If you’re anything like us, you take your coffee pretty seriously. The right beans, the right coffee grinder, the right cup—these things matter when you’re in love with liquid bliss. But one potential improvement to your brew you might not have considered is buying a coffee roaster and roasting your own coffee beans at home.
At A Glance: Our Top 5 Picks for Home Coffee Roasters
Why roast at home?
Pre-roasted coffee can be delicious, but even the best coffee beans begin to lose the best part of their rich flavor and aroma just a few moments after roasting. If you’re ready for the ultimate home coffee experience, it’s time to heat things up with a coffee roaster of your very own and enjoy a fresher, tastier cup.
Quick Summary: The Best Home Coffee Roasters
|KALDI Wide Home Coffee Roaster||Check on Amazon →|
|JIAWANSHUN Electric Coffee Roaster Machine||Check on Amazon →|
|FreshRoast SR540 Automatic Coffee Bean Roaster||Check on Amazon →|
|Nuvo Eco Ceramic Handy Coffee Bean Roaster||Check on Amazon →|
|Presto PopLite Hot Air Popper||Check on Amazon →|
|Hario Retro Coffee Roaster||Check on Amazon →|
|Nesco 481825PR Stainless Steel Roaster Oven||Check on Amazon →|
|Great Northern Popcorn Stainless Stove Top Popper||Check on Amazon →|
Our Favorite Coffee Roasters
We took the guesswork out of it for you and found a handful of coffee roasters that offer all the features you need. You’re welcome.
Kaldi Wide Home Coffee Roaster
If you’re looking for a more high-quality roasting machine to trust your beloved coffee beans with, then look no further than the Kaldi Home Coffee Roaster. Though it’s somewhat pricey, the Kaldi is an extremely well-made, highly industrial machine that’ll get the job done every time.
Built with a strong body, thermometer, bean hopper, probe rod, and chaff holder, the Kaldi is a spectacular choice if you’re looking for an above-average coffee roasting machine. It requires a gas burner, but there’s also a free volt adapter included, and it’s also able to roast up to 300 grams of coffee beans at once.
JIAWANSHUN Electric Coffee Roaster
Sleek in design and affordable for many, the JIAWANSHUN Electric Coffee Roaster comes in two different sizes for you to choose from 110V and 220V. It has a non-stick chassis, making it simple and hassle-free to clean.
Where roasting power is concerned, it’s able to hold a little over one pound of coffee, as well as roast anywhere between 100°C – 240°C (212°F – 464°F). Unfortunately, the roaster only measures in Celsius, but this is only a minor inconvenience that’s easy to remedy.
In addition, the JIAWANSHUN also has automatic constant temperature heating in order to ensure that your coffee beans are roasted equally and adequately. Not only is it great for roasting coffee, but it’s also fantastic for popping popcorn, roasting peanuts, and more.
FreshRoast SR540 Automatic Coffee Roaster
More advanced than its older SR500 sibling, the FreshRoast SR540 is compactable enough for any size kitchen and durable enough to last you for the long haul.
This impressive machine has a small footprint, but several big features. Some of our favorite features include a real-time temperature display, as well as 9 different levels of heat and fan settings.
Not only is the FreshRoast SR540 simple to navigate, but it can also roast 4oz/120 grams of coffee per sitting. And if that wasn’t enough, this machine comes with a one-year warranty, giving you all the quality with a steady peace of mind.
Nuvo Eco Ceramic Handy Coffee Bean Roaster
Like exercise, a good cup of coffee can leave you feeling energized and refreshed. So why not combine coffee roasting with a modest workout for the best of both worlds? The Nuvo Eco Ceramic Handy Coffee Bean Roaster needs two things to produce tasty roasted beans: fire, and your willingness to bust a move while you roast.
This manual coffee roaster holds up to 2.5 oz. (70 g) of beans per batch over an open flame. You won’t be roasting for a crowd, but the uniquely textured “waffle” interior and cha-cha roasting moves means you’ll have a blast while you’re prepping your morning brew. If you’re into functional art and are brewing for one or two on the daily, you might just fall in love with this one.
