The Best Home Coffee Roasters of 2019
- Why Roast Coffee At Home?
- Tips On Choosing The Right Home Coffee Roaster For You...
- The 5 Best Home Coffee Roasters Of 2019
- THE VERDICT: Which Is The Best Coffee Roaster?
Read on to find out more.
TOP PICK: Behmor 1600 Plus Coffee Roaster
Why Roast Coffee At Home?
When I first started roasting coffee at home, I did what many people do. I went out and bought a $2 used popcorn maker at a thrift store and ordered green coffee beans from Sweet Maria's. I learned very quickly that roasting great coffee was more complicated than simply turning green coffee brown. There are so many other variables involved.
Why would anyone want to go through all the trouble of roasting their own coffee at home then? Not only do you learn more about coffee in the process, you get to roast coffee perfectly to your preferences.
You get to create your own blends and you will always have the freshest coffee. I recommend getting started with a popcorn maker because it’s a fun, cheap way to start your home coffee roasting journey.
But as soon as you feel you are ready to graduate to the next level of coffee fanatic, you will need to upgrade your equipment.
Tips On Choosing The Right Home Coffee Roaster For You...
Before rushing out and buying the first roaster you see, we have a few tips for you. This is an important item in your coffee gear arsenal.
NOT A Popcorn Maker...
A popcorn popper is designed to do one thing - push hot air through a pile of tiny kernels. Although that is the foundation of roasting coffee, it doesn’t accomplish everything we need it to. It’s very easy for a popcorn maker to over roast some beans, while under roasting others - creating a very inconsistent batch of coffee. Inconsistently roasted beans don't make a great cup of coffee.
This is because the air that is pushing through the beans is not very strong, leading to limited movement in the chamber. This also means you can only roast a small amount at a time.
Actual coffee bean roasters will rotate the beans constantly for an even roast.
Different Types Of Coffee Roasters
There are 2 main types of roasters we will be looking at today.
Air roasters, which are similar in concept to a popcorn maker, heat the beans using direct heat (convection). Hot air is pushed through the roasting chamber, touching all the beans directly.
Drum roasters, which use indirect heat (conduction) to roast the beans. Inside the machine is a round chamber that rotates. Heat is applied to the outside of the metal chamber, and the beans are roasted as they come in contact with the chamber.
Different roasters have different capacities. Typically air roasters will only be able to roast small amounts while drum roasters have larger roasting chambers for bigger batches.
If you want to roast a few small batches of different coffees each week, you might opt for a smaller air roaster. If you want to roast one big batch and be set for the week, you might need to go for a drum roaster instead.
PRO TIP: Think about the amount of coffee you drink each week and the number of times you are willing to roast. If you just roast large batches, opt for a large roaster.
How Much Control Do You Want?
What’s your roaster personality? Flip a switch and walk away, or tweak every variable for a completely unique roast? In general, more expensive roasters offer greater controllability. Yet, even at the lower end, you will have basic time and temperature controls that you can adjust.
As you move towards the higher end you will find roasters with programmability, which allow you to create and save roast profiles for increased consistency. Once profiles are set, you can simply turn the roaster on, select a profile, and it will automatically follow the settings and complete the roast without additional input.
PRO TIP: If you plan to immerse yourself into roasting, go for something with high controllability. It may be hard to learn the ropes, but you'll be happier long term.
Cooling Is Almost As Important As Heating
Once the coffee has reached the desired roast level, it’s very important for the beans to cool down quickly. If you don’t cool the beans down, they will continue to roast due to the heat built up in the chamber. A cooling feature is thus important in any roaster. For most available roasters, cool air will simply blow through the roasting chamber once roasting is complete.
The most expensive roaster on our list, however, has an external tray that the beans are dumped into, which cools the beans much faster. This is a major advantage if you don’t want your coffee to over roast.
Keeping It Clean
Roasting with a popcorn maker is messy. Chaff will fly all over the place. Even beans will sometimes jump out of the chamber. Then there’s the smoke, a natural side effect of coffee roasting.
Coffee roasters, on the other hand, will have a chaff collection system for easy cleanup.
Some roasters will also have a built-in smoke suppression system. It’s hard to eliminate smoke entirely, but these systems will allow you to safely roast indoors. Keep in mind that even with a smoke reduction system, roasting darker coffee will still produce a lot of smoke.
The 5 Best Home Coffee Roasters Of 2019
Now that you know what to look for in a coffee roaster, you are ready to find the perfect one for you!
|Fresh Roast SR500||CHECK PRICE →|
|Nesco CR 1010 Professional||CHECK PRICE →|
|Behmor 1600 Plus||CHECK PRICE →|
|Gene Cafe Roaster||CHECK PRICE →|
|Nuvo Eco Handy Ceramic Coffee Bean Roaster||CHECK PRICE →|
Small, compact and affordable. If you're just getting started in roasting your own coffee beans, The Fresh Roast SR 500 is for you. You'll be roasting exotic green beans to perfection in no time.
The Fresh Roast SR 500 is the most affordable roaster on our list. It’s great for beginners who are just starting to roast coffee at home. The Fresh Roast is an air roaster, utilizing convective heat. It’s small enough to keep on your counter without getting in the way.
