So you’re a coffee connoisseur and you already have your own bean grinder along with the best coffee maker you can afford. Now you want to take it to the next level, so what do you get? A coffee bean roaster, that’s what! Not only can you grind freshly roasted beans, but you can control the roast level of each of your gourmet beans. You can even use a mix of different roasts if you want. The best home coffee roaster machine needs to do the job quickly, and you don’t want to be spending too much time on the process per week, so it should preferably do enough to allow you do several cups of coffee at a stretch. The more you can control the intensity of the roast, the better and you don’t want it to smoke, as that means the beans are being damaged and the smell can be quite strong and difficult to get rid off from the house.
Before you buy home coffee roasting equipment, you should know what types are available in the market. Most home coffee roasting machines don’t need to be large, as you only need enough for a few people. For most people, a fluid bed type roaster is good because it works fast, is easy to clean and provides uniform roasting. It is a vertical style machine where hot air is blown through a tall cylinder via convection heat.
A drum roaster is a horizontal spinning drum through which heat is transferred either directly under the drum or through a conduit running through the center. This method is a mix of conduction and convection. While it is easier to scorch beans this way, the drum capacity can be larger than in a fluid bed roaster, so this is a preferred machine for coffee shops. It is also a slower method. However, there are a few small drum roasters that are designed for home use if you have a large family.
There are also roasters that combine the two methods. To help you choose which machine to buy, the following coffee bean roaster reviews should help.
Fluid Bed Roasters
FreshRoast SR500 Automatic Coffee Bean Roaster
One of the best fluid bed roasters available is the Fresh Roast Automatic Coffee Bean Roaster SR500.
Although you can technically roast up to 24 cups of coffee, which is nearly 1/2 pound of beans, smaller batches, like 4 to 6 ounces, work best. They roast faster, are more consistent and have a better flavor.
This little gem of a roaster lets you pour the beans in, set the temperature(3 levels) and time, and let it go. You adjust the fan speed to make sure all of the beans are roasted evenly and that any chaff gets blown into a container at the top. Even though there are detailed instructions, there may be a little trial and error involved before you find the correct settings for the roast that you prefer. But once you do, expect some of the best coffee you’ve ever tasted.
Fresh Roast SR700 Home Coffee Roaster
If you like the Fresh Roast SR500 above and you want to take coffee roasting into the digital age, then check out the Fresh Roast Home Coffee Roaster SR700 . This bad boy not only has a totally digital touch key pad, but for total control, you can hook it into your PC, laptop or smart phone, as long as you have Windows installed, and program it to roast how you want and whenever you want.
You can save your roasting preferences for virtually every type of beans you use, save the perfect roasting parameters for any coffee, and next time you get that type of bean, hit a button on your computer and the SR700 will use the exact same profile that gave you perfectly roasted coffee on your last batch. You can change the roasting profile at any time, add a few seconds here, subtract a few seconds there, add in a couple more degrees of heat, speed up or slow down the fan during the roasting process, all in your Windows program.
You can also operate this machine without the computer. In that case, it will work manually, just like the SR500. To use it with the computer, your windows device will need a USB port.
So, if you want the ultimate programmable home coffee roaster, and you are willing to pay for it, because this is not an inexpensive unit, then the SR700 is the best coffee roaster machine that money can buy.
Nesco CR-1010-PR Coffee Bean Roaster
The Nesco Coffee Bean Roaster is a true hybrid machine. It uses air as the primary roasting medium, just like all home model fluid bed roasters use, but unlike those that rely entirely on the fan speed to move the beans around, this unit uses an auger. The auger scoops the beans up from the bottom and constantly circulates them around the interior, while the heated air roasts them.
This is a terrific idea and in actuality, it will effectively roast 1/3 pound of beans or 36 cups of coffee in about 20 minutes, unlike fluid bed roasters which work best roasting smaller amounts of about 4 ounces. And because it uses an auger to move the beans around, instead of just air flow, the beans roast more evenly. The other nice thing about it is that its design includes a “smoke eater”, so there’s very little smoke emitted if at all. Sounds great right? However, there is a catch.
This is a very good coffee roaster, as good as any, and better than most, but the plastic auger flywheel sits directly in the heat of the airflow, and has a tendency to melt during long roasting runs. It may be able to effectively roast 1/3 pound of beans better than many of the others, but you will be far better served, and the flywheel will last longer, if you roast smaller batches that take less time.
That said, the soft touch keypad is easy to use, just set the time, start and when done, it will cool. Once again, there may be some trial and error, but it will generally roast your beans faster, and that might be worth the cost of admission right there.
Behmor 1600 Plus Customizable Drum Coffee Roaster
Nothing roasts coffee more evenly and efficiently than a drum roaster, and for larger batches of green coffee, they can’t be beat. That’s what makes the Behmor 1600 Plus Customizable Drum Coffee Roaster so good.
This full featured unit will roast up to 1 full pound of green beans, and with 5 programmable settings, roasting your favorite type of coffee is just a push button away. You can also use the manual override if you like more control. You can adjust the speed of the drum and the roasting temperature is maintained by a thermostat.
It gives you a roast profile, which allows you to roast beans from light to dark brown, and everything in between, it effectively separates chaff and it even has smoke suppression technology so you can roast beans indoors and not have to worry about it triggering your smoke alarms.
There are even settings of quarter, half and pound on the keypad, but like all roasters, expect a little trial and error before you determine the correct roast for your tastes.
A couple of things to remember here. You’ll need a 2 minute warm-up, which is important or the roasting parameters will be off by that much, and you cannot roast naturally dark beans like Vienna, French, and Italian, just to name a few. Other than that, you’ll be good to go.
Gene Cafe CBR-101 Home Coffee Roaster
If you want the most expensive roaster on this list where quality and taste are first and foremost, then the Gene Cafe CBR-Home Coffee Roaster is absolutely the one to get. This combination fluid and drum roaster combine the best of both roasting worlds to provide the absolute best roasted coffee on this list, bar none.
Of course, expect some trial and error here, but with the Gene Cafe, there is going to more trial than error. It’s easy and simple to use, pour in up to 10 ounces(250 grams) of green beans, turn it on, and let the roaster do all of the work. Be prepared to listen for the second crack, and when you hear that, change it to the cool setting, and you are done.
It’s an all manual roaster that gives you complete control of the roasting process, and it’s fast too. That’s because the roasting basket is on an angle, which evenly tumbles the beans from top to bottom with every rotation. You can roast a full 10 ounces in as little as 15 minutes, with lesser amounts taking much less time. It even comes with a dedicated chimney for the smoke, so you can either do this outside of your home, or hook up a hose that channels the smoke out of a window or a exterior vent fan.
If you are 100% serious about roasting your coffee, and price is no object, then the Gene Cafe Home Coffee Roaster will do your fresh roasted grounds proud.
Wabash Valley Farms Whirley-Pop Stovetop Popcorn Popper
Of course, it’s not absolutely necessary to use a machine to roast your beans. You can do it on the stovetop as long as you only do small quantities at a time. A stovetop popcorn popper like the Wabash Valley Farms Popper is great for the job. Be aware, though, that it is easier to burn the beans using this manual method, so the pan has to be constantly shaken to prevent that from happening.