Have you ever considered roasting your own coffee beans?
It’s an idea that has a lot of advantages.
But, Finding the best home coffee bean roaster is not a easy work.
If you want to give roasting a try, Here is our guide for you!
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Best Manual Coffee Bean Roaster
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How to choose a home coffee bean roaster
1. Do you need a roaster at all?
Almost without exception (and we’ll show you the exception later), coffee roasters are expensive bits of kit.
Don’t invest in one unless you really think you’ll use it more than a handful of times (1).
If you want to give roasting a try before you commit, consider using a popcorn maker. You’ll only be able to roast a few beans at a time, but it’ll be enough to get a feel for the process.
If, having tried it, you don’t think it’s worth the hassle, you haven’t spent a lot of cash. (And you’ll be able to make your own popcorn.)
But if your first attempt has given you the roasting bug, read on…
Related Post: What's the Best Popcorn Popper for Roasting Coffee?
2. Drum roaster or air roaster, Which is better?
There are two basic kinds of roaster: drum and hot air bed.
In a drum version, the beans are put into a metal cylinder that’s heated as it turns.
The beans are roasted as they come into contact with the metal surface. With a hot air bed roaster, the beans are suspended on a cushion of air.
You can see an air bed roaster in action here.
Generally speaking, you’ll be able to roast more beans in a single batch in a domestic drum roaster. That doesn’t necessarily mean that a drum is better.
You may want to roast in smaller batches to make sure you’re able to use all your beans while they’re at their best.
Drum roasters do, though, tend to roast the beans more gradually.
That makes them a good choice for anyone trying to fine-tune the flavors introduced by the roasting process. This YouTube video shows one at work.
Related Post: Behmor 1600 Plus Review – Can It Roast Beans Perfectly?
3. Sophistication versus simplicity
Not surprisingly, the more bells and whistles on your roaster, the more you can expect to pay.
But just what are those bell and whistles when it comes to a home roasting machine?
In the most basic models, you simply put in your beans and set the time and temperature.
Just collect them up at the end and you’re done. (Don’t leave your roaster unattended though. You’re dealing with high temperatures and lots of variables and fires, though rare, aren’t unheard of.)
If you’re into experimentation, other machines will let you adjust time and temperature during the roasting process.
And at the top end of the market, some models are fully programmable. You can even save your bespoke roast profile to reproduce it again in future.
4. Cool down
It may surprise you to know that cooling your beans is just as important as heating them up.
That’s because, unless they’re cooled efficiently, the heat that’s built up can lead to over-roasting. And that means burnt flavors.
It’s not unlike chefs who put boiled quail’s eggs into bowls of ice before peeling them.
You don’t want them continuing to cook in their shell until the lovely runny yolk becomes rock hard.
Most machines deal with this issue by blowing cool air through the roasting chamber at the end of the process.
Some, though, also dispense the beans automatically to an external cooling tray.
5. Keeping it clean
Roasting coffee beans can be a messy business.
As the beans are heated, the outer membrane breaks down into a substance known as “chaff”.
Removing this as the beans are roasted is important to avoid it burning and impairing the final flavor.
This video shows how it’s done in a commercial roaster.
When you’re dealing with temperatures this high, you’ll almost certainly find you’ll get some smoke.
Some roasters have smoke reduction systems. These can be a real bonus if you plan to roast large quantities of beans.
The Best home coffee bean roaster reviews of 2020
1. FreshRoast SR500 Automatic Coffee Bean Roaster (Our Top Recommended)
This is a mid-range FreshRoast model, and it’s one of the most popular air roasters out there.
Its compact design handles small batches – up to 4 ounces of green beans yielding 3.5 ounces of roast coffee.
The beans cool in the main roasting chamber. That means a slower process than with models that have an external tray.
But setting that aside, this is a simple roaster with some great features.
It might not be fully programmable, but you can add and reduce time at any point in the roast. It’s easy to do – just press a button to increase or decrease in six-second intervals.
