I used to be one of those guys who went to their local coffee shop every morning for my brew. Even if I was just picking up a black coffee, the annual costs added up!
When I found out about coffee bean roasters, I realized I could brew my favorite flavors right at home. I quickly discovered I could roast beans to a perfect medium, giving the coffee my desired taste.
Not all coffee roaster manufacturers build their products the same, though. Recently, I received a Kaldi coffee roaster. After using it for a month, here are my thoughts on the Kaldi coffee roaster.
As you know, coffee starts its journey to our mugs as a small red fruit. After workers remove the skin and fruit, they dry the bean. As the bean dries, it becomes a green-color, which means it’s time for roasting.
If you’re in the market for a coffee roaster, you should know a few things before purchasing one. First, you need to find somewhere that sells dried, green coffee beans. Without these, you won’t be able to even start roasting coffee.
You should also think about how much coffee you drink. If you buy a roaster and it ends up being too small, you’ll have wasted a good chunk of cash. Trust me on this one, I made the mistake of purchasing some small coffee roasters!
Another thing you should consider is what extra instruments you may need to purchase with your coffee roasters. Some, like the Kaldi roaster, don’t come with a gas burner, which is essential for the machine to function. Always know what’s included and what’s not.
One last thing to consider is the functions or special qualities of each coffee roaster. Some coffee roasters have samplers or large thermometers for quality control purposes. It’s up to you to decide if these functions are essential for you.
The Kaldi wide coffee roaster is essentially a commercial roaster shrunken down to fit in the average kitchen. Kaldi built their roaster for ease of use. With its lack of complicated settings or a computer, the Kaldi roasts coffee without all the bells and whistles.
The Kaldi machine is a top-of-the-line coffee roaster, and with that comes a top-of-the-line price. When you purchase a Kaldi coffee roaster, you’ll receive the stainless steel main unit, along with a sampler, adapter, L-wench, and gloves. You need to purchase a gas-burner to operate the coffee roaster since Kaldi doesn’t include one.
- Precise roasting control
- Low-tech, well-built machine
- Useful accessories
- Large capacity drum
- Air Roasting Technology ensures an even roast
- Low-tech isn’t for everyone
- Not cheap
- Gas burner sold separately
- Weak smoke suppression
The Kaldi coffee roaster has a large number of features that will help you achieve your desired coffee roast. Here are some of my favorite features, along with the benefits of each.
Kaldi equips all of their new coffee roasting machines with Air Roasting Technology, their signature coffee roasting technology. It works by rotating the beans in an extremely warm environment, thus inducing the roast.
The Air Roasting Technology is special because it prevents over or under-roasting. The air inside the drum is a uniform warmth so no beans singe or get exposed to too much heat.
Kaldi manufactures their coffee roaster with a 2mm thick stainless steel drum with 3mm perforated steel to help the beans roast. Stainless steel is a premium material for coffee roasting drums because it has a low heat conductivity.
Low heat conductivity means it heats up slower than other materials. Once stainless steel reaches your desired temperature, it remains at that level due to its ability to retain heat. Keeping the drum at your desired temperature will result in better tasting beans.
The flame arrest system on the Kaldi coffee roaster stops the flames from the gas burner from singing the steel drum. The flame arrest is a mesh plate fixed below the drum so it rests between the drum and any flames. If the flames reach too high, the flame arrest will stop it from burning the drum.
The hopper is where you pour the green beans when you’re ready to add them to the drum. The wide funnel on the Kaldi wide coffee roaster makes it an ideal machine for avid coffee drinkers. You’ll be able to roast more coffee than you can handle!
The chaff tray sits beside the drum to catch dried skin or other parts of the bean during roasting. The chaff tray is an essential part of any coffee roasting machine. The tray catches parts of the bean that may result in fire.
The Kaldi wide coffee roaster’s chaff tray is large, catching all of the dried skin that fell off when I use the machine. The tray helped me considerably during the cleaning process, too. I don’t even need to dust off my counter-top after I’ve roasted a batch!
The thermometer at the front of the Kaldi wide coffee roaster is large and accurate. A few of the machines I’ve tried had small digital thermometers that I didn’t always trust. The Kaldi roaster doesn’t use digital instruments. Their thermometer is a standard or manual, so you’ll have to read the temperature yourself.
Although this may not seem ideal, I found that these sorts of thermometers were more accurate. It’s a lot like when you’re baking in your oven. Although the oven’s thermometer is accurate enough, putting a manual thermometer in the oven tells you more exact temperatures.
Although the Kaldi roaster doesn’t have a computer system doing all the work for you, it’s still a uniquely easy machine to use. There are only four primary parts—the chaff tray and thermometer, the steel drum, the body, and the gas burner. The gas burner is not included, though.
To use the machine, all you need to do is plug it in and place it above a portable gas burner or on top of the stove. Once the thermometer is displaying the correct temperature, you need to pour the beans in and turn on the drum speed. For the rest of the roasting process, you just need to watch the machine.
You have to watch coffee roasters for a few reasons, but the most important is because it’s a fire hazard. The gas burner can cause fire, so be vigilant when it’s in use. Other than that, you need to keep an eye on the thermometer so the temperature doesn’t go too high or too low, which could impact the roast.
The Kaldi coffee roaster comes with a sampler. The tool looks like a microplane without the holes. I used the sampler multiple times during my roasts to check the beans. I didn’t even need to turn off the roaster to sample my beans since the chaff tray has a compartment to store the sampler or retrieve beans.
Some previous roasting machines I’ve tried didn’t come with a sampler or a chaff tray compartment. It was hard to check how the roasting process was coming along without these tools, especially for someone who likes a medium roast like me.
Although the Kaldi coffee roaster is an excellent machine, it does have its downsides. After using the machine for a few months, two things stood out as major issues.
First, the roaster didn’t come with a gas burner. For the price, I would like to see everything included. It can also be tough to find a gas burner that fits the Kaldi coffee roaster. Since you’re using fire, you need to be careful, and that includes finding a gas burner that the Kaldi can rest on stably.
The other issue I found with the Kaldi is its lack of smoke suppression. Although they say they installed smoke suppression in their roasters, I was still left with small plumes of smoke near the end of each roast. It’s not the end of the world, but I recommend roasting in a garage or another indoor place you wouldn’t mind having a slightly burnt smell.
Not all coffee roasters are the same and user preferences play a vital role in determining what machine is best for you. If you’re looking for a cheaper machine that still has good results, try the Jiawanshun Electric Coffee Roaster.
Some people want a more retro style, and luckily you can find those on the market quite easily. Both the Nuvo Eco Ceramic and the Hario Retro Coffee Roaster are functional but don’t require you to purchase large machines with a ton of odds and ends.
Overall, I had an awesome time experimenting with the Kaldi coffee roaster. With its lack of complicated machinery, it’s the perfect machine for those of us with experience roasting coffee. It may not be for beginners. Since the Kaldi isn’t equipped with a computer, you can easily burn the beans if you’re not careful or lack experience with the machine. Make sure you experiment with roasting times!