5 Concerns to Anticipate Before Opening a Coffee Roastery in NYC

One: Choosing the Right Property  

In New York City, the Roasting of Coffee beans, and their packaging & distribution can only legally take place in a building located in a Manufacturing Zone or Manufacturing Overlay with another Zoning Group.  

Of course, there are other important Property considerations: proximity to neighbors, distance to nearest highway depending on your volume of green bean deliveries, can a truck easily maneuver on your street and bring in bags of coffee efficiently for your roaster process. The choreography of large and frequent deliveries to your NYC space should not be overlooked. Picking the right space can save you tons of time and headaches.

Two: Getting the Necessary Construction Permits 

 Aside from the usual business licenses, in New York City you will likely need approvals from the Dept. of City Planning for zoning re-use, Department of Buildings for Construction Permits to install the Roaster, Department of Health, and Department of Environmental Protection.

Three: Actually Getting the Roaster into Place

Delivery is often difficult on busy NYC streets, be prepared for dealing with traffic at the time of delivery. You may need to get a permit from the city to shut down the street to get the roaster assembly in the door and installed. With weights ranging from 500lbs to 5,000lbs and beyond, roasters and all their accessory components can get extremely heavy. Installation may require a crane or heavy-duty lift to get it in place, and typically takes a full day to sit properly in its final location. Aside from the cumbersome delivery process, its common that floors or roofs will not be able to support this weight. Often we have had to use temporary structural supports during installation or permanently reinforce the existing structure to support these machines. Do not assume the floor or roof can handle this additional load – consult with an architect or engineer beforehand to make sure you’re in the clear.

Four: Your Roaster Will Smell: Place the Flue Well 

We do LOVE the smell of freshly roasted coffee, but unfortunately in New York City by law you must install an afterburner to burn off the odors. Afterburners can be installed in many configurations, often next to or above the roaster. When placing this, and the exhaust flues, you might need scaffolding depending on the location and height of the building.  

Other flue and exhaust concerns to consider: How hot do your machines get? The temperature determines the height of the flue, and distance above the nearest construction. For example, if your roaster assembly’s average temperature is 1,500 degrees the height of the outlet above a roof must be a min. height of 10’-0” above the roof.  

Considered a “Medium-Heat Appliance,” with temperatures between 1,000 and 2,000 degrees. Rules for such equipment regulates the flue’s height, path through and above the building, material and construction of the flue, proximity to building openings and combustible materials, to name a few.  

Suffice to say, when locating your Roaster its best to start with the final exhaust outlet and work backwards into the space to ensure it’s safe and code compliant. 

Five: Final Hookups & Approvals Before You Can Roast

You’ve now made it through the hardest parts: you found the best property, delivered and installed the roasting assembly, obtained the appropriate construction permits, reinforced any building elements to ensure structural safety, received the first bags of green coffee beans– and you’re ready to fire the roaster and start a-roasting! Before get started, be sure to double check that: you have passed your final gas inspection and have Gas Authorization from the city, and that you have had a technician familiar with this type of specialty equipment do the electrical and low-voltage programming. This isn’t in the purview of an average electrician and needs to be done by an experienced Professional. Check with your Architect or Expediter to make sure you’ve received the other necessary city approvals, and if so – Roast On Hot Stuff! 

Be sure to let us know where we can come pick up our complimentary cup-of-joe, we have more helpful blog hints to work on. Happy Roasting!