You can expect a full load of beans to be roasted in about 10 minutes.
You can also adjust the fan speed, slowing it down as the roast progresses. Why bother?
Because the beans will lose density as they heat up – i.e. they’ll become lighter.
Reducing the fan speed will lessen the risk of chipping as they’re thrown around the roasting chamber.
There’s a simple control panel, and a chaff collector on top makes cleaning easy.
Even better, the roasting chamber, chaff basket, and top cap are all dishwasher safe.
2. Nesco CR-1010-PR Coffee Bean Roaster
Another air roaster, the Nesco CR-1010 isn’t quite as powerful as the FreshRoast. Using an 80V supply rather than the FreshRoast’s 110V, you’ll find roasting takes a bit longer.
Expect to spend about 20 minutes on its maximum capacity of four ounces of green beans.
The Nesco has a chaff-collecting container at the top, but there’s no timer.
The manufacturer’s instructions are quite stern on the topic of remaining in earshot of the roaster whenever it’s used.
It has a smoke-reduction mechanism but, as with all roasters, that doesn’t mean smoke is eliminated.
And don’t rely on the fan that switches on for five minutes at the end of the roast. If you want your beans to cool quickly, it’s best to transfer them to a sieve on top of a fan.
Bear in mind, though, that this will release more chaff, so is best done outdoors!
This is a roaster that’s easy to use and gives consistent results. It might not be as fast as the FreshRoast but it’s similar in other respects.
3. Behmor 5400 1600 Plus Customizable Drum Coffee Roaster
If you’re looking for a roaster with a bigger capacity, the Behmor may be the machine for you. Able to roast a full pound of green beans, it’s the biggest domestic roaster on the market.
This is a drum roaster, and it doesn’t come cheap. Expect to pay more than twice as much as the air models we’ve reviewed. But if you’ve got the money to spend, you will get some quality features.
The roasting drum can rotate at variable seeds to make sure the beans roast evenly. The cooling cycle is fast and efficient, and there’s a removable chaff tray.
Most impressive, though, are the five customizable roast profile settings. These make experimenting with different roasts easy and fun.
And there’s a manual override if you want to change the approach part way through your programme.
4. Nuvo Eco Ceramic Handy Coffee Bean Roaster
At the other end of the spectrum is the Nuvo Eco Ceramic roaster.
This sweet little gadget will roast a maximum of 2.5 grams of beans in one go.
It’s basically a small ceramic pan. Simply put in the beans, swirl them around over a stove, and you’re done!
It’s got a short handle, so you’ll need some heavy duty heatproof gloves. And there are no temperature or timer settings here.
This is coffee roasting pared back to its essentials: you’ll be relying on your own senses to tell you when it’s ready.
Keep the beans moving, though, and you’ll have a nice, even roast. And, it’s a great little roaster if you’re on a budget.
5. KALDI Wide Size Home Coffee Roaster
If, on the other hand, money is no object, the amazing-looking KALDI roasters should be on your shortlist.
The wide version will take a maximum of 10.5 ounces of green beans.
There’s also a smaller model, which will handle up to 8.8 ounces.
Comparable in price to the Brehmor, the KALDI drum roasters are far better looking.
Whereas the Brehmor has more than a hint of the microwave about it, these look like they belong in the lab of an eccentric – but very cool – scientist.
You’ll need to buy a separate gas burner, which adds to the cost.
But it does make it very easy to instantly adjust the temperature during roasting. That gives you much greater control over the results.
It will, though, produce a lot of smoke. These are definitely machines best used outdoors.
Ready to roast?
Our favorite is FreshRoast SR500 Automatic Coffee Bean Roaster.
We hope you’ve enjoyed our guide to choosing the best home coffee roaster.
Whichever type you choose, you’ll be unlocking a whole new level of coffee customization.
So have fun experimenting –just remember to keep careful watch while you’re doing it to avoid the risk of fire.