The most important step in processing coffee beans is the roasting stage. Coffee roasting is an art as well as a
science that requires experience and the right kind of equipment. This is where a coffee bean roaster comes in.
Home coffee roasters come in all manner of shapes and sizes. Prices can range anywhere between fifty and a thousand
dollars. Of course, as with any manufactured product, price does not mean that you will always get the best
quality. Beyond looking to a reliable brand, here are a few tips about what to look for, based on your goals.
Whilst stoves have traditionally been used for roasting coffee beans, new modern home coffee roasters make it
possible to carry out the roasting process at home without any effort at all.
Stove Top Coffee Roasters
Simple stove top coffee bean roasters are basically just a sauce pan with a tight lid and a special handle. The
handle contains a crank that allows the roaster to stir up the beans which is essential to prevent the beans from
burning on the bottom as well as to keep the hot air inside the roaster circulating evenly.
Even in this simple set up, be sure to look for ones that have a thermometer in the lid as temperature control
is a very important aspect of proper roasting.
At the other extreme are coffee bean roaster machines that do it all for you. All you need to do is drop in a
pre measured volume of green beans from a bag, switch the machine on and sit back and wait.
These top of the range models have inbuilt thermometers, thermostatically controlled heating mechanisms,
intelligent air flow control geometry, rotating canisters and a timer to automatically shut the machine off at the
Hot Air Coffee Bean Roaster
The most commonplace of home coffee roasters is the air roaster that works more or less like a popcorn maker.
Hot air is circulated through the mixture, while the beans are agitated. This gives a even roast with some models
even filtering out the chaff produced as the skins burst from the expansion of the coffee bean.
Modern home coffee roasters can be adjusted to a range of roasting levels with some having some fifteen
different settings. The resulting coffee beans vary in appearance from a light cinnamon, to medium to a dark French
The ability to circulate air evenly and heat uniformly is critical and designs vary in the degree to which they
meet these goals. As an example, a coffee roaster with a heating source only at the bottom and constricted air flow
is going to provide an uneven roast.
Home Drum Coffee Roaster
Drum roasters help get around this, by providing a rotating drum that uses gravity to move the beans around,
rather than relying solely on a stirrer at the bottom.
Beware, though as many do not have windows for observing the roasting process which is a must for those who like
to experiment and fine tune the roast.
One important point of care in using a home coffee roaster is to place it in a well ventilated area or next to
some external vent such as a counter top vent or a stove hood exhaust. This is because the roasting machine emits
smoke while roasting the coffee beans. Never leave the room while roasting the coffee, even if the roaster is
Once confined to more professional use, home coffee roasters are now readily available and have the additional
benefit of being able to roast larger quantities. Useful for those large dinner parties where you want the freshest