Presto PopLite Hot Air Popper
We know what you’re thinking. “You want me to roast my coffee where?” Stay strong, friend. While they might be designed to generate clouds of fluffy white popcorn, air poppers like the Presto PopLite Hot Air Popper are just as adept at toasting your coffee beans.
In fact, the “popper method” has devoted fans wherever popcorn and coffee collide. This method of roasting coffee does require more attention to detail and safety than others. You’ll want to roast outside, for example, and only roast 4 oz. (90 g) of beans in a single batch. But this model’s built-in vents, relative affordability compared to professional coffee roasters, and automated chaff removal (it gets sent to the bowl) make it an appealing choice if you’re on a budget or new to roasting.
Hario Retro Coffee Roaster
Good coffee is art. And if you want to feel like an artisan, few things beat gently turning this retro-style glass roaster over an open alcohol flame as you watch your coffee beans roast. Quietly humming Mumford & Sons songs while you’re at it is optional, but recommended.
Holding just 1.8 oz. (50 g) of beans per batch, this Japanese coffee roaster emphasizes patience, artistry, and small-batch craftsmanship. Its unique design makes it something of a conversation piece as well. If you want every cup you brew to be not just a beverage but an experience, this one’s for you.
Nesco 481825PR Stainless Steel Roaster Oven
Harness the power of professional-quality coffee roasters, without the professional price tag, with this behemoth from Nesco. It’s rocking 1425 watts of power and holds up to 18 quarts (17 L), so it could crisp up your Thanksgiving turkey as easily as it roasts your coffee beans. It can handle serious heat—up to 450°F (232°C)—so you can tinker with your roasting recipes in endless ways as you pursue the perfect cup of coffee.
This model has a large footprint and needs plenty of room on the counter. With its moderate price tag and powerful, flexible roasting options, it’s a good choice if you’re roasting a lot of coffee frequently and want some leeway in the quantity and qualities of your roasted beans.
Great Northern Popcorn Stainless Stove Top Popper
Roast coffee like the cowboys did. Or at least like your grandparents did, back in the ’50s. If you prefer the hands-on approach and want a high-capacity, versatile tool, roasting your coffee beans in a stainless steel beauty like the Great Northern Popcorn Stainless Stove Top Popper is a no-brainer.
With a built-in stirring system, this handy little gadget makes it easy to give your beans an even roast. It’s easy to clean and store too, so you don’t have to dedicate valuable counter space when it’s not in use.
Benefits of Home Roasting
As coffee lovers, we tend to enjoy getting the most control possible over our brews. Whether it’s investing in a semi-automatic espresso machine or perfecting the meticulous yet rewarding art of Pour-Over coffee, we crave that artisanship. But is it worth it to go the extra mile and roast your own beans?
Well, one huge benefit of roasting your own beans is getting to make your own blends. That means you can miss roast, origins, anything your mind can think of. And you get to control everything but the weather the coffee is grown in, which is pretty cool.
You also get to control your roast level. As we’ll get to in the roast guide below, there aren’t really exact standards on how dark or light coffee is roasted to achieve certain labels. However, if you are roasting your own coffee, you know exactly what you are getting. So you can make it perfect (with some practice).
Lastly, it’s just plain fun! We all like to have our hobbies and me-time, so roasting your own coffee lets you put a little bit of your time aside to make something you enjoy. And that can be incredibly rewarding. (Not to mention it helps get your mind off of other life stresses)
A Quick Guide on Roast Levels
Just so you have an idea of what to expect when you are roasting coffee beans, here is a basic run-down of the roasting stages:
- Green: This is the color of beans when they arrive to you. They’ll keep it for a short time as you begin roasting.
- Yellow: The green will give way to a more yellow hue and you may detect a grassy smell.
- Steam: As the water begins to evaporate from the beans, you’ll begin to see some steam. Some roasters have technology that helps suppress the amount of steam or smoke that gets out, but you’ll probably see at least some.
- First Crack: After a bit of steam, you’ll start to hear a cracking sound. This occurs as the beans expand and indicates that the sugars are caramelizing. After the first crack, your beans’ roast level will run from City to Full City before reaching the next stage. They will range from pretty light-medium to medium-dark in color but should remain mostly dry-looking.
