If you’ve been a coffee enthusiast for a while, you may have begun to ponder how to roast coffee at home. But in order to roast your own coffee, you'll first need the best home coffee roaster! And, of course, ethically sourced and high quality coffee beans.
If you’ve been a coffee enthusiast for a while, you may have begun to ponder how to roast coffee at home. But in order to roast your own coffee, you’ll first need the best home coffee roaster! And, of course, ethically sourced and high quality coffee beans.
So, I’ve compiled this list of entry-level coffee roasters to assist you in your coffee roasting journey.
Now, when I say “entry-level” I don’t mean that you’ll eventually have to upgrade. All of these home coffee roasters will serve up fresh, delicious coffee beans for years. Rather, I consider these roasters to be accessible and affordable options for roasting coffee at home.
None of these roasters cost thousands of dollars. On the flip side, none of them hook up to third party roasting software, either. If you’re looking for more advanced computer-generated data, you’ll want to look elsewhere.
Still, the roasters I’ve chosen as the best home coffee roasters represent a range of truly budget options and mid-range machines that offer plenty of adjustability. I’ve crafted this list so beginner and seasoned roasters alike will find a roaster that works for them.
Keep reading to discover the best home coffee roaster for you!
Table of Contents
- At a Glance
- Why Roast Coffee at Home?
- What to Look forCapacityManual vs AutomaticTemperature ControlEase of UseCleaning
- 5 Best Home Coffee RoastersKaldi Motorized Home Coffee RoasterFresh Roast SR540 Automatic Coffee Bean RoasterJavastarr Electric Coffee RoasterNuvo Eco Ceramic Coffee Bean RoasterCafemasy Air Coffee Roaster
- Decision Time
Best Home Coffee Roasters at a Glance
Here’s a quick look at the home coffee roasters I’ll be reviewing today.
Why Roast Coffee at Home?
I always know when my local roasting company is cooking up a fresh batch of coffee. The caramelized, chocolatey smell literally fills the air! Don’t you want your own house to smell the same?
If that’s not reason enough to buy a home coffee roaster, I’ll give you some more excuses.
Roasting your own coffee invites you to connect more deeply with the coffee industry.
I write often about how much behind-the-scenes work goes into your final cup of coffee. Great coffee starts with skilled coffee growers and time-consuming processing methods. As a roaster, you develop a better understanding of and respect for your daily coffee.
You also have the opportunity to roast your coffee beans according to your own preferences. Do you like light, fruity coffees with a tea-like body? You can do that! Or maybe you prefer rich, nutty and full-bodied dark roasts with chocolate notes. Well, you can do that too!
Even better, when you’re roasting your own coffee you’ll always know how fresh it is. Personally, I like to let my coffee rest for 5-7 days before enjoying it, especially if I plan to use it in an espresso maker. I mean, roasting takes a lot out of those beans!
Resting time also allows the coffee to off-gas, which results in sweeter, more consistent brews. At the same time, playing around with resting times allows you to learn more about your coffee and its flavor nuances. How cool!
Finally, roasting your own coffee will save you some money, since you are doing more of the work yourself.
Still, I’m of the opinion that expensive coffee is generally a good thing. After all, a lot of expertise and labor goes into the final product. All of that work is done by people who need to be compensated fairly.
What to Look for in a Home Coffee Roaster
Okay, have I convinced you that roasting your own coffee is the way to go? If so, you have some design factors to think about before you go all in.
Most home roasters are on the small side, so you don’t have a huge range to worry about here. But you do need to consider how much coffee you’ll want to roast at one time.
Do you want to roast one batch and have it last you a week? Or, are you okay with “clocking in” for a shift and roasting several batches in a row?
On the other hand, if you’re in the “Fresh is King” camp, you may want a very small capacity to roast your coffee daily. In this case, I’d look for a roaster that has a capacity of 3.5 ounces (100 grams) or less.
