The world of roasting coffee at home seems to be a part of the coffee industry that is growing rapidly.
Easy access to high quality green coffee bean means that coffee lovers now have endless options to satisfy their coffee curiosity, and with a little practice and research, are now able to fully customise the style of a roast to match their own taste, without having to rely on commercial coffee roasters.
In this article we look at a few of the options available in today’s market, and give a helping hand in working out what is the best home roaster to suit your needs.
Brought to us by a company based in New Zealand, this air roaster is one for those who love the latest gadget. Coming in as the most expensive machine on this list, the Nano 7 has a sleek design that fits easily into any modern kitchen aesthetic, and with its base taking up no more than 12cm x 12cm, this home roast machine can slide easily between your kettle and microwave.
The Kaffelogic Nano 7 looks to separate itself from its competition by being able to create and share personalised roast profiles to help finely tune a beans flavour profile to the users taste.
Simply loading a preset profile and pressing ‘Go’, will give you freshly roasted beans in around ten minutes, and the more comfortable you get with the roasting process, the more you can tweak your profiles in order to highlight the flavours you enjoy most from your coffee.
The Fresh Roast SR540 is an updated version of the previous SR500. The addition of finer heat and air control gives the user complete manual roast control.
This machine looks like, and is around the size of a classic blender. It may not be the most elegant of designs but each feature has its purpose.
With its 120 grams of green bean capacity glass cylinder, the Fresh Roast 540 lets you watch the coffee beans change colour, which enables you to monitor the coffee roasting process in order to get the results you desire.
The one thing that some may find missing here is the presence of smoke suppression technology. Without this, small amounts of smoke will escape from the machine, which could be a hazard you don’t have great ventilation, or you don’t want your house smelling like roasted coffee for a few days after every roast.
The Nuvo Eco Ceramic Handy Bean Roaster is the smallest and most simple to use of all the home coffee roasters we have on our list.
Coming in at the lowest price overall, the Nuvo Eco’s enclosed ceramic structure allows the coffee beans to heat up evenly.
The handy little roaster requires an external heat source to roast your coffee beans, with its waffle-shaped internal structure allowing for a consistent roast. Using the rear air hole, you can keep track of your roast through the changing smells and sound whilst your beans approach first crack and beyond.
Small, compact and minimalist in design, this handy micro home roaster can be packed away in your backpack when travelling, but will also sit nicely on an open shelf in your kitchen when looking to enjoy fresh roast coffee at home.
The lack of a view hole on the Nuvo Eco, temperature reader, or mechanics to keep the beans moving, means you will likely get a lot of different results when using this little roaster.
The more you refine and research your roasting process on this, the better results you will get in the long run.
With a roast capacity of up to 250 grams of green coffee beans, the Kaldi Mini Home Roaster has a great capacity for the price. The Kaldi roaster requires an external heat source and probably best suits a gas burner.
The design of this roaster is tidy and robust, with a slightly more industrial feel compared to the other home roasters we are looking at today. This machine will need a well ventilated area when roasting your coffee beans.
A downside to the open top design seems to be that chaff can set on fire and fly around a little, which could be hazardous if used in the wrong space.
If you want instantaneous good results from your roaster, this home roast machine may not be for you. It definitely feels more like a hobby roaster, and the learning curve for this roaster is a little steeper than most.
There are options for additional extras for this home roaster. You can add a motor to turn your drum if you don’t fancy standing next to your machine turning the drum manually.
You can also add a basic hopper to help load the beans into the drum, as well as a classic roast sampler to help you take small amount of beans from the drum during the roast in order to monitor your progress.
Once you are comfortable with your roasting knowledge, this roaster will deliver high quality results, although possibly a little inconsistent, unless you invest in some good quality heat probes to truly track the progress of the beans.
Another one of the more premium roast machines we are looking at today, the Genecafe Coffee roaster is able to roast up to 300 grams of green coffee at a time.
Unlike most hot air coffee roasters, this roast machine boasts a rotating, side-on roast chamber that moves the beans around, which can help to give a more even roast.
The transparent chamber allows for visual monitoring of your coffee roasting and the large, well structured exhaust system gives you the option of adding an extended exhaust pipe which you could put out a window, pushing all smoke out of the room you are coffee roasting in.
