How to Choose the Best Home Coffee Roaster for At-Home Coffee Roasting

If you love fresh, roasted coffee, then you must choose the best home coffee roaster.

Home coffee roasting has been practiced for decades using traditional methods like placing a cast-iron skillet over a wood fire to roast coffee beans or hand-turning small steel drums on a stovetop.

These days, things have changed. You can roast coffee beans with ease at the comfort of your home.

Getting good quality roasted coffee beans is sometimes expensive. Besides, purchasing those beans at your local coffee store may not always provide you with the freshness you could get when you roast coffee beans at home.

That’s why; in a bid to take control of the taste and freshness of coffee, many coffee aficionados opt to roast their beans at home.

But the challenge most coffee lovers face is choosing the right home coffee roasting machine.

If you are looking for the best home coffee roaster machine and you are wondering what factors to consider before you can invest your money, this article is for you.

Here, you will learn how to choose the best home coffee roaster for your home coffee roasting needs.

Ideally, a coffee roaster should be easy to clean and use.

But that’s not all. Read the whole article to know how to pick a good roasting machine.

Why Should You Choose Home Coffee Roasting?

Many would wonder why would anyone go through all the trouble of roasting coffee at home when it’s easy to buy roasted coffee at a local coffee shop and save time?

Look, when you start roasting coffee beans at home, you learn a lot of things. For instance, you will learn more about different coffee, you will also roast coffee according to your preferences. In the end, you will enjoy the freshness of home-roasted coffee.

Although many people would start with a popcorn maker, we wouldn’t recommend you to use it for your home coffee roasting.

If you are really looking to brew barista-like coffee, you should choose the best machine to roast your own coffee beans at home.

Why Shouldn’t You Choose A Popcorn Maker?

Typically, a popcorn popper roasts coffee beans by pushing hot air through a pile of tiny kernels.

This is exactly how coffee roasting is founded. But here our concern with a popcorn maker is that it doesn’t roast coffee beans consistently (some will be over roasted while others will be under-roasted…and when it comes to brewing a fresh cup of coffee, consistency is everything.

Another thing why we wouldn’t advise you to roast coffee beans with a popcorn maker is that the machine allows you to roast a small batch at a time.

There are plenty of different coffee roasters out there. So, before you rush out and buy the first machine you see, here are some useful tips to help you choose the right home coffee roaster for home coffee roasting.

Consider The Size

Chances are that before you purchased your coffee maker, you considered the amount of coffee you are going to brew based on the number of people who are going to drink the coffee.

When buying a coffee roaster, you also need to consider the amount of coffee beans you are going to roast at home.

Generally, roasters come in different sizes.

For instance, air roasters can only roast small batches of coffee while drum roasters can roast large amounts due to their large roasting chambers.

Well, if you intend to roast small amounts of coffee of different types weekly, you may consider buying a smaller air roaster.

If you want to roast coffee beans you will use the whole week, a drum coffee roaster would be the best option for you.

In short, before choosing a home coffee roaster, think about the amount of coffee you will consume every week and the frequency of roasting.

Understand the Types of Bean Coffee Roasters

Typically, there are two types of home coffee roasters namely air roasters and drum roasters.

Air Coffee Roasters

Air coffee roasters resemble popcorn makers where hot air is blown on coffee beans that are spread on a bed. An air roaster will take around 8 to 12 minutes to roast coffee beans. Sometimes air roasting may result in over-roasting or under-roasting of beans and cannot roast large amounts of beans at once. These types of roasters are suitable for home use. But if you are planning to roast large batches of beans at once, this type would not be suitable for you.

Drum Coffee Roasters

Drum roasters; on the other hand, involve hot air flowing around rotating cylinders to heat the coffee beans. This is meant to achieve even roasting.

Drum roasters take around 16 minutes to roast coffee beans.

The good thing about drum roasters albeit being slow can roast large batches of coffee beans at once. These types of coffee roasters can make full-bodied and strong coffee with darker beans. They are also suitable for use at coffee shops.

Opt for a Roaster with a Cooling Feature

As a rule, once the coffee has been roasted fully, the beans need to cool down fast otherwise, the heat generated in the chamber will continue roasting the beans.

For this reason, it’s important to choose a roaster with a cooling feature.

Most of the latest home coffee roasters will blow cool air through the roasting chamber after roasting beans to the desired level.

Other high-end roasters come with an external tray where the beans are dumped onto and cooled quickly. This prevents over-roasting of the beans.

Ease Of Use

The trouble that one has to go through to roast coffee beans perfectly is perhaps why most coffee lovers prefer to buy roasted beans at a local coffee shop.

Ideally, if you have little or no experience with home coffee roasting then you need to choose a roaster machine that’s easy to control the flame and airflow.

Some coffee roasters are pre-programmed. You just need to select your roasting level and the equipment will do the roasting for you.

Others have inbuilt motors that turn the beans for even roasting. This helps to prevent overcooking or undercooking the beans.

Ideally, you need a home coffee roaster that’s easy to use and allows you more control over the process.

Versatility

While you will be purchasing a home coffee roaster for roasting beans, these machines aren’t only meant for coffee beans alone.

If you will need to roast popcorn, seeds, or nuts, you need to choose a versatile coffee roaster machine.

Multipurpose coffee roasters are suitable for roasters who love fresh ingredients.

A coffee roaster that does more than one job will also give you value for your money.

Therefore, the next time you are choosing home coffee roasting equipment, consider whether you want one that can handle more than one job or not.

Cost of the Home Coffee Roaster

Usually, before you hit the road in search of a coffee roaster, you need to decide how much you want to spend on the machine.

