Becoming a home coffee roaster is a great option if you have mastered your brewing skills and are ready for the next step. Investing in a home coffee roaster allows a greater level of regulation over your brew, you are literally in control of every step from bean to brew. And not only can this hobby increase your love and knowledge of coffee, but it is able to save you hundreds of dollars a year.
Roaster options are rather limited, especially in comparison to other coffee gear like espresso machines and grinders. In this article, we will first give you the rundown on why and how to roast coffee beans at home, before reviewing five of the best home coffee roasters and giving our recommendations.
Our pick: Kaldi Home Coffee Roaster
If you’re pushed for time our recommendation is that the Kaldi coffee roaster is the best home coffee roaster. While it is not the cheapest, it is well-made, customizable, and does a great job of roasting beans. Also it is a pretty impressive-looking piece of coffee gear to add to your kit!
Why Roast Coffee at Home?
Roasting coffee beans at home can be the next step in the journey to brew the perfect cup. The advantages basically come down to control and cost.
Investing in a home coffee roaster allows you to create your own blends of coffee to perfectly suit your palate. And perhaps even more significantly, green coffee beans are at least half the price of roasted coffee beans. So if you are an avid coffee fan you can save hundreds of dollars a year while perfecting the art of the brew! And let’s be honest, the idea of roasting your own coffee beans and filling your house with the rich aroma of coffee isn’t a bad incentive either! Roasting at home can be done either through a roasting machine or even with appliances you probably already have in your kitchen! See our article on how to roast coffee at home for a detailed guide.
Best Home Coffee Roaster 2023
Kaldi Coffee Roaster
-Best Coffee Roaster-
Type: Drum Roaster | Capacity: 250 grams (200g recommended)
The Kaldi home coffee roaster is a Korean-made drum roaster. This is a serious machine that delivers on looks, features, and build quality. While the Kaldi roaster requires a significant upfront investment its performance makes it worthwhile, particularly if you are wanting to get into coffee roasting in earnest.
The Kaldi is a fully motorized drum roaster with a stirring drum that holds up to 250 grams of beans. To roast coffee beans you place the roaster on top of a gas burner and, once it has warmed up, pour the coffee beans through a funnel at the top. There is a temperature probe inserted into the rotating beans so you can gauge the bean temperature. There is also a sampler for you to see what stage the beans are at. The machine is quiet when in use allowing you to hear the first and second cracks. While there are few bells and whistles, you can control the temperature (via the gas stove) and the roast time.
The downsides of the machine are that it doesn’t come with any smoke suppression technology, so needs to be used in a well-ventilated area. It also has a steep learning curve, which in addition to the high price tag, means it is not a very good option for beginners. Overall the Kaldi roaster is a high-quality machine that is a workhorse with few extra bells and whistles. It produces even and consistent roasts and is ideal for the hipster wanting to master the art of roasting. Kaldi also have a mini roaster which is smaller in size and slightly cheaper.
-Best Roaster For Beginners-
Type: Air Roaster | Capacity: 120 grams
The Fresh Roast is an air roaster that is fun and simple to use. A knob on the front of the machine allows you to select from nine different temperature settings, adjust the fan speed, and select the roast time before hitting start. The glass roasting chamber, combined with a real-time temperature reader, helps you keep track of the roast’s progress. The Fresh Roast has a quick roast time taking anywhere between 6-10 minutes depending on the origin and roast level you are aiming for.
The machine itself is very compact and quiet when in use, however, due to the smell omitted when roasting it is recommended to use the machine outside or in a well-ventilated area. The only drawback is that it only has a small 120-gram capacity, so not ideal if you are wanting to roast a larger batch of beans. Overall the Fresh Roast is the ideal machine for beginners. It is easy to use, affordable, and highly reviewed.
Nuvo Coffee Roaster
-Best Budget Coffee Roaster-
Type: Manual | Capacity: 70 grams
The Nuvo coffee roaster is another Korean-made hand roaster, with a very basic design. This roaster is completely manual with no timers, temperature settings or cool down features. To roast you simply put your green coffee beans in the chamber and hold the roaster over a gas or electric stovetop (but not induction). Once it heats up you shake it, listening for the first crack and when the beans reach your desired roast level you empty them through the hollow handle. A medium roast generally takes around 10-12 minutes.
The Nuvo has a compact design and a correspondingly small 70 gram capacity. The one drawback of the design is that the handle can get hot, so it is a wise idea to wear gloves while roasting. All-in-all the Nuvo is a simple and affordable roaster and would be a great step up from using a frypan or popcorn maker. If you are a beginner, looking for an entry level home coffee roaster the Nuvo is worth considering.
Mifxin Coffee Roaster
-Best For Large Batches-
Type: Electric | Capacity: 800 grams
If you are looking for a large-capacity roaster the Mifxin is a great option. This roaster holds a whopping 800 grams. And not only is it simple to use, but it also has an affordable price tag.
Resembling a slow cooker, the Mifxin roaster has a straightforward design. The inside is lined with a non-stick coating making it easy to clean. Inside there are rotating arms that stir the beans during roasting. A dial on the front allows you to adjust the temperature from 100 to 240 C giving access to the full range of roast levels from blonde to Italian. And finally, there is a transparent glass lid on top allowing you to keep a close eye on the beans during roasting. A roast usually takes around 20-30 minutes.
The simple design does have some limitations. Some users report that the arms do not do the best job of stirring if there are either too few or too many beans. Also, there is no chaff collector which can make it messy. All things considered, the Mifxin is a great value roaster and a sound investment for coffee lovers.