Be warned: a larger capacity often correlates with a higher price tag. Incidentally, I’ve chosen roasters that keep to a 10.5-ounce (300-gram) capacity at most.
Keep in mind that green coffee shrinks in weight by 13-18 percent during the roasting process. The exact percentage depends on the roast level, roasting style and the particular qualities of the coffee itself. So, count on getting about 3 ounces (85 grams) or less of roasted coffee beans for every 3.5 ounces (100 grams) of green coffee.
Oh, and you also want to mind the difference between the actual and stated capacity of the roaster. Manufacturers often overstate the capacity of their machines.
It’s best to use only about 70 percent of the maximum capacity, so you can maintain good roasting conditions. This means adequate airflow and an ideal convection-to-conduction ratio.
At the same time, you don’t want to under-load the roaster, either; too much space will make it difficult to regulate temperature.
I don’t mean to confuse you here. I assure you, these details will come to be second nature as you become a more experienced roaster!
Manual vs Automatic
If all this info is a little overwhelming, I don’t blame you! Roasting coffee is a science, with lots of math involved. If this fuss isn’t your cup of joe, you’ll be relieved to hear that automatic home coffee roasters do much of the work for you.
Automatic coffee roasters require a lot less attention than manually operated machines. With automatic roasters, you simply press a couple of buttons and wait! However, some automatic machines are more advanced, allowing you to choose your desired roast level.
Still, manual roasters will often have more adjustability in terms of temperature control, fan speed and so on. That said, they’ll also require more elbow grease and attention throughout each roast. This can be exciting or overwhelming, depending on who you are.
Exceptions to this include traditional stovetop roasters, which are manual but have no techy features.
In general, if you’re more of a casual DIY-er without much roasting knowledge, I’d opt for an automatic roaster. On the other hand, coffee nerds that know what they want in terms of roast level and roasting style will be disappointed by the hands-off approach of an automatic model.
In the end, you know yourself best! Some options even have automatic and manual settings, so you can have the best of both worlds. If you’re on the fence, give one of those a go.
Being able to control roasting temperatures and heat inputs is integral to a well-managed roast. Coffee roasters without temperature control can easily produce under-roasted, scorched, baked, flicked or over-roasted coffee.
Fully electric manual roasters will come with built-in temperature controls. Meanwhile, stovetop manual roasters rely on the adjustability of your own burner to regulate the temperature within the roasting chamber.
On the other hand, automatic coffee roasters do not have temperature control. Roast defects are harder to taste in darker roasts, so an automatic roaster will be just fine if that’s what you’re drinking. However, I wouldn’t recommend attempting a light roast on a roaster that doesn’t have temperature control.
Ease of Use
It almost goes without saying that ease of use is a personal experience. After all, seasoned roasters will know how to navigate adjustability settings, while newbies may be freaked out by too much adjustability.
Still, automatic roasters are generally the easiest to use, since you can just rely on the machine to do its thing.
As for manual roasters, there’s a pretty big range in how user-friendly they are.
Roasters that prioritize their user interface will often have digital screens and clearly labeled knobs and buttons. Temperature probes are also good features to look out for, since they make it easier to monitor the progression of your roast.
Incidentally, some roasters that are very easy to use won’t have any of these features. It all depends on what you’re looking for in the best home coffee roaster.
Here’s a non-negotiable: you have to be able to clean your home coffee roaster.
Without proper cleaning, a roaster and its surrounding floor- or counter-space will accumulate chaff, which is a serious fire hazard.
Cleaning up after roasting is as simple as vacuuming or brushing out the chaff collector and any loose chaff nearby. Of course, the design of the coffee roaster will either help or hurt you in this regard.
All my picks for the best home coffee roaster include a chaff collector or are otherwise easy to clean, so you won’t have to worry too much about this factor.
