Looking like a steam locomotive rolling down the track, Stringbean Coffee Company is keeping its Soul Train churning with a new, vintage roaster.

New roaster

Stringbean’s new roaster ready to cook!

Peter Cohen, owner/operator of Stringbean Coffee, one of 21 coffee roasters in the St. Louis-area, has expanded his roasting capabilities with a second, beautifully refurbished San Franciscan roaster. And, this one-of-a-kind gem is as much a work of art as it is a piece of machinery.

This San Franciscan SF-25 (twenty-five pound batch capacity) was originally made about 20 years ago by Coffee/PER for a friend of the manufacturer’s owner at the time, Sherman Dodd.

Coffee/PER, once located near San Francisco and now operated in Fallon, Nevada, is known for its “premium components and quality workmanship.”  They’ve been constructing artisan roasters “built to old world standards” for 20 years, which makes Stringbean’s San Franciscan one of their first.

This classic, old-school, artisan roaster was manufactured using 100% American-made muscle and steel.  Best of all, this particular SF-25 has been cured and seasoned by experience.

Its history begins with its still-original drum, made from a piece of mild, steel pipe milled on a WWII-era, Navy ship lathe.  Mr. Dodd believed this material was more forgiving and less brittle over time than drums made of cast iron.

The SF-25 was also built without the computerized functions found on many of the newer roasters.  Rows of natural gas flames provide its heat source.  Meticulously engineered and executed, the San Franciscan is best suited for craft-style roasters with years of experience.

“It’s a very intuitive machine,” Cohen explained, “built on an old-school, traditional platform that’s ideal for the artisan roaster.”

This SF-25 was originally sent to the Midwest (Wisconsin) for a short spell, before boomeranging back to the West Coast where it logged most of its 20 years of action in the coffee-crazed town of Portland, Oregon.

It recently returned to Coffee/PER, now operated by Bill Kennedy, for a complete refurbish, before finally arriving at Stringbean in St. Louis.

SF25 before refurb 1

SF25 before refurb 2

Starting out blue, the roaster is now flat-black with stainless/nickel hardware, and the locomotive-look blends perfectly with the music-infused aesthetic Stringbean has working at his roastery.  Stringbean has given this San Franciscan a permanant place to boogie, under his shimmery Soul Train disco-ball.

It’s the only San Franciscan currently in the St. Louis market.  (Howard Lerner used an SF-25 to start Kaldi’s, but that roaster is believed to be operating in Seattle now.)

Roasting top-shelf beans with a vintage, elegantly conceived and U.S.-made roaster, Stringbean continues to produce St. Louis’ most superlative coffee.

Small-batch, handcrafted and music-infused—Stringbean Coffee.