Last Updated: 02-08-19

5 Best Coffee Bean Roasters 2019

Coffee roasting machines use heat to transform pure green coffee beans into the brown ones we know and love, which we use in our coffee makers and grinders.

The main aim of roasting your coffee beans is to add to the flavour and taste of the end product. Most are done on a large scale before it even hits the supermarket shelves and coffee shops, but roasting on a smaller scale has become popular over the years.

Independent and speciality coffee shops may roast on a small scale to experiment with flavours, especially if they serve single-origin blends. Roasting at home also has these benefits, with people able to experiment more with flavour profiles and create an even fresher taste than if they were only to use a bean grinder.

If you are setting up a coffee shop, or merely want to roast coffee at home as a hobby, you will need a device to do some of the work. These are the best coffee bean roasters that we have reviewed:

 

The Best Coffee Bean Roasters

1.
Nuvo Eco Ceramic Handy Coffee Bean Roaster – Best Portable

Specifications

  • Capacity: 70g
  • Power: Gas/Hob

With a ceramic body and leather cowhide handle cover, this is a durable and safe to use small-scale bean roaster.

The interior is waffle-shaped, so the beans fall naturally into their positioning, and there is more of an even roast without you having to do much work shaking the roaster. There’s also a safety element included on the handle; with a cover made from genuine cowhide, it is both comfortable and safe to grip even when at its hottest without the risk of burning your hands.

Of course, we still recommend wearing gloves as it isn’t 100% cool, but it is a lot better than any of the other ceramic roasters we tested. We will say that the handle is quite short though, so wearing huge oven mitts is probably not going to be helpful. Get a smaller pair, and watch out for your hands over the heat source.

You must use at least 30g of coffee beans in the product when roasting to ensure there is no burning or over-smoking, but this means it will cope with making anywhere between two to five cups.

All you have to do is shake occasionally to make sure a more even roasting takes place. Although, we found that if you do this too often, it disturbs the roasting process too much, so it may take a bit of experimentation to get just right. When we did it every 20 seconds, it seemed to be enough.

The shape keeps the heat in well, and it heats up in just over a minute thanks to the material. Start the pre-heating on a higher temperature, and then reduce it slightly when you get going. It should only take ten minutes to roast them perfectly, but this all depends on your heat level and individual tastes.

Reasons to Buy

  • Great at retaining heat
  • Safe to grip

Reasons to Avoid

  • Handle is quite short

2.
ParaCity Coffee Roaster – Best Electric

Specifications

  • Capacity: 800g
  • Power: Electric

If you want a machine that will cope in a small commercial setting or are simply a coffee bean roasting connoisseur and only the best will do, the ParaCity roaster is a good match.

The glass lid makes it easy to monitor the beans, so even if you fill it up to its 800g limit, you can keep a watch of the process. Whether you like the beans to be browned ever so slightly, or like to go fully all-out for a massive taste impact, it is easy to achieve.

It does take longer than with some other methods, but on a positive note, this allows the flavours to develop more. Despite the time increase, it is a lot quieter than a lot of the others we reviewed. It also seems to produce a lot less smoke, so we feel it could safely be used in a kitchen or cafè environment without any bother.

As you’d expect, if it is filled up with several layers of beans, the ones at the bottom will get browner quicker than the ones at the top despite the fact it rotates automatically. A quick shake of the machine will help and is easy to do as it doesn’t get too heavy.

You can set the temperature for further control. Set it low for a more prolonged roast and enhanced taste, or higher for a darker tinge. You can even increase it throughout the duration.

Now onto the price, which we think makes it a bit of a steal. There are models on the market for much more than this, but which aren’t automatic and don’t have anywhere near as large capacity. The non-stick coating, temperature selection and heavy-duty lid are just three aspects which make it even more worth the money. Similar machines can cost almost three times this price, too.

Reasons to Buy

  • Large capacity
  • Automatic
  • Great control

Reasons to Avoid

  • Not the prettiest design

3.
ELEOPTION Yami Ceramic Coffee Bean Roaster

Specifications

  • Capacity: 50g
  • Power: Gas/Hob

For an introductory product to roasting at home, or for something to take away on trips with you, this little ceramic model will ease you in gently.

