Longtime roaster returns to Spice Merchant

roasterWICHITA — The more than 40-year-old coffee roaster that used to be the Spice Merchant’s mainstay is back in the store, which is on East Douglas about four blocks east of Washington.

Three years ago, owner Bob Boewe purchased a new, more environmentally friendly roaster from the U.S. Roaster Corp. in Oklahoma City. The company then tried to sell his old roaster.

“They could never really get a buyer,” Boewe says.

So he had the company refurbish and modernize it so he could use it as a backup at the store.

Boewe says his new roaster had an issue once, and he had to go a week and a half without it.

“We prevailed on a friend of ours in Oklahoma City who’s a roaster,” he says.

Boewe says he’d prefer to have his own backup because the new roaster has so many intricate parts.

“If one little part of that dies, you’re just dead in the water,” he says. “It could happen to anybody. It’s just a fact of life.”

The only way Boewe says a store such as his should be without a backup is if “the guy who built it lives next door to you.”

He says the refurbished roaster is at the store and waiting to be hooked up.

“We now have two beautiful red roasters on the floor.”