Top 6 Coffee Bean Roasters for Small Batch Roasting at Home

14 min read DEC 08, 2023

If you consider yourself a true coffee aficionado, it's time to take your coffee game to the next level by investing in a home coffee roaster. Indulging in the exquisite flavors of freshly roasted coffee is a pleasure that can be fully appreciated with your roaster. Intrigued by the art of roasting coffee at home? Read on to uncover the secrets of this delightful process.

Why Roast Coffee At Home?

They took the common route when they embarked on roasting coffee at home. They purchased a thrift store popcorn maker for $2 and ordered green coffee beans. However, they soon discovered that roasting exceptional coffee is not as simple as turning green beans brown. It involves numerous other factors and complexities.

But why would anyone bother with roasting their coffee at home? Besides gaining a deeper understanding of coffee, there is the opportunity to roast coffee perfectly according to personal preferences. It enables the creation of unique blends and the enjoyment of always having the freshest coffee. Starting with a popcorn maker may suffice initially, but proper equipment is necessary for true coffee enthusiasts ready to elevate their home barista career.

How To Choose The Right Coffee Roaster

They have some valuable tips to share before impulsively buying the first roaster that catches your eye. This crucial addition to your coffee equipment collection deserves your careful consideration, so please read on attentively.

Considering Trying A Popcorn Maker?

Although a popcorn popper is designed to blow hot air through small kernels, it falls short of meeting the requirements for roasting coffee. The risk of uneven roasting is significantly high, with some beans being over-roasted while others are under-roasted, resulting in a batch of coffee that lacks consistency.

Inconsistently roasted coffee beans fail to produce an exceptional cup of joe.
The limited strength of the air pushing through the beans restricts the roasting process and minimizes movement in the chamber. Additionally, only a few beans can be roasted at a time. In contrast, professional roasters continuously rotate the beans to ensure an even roast.

While a popcorn popper can do an adequate job of roasting, it doesn't deliver the astounding results that professional roasters achieve. However, it can serve as a valuable stepping stone into the roasting world without requiring a significant investment.

Different Types Of Coffee Roasters

There are two primary types of roasters: air roasters and drum roasters.

  • Air roasters, resembling popcorn makers in their concept, utilize direct heat (convection) to evenly roast the beans. Every bean receives uniform heat distribution by circulating hot air through the roasting chamber.
  • Drum roasters rely on indirect heat to roast the beans. These machines feature a rotating round chamber where heat is added to the outer metal surface. The roasting process occurs as the beans come into contact with the chamber.

Size Matters

Roasters come in different capacities. Air roasters are typically designed for handling smaller amounts, while drum roasters can accommodate larger batches. If you enjoy roasting a few small batches of different coffees each week, a smaller air roaster would be a suitable choice. Conversely, a drum roaster would be more appropriate for your needs if you prefer roasting a single large batch to last you the entire week.

How Much Control Do You Want?

When it comes to roasting, what's your approach? Are you the type to set and forget it, or do you meticulously fine-tune every variable for a unique roast? Generally, higher-priced roasters provide greater control. However, even at the lower end, you'll find basic time and temperature controls that can be adjusted.

As you venture into the higher end, you'll come across roasters with programmability. These allow you to create and save roast profiles for consistent results. Once the profiles are set, you must turn on the roaster and select a profile. It will automatically follow the settings, completing the roast without additional input.

Cooling Is Almost As Important As Heating

Properly cooling the coffee beans after reaching the desired roast level is essential. Without prompt cooling, residual heat in the chamber can lead to over-roasting. Therefore, a roaster with an efficient cooling feature is a vital component. While many roasters rely on cool air blowing through the chamber post-roasting, the top-tier roaster offers an ingenious design: an external tray for swift bean dumping. This clever feature ensures significantly faster cooling, granting a distinct advantage to those seeking to prevent over-roasting and preserve the perfect flavor of their coffee.

Keeping It Clean

Coffee roasters have a chaff collection system, ensuring easy cleanup, like a leisurely Sunday stroll in the park. Some roasters even have a smoke suppression system, allowing for safe indoor roasting. It's worth noting that although these systems reduce smoke, roasting darker coffee will still produce a considerable amount of smoke.

The 6 Best Home Coffee Roasters Of 2023

Now that you have comprehensively understood the essential characteristics to consider when selecting a coffee roaster, you are fully prepared to choose the perfect one that aligns with your personal preferences.

1. Fresh Roast SR540 – Best For Beginners And Small Batch Roasting


  • Highly affordable
  • Compact design that takes up minimal space
  • Quiet operation
  • User-friendly and easy to use 


  • Limited capacity to roast only 4oz of coffee per batch
  • Lack of smoke reduction system, requiring roasting near a window

If you're new to roasting your coffee beans, the Fresh Roast SR 500 540 is the perfect choice. This updated model offers significant improvements, allowing you to achieve perfection when roasting exotic green beans in no time. It stands out as the most cost-effective roaster on the list, making it ideal for beginners.