Simply preheat the device for a few minutes over a gas hob or stove until it is smoking and pop 30-50g of green beans into the hole at the top. Check the browning process through the hole and listen for the cracks, before removing through the hole in the handle and leaving to cool.

The process takes around 10-15 minutes in all. The only thing you have to do is swing the pot about softly in a number 8 formation or orbit to ensure the beans are ground evenly and none burn.

The handle does get hot, so invest in some heat-proof gloves while it is in use and be careful when removing the beans. On a positive, it does show that the heat is transferred to the roaster well from the source. It is also easy to grip, designed to be sturdy enough to hold yet shaped comfortably for a natural feel.

We liked the simple, black design and colour of the device. The hole sizes also made it easier to get both the right amount of beans into the compartment without accidentally overfilling, and even get them out quick enough, so they don’t start overcooking by accident.

It is a perfect size to take on a camping trip or in a caravan over either a gas stove or an alcohol burner. This makes it easy to control the heat. There is nothing to stop you using it at home over a hob or separate heater, and it will roast the perfect amount of beans for around four cups of coffee.

It is priced generously for a product of its build; there are a few cheaper options available, but they just don’t match the quality.

Reasons to Buy

  • Feels long-lasting
  • Transfers heat well and quickly

Reasons to Avoid

  • Takes quite a while to cool fully for washing

4.
BuoQua Stainless Steel Coffee Roaster Machine

Specifications

  • Capacity: 250g
  • Power: Electric/Gas/Hob

If you are after a classic drum coffee roaster which gives you plenty of control and personalisation, then this is an affordable option.

Made from stainless steel, it holds the heat well without over-burning the beans and will also not become discoloured or damaged with the heat exposure. It isn’t noisy when in operation, which will please anybody who likes to do several batches at one time. You can clearly hear any cracks over the sound of the motor which is good for anybody who relies on looks and sounds to ensure their coffee beans are prepared.

Any smoke will escape thanks to the mesh design, so make sure the room is well ventilated. The amount produced isn’t excessive, especially compared to some of the other models we reviewed, which is handy if you are indoors.

There is a large viewing window so you can check on the colour change throughout the roasting. As it requires a separate heat source (either hob, gas or burner), you do have to monitor this throughout the roasting, but on a positive note, it lets you roast the beans just how you like them.

It will roast beans, nuts and spices but no powder due to the design. The power switch is the only setting and button you need to operate, so as long as you control the heat, everything else is done for you.

The price is lower than some of the other power-operated drum roasters on the market, and we don’t see any differences between this and some of the ones double the price. It isn’t the prettiest, but it does the job very well.

Reasons to Buy

  • Easy to control
  • Generous capacity

Reasons to Avoid

  • Metal drum does feel a bit flimsy

5.
BAOSHISHAN Coffee Bean Roasting Machine

Specifications

  • Capacity: 600g
  • Power: Electric/Gas/Hob

A drum rotator which will automatically do the rotating for you thanks to an inbuilt motor.

It requires a heat source, whether it be an electric stove, charcoal or gas/alcohol burner. The circular base and stand have a generous circumference, so it should sit safely over most standard home cooking appliances. Or, if you prefer, you can purchase a separate gas or alcohol burner.

Even though it does the turning of the basket for you thanks to the electronic motor, you will still need to control the heat source and level to a certain degree. The motor will turn at 25 rpm consistently to give a uniform roast, so if you like a continental dark roast, being able to increase the heat slightly may help.

The mesh lets the appropriate amount of heat through without over-exposing the beans. Made from stainless steel, the heat conducts really well and doesn’t escape which results in a quicker, more even roasting and more efficiency.

When it arrives, there is a bit of building to do. You have to install the motor, and then the drum. Make sure the screws are all tight, and everything is perfectly aligned so it can work to the best of its ability; instructions are pretty clear, and everything is self-explanatory, so you can’t really go wrong.

