5 Best Home Coffee Roaster Machines for Roasting Small Batches of Beans
Roasting green coffee beans at home might seem like an advanced technique reserved for only the most enthusiastic of homebrewers, but with the right home roaster, it’s easy enough for anyone. And once you try freshly roasted coffee, you won’t be able to turn back.
Read on for our list of the five best home coffee roaster machines this year, so you can get started today.
At A Glance:
- How to Choose the Right Home Coffee Roaster
- Why buy a home coffee roaster
- The 5 Best Home Coffee Roaster Machines in 2020
- The Verdict
How to Choose the Right Home Coffee Roaster
At its simplest, roasting coffee can be described as heating green coffee beans until they turn brown. But this considerably over-simplifies the craft of a perfect roast, which must balance the fruity flavors of the green coffee bean with the toasty, caramelized flavors from the roasting process. (1)
There are many ways to roast coffee. The method you choose should be influenced by how much roaster coffee you need and how much money you want to spend.
Aside from delivering heat, there are two crucial requirements of a coffee roaster. One, the beans must be continuously kept moving to ensure an even roast throughout the batch. Two, the beans must be cooled quickly as soon as you achieve the desired roast. There are many ways to meet all the above, and our buyers’ guide will walk you through your options.
Why buy a home coffee roaster
Roasting coffee at home is certainly more work than buying roasted beans. So, what makes a home coffee bean roaster a worthwhile addition to your supply of coffee-making tools? There are more benefits to home roasting than you might guess (2).
First and foremost, freshly roasted coffee tastes better. As soon as you roast the coffee, it begins shedding its delicious flavors and aromas. The sooner you get it in your cup, the better. And speaking of those aromas, if you like the smell of brewing coffee, you will love the smell of roasting coffee. If you’ve already invested in a great grinder and coffee maker, and the best milk frothers for your latte and cappuccino, or the best gooseneck kettle for pour over coffee, the next obvious upgrade is a home roaster.
Secondly, it will save you money. It’s much less expensive to buy green beans, which are about half the price of roasted beans (3). Moreover, they have a longer shelf life, on the order of 3 to 6 months when stored correctly. Thus you can lower costs further by buying in bulk (4). If you are buying in bulk, be sure to invest in a great coffee canister for storage.
Lastly, coffee roasting is fun. If you love the craft of brewing the perfect cup of coffee, whether it’s getting that pour over just right or pulling the ideal shot of espresso, the roasting process provides a new set of variables to master. Small changes in roasting time and temperature can have a significant impact on the coffee’s taste and body, and you can tailor your roast to your exact preferences.
Types of coffee roasters
We can classify coffee roasters into two main types, each with some pros and cons.
Air roasters are similar to popcorn poppers, relaying 100% on convection. Hot air flowing into the roasting chamber serves as both a heat source and a means of spinning the beans for even roasting. Air roasters tend to bake the fastest. Compared with drum roasters, they provide intense aromas, a lighter body, and caramelization.
A subcategory of air roasters is fluid bed roasters, in which a wind-tunnel of hot air is pushed up from the bottom of the roaster and vented at the top. This causes the beans to tumble and roast evenly in the hot current (5).
In a drum roaster, beans rotate in a large drum, like in a clothes dryer. The drum walls and the air inside the drum are heated. Therefore, this technology provides even burn through a mixture of conduction and convection. These require an external heat source, like a gas burner. As compared with air roasters, drum roasters can usually handle higher capacity. Most commercial-scale roasters are drum roasters.
What to Look for in a Coffee Roaster
There are three major things to consider when buying a home coffee roaster.
When buying a coffee roaster, one crucial consideration is capacity. Roasting coffee is relatively quick and easy, but you probably won’t want to do it every morning. Consider how much coffee you drink in a week, and aim for a roaster that can handle the load. If you’re a heavy coffee drinker, a drum roaster will probably suit you best. (6)
A common mistake made by new roasters is not understanding the optimal batch size for your roaster. Overloading a machine will make the roast take longer than it should and produce a baked, bland coffee.
Keep in mind that most roasters operate best when you don’t load them to maximum capacity. Also, beans will shrink on roasting, with 100 g of green beans yielding about 85 g of roasted beans.
