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.
The 4 Best Hot Air Coffee Roasters For The Home (+1 Alternative)
Air roasters can often be a favored tool among those who roast their own beans.
They’re typically more compact than drum roasters, and can also be less costly.
Furthermore, they require less effort than some of the more manual methods.
These roasters use hot air to stimulate and roast the beans, meaning you won’t have to worry about stirring or agitating.
In addition, they can also provide a pretty reliable experience, keeping the whole process rather consistent.
For those who are looking to move up from a manual method, they’re a great way to go.
Continue on to learn about what air roasters can provide and take a look at some top air roaster models you can use in your home.
Coffee Roasting Methods
There are many roasting methods out there that you can use.
Some are very precise, involving appliances made specifically for roasting coffee beans.
Meanwhile, others involve tools you likely already have around your home.
Naturally, the tools made specifically for this process are going to be more precise in how they do it.
However, that’s not to say that other options can’t yield deliciously roasted beans as well.
That said, they might take more time or effort than something like an air roaster.
As a result, it’s up to you to weigh the benefits and downfalls of each method.
Hot Air Roasters Vs. Other Types
The most common roaster types out there are drum roasters and air roasters.
While both are known to work quite well, air roasters are often able to work more quickly.
As a result, the coffee beans are able to keep more of their flavor throughout the process.
Furthermore, they tend to do a better job of getting the chaff up and away from the beans as they roast.
You’ll also have more control over the process, roasting beans to the perfect temperature every time.
On top of that, air roasters tend to be more compact than drum roasters, which is great for those who may not have the space for a huge roaster.
Hot Air Roaster Benefits
There are a number of benefits you can get from an air roaster.
Oftentimes, you get a high level of control over the roasting process.
You can typically choose from pre-programmed settings or make manual selections.
On top of that, you can stop the roasting at any time if you feel the beans are ready.
Furthermore, hot air roasters tend to come at a lower cost than drum roasters, making them more cost-effective than other options.
In combination with the benefits listed above, hot air roasters are truly a great option.
Hot Air Roaster Downfalls
For the most part, the benefits of these devices tend to outweigh the downfalls.
That said, they aren’t perfect.
Most of the downfalls refer to individual roaster options, so you’ll want to research the roaster you plan to purchase thoroughly before doing so.
Some models can have problems with breakages, weak fans or other minor issues.
Meanwhile, in rare cases there can be some models that may catch fire if they aren’t watched carefully.
Knowing what to expect from the model you buy can go a long way.
Best Hot Air Roasters
The Nesco CR-1010-PR is a handy little device that is able to roast up to about 1/3rd of a pound of beans.
With that amount, you’ll be able to make nearly 40 cups of coffee before you need to roast more beans.
On top of that, it’s able to complete a roast in under 20 minutes.
Sometimes that can be a lot less if you want a lighter roast.
When compared to other models, this one is also quite affordable.
As a result, you’ll be able to save money both on coffee beans and your roaster.
It’s definitely an option worth trying out!
The FreshRoast name is a common one among hot air roasters, and they offer a few different models to make sure there’s something for everyone.
The FreshRoast SR500 is one that is very easy to use and runs rather quietly.
It’s also able to provide up to 78 grams of roasted coffee at a time.
You will want to keep in mind that stirring or use of a fan will be needed to make sure the roast is even.
For some, this might be a downfall but overall it’s a small part of getting a great coffee roast.
Fresh Roast SR340
The Fresh Roast SR340 is similar to the SR500, but in a larger size.
Whereas the SR500 is able to roast up to 3.5 ounces, this one can roast up to 5 ounces at a time.
That makes it an ideal option for those who need to roast larger batches.
If you like a lighter roast, it’s also able to get the job done very quickly.
Sometimes in under 6 minutes!
This option also includes a fan so you won’t need to worry as much about agitating the beans yourself.
For those in search of their first coffee roaster, this is a very user-friendly option.
Fresh Roast SR700
If you’re looking to take your coffee roasting to the high-tech level, the Fresh Roast SR700 is a fantastic option.
Not only does this device get your beans roasted well, but it’s also able to work with various Windows programs to make and save modifications.
That way, once you find the perfect roast you’ll be able to get the same results every time.
In addition, the interface is also very user-friendly.
You’ll be able to have full control over the roasting process, including fan speeds and temperature.
It’s also able to roast around 6 ounces at a time, or less if you want a smaller batch.
There’s an alternative to air roasters that not everyone may be aware of.
Popcorn poppers also use hot air to get the job done, though the process may be a little different.
They are often lower cost, which is good for those on a tight budget.
Take a look at these alternative options!
Presto 04820 PopLite
The Presto PopLite is a simple air-driven popcorn popper that you can use for roasting coffee beans.
It comes in at a very affordable cost, so you can try out roasting your own beans without worry for investing too much if it doesn’t work out.
Keep in mind that it may not be able to roast quite as much as standard air roasters.
After all, it is meant primarily for popcorn, which has different space requirements.
Make sure that you get familiar with the popcorn popper roasting process for coffee beans.
That way, you can get the best possible results.
Nostalgia Electric Popcorn Popper
Using the Nostalgia Popcorn Popper, you’ll be able to roast up to 3 ounces of beans.
You can also expect each batch to take up to about ten minutes, depending on how dark you want the roast to be.
It’s a very affordable option, but keep in mind that you won’t have access to a warranty.
This is largely because using something other than popcorn in the device voids it.
Luckily, if it should break during use, the amount of money that went into it is a lot lower than other options.
