The Best Home Coffee Roasters of 2019
Let’s face it, all the biggest coffee fanatics roast at home.
If you claim to love coffee more than most people, then you need to step up your game and get a home coffee roaster.
If you really enjoy fresh, roasted coffee, having a home roaster will be right up your alley. What does it take to roast coffee at home?
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.
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:
Hint: NOT A Popcorn Maker...
A popcorn maker 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.
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.
First, you have the air roasters.
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.
The second type of roaster is a drum roaster.
These roasters 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 will 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, that 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 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 roasting coffee.
Coffee roasters on the other hand will have a chaff collection system for easy clean up.
Some roasters will also have a built in smoke reduction 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 2018
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||
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|Nesco CR 1010 Professional||
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|Behmor 1600 Plus||
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|Gene Cafe Roaster||
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|Hottop Home Coffee Roaster||
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#1 - The Fresh Roast SR 500
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.
#2 - The Nesco CR1010 Professional
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 cool down. The cool down 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.
#3 - The Behmor 1600
The Behmor 1600 is the first drum roaster on our list. It’s one of the most popular roasters for home use.
For starters, it boasts a smoke reduction system 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.
Due to the fact that it is a quiet roaster, you are able to 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. 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.
#4 - The Gene Cafe Roaster
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.
It’s 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 automatised. 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 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.
This roaster is pretty expensive compared to most home roasters, but comes with a one year manufacturer's warranty to ease your mind.
#5 - The Hottop Home Coffee Roaster
The Hottop Home Coffee Roaster KN-8828B-2K is the most expensive roaster on this list. It’s beautifully designed and looks like a mini version of a typical commercial coffee roaster.
The Hottop’s roasting drum has the potential to roast coffee similar to that of professional roasters. It allows for the entire range of roast levels, from light to dark. It also has a smoke reduction system.
The Hottop can roast up to 9 oz of coffee per batch. One of our favorite features is the external cooling tray, where the beans are transferred to at the end of the roast for quick, effective cooling.
The computer control panel enables users to use preset profiles or adjust any variable during the roast. This allows for increased accuracy and repeatability.
There are 2 versions of the Hottop roaster. The Basic will allow you to save up to 3 roast programs for repeatability.
The Programmable (higher in price) version has a more advanced control panel. You can create up to 10 roast programs, each containing up to 8 different segments.
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.
And 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.
The Behmor 1600 works especially great for those who love lighter roasted coffee. The ability to set 5 different profiles ensures that you will get consistent results every time.
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.