When you roast green beans, they release a light, flaky material called chaff. For the most effortless clean-up, look for a coffee roaster with a chaff collector. Some home roasters also feature a smoke suppression system, which will keep your roasting area cleaner and make the experience more enjoyable overall.
Some coffee roasting machines are more advanced, with built-in timers or temperature and fan settings. Some can even remember your favorite settings to ensure consistent roasting. These tend to be the more expensive models, but they might save money in the long run if your roasts are more successful.
The 5 Best Home Coffee Roaster Machines in 2020
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|JIAWANSHUN Home Coffee Roaster||
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|Fresh Roast SR540||
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|DYVEE Coffee Roaster Gas Burner||
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|Nuvo Eco Ceramic Handy||
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This list contains home coffee roasters to suit every style and budget, so you’re sure to find the perfect one for your lifestyle. Not to mention, a home coffee roaster machine can make a great gift for coffee-lovers.
Our top pick is the Kaldi Wide, and we’re not alone. Though relatively pricey, this Korean-made home roasting machine has fans around the world.
It uses innovative air roasting technology to guarantee even temperature distribution inside, and a copper sleeve over the drum prevents scorching.
The Kaldi doesn’t come with a heat source. Instead, it settles over a gas burner, which you can purchase from the company if you don’t have a gas stove, while an internal motor keeps the beans rotating. It features a thermometer and probe rod, so you can take out a few beans at a time to monitor the roast in progress.
This stainless steel machine is very durable, justifying its slightly higher cost. Moreover, the wooden handle stays cool and makes it easy to move off the burner when it’s finished. The capacity is plenty large enough to satisfy the average home coffee roaster. Each roast takes only 10 to 15 minutes, and when you finish, a removable chaff collection tray makes clean up a breeze.
Read our Kaldi home coffee roaster review.
The Jiawanshun electric coffee bean roaster is a countertop roaster that plugs into a standard wall socket. It is inexpensive and compact while providing all the functionality you need for a great roast. A temperature dial from 0 to 240 ℃ gives you intimate control over the roasting temperature, which you can adjust on the fly. Moreover, a rotating arm inside keeps the beans moving for a perfectly even roast. Plus, the heatproof glass cover allows you to monitor the roast in progress and adjust accordingly.
The Jiawanshun features the largest capacity of any machine on this list. You can roast nearly one pound at a time, so it’s an excellent option for large households and heavy coffee drinkers. However, the larger capacity means that it takes a bit longer, about 20 minutes for a dark roast. Still, it’s straightforward to use, and clean-up is a breeze thanks to a food-grade non-stick-coated inner surface. Just rinse out the chaff, and that’s it.
Because it relies on a mechanical arm to rotate the beans rather than an air current, the Jiawanshun coffee roaster is multipurpose. You can also use it to roast things like popcorn, nuts, or other grains and seeds.
The popular Fresh Roast SR540 is an all-around excellent coffee bean roaster, the perfect entry-level model for the budding home barista. It’s an upgrade to the much sought-after SR500, featuring a redesigned roasting chamber that offers better visibility throughout the roast process and a more even result.
Fresh Roast is an air roaster that uses an upward current of hot air to move the beans around and roast them evenly. It also features a chaff collector for easy cleaning.
The Fresh Roast is very quiet while running and only takes 6 to 9 minutes to complete a roast. It has a notably small footprint, making it functional in any size of the home. The compact nature of this machine does mean that its capacity is quite low, so it may not be practical for heavy coffee consuming households.
Read our Fresh Roast
SR500 SR540 review.
The Coffee Roaster Gas Burner is a stovetop drum roaster designed to sit on a typical household burner or hotplate. Its most unique feature is its transparent quartz drum, which allows you to monitor the roast as it progresses carefully. The handle is made of wood so that it stays cool, and the body is durable stainless steel. Despite these quality manufacturing materials, this home roaster is relatively inexpensive.
The Coffee Roaster Gas Burner is effortless to operate. Just put it over a burner and turn the power on to start the drum rotating. Surely, its 14-ounce capacity will satisfy the needs of most home coffee roasters. A downside is that this machine offers no temperature feedback, so you will have to adjust your burner’s temperature based on sight and experimentation. It also takes longer than most, on the order of an hour or more to reach a dark roast.
