If you want to make the best possible coffee from home, you can’t take shortcuts. Using freshly roasted beans is the first step to getting the perfect cup of coffee.
Unless you enjoy heading out to your local roastery all the time the best way to get beans at their peak is to do it at home and control the whole process. It’s not even all that complicated once you have the equipment and have done it a time or two.
In most residential settings you can easily roast enough beans for the coming week in about 15 minutes of largely hands-off “work”.
Drum coffee roasters are nice to have because they are simple to use and although they aren’t cheap they aren’t out of the budgets for most coffee enthusiasts.
You already know that it’s worth owning a nice burr grinder over a blade so what’s the difference in getting a drum roaster over a smaller and cheaper unit?
Uniformity and volume.
Although the very popular Fresh Roast SR540 will roast coffee for you quickly and efficiently you will simply get a more uniform and controlled roast out of a Gene Cafe and you’ll be able to produce more roasted beans in the same amount of time too.
Not everyone always has the time (or patience) to roast their beans fresh all the time, which is okay.
That’s why we recommend using a good airtight container to keep your whole beans fresh before brewing for those times that you roast a larger batch than normal.
If you’re looking to get more involved in the coffee making process, then roasting your beans before use is a great start. The Gene Cafe on this list is probably the best home drum coffee roaster of them all but it is a bit pricey.
If you want a good alternative that doesn’t cost as much then definitely check out the Kaldi Home Roaster as well as some of the more manual models that I’ve reviewed below.
Before we get to the reviews however let’s first summarize these six options in the following table:
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|Behmor 5400 1600 Plus Customizable Drum Coffee Roaster
► Controls Smoke & Chaff Best
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|Gene Cafe CBR-101 Home Coffee Roaster
► The Best Home Drum Coffee Roaster!
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|TOPCHANCES 110V Home Kitchen Stainless Steel Coffee Roaster Machine
► Inexpensive Entry to Drum Coffee Roasting
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|Handy Coffee Bean Roaster Set for Home (Manual Crank)
► Your Most Affordable Option
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|Wotefusi Coffee Roaster Mini Coffee Bean Electric Roasting Machine
► Another Budget Friendly Option (Requires Separate Burner)
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|KALDI Mini Size Home Coffee Roaster with Thermometer, Sampler, & Hopper
► My Favorite All-In-One Roasting Drum
If all of those options seem too expensive or daunting to use then consider getting a popcorn popper for roasting beans. It’s got more of a hobby feel to it.
Now let’s get to the reviews.
Behmor 5400 1600 Plus Customizable Drum Coffee Roaster
This drum coffee roaster is a great choice for home roasting. You can do up to a pound per batch, and the roast profile settings are customizable.
It is comprised of quartz roasting elements, which are controlled with a thermostat. The roasting drum rotates at variable speeds to get an even roast.
The cooling cycle is very efficient, and allows for easy removal and clean up of the pieces. The inside of the roaster has a light to allow you to look at the beans as they process and a chaff collection tray makes things a lot easier.
The overall look is sleek and elegant, resembling a nice stainless steel microwave or toaster oven.
Gene Cafe CBR-101 Home Coffee Roaster
This coffee roaster has quite a different look than the previous. It has a rather quiet operation, with an easily viewable roast chamber and adjustable time and temperature settings.
You can roast up to 250 grams of coffee in about 15 minutes with this roaster. The roasting drum has a vortex twisting motion which tumbles the beans around at an even rate. The 3D off-axis rotation implemented ensures that your roast is even with each batch.
It comes with a manual cool button that you can use to stop the roasting process if you feel the beans are ready. This is a great function because a lot of the machines don’t allow you to interfere once the roast has begun.
When the drum hits the right temperature, the roaster beeps to let you know it’s ready to go.
TOPCHANCES 110V Home Kitchen Stainless Steel Coffee Roaster Machine
This coffee roaster certainly looks the part. It is only meant for roasting beans or nuts, so it will get your coffee roasted to the perfect level.
The machine weighs just 2.6 kg, and comes with a tray to place under the roaster. It is stainless steel, and looks very industrial.
There is an observation window to peek in at your beans as they are roasting.
Handy Coffee Bean Roaster Set for Home
This drum coffee roaster is another great choice for the home roaster. It is made of stainless steel, which is heat resistant, delicate, and durable. It can roast up to 250 grams of coffee at a time.