The build on this coffee roaster is solid. The coffee roaster itself looks great, and could easily fit into a kitchen set up if you have enough counter space, as it will take up around the same amount of space a microwave does.
The roaster is easy to use, with simple heat adjustments.
One thing that people may need to be aware of with this coffee roaster is that it can be quite loud when roasting. This can cause trouble when trying to listen out for first crack, but could also be a problem if you don’t want to disturb others around you when roasting your beans.
If you’re looking for the is the simplest way to roast coffee without having to put too much effort, the Kaffelogic Nano 7 Air Roaster is a clear winner. It looks cool, makes great coffee, and comes with unlimited support to help you get the most out of the machine and your beans.
The obvious draw backs are the capacity and the price. Depending on how much coffee you consume per week, you will need to roast several batches to meet your needs.
The best value machine you’ll find listed here has to be the Fresh Roast SR540. It’s a roast machine that can turn an interest into a hobby and the quality of coffee you are able to produce for the price is hard to match.
The next step up from the Fresh Roast would be the Genecafe. The higher capacity, exhaust features, and overall usability of this machine is fantastic, and as long as you are roasting your coffee in a space that the sounds from the machine won’t affect anyone else, you’re going to be able to get a lot out of this home roast machine.
For more conventional styles of roasting, the Kaldi Home Coffee Roaster is a great starting point. As you start to learn the way that their roasters work, you have the option of upgrading to one of Kaldi’s more advanced machines and can take all of the knowledge you learned on your previous machine with you on to the next.
Home roasting can often lead one down a rabbit hole. There is a large amount of information online about the coffee roasting process, and you will find whole communities that swear by the machines they use to produce their freshly roasted coffee.
You’ll often find second-hand equipment listed on online market places, which can be a great way to start your coffee roasting journey without the risk of investing more money than you are comfortable parting with.
Home Coffee Roaster Buying Guide
Finding the right roast machine for your needs can be made a lot easier by knowing what you are looking for and what interests you the most. Here are a few details to look out for when browsing machines for roasting coffee beans at home.
A commercial drum roaster will usually run off gas burners. These machines are usually made out of cast iron and can roast batch after batch for hours on end. The cost of one of these roast machines, even the smallest capacity ones, usually starts around A$10,000 brand new, and don’t lose their value quickly.
The home roasters we have looked at can be divided into two categories.
Hot air Coffee Roasting
The technology used in this kind of coffee bean roaster is very similar to a popcorn popper. The machine heats the air and uses a fan to circulate the heat around the beans.
The challenge for the engineers with this kind of roast machine is finding the balance in control for the airflow and maintain accuracy of temperature from the heating element, and many people say that this style of roasting results in a cleaner, lighter flavour profile for their roasted coffee.
External heat source Coffee Roasters
These roasters are designed to be placed on temperature adjustable stove tops, using the external heat source’s control to manoeuvre the beans through the coffee roasting process.
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Cleaning and Maintenance
Keep in kind that during the roasting process, beans start to release oil. More so if you go into and past second crack for dark roasts. This will result in an oil build up on your roasting chamber but most machines will have a recommended high heat cleaning cycle.
Chaff is the outer skin of the bean, that drys up when roasting. It separates itself from the bean and can become hazardous if not taken care of effectively.
Finding a machine with a designated chaff collector will help to keep everything under control whilst also leaving you with a cleaner batch of roasted beans.
Exhaust and smoke suppression
If a machine you are looking at doesn’t have a smoke suppression, it will need to be used in an area with good extraction. Finding a roaster that has an exhaust you can extend and point out of a window will save you from creating smokey rooms and lingering smells.
Ease of use
Easy to use, micro adjustments in temperature allow for the user to create more consistent, refined roast profiles, so if you plan on using an external heat source, make sure it has accurate settings.
The need for attention
Deciding how much time you have to focus on your roasts will be a big factor in choosing what machine suits you.
Some roast machines offer pre set profiles that let you press go and walk away, whilst others will require manual adjustments throughout. It all depends how much time you are able to give your roasts.
Always consider how much coffee you go through, and if you want the option of supplying friends or family with a treat every now and then. The higher the capacity roaster, the less batches you’ll need to roast your requirements. Remember that coffee loses around 20% of its weight through the roasting process.