This roaster boasts a user-friendly design that anyone can operate. You can create various roast profiles with nine temperature settings, a fan adjustment dial, and roast time buttons. A higher fan speed is required to ensure proper bean movement during the roast, as there are no rotating components inside the roasting chamber. The Fresh Roast utilizes convective heat, making it an air roaster.

However, it's worth noting that the roasting chamber's size is relatively small, accommodating only about 4 oz or 120 grams of coffee per batch. While the roasting time is relatively quick, ranging from 6 to 9 minutes, you may need to roast multiple batches to have enough coffee for a week. For a more detailed analysis, check out the comprehensive review of the SR540.

2. Jiawanshun Home Coffee Roaster – Best Electric


  • Affordable pricing
  • Large capacity
  • Wide range of roast options with adjustable temperatures


  • Longer roasting time due to larger capacity

If you're searching for an affordable and user-friendly home coffee roaster, look no further than Jiawanshun's electric model. It significantly upgrades from using a popcorn popper, offering better quality without added complexity. Plus, it even has the bonus feature of popping popcorn.

This roaster features a temperature dial that allows you to adjust between 100 and 240 ℃, giving you access to a full spectrum of roasts, from light blond to rich Italian. With its rotating arm ensuring an even roast, achieving your desired level of darkness is effortless.

With a generous capacity of nearly a pound of coffee beans, this roaster is perfect for avid coffee enthusiasts. However, it's worth noting that the larger capacity does result in slightly longer roasting times, especially for darker roasts, which can take up to 20 minutes.

The compact design of this roaster boasts a modern aesthetic, making it easy to transport and store. One of the favorite features is the heatproof glass cover, allowing you to observe the roasting process. Additionally, the non-stick interior coating ensures effortless cleanup.

Jiawanshun's electric coffee roaster offers affordability, convenience, and quality, making it an excellent choice for home roasting enthusiasts.

3. DYVEE Gas Burner Coffee Roaster – Best Gas Roaster


  • The see-through quartz drum allows for easy monitoring of the roast process.
  • Can go up to eleven-oz at a time.
  • User-friendly.


  • The drum is fragile.
  • No temperature feedback.
  • Relatively slow.

If you have a gas stove at home, the Dyvee roaster is an excellent choice. Even without a gas stove, this unique home roaster may be worth investing in a hot plate.

It has a drum-style design and can handle up to 300 grams of coffee beans. However, its standout feature is the stunning transparent quartz drum. With this feature, you can closely monitor every second of your roast, eliminating the need to roast blindly or pull out sample beans.

Operating the roaster is simple - just place it over the burner and turn it on to start the rotation. Supported by a sturdy stainless steel frame, it also features a wooden handle that remains cool to the touch. However, it's important to handle the quartz drum carefully as it is delicate and can break if dropped, unlike metal drum roasters.

One downside of this roaster is the lack of temperature feedback. You'll need to carefully observe the roast and adjust the burner accordingly. Additionally, it's relatively slow, taking up to an hour for a dark roast. If you're in a hurry, they recommend purchasing pre-roasted dark coffee instead.

4. Nuvo Eco Ceramic Handy Coffee Bean Roaster – Budget Option


  • The waffle-shaped internal chamber ensures even roasting, guaranteeing quality results.
  • User-friendly and simple to operate, making it accessible to all.
  • Compatible with gas or electric ranges, campfires, and camp stoves, providing versatility.


  • Requires constant attention during the roasting process, demanding careful monitoring.
  • Limited capacity of up to 1/3 cup (70g) at a time, limiting batch size.

The Nuvo Eco Ceramic is a minimalist and hands-on coffee roasting vessel designed specifically for stovetop use. It eliminates the need for timers, temperature settings, or complex cool-down programs. Simply pour green beans (up to approximately 70g or just under three oz.) into the top opening, gently shake them over the heat source while listening for the satisfying crack, and finally, empty the roasted beans through the hollow handle when finished.

While the handle features a cowhide grip, it is advisable to use a hot pad or oven glove during the roasting process for safety. The maker implies shaking the Nuvo Eco in a figure-8 pattern for optimal results, ensuring an even roast throughout.

The roasting time may vary depending on the heat source and desired roast level, typically three to ten minutes. It is important to note that the Nuvo Eco is incompatible with induction cooktops. However, it is suitable for use on any other heat source, making it an excellent choice for those who enjoy roasting coffee while camping or in other outdoor settings.

5. Kaldi Home Coffee Roaster – Best Air Roaster


  • The Kaldi home coffee roaster employs innovative air roasting technology, granting unparalleled control over the roasting process.
  • It is accompanied by practical roasting accessories, further enhancing the overall experience.


  • The price tag may be deemed rather high.
  • It might not be the most suitable option for beginners.

The Kaldi home coffee roaster emerges as a relatively fresh contender in the market, purposefully crafted for committed home roasters driven by an unwavering passion for perfecting their craft. Despite its sleek appearance, this roaster prioritizes functionality over unnecessary features, recognizing that simplicity reigns supreme when pursuing the ideal roast.