The 5 Best Home Coffee Roasters
Nice job – you made it through all the details! Keep them in mind as you select the best home coffee roaster for you. Most of these are in a similar price range, though I did throw in a higher-end option and a budget choice.
Kaldi Motorized Home Coffee Roaster
This is the only home coffee roaster on my list that I’d actually call stylish.
Admittedly, aesthetics are not the most important design factor in a functional machine. I guess I can’t blame the other brands for not prioritizing looks … but I can definitely celebrate the Kaldi Motorized Home Coffee Roaster!
This manual roaster isn’t just gorgeous; it’s also designed very well. And with a $715.00 price tag, you’ll want to be serious about taking advantage of the Kaldi’s advanced features.
In fact, the design and functionality of the Kaldi are similar to that of a commercial drum roaster. It has a hopper, a 10.5-ounce (300-gram) capacity perforated drum and a chaff collector.
What’s more, a temperature probe inserted into the drum allows you to monitor the bean temperature as your roast progresses. For a more sensory-oriented experience, there’s also a trier to pull a sample of coffee beans out of the drum to check their smell and color.
This home coffee roaster even has three agitator blades to mix the coffee around as it roasts, kind of like the fins on a front-loading clothes dryer. These blades ensure that every coffee bean gets roasted evenly.
The Kaldi’s biggest downfall is that it doesn’t have an included heat source. Needless to say, you’ll need to BYOGB (bring your own gas burner) for the Kaldi to work. For this reason, the temperature control for your roasting process depends on the capabilities of your burner.
You also can’t adjust the air flow, but fortunately the Kaldi gets few complaints in that regard. I’d consider this coffee roaster ideal for somewhat experienced home roasters, but I bet an adventurous novice could quickly get the hang of it!
Fresh Roast SR540 Automatic Coffee Bean Roaster
You may recognize this one if you’ve already done some research on coffee roasting. The Fresh Roast SR540 is one of the most popular home roasters, and for good reason!
It’s easy to use, has a decent capacity of 4.2 ounces (120 grams) and has adjustable settings. Plus, you can get this manual coffee roaster for a reasonable $209.00.
Since the Fresh Roast SR540 is a manual roaster, you won’t be able to just click a button and walk away. However, if you’re curious about the science of coffee roasting, that’ll be exciting for you!
What’s more, an intuitive user interface enables you to roast coffee with ease. A digital display alerts you to the bean temperature so you can easily monitor your roasts. Even better, you can adjust the heat and fan speed with a simple turn of the dial.
Oh, and a three minute cooling setting is useful for cooling your roasted coffee beans before dumping them out of the roaster.
A lot of home roasters don’t think to include this setting, so you end up having to empty your roasted beans into a sieve to cool them. Thank the Fresh Roast SR540 for wanting to save you a dirty dish!
All of these extra features are necessary for achieving high quality, evenly roasted coffee beans. In fact, I think even an experienced roaster will be happy with this roaster on their kitchen counter.
I should mention at this point that if you’re going to roast coffee inside, you’ll want to do it near a window and fan. Even aromatic smoke will set off your smoke alarms. Otherwise, you can plug your SR540 into an outlet in your garage (with the garage door open) and go at it.
Javastarr Electric Coffee Roaster
Maybe you love freshly roasted coffee but aren’t into the whole coffee roasting process. Well, I don’t blame you! After all, roasting coffee beans can be a lot of work. That’s why I like to waltz into the shop of my favorite roaster and hand over some cash for their hard work.
But to aid you in your home coffee roasting, the Javastarr Electric Coffee Roaster is here to help!
This is a fully automatic roaster. In other words, you can just select your preferred roast level and walk away. And I’d consider $99.99 a pretty fair trade-off for such convenience.
I will say that this is not the coffee roaster for lovers of light roast coffee, since there isn’t a light roast setting. However, if you prefer medium and dark roasts, this won’t be a problem for you.