For cleaning, the drum can be easily removed, disassembled, and rinsed. Just keep in mind that the quartz drum will be more fragile than standard metal options, so don’t drop it.
The Nuvo Eco Ceramic Handy coffee bean roaster is very different from all the others on this list. It’s not a machine but rather a small vessel designed for you to hold over a heat source.
Nuvo’s minimalist design is both beautiful and practical, featuring a waffle-shaped internal chamber for even roasting. This simplicity also makes it very inexpensive.
The Nuvo Eco is incredibly easy to use. Just add the beans and agitate it over a heat source until the roast is complete, at which point the beans can be poured out through the hollow handle, allowing them to cool quickly. The handle has a cowhide leather grip to protect your hands, but beware that it can still get hot during roasting. Our advice is to use an oven mitt or towel too.
While it is easy to learn how to use this bean roaster as compared with the more automated machines, it is much more challenging to achieve perfect and consistent results. There are no timers, controls, or thermometers to rely on for feedback. Thus you will need to rely on sight, sound, smell, and lots of practice to get your roast just right.
At just 3 ounces, the capacity of this roaster is minimal. Still, that also means it is speedy, taking only 3 to 10 minutes to complete a roast. Perhaps the best feature of this roaster is its portability. With its tiny size and no need for a power supply, you could easily take the Nuvo Eco on a camping trip and find yourself roasting fresh coffee over a campfire.
Roasting your green coffee beans at home is a fun and educational hobby, one that will not only improve the taste of your coffee but will also save you money. Each of our best home coffee roasters will deliver a great roast for the right user. However, Kaldi Wide offers the best balance of quality, affordability, and capacity. Pick one up today, and you’ll be producing cafe-quality roasts in no time.
At what temperature you roast coffee will depend on how dark or light you like your beans. For a light roast, you bake the beans to an internal temperature of between 350 and 400 ℉. For a medium roast, the range is from 400 to 450 ℉, and dark roasts range from 450 to 480 ℉. You rarely roast coffee beyond 490 ℉.
What roast of coffee is the strongest is hard to tell. Though, a common myth persists that light roasts have more caffeine. Light roasts are denser than dark, so if you measure your coffee with a scoop, instead of the preferable strategy of using a coffee scale, you’ll get more coffee with a light roast and thus more caffeine (7).
You can roast coffee beans in a popcorn popper. Many home roasters start out using a popcorn maker. However, if you’re serious about roasting your beans, a dedicated coffee bean roaster will produce much better results.
You don’t prepare coffee beans for roasting. Just buy the best quality beans you can and add them to the roaster.
- How to Roast Your Own Coffee. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://legacy.sweetmarias.com/library/how-to-roast-your-own-coffee
- Cho, Nick. (2013, December 17). Should You Roast Coffee at Home? Retrieved from https://drinks.seriouseats.com/2013/12/why-you-shouldnt-roast-coffee-at-home-pros-cons-green-coffee-roasting-kit.html
- Albrecht, I. (2018, August 22). A Home Roaster’s Guide to Buying The Right Green Coffee. Retrieved from https://www.perfectdailygrind.com/2018/08/a-home-roasters-guide-to-buying-the-right-green-coffee/
- Guerra, G. (2017, November 6). Green Bean Storage: What Factors Do You Need to Control? Retrieved from https://www.perfectdailygrind.com/2017/11/green-bean-storage-factors-need-control/
- Holshuh, A. (2018, April 11). Fluid-Bed Roasting: The Path Less Taken. Retrieved from https://coffeetechniciansguild.org/blog/2018/4/10/fluid-bed-roasting-the-path-less-taken
- Ford, L. (2019, November 11). Common Mistakes That Roasters Make & How to Avoid Them. Retrieved from https://www.perfectdailygrind.com/2019/11/common-mistakes-that-roasters-make-how-to-avoid-them/
- Which Roast Has More Caffeine? (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.kickinghorsecoffee.com/en/blog/which-roast-has-more-caffeine