5 Best Home Coffee Roasters of 2020
Why Roast Coffee At Home?
Do you consider yourself a coffee connoisseur?
Do you buy your coffee whole bean and grind it fresh DAILY in a BURR grinder? Have mastered a variety of brewing methods? Are you ready to take it up a notch?
As you’ve found yourself reading an article about home coffee roasters… you’re probably thinking about upping your coffee game to the next level.
Roasting your own coffee at home is a very satisfying and rewarding hobby.
When you buy pre-roasted coffee, you typically have up to 4 options available to you;
Light, Medium, Medium-Dark & Dark.
When you buy pre-roasted coffee, you are limited to the broad roast classifications that the particular roaster offers. When you roast your own coffee at home, you have access to the full spectrum of roast profiles.
The possibilities are infinite.
If this idea excites you, then investing in a home coffee roaster is definitely worth your while.
Drum Roaster vs. Air Roaster
The two main types of home coffee roasters that you’ll come across are air roasters and drum roasters.
Air Roasters use convection as a means to heat the coffee beans. Hot air is pushed through the roasting chamber and makes direct contact with the beans.
Drum Roasters use conduction to heat coffee beans. The outer chamber that contains the beans is heated, and the beans are heated via contact with the inside of the metal chamber.
You'll find examples of both types in our best home coffee roasters list below.
Coffee Bean Roaster > Popcorn Popper
You may or may not of heard that a popcorn popper can be used as a coffee roaster...
Which is true. But...
It’s also true that you’ll have very little control over your roast. Don’t get your hopes up for a uniform roast.
If you’re just looking to get your feet wet, there’s nothing wrong with grabbing a cheap popcorn popper and giving it a spin. But if you’re really serious about home coffee roasting, then you’ll want a purpose built machine. In our humble opinion, the difference is night and day.
A real home coffee roaster will allow you precise control over each variable that contributes to the overall roast profile. To us, the ability to control the roast is the whole point of home roasting, so missing out on it kind of defeats the purpose.
Coffee bean roasters also have built in mechanisms to promote uniform roasting, limit or deal with smoke production and make the whole process a lot less messy with chaff collection.
The Best Home Coffee Roasters
If you're really serious about roasting some great coffee at home and you're ready to make a sizable investment, this is the roaster for you.
Gene Cafe is our pick for the best home coffee roaster. While all options come with pros and cons, we believe that this roaster is the most worthwhile investment of them all.
Yes, it’s somewhat expensive, but it’s also very durable, and you can add a 3 or 4 year warranty for peace of mind if you like.
What makes this home roaster better than the rest? Gene Cafe uses a unique combination of air and drum roasting methods, and has an off-axis rotation that ensures an even roast. Once you've figured out your optimal roast, you'll easily be able to replicate it with consistency.
Simple temperature and time controls allow precision tweaking with ease.
The clear roasting chamber is great, as it provides the ability to visually track the progress of your roast. This is particularly useful early on when you’re working out your optimal roast profiles.
The 250g (9oz) capacity is larger than most air roasters, and is likely to be more than sufficient for your home coffee roasting needs.
You’ll be able to complete a full capacity roast in about 15 minutes!
This home coffee roaster runs on standard 120v power, so you don’t need an adapter.
One thing that this coffee roaster is the lacking is a dedicated smoke reduction mechanism. This is pretty minor, as pointing the smoke nozzle at an open window will circumvent any potential issue quite easily.
The FreshRoast Automatic Coffee Bean Roaster is a great entry-level air roaster. This roaster will allow you to get a feel for the art of home roasting without making a large financial commitment.
Although the capacity is only 125g (4oz), a roast can be completed in 6-9 minutes, so you could always do multiple roasts if you want a larger quantity!
This is probably the quietest roaster that you'll come across, and it also doesn't take up too much counter space! A built in chaff collector keeps the roasting process nice and clean.
The FreshRoast Roaster has 3 temperature settings, as well as a cooling cycle. While this doesn't offer the precise controls that some of the more expensive roasters have, it makes the whole process very simple.
There is also a knob to adjust the fan speed. Unfortunately, the fan isn't strong enough to sufficiently mix the beans during the roasting process. In order to get a uniform roast, you'll need to manually mix as you go!
The Behmor Plus Customizable Drum Coffee Roaster is a great investment for anyone that plans to roast a lot of beans.
This roaster allows you to create up to 5 custom roast profiles that you can then call upon with the press of a button. This is a great feature that will save you plenty of hassle after you figure out your preferred roast profiles.
This drum roaster has a large capacity of 450g (1lb), which is larger than most other home roasters that you'll come across. An interior light allows you to visually track the progress of your roast through the window.
This roaster runs pretty quietly, and there is no issue hearing the first or second cracks.
A smoke suppression system and advanced cooling cycle are welcome features that make your life a whole lot easier and less messy.
The only real downside of this home coffee roaster is that it can be difficult to achieve darker roasts. It is possible to do so by pre-heating the machine, (start a roast cycle while the drum is empty), but this is certainly not ideal. If your preferences tend toward darker roasts, you may be better off with a different home roaster.
The Behmor Home Coffee Roaster appears to be unavailable from time to time. While this may be a testament to the quality of the machine, it doesn't do you much good if you're looking to purchase a coffee roaster! Restock dates are not provided, but surely they'll be back soon... right? Right?!
If you're happy to use a gas burner as a heat source, you'll love this home roaster. KALDI offers a motorized roaster that sufficiently mixes the beans throughout the roasting process, producing a uniform roast every time.
This product comes with a lot included, adding to the value of the investment. Along with the coffee roaster, you'll get a hopper, thermometer, probe rod and chaff collector.
The hopper allows for the easy addition of coffee beans, and also allows access to the probe rob to take samples as the roasting process progresses.
This coffee roaster requires the use of a gas burner. With a little bit of practice, you'll have complete temperature control. You control the temperature and time manually, and thus, this machine requires your full attention.
One thing to watch out for is the temperature of the outer housing. The metal exterior can get hot. Speaking of temperature, the included thermometer leaves a little to be desired. A more precise thermometer may be worth obtaining to provide more sensitive control.
This may not have the look that you envisioned in your head when thinking about home coffee roasters, but looks can be deceiving. This roaster is inexpensive, versatile and easy to use!
This roaster has a large capacity, you can roast up to 750g (26oz) batches! Doing so will require some time though, a full roast may take between 25-40 minutes to complete. You should also be aware that roasting at this full capacity may comprise the uniformity of your roast. You may be better off limiting your batch size to 450g (1lb).
The large, glass lid is heat-resistant and provides an easy means by which to observe the progress of your roast.
The temperature control is easy to use and offers a range of 0-240°C (32-464°F).
If you're feeling adventurous, you can experiment with the roasting of peanuts, soybeans, barley, melon seeds, popcorn, etc.
Some reviews of this home coffee roaster complain about a lack of instructions provided. Perhaps this is a recent update, but the Amazon page for this product includes a step by step process.
As there is no mechanism in place to deal with smoke, nor a nozzle to direct it toward an open window, some improvisation is necessary. You may choose to complete your roast outside, or set up a fan to blow the smoke out of an open window.
There is no chaff collection mechanism, but it's simple enough to remove it manually. It is important to clean the chamber with a wet towel and NOT submerge it under water. Doing so will risk water entering the motor, which could cause malfunction.
And that's that. Do you use one of these home coffee bean roasters? Something else?
Which one, and what do you think of it?
We'd also love to hear about your home coffee roasting escapades, so by all means, drop us a line!
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