Turkish Engineering Goes Global With Toper Roasters

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This article is sponsored by our partner, Toper Roasters North America.

When Art and Kate Hardie of Toraja Mountain Coffee noticed their 5kg Toper roaster wasn’t heating up as quickly as it used to, they turned to Samy Assouline for help. Assouline, the Hardies’ Toper rep, sprang into action. 

He initially planned a straightforward fix: he’d send replacement parts and a troubleshooting video. But Assouline felt that didn’t quite match Toper’s commitment to exceptional service. Instead, he took it up a notch. He expedited the delivery of replacement parts and arranged for Toper’s top technician to fly from Turkey to Orlando, Florida, to work on their roaster. The outcome left the Hardies deeply impressed.

“He spent two days with us while we worked on our machine. He only spoke Turkish, so we used Google Translate to talk to each other,” Art says. “They actually upgraded all the parts—our Toper roaster is now supercharged and more efficient than ever.”

This level of service is just one of the driving forces that has helped Toper Roasters expand its customer base to more than 132 countries worldwide. “Regardless of which country you go to,” says Assouline, “if coffee is consumed there, there is a Toper coffee roasting machine.” 

When we at Fresh Cup partnered with Toper Roasters a few months ago, we discussed the many ways we could work together. During these conversations, Assouline told us the story of Toper’s history, the level of commitment to customers, and what makes their business unique. After hearing him speak, we knew this was a story our readers would want to hear. 

The Toper Coffee Roasters Legacy Begins

Toper Roasters traces its roots to a modest 33-square-meter workshop in Izmir, Turkey. Founded by Nurettin Karakundakoğlu in 1953, the company quickly gained recognition for crafting top-notch coffee roasters that caught the eye of buyers worldwide.

Over the years, the Karakundakoğlu family honed their skills to develop precise and reliable machinery. By 1995, Toper Roasters had expanded its reach beyond Turkey, exporting its equipment to countries like Romania, the USA, Canada, and Italy.

While Toper primarily serves businesses in the professional coffee industry—such as coffee shops, roasting facilities, restaurants, and hotels—they also offer smaller capacity machines for home use.

The company is still based in Turkey and manufactures coffee roasting equipment for various capacities and specifications: whether roasters are looking for a 3kg roaster, an electric model, or an industrial-sized machine, Toper has options.

Toper roasters are sleekly designed and feature a cast-iron face and chrome-polished enhancements. Customers can personalize their machine by color and select from trim options like copper, brass, or stainless steel. In addition, Toper will make and place the roaster’s branded logo on metal plates attached to both sides of the drum.

While Toper’s roasters are stylish, they’re also known for their durability. But it’s not just about looks, either—Toper’s team keeps up with roasting trends. “We have a team of five engineers who are always researching what is new in the roasting market and implementing it,” Assouline says. 

Setting the Standard

Toper offers everything from 3kg roasters to industrial-size machines, but the TKM SX, in sizes 5kg, 10kg, and 20kg, are the bestselling machines among the shop roasters. Industrial roasters usually gravitate toward 30kg, 120kg, or 180kg models of the same series. 

While Toper primarily serves businesses in the professional coffee industry—such as coffee shops, roasting facilities, restaurants, and hotels—they also offer smaller capacity machines for home use.

A feature of Toper’s roasters is their touch-screen profile system. These systems monitor bean temperature and roast cycle time with customizable profiles for every type of coffee bean.

When roasting manually, the profile system learns and remembers the roasting profile and stores it for future use. Roasters can create as many presets as they need, transfer them to a computer, and apply them to other roasters’ profile systems. “This simplifies the roasting process significantly,” says Ramazan Karakundakoğlu, CEO of Toper Roasters.

For roasteries like Negash Coffee in Niverville, Manitoba, the profile system has been indispensable. “We roast expensive coffee beans, and wasting it is not fun,” says co-owner Henok Gerbe. “I only set up the profile once, and that was it. Since then, I’ve never had to touch it.”

He says his Toper machine roasts consistently. “I always check it, and it comes out the same every time.”

Toraja Mountain Coffee imports rare, premium coffee beans from Indonesia. Hardie says they chose a Toper roaster because of its reputation for “being well-built, efficient and delivering good quality coffee.” 

