frequently is, “What is infrared?” The impression is that it is something like Ming the Merciless’ Death Ray! One “roaster” ordered me to accept that a Diedrich Roaster roasts beans from the inside-out. I was sharing a cab with him at the time and it was a little scary, so I didn’t try to change his mind. If someone tries to tell you this, watch out.
Although “roasting” from the inside out is physically impossible with radiant heat and would be a really crappy way to roast anyway, it does bring out the concern that infrared heat sounds scary and dangerous; ultra-secret scientific woowoo. So, bwahahahaha weak earth creatures, prepare to meet your doom!
“That is nonsense,” you say. What is it really? We use gas, just like, well … everyone, only we contain the flame into a long box, which is as wide as the drum. The top of the box is closed with ceramic tile. This tile is superheated by the gas flame in the box and gets so hot, the heat radiating off the tiles is invisible; it is radiating in the infrared spectrum. No blue and yellow flames here! (Full of contaminants) Invisible waves of infrared light waves surround the drum and heat exchangers. When they hit the metal, they heat the metal in a complicated atomic rave. The rest is roasting coffee.
The thing that is different about our burners compared to all the blue flame roasters is that when you look inside our roaster you see the pure wide rectangles of brilliant orange/red tiles extending the entire length of the drum. Consistent, clean, dependable heat directly transferring to the drum and heat exchangers. Almost all of the combustion is taking place behind those beautiful ceramic tiles. Our infrared burners produce an even band of heat that assures there are no “hot spots” or cool temperature bands that can screw up your roast.
This is just like the ceramic top stove-tops many of us have at home – fast, dependable, controllable, and very powerful.
So don’t worry about infrared! It is completely safe, even to weak earth creatures. And, when it comes to roasting coffee, it is the best … period.