It seems a bit excessively priced for what it is. There are a few manually-controlled models on the market which would save you a bit of money, as the only electric part of this appliance is the turning motor. You still have to control the heat so you can’t leave it unsupervised, and controlling the drum rotation isn’t a massive hassle.

But it is a very well-built machine, which will no doubt last for years to come if you look after it well. The large capacity will also appeal to a lot of people out there.

Reasons to Buy

  • Suitable over several different heat sources
  • Good capacity

Reasons to Avoid

  • Price

Coffee Bean Roaster Buying Guide

How a coffee bean roasting machine works

Coffee beans originally start out as green and remain fresh for the time they are this colour, so this is how the majority are transported. They have next to no taste but adding heat changes this.

Roasting coffee beans alters the chemical and physical characteristics each bean, in turn changing the taste and colour which results in the distinctive flavour. To be more technical, polysaccharide sugars rise to the surface of the bean and caramelise, and they get bigger and lose a lot of their water.

When the time comes to roast them, they are placed in a machine over a heat source. This can be gas, electric or open fire. The machine’s drum rotates wither by hand or automatically, to give each bean the same attention.

A machine reaches the necessary temperatures needed to roast the beans. Smaller manual devices are shaped and designed to keep the temperatures consistent, as well as providing a heat proof surface for the heating.

Price

Small ceramic and pottery roasters which sit on top of your home hob or above a gas flame can be anywhere between £30 and over £50. Most are the same basic design, but those at the higher end of the scale may have a higher capacity or added safety features such as textured internal surfaces to retain heat or protected handles.

Manual spinning barrel machines can be around double this price. They usually follow a more traditional design and allow for better heat transfer and control.

Electric machines at the higher end of the scale can easily be a few hundred pounds. The settings, control and capacities are usually appropriate for small commercial premises, but they can also be used at home if you are serious about your coffee drinking.

Which is the best one for me?

Starting out on the coffee roasting journey? A small ceramic or mesh roaster which you place over a heat source will probably suffice. You will have plenty of control over the developing flavours, but the steps are also easy, and it is a small-scale operation.

If you happen to be quite experienced, you may wish to invest in a larger automated machine which will give you the results you are after with little input, as long as you choose the correct settings. Or, you may want a barrel model which allows you to turn the hopper at your preferred rate and is often a slightly larger capacity so you can prepare coffee ahead of time.

 

FAQs

What beans do I use in a coffee roaster?

You must use the pure green beans which have not yet been roasted. They will be available in most coffee shops and some supermarkets or independent shops, as well as online.

There are pure, basic coffee beans available, as well as blends which are flavoured. You may see fruity blends, chocolate flavours or even floral. Where and how a bean is grown has a big impact on the flavouring, but the next stage is up to you.

Blending the beans at home gives you control over the strength of the flavour, which is great if you have very particular tastes. It also keeps the beans fresher for longer.

How do I know if the coffee beans are ready?

A lot of modern coffee bean roasters have a glass or see-through area so you can see them turning brown. The browner they go, the stronger the flavour. If yours doesn’t have one, such as if it is a small ceramic model, practice may make perfect.

You can also listen to your coffee beans. It may sound strange, but they will make different noises the further along they go in the process, just like popcorn. This is basically them dehydrating. Every bean and device will be different, but generally, if you listen out for the ‘first crack’, which comes after a series of little crackles, they will be lightly done.

A few moments longer once the crackling has disappeared results in a medium browning. The ‘second crack’ will come once the beans start to turn into a dark roast. There are other signals too, such as the smoke produced and the smells.

Your roaster may include a guide or instructions, or you may prefer to experiment with all the settings and temperatures depending on the bean you have.

Can I use a popcorn maker?

It is something you may have heard before – coffee beans can be roasted in a popcorn maker. While it is true, and many people have had a lot of success with this method, you will only get the full impact of taste with a dedicated coffee bean roaster.

Can I use the roaster for anything else?

People commonly also use their roaster for roasting peanuts, seeds and even cocoa beans as well as coffee. Make sure you follow guidelines to see if this is appropriate and won’t cause damage to the device.

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