- Second Crack: As the beans roast more you will encounter a second, more violent crack. This is the signal that you are moving into some seriously dark roasts. You may be able to see some spots of oil on the bean surface. However, we wouldn’t recommend waiting much longer after you’ve heard the second crack.
- Burn: As the roast continues following the second crack, the smoke will become pungent and the surface of the beans will become very oily. Sugars begin to burn, and if you keep going, not only will temperatures become more hazardous, but your beans will actually burn, which won’t be tasty.
Some Pro Tips
For beginners, we recommend waiting until just past the first crack for your beans. If you discover you want a darker roast, then go for it. But going much farther than the second crack will bring you into French Roast territory, which we don’t advise, particularly in a home setting.
Even if you do enjoy French Roasts, the amount of heat and smoke involved makes going that far on the roast inadvisable. Similarly, taking beans out before they hit the first crack is a bad idea. The fabled Blonde Roast isn’t so great for you either.
So, we recommend sticking in the medium range and lightening or darkening slightly according to your personal preferences. This range tends to be where most people prefer their coffee anyway as you get the most out of the bean’s regional flavors.
Types of Roasters
Now, obviously, popcorn makers aren’t technically made for roasting coffee. However, they are one of the most popular options for that activity.
They aren’t perfect, as they tend to make your roast a bit uneven. But, they are the perfect beginner’s tool. Getting a popcorn maker will let you figure out if you actually enjoy the process of roasting your beans without putting much strain on your wallet.
Nonetheless, if you do decide you are for-serious with the at-home roasting, we recommend upgrading to one of the following roaster types to make your life a lot easier.
Air roasters utilize direct heat or convention, similar to popcorn makers. They work by pushing hot air through the roasting chamber. Consequently, the heat is put directly in contact with the beans themselves.
Air roasters, like popcorn makers, tend to be relatively small in size. So they work best for people who are doing small-batch roasting. Basically, if you are just roasting for one or you want to make a variety of different roasts for the week, this is the type for you.
On the other hand, drum roasters utilize conduction or indirect heat. There is typically a rotating roast chamber inside the machine. Instead of applying heat to the beans, it is applied to the exterior of that chamber. As beans then come in contact with the heated surfaces they begin to roast.
Additionally, while air roasters are better for small batches, drum roasters tend to have larger capacities. We sod’s recommend roasting. more than what you’d need for the next week though. But this type is good if you have a family of coffee drinkers or drink several cups a day yourself.
Other Factors to Consider
How much are you roasting?
As we mentioned earlier, different roasters have different average capacities. So before you go invest in one, take note of how much coffee you (and whoever else you’re serving) consumes each week. This timeframe is ideal because we’re shooting for the utmost in freshness.
Once you get your average consumption figured out, check out the sizes of the roasters you are looking at first and eliminate ones that are too big or too. small. This should help you narrow your search considerably.
Does it have a cooling feature?
A cooling feature is vital if you want to get serious about your coffee roasting. If there is no cooling mechanism, beans will continue to roast after you have removed them, as their internal temperatures remain high. This could lead to uneven or over-roasted beans, which aren’t exactly ideal. Thus, a run-of-the-mill popcorn maker probably isn’t going to cut it in the long-term.
How dark are you going?
Roasting darker is going to produce more smoke. While there are some safeguards in place for some machines to help mitigate this issue, the smoke is essentially unavoidable. So if you don’t have a super well-ventilated roasting area, DO NOT go for a very dark roast.
You’ll be setting off the fire alarm and driving your family or neighbors up the wall. Also, it’s simply hazardous to be exposed to high amounts of smoke. If you are partial to the darker side of things, you need to consider that preference and seriously invest in something that’ll keep the escaped smoke to a minimum in addition to taking steps to ensure good ventilation.
Get The Most From Your Roast
The best cup of coffee is one that’s made to your exacting standards. And whether you’re cuckoo for cold brew coffee or kickin’ it old school with a stovetop percolator, coffee roasters are essential to making fresh and delicious coffee at home.
Bid pre-roasted beans a not-so-fond farewell. Roasting coffee at home adds depth, flavor, and aroma to your coffee making. It’s another way to connect with the process and tweak everyone’s favorite bean into a beverage that’s uniquely yours.