Once you set your budget, it would be easier to choose a roaster that’s either below or within your budget.

Remember, coffee roasters just as they come in different sizes, they also come with different price tags.

But even if you don’t have enough money to buy a roaster you can always lease one instead of buying it.

As a rule, you shouldn’t choose a cheap roaster and even though good quality roasters are expensive, they tend to last longer and can offer you good service.

How to Choose the Best Home Coffee Roaster: FAQs

What are the Different Coffee Roasts?

The different coffee roasts are light roasts, medium roasts, medium-dark roasts, and dark roasts.

What Is Green Coffee?

Coffee beans are harvested from evergreen plants in warmer climates usually in tropical regions. The coffee beans are encased in the fruits of these trees, are usually two, and flat.

When they are taken out of the coffee plants, coffee beans are green. This is when they have been dried and cleaned and are waiting to be roasted.

Chances are that you have never seen green coffee beans, so you may be wondering.

But here is the thing…

Once they have been roasted, coffee beans change to various shades of brown. So, if you have been buying roasted beans at your local coffee shop, then you may not know green beans unless you visit the places they are grown.

Why Should You Roast Coffee Beans at Home?

Well, it’s much easier and convenient to buy roasted coffee beans instead of roasting them at home.

However, the advantages of home coffee roasting are much better than the convenience you get with buying roasted coffee beans.

First, home coffee roasting allows you to enjoy a cup of freshly roasted beans.

Secondly, you can roast coffee beans according to your preferences

Thirdly, because green coffee beans are sometimes sold in wholesale prices, home coffee roasting can be an economical option for coffee lovers.

Fourthly, green coffee beans have a longer shelf life. When you buy roasted beans, you will need to use them for around 15 to 20 days after roasting whereas green coffee beans can stay for 4 months without getting stale.

When you buy green beans, you will just need to roast only the amount you need and this helps to prevent the waste of throwing away stale roasted beans.

How Do You Choose A Home Coffee Roaster?

When choosing a coffee roaster, you need to consider the amount of coffee you drink, how dark you want to roast, and your budget.

An air roaster will provide dark and oily beans.

Is Home Coffee Roasting Worth It?

Roasting your own coffee at home can be worth the time and effort if you value the fresh factor. Remember, coffee starts to lose its freshness and flavor a few days after roasting. So, yes, roasting your coffee beans at home helps you to enjoy coffee at its best.

What Are The Different Types Of Coffee Roasts?

Generally, there are four main coffee roast types namely Light, Medium, Medium-Dark, and Dark. Before roasting, coffee beans are green and have little or no taste.

Is Light or Dark Roast Coffee More Bitter?

Usually, when coffee beans have been roasted longer, they tend to be darker. Lighter roasts contain more caffeine, are brighter, and less bitter.

Does the Size Matter When Buying a Home Coffee Roaster?

Different roasters come in different sizes.

Generally, air roasters can roast small amounts of beans at a time whereas drum coffee roasters can roast larger amounts at a time because they are made with larger chambers.

If you intend to roast small batches of different coffees each week, a smaller air roaster would be the best option for you. Equally, if you are looking to roast bigger batches, then you may choose a drum roaster.

 How Much Control Do You Need?

Typically, high priced roasters are controllable. Most of them are programmable. You can create and save roast profiles which enables you to roast beans consistently.

Should You Consider Cooling as Important as Heating?

As usual, when coffee beans have been roasted to the desired level, they need to cool down quickly. It’s therefore important to choose a coffee roaster with a cooling feature.

Most coffee roasters will blow cool air through the roasting chamber when roasting is done.

Note that if not cooled down, coffee beans will continue to roast due to the heat that has accumulated in the roasting chamber and this can lead to over-roasting.

Can You Roast Coffee Beans Outdoors?

The air temperature in the immediate surroundings can affect either speed up or slow down the heating of the coffee roaster. This means that when you roast outdoors, your roasting may take much longer than required.

How Long Does It Take To Roast Coffee?

An air roaster will take 8 to 12 minutes while a drum roaster 14 to 20 minutes.

Does Roasting Produce Much Smoke?

Coffee roasting produces smoke. Les smoke is produced if you are roasting small amounts of coffee, light or medium roasts, and more if roasting large amounts of coffee or darker roast.

You need to have good ventilation where you are roasting.

Well, some coffee roaster machines have a way to minimize smoke.

How Long Should You Drink Coffee After Roasting?

You can brew coffee and drink it 24 hours after roasting your beans. Espresso roasts take a little longer to develop its body and flavor though.

How Long Until Roasted Coffee Becomes Stale?

Roasted beans can stay up to 10 days after roasting. However, they start losing their flavor and freshness 7 days after roasting. That’s why we recommend roasting smaller batches each week.

Also, to extend the shelf life of roasted beans, you should store them in airtight containers away from sunlight. Avoid storing roasted beans in the fridge.

How Long Does Home Coffee Roaster Last?

Typically, a small coffee roaster lasts for around two years on average.  If you want to increase the lifespan of your small roaster, you should use it less, for lighter roasting and clean it regularly.

When used heavily, roasting dark, and not cleaning it regularly, a small roaster can last less than two years.

Drum roasters tend to last longer because of the readily available parts for replacement incase a heating element or fan fails to function.

Are You Able To Choose A Home Coffee Roaster Now?

Home coffee roasting enables you to add depth, flavors, and aromas to your coffee brewing.

With the best home coffee roaster, you can roast coffee beans according to your preferences. Besides, having a coffee roaster at home will enable you to brew with fresh beans.

…and the good thing is that most of the latest coffee roasters are designed with features that make roasting a lot more easily.

Happy home coffee roasting!

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