It’s also one of the quietest roasters you can find, making it perfect for home use.
This roaster is simple enough for just about anyone to use. It has 3 temperature settings, a fan adjustment dial and buttons to change the roast time. To get the beans moving inside the roasting chamber, a higher fan speed should be used. There is no other element rotating the beans during the roast.
The size of the roasting chamber is pretty small. Each roast can handle about 4 oz, or 120 grams. Though the roasting time is pretty quick at 6-9 minutes, you may have to roast a few batches to have enough coffee for a week.
- Very Affordable
- Compact - takes up minimal space
- Very quiet
- Easy to use
- You can only roast 4oz coffee per roast
- No smoke reduction systems. Must roast near a window
The Nesco CR 1010 Professional Coffee Roaster is another convective, air roaster. What we love about this roaster is the built-in catalytic converter, eliminating most of the smoke from the roast.
It also has an auger screw system in the roast chamber, keeping the beans moving during the roast. This allows all the coffee to be roasted evenly, rather than the beans on the bottom getting scorched early in the roasting cycle.
The roasting time is typically 25 minutes which includes a 5-minute cooling cycle. The cooldown feature is great when roasting lighter roasts, but for darker roasts, it struggles to cool the coffee down fast enough to keep it from roasting further.
The Nesco roaster is able to roast 5 oz, or about 150 grams at a time. At 25 minutes per roast, yielding only 5 oz, it’s not the most efficient roaster. Luckily it’s able to produce a uniform batch that makes up for the time taken.
- Smoke reduction system eliminates a majority of the smoke
- Automatic auger keeps the beans moving inside the roasting chamber, ensuring uniformity
- Long roasting times for such a small batch
The Behmor 1600 is the first drum roaster on our list. It’s one of the most popular roasters for home use among coffee lovers. For starters, it boasts smoke suppression technology for safe indoor roasting. Just know that this roaster is not meant for dark roasts. You can get your beans just beyond a Full City roast, but no further.
The large roasting chamber allows you to roast up to 16 oz at a time, which will take around 20 minutes. 4 or 8 ounces will be even quicker. Because it is a quiet roaster, you can hear when the beans enter into first crack. This helps you determine where the beans are in the roasting process so that you can finish according to your preferences.
One of our favorite features is the ability to set profiles, making it a fully customizable drum coffee roaster. You are able to set up to 5 different profiles, allowing you to repeat some of your favorite roasts again and again. No more guessing.
- Smoke reduction system eliminates most of the smoke
- Repeat your favorite roasts by setting up to 5 profiles.
- A security feature has you press a button before the roast completes. This ensures nothing bad happens during the roast process.
- Not able to roast very dark
- It’s hard to see the beans during the roast
The Gene Cafe has an off-axis roasting chamber setting it apart from its counterparts. This chamber was designed to ensure an even, uniform roast every time. Its unique design combines the body associated with the conduction of a drum roaster with the brightness of an air roaster.
Though the time and temperature can be controlled, the process can also be completely automatized. This makes it nice and simple for most people to use.
The Gene Cafe can roast up to 8 ounces at a time, with an average roast time of about 15 minutes. The roast is easy to track due to the clear roasting chamber.
There is no smoke reduction system in place, so be sure to point the nozzle where the smoke exits at an open window. The plus point is that you are able to achieve almost any desired roast level.
- Uniform roast due to unique movement in roasting chamber
- Simple to use
- Roast up to 8 ounces at a time
- No smoke reduction system
- Limited features
The Nuvo Eco Ceramic is about as minimal and hands-on as it gets. It's a ceramic vessel designed for use on a stovetop, so there are no timers, temperature settings, cooldown programs or anything else to learn. Pour green beans (up to about 70g, or just under 3 oz.) in the opening on the top, shake them over the heat source while listening for the crack, and then empty the roasted beans through the hollow handle when you're done.
While the handle does have a cowhide grip, you'll want to use a hot pad or oven glove while roasting. The manufacturer suggests shaking the Nuvo Eco in a figure-eight pattern to promote even roasting.
Roasting time varies with the heat source and the desired roast level. Expect roast times between three and ten minutes - that's a pretty broad range. And because it's ceramic, it doesn't work on induction cooktops. But you can use it on any other heat source, making the Nuvo Eco a great choice for roasting your own coffee while camping.
On the one hand, it's utter simplicity. On the other hand, you have to do everything yourself. If you're looking for the ultimate hands-on coffee roaster, though, this is it.
- Waffle-shaped internal chamber promotes equal roasting
- Simple to use
- Works on gas or electric ranges, plus campfires and camp stoves
- Requires constant attention during roasting
- Small capacity - up to 1/3 cup (70g) at a time
THE VERDICT: Which Is The Best Coffee Roaster?
We just love the Behmor 1600. The price point is right in the middle, affordable for most people looking to get a home coffee roaster, with a drum roasting chamber that produces great results.
The ability to roast up to 16 ounces at a time means you need to roast fewer batches. We’re all busy, so using a roaster that can handle a larger roast makes a big difference.
Have you tried any of the roasters on this list? What’s your favorite and why? We’d love to hear from you in the comments.