The 5 Best Small Drum Roasters For The Home
More and more, coffee-lovers are opting to roast their own coffee beans.
Doing so allows you more control over the results, and you can save money over pre-roasted options.
There are also so many methods of roasting to choose from!
You can use the oven, a frying pan or a popcorn popper.
Or you can take it up a notch with a drum or air roaster.
Between the latter options, drum roasters are by far the most popular.
They are also what more commercial coffee companies use.
Typically, they can roast larger amounts and get the job done well.
Continue on, and we’ll help you with finding the perfect drum roaster for your home!
Roasting Your Own Coffee Beans
While it may seem complicated, roasting your own coffee beans doesn’t take too much effort.
This is especially true if you use a drum or air roaster.
You’ll also be able to purchase and roast green coffee beans.
That can not only save money, but also ensure you get a fresher cup.
Often, people find that having coffee beans that are fresh can improve the flavor greatly.
It’s hard to get fresher than beans you’ve roasted yourself!
There’s really no reason not to try roasting your own coffee beans!
Drum Roasting Vs Other Methods
When it comes to comparing drum roasting to methods without a roaster, there can be some pretty huge differences.
One of the biggest aspects is that roasters tend to be better and keeping smoke out of the process.
Between drum and air roasters, there are also some different features worth keeping in mind.
The first of these is that drum roasters can often roast larger batches than air roasters.
That aspect is worth keeping in mind as you shop around.
Roasters in general can also provide more control over the temperature than others.
They also tend to do a better job with handling the chaff that comes loose.
Drum Roasting Pros
To begin with, drum roasters can typically roast more at a time.
This makes them a more suitable option when you need to roast a lot of beans.
Furthermore, it’s also why commercial options tend to prefer drum roasting to air roasting.
You’ll also be able to relax as the roasting takes places, because the drum does all the agitating for you.
That not only keeps the beans roasting evenly, but also helps to remove the chaff from the beans.
Because of that, you won’t have to worry as much about removing the chaff when the coffee beans are finished roasting.
Drum Roasting Cons
While drum roasters can be incredibly useful, they aren’t perfect.
Depending on the model, some can find that they may not be the most precise with regard to control over the process.
They also may not be the quickest option compared to air roasters.
Many find that air roasters can get the job done more quickly, though the batches may be smaller.
In addition, drum roasters typically tend to require more space than air roasters.
As a result, you’ll need to make sure that you have the space to provide for any model you choose.
This is worth keeping in mind if you live in a smaller space.
Top Drum Roasters
Aillio Bullet R1
The Aillio Bullet R1 is an option that stands apart from others, due to its unique look.
It’s a roaster that uses a steel drum, which is capable of holding up to 2.2lbs of beans.
That’s perfect for those who like to share their coffee, or who drink a lot of it!
You’ll also be able to adjust the fan speed as well as the heat to fine-tune your results.
It also provides feedback in real time so that you get a more precise experience.
Many users also find that maintenance and cleaning with this machine are easy!
Behmor 1600 Plus
What many notice about the Behmor 1600 Plus is that it looks pretty similar to a microwave.
However, instead of thawing food, this great device roasts up to 1lb of coffee beans at once.
This might not be as much as other options, but it’s still plenty for most coffee-lovers!
You’ll also get the choice between roasting profiles that are already set up or a manual option to experiment with your choices.
Furthermore, this is one of the more affordable options out there, making it well-suited to those on a budget.
It’s truly a great roaster!
Gene Cafe CBR-101
While it is a bit more expensive than the Behmor, the Gene Cafe is a great option for coffee lovers.
It’s a great choice for those who want a higher level of manual control.
Furthermore, you’ll easily be able to watch the process to make sure everything is going smoothly.
On top of that, it even provides a chaff collected to allow the process to be a bit more clean than with some other roasters.
It’s also fantastic for keeping most of the smoke to itself, so you won’t need to worry about a smoky kitchen.
This option also comes in red and black.
Hottop Basic Roaster
While this may be one of the more expensive options out there, it’s a great one as well!
The Hottop Basic is ideal for those who have built up their coffee roasting skills and want to step up their game.
It’s definitely not a machine that will be simple for beginners.
This machine is also able to roast up to half a pound at a time, which isn’t as much as some other options.
With this device, you’ll also get a 1-year warranty from the manufacturer and the ability to roast in under 20 minutes.
When you want to take it even farther than the Hottop basic, the Hottop KN-8828B-2K+ is worth a look.
You’ll get a lot more control with this device than you’d find with other options, allowing you to create an absolutely perfect roast.
It even includes the ability to connect you your computer to help with the process.
Once you’ve discovered how to make the perfect roast, you’ll easily be able to replicate it over and over.
Keep in mind that with all these capabilities comes quite a big investment.
As a result, it may be an option that only the most serious (or commercial), coffee roasters may choose.
Should I Get A Drum Roaster?
Naturally, the roaster you choose is fully up to you.
However, you will want to keep your needs in mind while you shop and consider whether or not a drum roaster is your best option.
For example, if you have a smaller amount of space or just don’t need to roast a lot of coffee at a time, looking at air roaster options is also worthwhile.
In addition, if you’re on an extremely tight budget, it may be better to look for an option that uses inexpensive tools or ones you may already have.
However, for those who want to really dig into the roasting process, a drum roaster is a great option.
It’s also a good way to go if you need to roast large amounts.
Overall, the best option is going to be the one that gets the job done while fitting your needs and budget.