Dyvee Gas Roaster
Type: Drum Roaster | Capacity: 400 grams (200-300g recommended)
The Dyvee Gas Roaster is an easy choice if you already have a gas stove at home. This drum roaster has a stunning design with a stainless steel frame, a Quartz glass drum, and a wooden handle for an elegant finish. The transparent glass drum is the most striking feature allowing you to watch the whole roasting process.
To operate the roaster you simply fill the drum with green coffee beans, place the roaster over a gas burner, and then turn it on. The drum automatically rotates, stirring the beans. A manual thermometer inserted into the drum allows you to gauge the temperature and adjust the gas stove accordingly. The Dyvee can roast up to 400 grams of beans at a time, although 200-300 grams is recommended. Roasting takes anywhere from 20-60 minutes depending on the number of beans and roast level, which does make it one of the slower coffee roasters on this list.
While the Dyvee is a stunning roaster, it is not perfect. It doesn’t have any smoke suppression system so outside use is recommended. There is also no chaff collector which can make it messy. In addition, the roaster requires a separate gas burner.
Hottop Coffee Roaster
Type: Drum Roaster | Capacity: 300 grams (250g recommended)
If you are ready to invest in coffee roasting more seriously, the Hottop Roaster is the most advanced roaster on this list. While this high-end machine doesn’t offer a huge capacity, it does enable a high level of control so you can roast with precision and consistency.
An LED screen on the front of the machine allows you to set the roast time, temperature, and fan speed. The machine also allows you to save three roast profiles to easily repeat your favorite roasts. This is a helpful feature if you are roasting the same types of coffee beans each time. In addition to this, there is a USB port allowing you to connect your laptop to the machine. By downloading a program called Artisan you can graph and monitor your roast in real time.
Roasting with the Hottop takes around 12-16 minutes. The machine has a front-facing window allowing you to monitor the entire roasting process. When the roast is finished, the beans are released into a cooling tray with an agitation arm and fan. This is a nice feature, cooling the beans down in 4-5 minutes.
The Hottop roaster is a professional-grade roaster that offers a premium build and a high level of control.
The Best Home Coffee Roaster
Our final verdict is that the Kaldi Home Coffee Roaster is the best home coffee roaster for most people. It is capable of roasting large batches of beans, able to be customized, and will produce a high-quality roast. The machine offers a lot of features and looks amazing. All in all, this is a great machine to learn to master the art of roasting on.
If you are looking for something a bit more affordable both the Fresh Roast and the Nuvo coffee roaster are good starting points for beginners.
What to Look for in a Home Coffee Roaster?
There are basically two types of home coffee roasters you can buy:
Think about how much coffee you need and how often you want to be roasting a batch. Generally, air roasters are only able to roast small batches whereas drum roasters have larger chambers to cater to a bigger batch.
Manual or Automatic?
How invested are you in coffee roasting? Is this an occasional hobby or a new passion? If you are just starting out it is worth considering a manual roaster. These are a lot more affordable but do have a smaller capacity and require constant attention during roasting. If you are wanting to really get into coffee roasting an automatic roaster is a lot more convenient. These are easier to use but do require a significant investment.
How involved do you want to be in the roasting process? Do you want to just flip the switch and leave it running? Or are you more inclined to tweak different variables for a more unique roast? In general, the higher-end machines have more programmability and allow you to create and save roast profiles for increased consistency. While the lower-end machines only offer basic time and temperature control.
This stage is almost as important as heating. You need the beans to cool down quickly or they will continue to roast. Most home coffee roasters blow cool air through the roasting chamber to do this. Others, like the Hottop, have an external cooling tray which the beans are dumped into.
Ease of cleaning
Roasting can be messy as chaff and smoke are released. Ideally, a machine will have a chaff collection system for easy cleanup and also smoke suppression systems so they can be used indoors. As a side note though, even if the roaster does have a smoke suppression system they still produce a lot of smoke so it is best to roast in a well-ventilated area or outside.
Noise/ visibility levels
If you are wanting to make an art out of roasting you may want to look for a quieter machine so you can hear the first and second cracks and know exactly what stage your roast is at. Similarly, you may want to opt for a machine that allows you to see the beans easily.
Stages of Coffee Roasting
Stage 1- Drying
A coffee bean is made up of about 8-12% water content. In this first stage, it may look like nothing is happening but the bean is warming up and the water starts to evaporate.
Stage 2- Browning
Once the beans have dried out they begin to brown (usually around 150C/ 302F). The coffee bean begins to expand and it sheds its thin skin (the chaff). At the end of this stage, you begin to hear the first crack. This occurs when the pressure inside the bean (from the build-up of gases) is released. It sounds similar to popcorn popping. Light-roasted coffee is usually stopped at or just after the first crack. These beans are a dark tan color and typically have a bright acidity, hints of fruit, a light body, and a lack of bitterness. Origin flavors are more pronounced in a light roast, so if you are using single-origin beans this is a great roast level to aim for.
Stage 3- Development
This is where the art of roasting comes in as the roaster determines how long to subject the coffee bean to heat. During this stage the complex flavors start to develop; the acidity and sweetness of the bean decreases as the sugars and acids inside are caramelized. This will result in a medium-roasted coffee. These beans are a light brown color and typically have a more balanced, sweeter taste with a hint of bitterness. They still have their unique flavors resulting from the origin but these are toned down and smoothed out.
At the end of this development stage, you hear the second crack as the structure of the bean begins to break down and its oils are released. They become darker and oils appear on the surface. This will result in a dark roasted coffee. These beans are a dark brown color with an oily sheen and typically have a low acidity and high level of bitterness. The flavor characteristics of their origin are far less pronounced at this stage.
Coffee Roasting Equipment
So now that you have decided on what roaster you are going to get, what other coffee roasting equipment would it be good to invest in?
Tips For Roasting Coffee Beans At Home