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Probat Burns

Probat Burns: The Leader in Coffee Roasting Since 1864

Written by Laura Canter & Produced by Fausto Cabrera

Probat Burns is a leading manufacturer of coffee roasting and cocoa processing equipment. Based in Vernon Hills, Ill., Probat Burns is one of eight manufacturing and technology companies that comprise the Probat Group.
Probat Burns: The Leader in Coffee Roasting Since 1864
Probat Burns is a leading manufacturer of coffee roasting and cocoa processing equipment. Based in Vernon Hills, Ill., Probat Burns is one of eight manufacturing and technology companies that comprise the Probat Group.

Both the Probat and Burns names have been known for over 130 years as the authorities on coffee roasting. It began on the banks of the Rhine River when Alex van Gulpen, Johann Heinrich Lensing and Theordor von Gimborn founded their manufacturing company in 1868.

There they built the first Emmericher spherical coffee roaster – the godfather of all Probat roasters. Around the same time, in New York, Jabez Burns was using his vast knowledge of coffee production to design and produce an improved roaster of his own – the Burns #1 Roaster, also known as the Brickdump. Every piece of machinery found today in the coffee market is based on these designs.

Probat Burns’ deeply rooted history of technological advancement is the key to its ongoing success and development of the world’s finest roasting solutions. With dedication to continual improvement, the company remains at the forefront of the modern-day coffee industry.

“Probat Burns offers the largest variety of roasters and roasting technologies,” says Karl Schmidt, the company’s president. “We offer four unique options for roasting coffee, with more designs and technologies than any other manufacturer.”

Probat Burns’ four roaster technologies are solid drum, perforated drum, centrifugal and tangential coffee roasters. A complete spectrum of sizes are available to meet the needs of specialty coffee roasters as well as commercial coffee roasters. Capacities range from 1.75 pounds per batch all the way up to 11,000 pounds of coffee per hour.


In recent years Probat Burns has reached new heights with its sustainable initiatives. “We are the market leaders,” says Launtia Taylor, vice president of marketing and communications. “We set the standard in the industry through our technology and innovation.”

The company believes that coffee roasting should be a green process. One innovation — developed by Probat Werke in Germany and available through Probat Burns — reuses heat from the roasting process to reduce overall energy usage. Clean hot air from the roasting process [after the oxidizer] is used for preheating green coffee beans in preparation for the next batch.

“We provide advanced technologies for utilizing clean energy to process coffee,” says Schmidt. “These include a variety of environmentally controlled equipment, such as thermal afterburners, catalytic oxidizers, regenerative thermal oxidation and flameless regenerative thermal oxidation, which reduces the development of CO2 and pollutants.”


“Our people, our innovation and our customer care keep us successful,” says Taylor. “Not to mention the quality and consistency of our products, as well as our industry involvement. We serve and support various organizations to help them impart information to the coffee industry.”

As demand for high-quality coffee increases, more and more retailers are relying on Probat Burns’ expertise to generate a consistently excellent product.

“Coffee can be roasted, treated and prepared in certain ways in order to maintain quality,” Schmidt says. “Even coffee with minor defects can be treated during the roasting process yielding a quality cup. Probat Burns has the technology and processes to improve the cup quality of these types of coffees”

As the coffee industry continues to change, Probat Burns provides customers with up-to-date information on new technologies and trends.

“We are the go-to resource for industry news and new technologies in the processing of coffee and cocoa,” says Taylor. “People look to us for guidance and support in those areas. Customers say they’ve been roasting with Probat for 50 years, and they’re still getting the same quality and consistency from their equipment today. That never changes.”


Despite the fall of the American economy that generated the global economic crisis, Probat Burns has had continued success.

“We enjoyed more business over the last five years,” says Schmidt. “If people want to know something about coffee, they come to us. The industry has come to expect consistency and innovation from Probat Burns’ technology. There are many roasters out there that make the coffee brown, but you have to have a roaster that roasts all the coffee consistently, batch after batch, to achieve optimal quality.”


Probat Burns continues to move the industry forward by helping customers roast assured™.

“We take a keen interest in our customers from the time they enter the market with the small shop roasters,” says Taylor. “We teach these customers about coffee and how to build green facilities. We address everything that has to do with processing coffee from green to ground.”
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