The Toraja team had worked with other roasting machines, and when they looked to upgrade their equipment, they prioritized finding an electric versus gas-powered model. They tested Toper’s TKM SX 5kg electric Toper machine and noticed an immediate improvement. “With being able to adjust the vents and how efficient the cooling tray was, it was very noticeable that the roaster was producing the most even roast we’d done yet,” Hardie says. “It also heats up quickly and is ready to go when it’s time to run production.”

Controlling the temperature precisely on an electric roaster is tricky: heat isn’t distributed as evenly in the roasting chamber as with gas-powered machines. Hardie acknowledges that it can be challenging, especially with more difficult coffee beans, but he’s impressed by the level of control the TKM SX provides for an electric roaster. “I don’t think there’s another electric roaster on the market at that size that we could trust with our roast profile,” he says.

How Toper is Breaking into the US Market

As Toper expanded worldwide, they set their sights on breaking into the US market. According to Assouline, not being an American company was their biggest hurdle. To overcome this, Toper focused on differentiating themselves based on customer needs. “We really focused on customer service and meeting demands,” Assouline says.

To enhance its footprint in the US, Toper partnered with Coffee Equipment Pros, a distributor based in Fort Worth, Texas, to sell and promote its machines. “Toper’s focus on tech support during and after a sale is a refreshing difference they take seriously,” says founder Rick Davis. “From equipment sales to equipment support, they go the extra mile in making it all happen.”

Coffee Equipment Pros is also the exclusive USA distributor for Toper Roasters. As a result, Toper customers in the United States gain access to Tek-NetTM, Coffee Equipment Pros’ network of top-quality USA-based technicians. These technicians are on hand for Toper customers, assisting with site evaluations, roaster installation, service support, and more.

Brandon Jones of Indies Coffee in Galveston, Texas, was looking for a larger roaster to expand the brand’s operations. Jones compared various options and liked the double-wall setup of the TKM SX 20kg model. The roasting drum has two layers of metal that improve how heat spreads, offering better insulation and making the roaster more energy efficient.

“Running a business means balancing overhead with expenses,” he says. “Toper offers a reasonably priced roaster that allows us to consistently roast for long hours each day, which increases our profitability in the long run.”

Jones says the larger, more efficient roaster simplifies operations and makes it easier to take on more wholesale accounts and fulfill orders faster. “I can only take on what my roaster can support. A bigger roaster makes it easier to take on more business, and I’m lowering the cost per pound because I can spend less time on each roast,” he says.

He credits their Toper machine for Indies’ rapid growth. “It’s helped us grow faster because I can take on bigger accounts than I could before,” he says of the TKM SX 20kg. “We’re actually outgrowing that machine, too.”

Differentiating with Service

Davis has sold a lot of roasting equipment and says aggressive pricing and solid value aren’t enough to survive in the roasting department. He emphasizes Toper’s six-decade history of making roasting equipment and the speed at which they can produce and deliver machines. 

“Manufacturing a custom 180kg roastery equipment set with installation, commissioning, and training in less than 90 days is not out of the question,” he says. “It’s just what Toper does to support the global footprint of coffee roasting.”

Toper has an education center for those new to coffee roasting. The Toper Coffee Academy offers comprehensive training on machine usage and guidance on selecting the right green coffee beans. Conducted by SCA-certified coffee trainers, participants taste and evaluate roasted coffees to assess their roasting outcomes. 

According to Gerbe, the best part about Toper is that their support is just a phone call away. “It blows my mind. I know someone who owned a roaster, and every time it broke down, he would spend half the price of the roaster just to get someone else to fix it,” he says. When something needs to be fixed, Toper sends it to us right away, and they’re on a video call to make sure everything is right.”

For Hardie, roasting isn’t always glamorous, but he says having a machine he depends on to be consistent makes his job easier. “You want a machine you can trust and is reliable,” he says, “and Toper delivers on that.”

toper roasters

Sponsored by Toper Roasters North America

Toper Roasters is a Turkey-based roaster manufacturer that provides commercial roasting equipment to coffee businesses of all types and sizes.

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Haley Greene

Haley Greene is a freelance writer based in Honolulu, Hawaii. She frequently writes about food, coffee, and wellness. Connect with her at www.haleygreene.com.

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