When I say that the Javastarr electric roaster is fully automatic, I mean fully automatic. Simply plug it in and fill it with raw coffee beans. Next, choose either medium or dark roast as your roast level. Then, it’ll roast coffee beans, sort out the chaff and even cool your beans for you.
In exchange, this little robot just asks that you don’t exceed the 3.9-ounce (110-gram) capacity and that you clean it out afterwards with the included cleaning brush.
Maybe give it a little pat and a “thank you,” too. Thanks to this guy, coffee roasting has never been easier!
Nuvo Eco Ceramic Coffee Bean Roaster
The Nuvo Eco Ceramic Coffee Roaster is one of the smallest home coffee roasters you can buy. It tops out at a 2.5-ounce (70-gram) capacity, though the manufacturer recommends you stay closer to 1 ounce (30 grams).
Needless to say, get ready to roast several batches in a row if you want to build up a backstock of fresh coffee beans.
While this may be inconvenient, for only $36.80, the Nuvo is worth a little extra coffee roasting time.
This stovetop coffee roaster is very easy to use. In fact, it’s kind of like making stovetop popcorn! You’ll need to regularly shake the coffee roaster to mix up the coffee beans and encourage an even roast.
That said, if you’re trying to achieve a perfectly even roast, you may have some trouble.
The Nuvo Eco roaster doesn’t have any fussy settings or buttons to deal with. But as far as how the roast is progressing, you’re riding blind.
With no temperature probe, trier or sight window, you won’t know what’s going on until first crack.
Sometimes, extra features can make a home roaster easier to use. Ultimately, however, it all depends on what you’re looking for.
If you want a simple, no-fuss way to roast your own coffee beans, the Nuvo Eco Ceramic roaster is a good way to do it.
Cafemasy Air Coffee Roaster
If you’ve gotten to the end of this list and you haven’t found your ideal coffee roaster yet, this may be the one. The Cafemasy Air Coffee Roaster is the Goldilocks of home coffee roasting!
Can’t decide if you want to roast your coffee manually or automatically? Fortunately, this coffee roasting machine offers both options.
Of course, you still need to weigh out your green coffee beans by yourself, unless you have a robotic home assistant. I doubt it, but maybe in another ten years …
And if you’re into espresso blends, you’ll have to mix those together on your own, too. If you want my advice, blend your beans after roasting, not before. They’ll roast more evenly that way.
Beyond that, the Cafemasy roaster on its “Auto” function will roast and cool your coffee beans for you. But if you’re looking for more adjustability, it’s got that too! Since it has two roasting functions, you’re basically getting two different coffee roasters for only $168.99.
This coffee roasting machine has eight different heat and fan settings. That means you can increase and decrease your heat input and fan speed throughout the roast. The Cafemasy’s adjustability will help ensure your freshly roasted beans will be delicious and free of roast defects.
Oh, and since the roasting chamber is made out of stainless steel and heat-resistant glass, you’ll be able to watch your green beans turn yellow and then become chocolatey brown. Personally, watching the transformation is my favorite part!
I’d like this roaster even more if the 3.5-ounce (100-gram) capacity was a little higher. Still, the roasting time is pretty short, taking only 10-15 minutes. And fresh coffee is worth a bit of a wait.
I hope this best home coffee roaster guide has helped kickstart your home roasting journey! Ultimately, all of these picks will serve up what you’re looking for: freshly roasted beans.
No matter which brewing method you prefer, a fresh roast will always make it better. Especially when you get the satisfaction of roasting it yourself.
It goes without saying that if you’re putting in the effort to roast coffee, you’ll want a high quality coffee grinder. If you chop up your fresh coffee with a blade grinder, don’t tell me – I just might faint.
Even if you do start roasting your own coffee, I’d encourage you to still give your local roasting company some love. After all, tasting other roasting styles and coffee varieties is the best way to become a better roaster!
Are you ready to take the leap and roast your own coffee? Do you already have experience with some of these roasters? Share your thoughts below!