You can control the temperature while looking in at the beans through the observation window. While the stainless steel is heat-resistant, it is recommended to handle the roasting materials with care and gloves right after the process.
The roaster is small, compact and easy to use.
Wotefusi Coffee Roaster Mini Coffee Bean Electric Roasting Machine
The Wotefusi is a good choice for home roasting as well. It is made up of sleek stainless steel, and would look great with most coffee equipment.
The machine is very quiet, and you can barely tell it is roasting, You can also peak through the observation window to monitor the process.
It comes with an easy-to-use measuring platform, and has a tray below the roaster to collect any excess beans or use for condiments. The motor rotation is controlled by a simple on/off switch.
KALDI Mini Size Home Coffee Roaster with Thermometer, Sampler, & Hopper
This coffee roaster resembles the last couple on this list, with its oblong shape and overall design. The roller is also made up of stainless steel.
It roasts at a low decibel, so you will just hear a quiet hum. This allows you to determine the dehydration of the beans. You can also observe the beans as they roast through the observation window.
The stainless steel roller has carefully shaped holes which control the distribution of beans. The smoke produced during the process will discharge in a smooth manner, allowing for quicker cooling and easier removal of bean skin.
Buyer’s Guide to Home Drum Coffee Roasters
Figuring out the right coffee roaster to purchase can be quite the challenge, especially if you have never roasted coffee at home before. Luckily there are a lot of products out there that will make roasting at home a breeze.
The most important thing when deciding on the right roaster is to figure out what your plans are for roasting. If you plan to do large amounts of roasting at a time and store your beans, you’ll want to get a heavy duty machine with a large capacity.
If you just want to roast a small personal-use portion of beans every now and then, you don’t need to spend the big bucks on a huge roast. But you certainly don’t want to spend your money on a machine that will not suit all of your needs.
Consider the capacity of grinders you are considering, and see if they would match your expected use. Take the size of the grinder into account as well, because you will need to find a place to store it.
Different grinders run on different power, and some require specific voltage in order to run. You’ll need to figure out what power you have, and how you plan to get your machine running.
The look of the roaster is important as well, because you’ll want something that fits in with your other coffee equipment.
Here Are Some FAQs From Our Customers
What happens when coffee is roasting?
Roasting makes the transition between inedible beans to delightful, aromatic pieces of heaven. Coffee beans are harvested as green little beans which have a foul taste.
When they are roasted, the heat transforms the chemical makeup of the beans. The longer you roast, the darker and more aromatic the coffee becomes.
What are the different types of roasts?
The most common roasts are light roast, medium roast, and dark roast. As the beans get darker, the less caffeine the coffee has. Light roasts coffee contain the most caffeine, contrary to what a lot of people assume.
Light roasts spend the least amount of time roasting, which is why they are a lighter color and preserve most of their caffeine content. As the roasting process continues, the beans get darker with a stronger taste and aroma, and contain less caffeine.
What other types of coffee roasting can I do?
The most common types are drum or air roasters. Drum roasters are often preferred because they rotate and tumble the coffee as it roasts, creating an even process.
Air roasters use hot air to roast the coffee through air circulation on a heated plate. There are plenty of good air roasters available, but drum roasters tend to be more favored by coffee enthusiasts.
Wrapping Things Up With a Final Recommendation
If you’re planning on roasting beans at home, you are on the right track to the best tasting coffee you can possibly make. Roasting beans fresh gives you complete control over the flavor of your coffee.
I prefer the look of the Gene Cafe and find that it suits my needs best. I plan to roast a lot of coffee at a time, so I want something that has a good capacity and allows me to view as I roast.
It also runs on standard 120v power, so I don’t need to worry about getting a different source of power to get it going. The design would look great in my kitchen as well.
Others may find that the Gene Cafe is a bad match for their lifestyle, for a variety of reasons. That’s why it is great to have so many options out there for roasting coffee at home.
The idea of home-roasting can feel a bit daunting at times, as many are used to buying a product that has already been crafted by the experts. You will not regret making the switch when you discover all of the perks of roasting at home.
No matter what roaster you choose, you will be on your way to delicious, fresh coffee in no time. Just be sure to figure out what is best for you.
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