One minor drawback they encountered is the absence of smoke suppression technology, which is somewhat surprising considering the target audience of frequent roasters. Therefore, it is imperative to operate the roaster in a well-ventilated area.

If you are willing to immerse yourself in the intricacies of roasting, the Kaldi home coffee roaster ensures exceptional quality and undoubtedly merits a well-deserved 5/5 rating. It comes as no surprise that it is rapidly gaining traction among coffee lovers.

6. Home Coffee Roaster Behmor 2000AB


  • Roasts up to 1lb of beans
  • Upgrade kits available
  • Shutdown alert


  • Controls can be confusing
  • Not suitable for dark roasts

The Behmor 2000AB occupies a unique position, bridging the gap between a coffee enthusiast's appliance and a piece of professional-grade coffee equipment. While a countertop device may have a higher price tag, it boasts many features typically found in more expensive machines.

This microwave-like roaster proffers 5 pre-programmed roast profiles for effortless operation, complemented by an automatic cooling down design. For those seeking customization, there is also an option to manually program the time, temperature, and drum speed, albeit with some reference to the instructions. It's important to note that while the machine is designed for indoor use with its smoke-suppression function, it is not completely smoke or odor-free.

The 2000AB is an upgraded iteration of the AB and 1600AB models, featuring several internal enhancements to optimize performance. One notable addition is the unattended safety shutoff alert, which notifies users of audible beeping sounds to prompt the continuation of the roast cycle. The exciting news is that if you own an older model, you can upgrade the control panel without replacing the entire machine.

Verdict: Which Is The Best Coffee Roaster?

If you're starting your coffee roasting journey, they highly recommend the Fresh Roast sr540. It's an upgraded version of the sr500, which is no longer produced. This affordable option is an excellent entry point into the captivating world of home roasting. With this machine, you can effortlessly create small-batch roasts and relish the unparalleled freshness of your coffee. Get ready to elevate your coffee experience to new heights.

Frequently asked questions

What is the difference between the Fresh Roast sr540 and other models?

The Fresh Roast sr540 is an upgraded version of the sr500, which is no longer produced. It offers a wide range of features that make roasting coffee beans faster, easier, and more enjoyable than ever before. Some notable advantages include a larger capacity, a smoke-suppression function, an upgraded control panel, and an unattended safety shutoff alert.

Is it expensive to buy a coffee roaster?

No! Depending on your chosen model, you can find a good quality roaster for as little as $100-$200. Of course, higher-end models with more features will likely be more expensive. However, if you're just getting started, the Fresh Roast sr540 is a great affordable option that will help to take your coffee experience to the next level.

How often do I need to clean my coffee roaster?

They recommend cleaning your coffee roaster after every use. It helps prevent any leftover residue from affecting the taste of your coffee and protects the inner components from damage. Cleaning is easy and shouldn't take 10-15 minutes. You'll just need to follow the instructions that come with your roaster for proper maintenance.

What types of coffee beans should I use for home roasting?

When choosing the right coffee beans for home roasting, you'll want to look for high-quality green (unroasted) coffee beans. If possible, buy them in bulk to save money and get the freshest beans available. You can also look for specialty coffee beans such as single-origin, fair-trade, and organic varieties. These are usually higher quality than mass-produced blends. Whichever type you choose, store them in an airtight container to keep them fresh for longer.

What kind of flavor profiles can I expect from home-roasted coffee?

Home-roasted coffee can offer various flavors, depending on the type of bean you choose and how you roast it. For example, lighter roasts generally have more citrusy and floral notes, while darker roasts are more full-bodied with hints of chocolate or caramel. Certain coffee beans may also have some unusual flavor profiles, such as tobacco or nutty notes. Experimenting with different roasting methods and bean types is a great way to find the flavor profile that's perfect for you.

Is home-roasted coffee better than store-bought?

In general, home-roasted coffee has more freshness and flavor than store-bought varieties. The main benefit of home roasting is that you can control the entire process yourself, from selecting the beans to grinding and brewing. It means you can tailor the roast to your preference and get a cup of coffee the way you like every time. Home-roasted coffee is more economical than store-bought options since you can buy beans in bulk and roast them yourself. Home-roasted coffee is a great way to enjoy fresh and flavorful cups of your favorite beverage.

Are there any safety precautions I should take when roasting coffee at home?

When roasting coffee at home, it's important to be mindful of potential hazards such as fires and burns. Make sure to keep a fire extinguisher nearby at all times, as well as wear protective gloves and eyewear when handling hot beans. It's also important to be aware of your ventilation system, as roasting coffee can create a lot of smoke and fumes that could be harmful if not properly ventilated. Home roasting can be a safe and enjoyable experience with the right safety precautions.

Is there anything else I should know about roasting coffee?

There are many subtleties to roasting coffee, so it takes patience and practice to perfect the craft. Additionally, the quality of your cup of coffee will depend greatly on the type and freshness of the beans used, so make sure to buy high-quality beans from a reputable source. With enough practice and dedication, anyone can become an expert roaster and enjoy the perfect cup of coffee every time.

Check out Lifeboost Coffee Pour Over Coffee Machine.


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