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Home coffee roasting is a terrific way to ensure fresh beans for your daily cup of joe—and if there’s one thing coffee lovers agree on, it’s that fresher means better. Experts say coffee beans are best used between two to 14 days after roasting. Any longer than that and the coffee will de-gas too much and lose flavor.
Roaster options are fairly limited, especially compared to other coffee-related appliances like grinders and milk frothers, but the process itself is simple and takes just minutes. The two main kinds of rosters are manual and automatic, both of which are covered on this list. The former is more affordable but likely has a smaller capacity; the latter is easier to use and typically includes electric or gas devices.
For fresh, ready-to-grind beans, here are the best home coffee roasters.
Best Overall: Kaldi Motorized Home Coffee Roaster
Roasts beans evenly and consistently
Easy to use once process is learned
Minimal cleaning needed
Small yield for large machine
Instructions are difficult to understand
This roaster delivers the look, feel, and final product of a coffeehouse-worthy machine. It will transform your at-home coffee experience, unearthing the optimal flavor notes in every batch of beans.
A high price tag makes the item a long-term investment, but the features and performance are worthwhile. The stirring drum holds up to 250 grams of coffee beans, though 200 grams is the recommended amount per batch. Fully motorized, all you have to do is place the roaster over a gas burner for heat to be evenly and thoroughly distributed across the raw coffee beans. Other features include an easy-to-read thermometer, a probe rod, and a reliable chaff holder. If this machine isn't quite the right fit, measuring 14.1 x 8 x 22.1 inches, Kaldi also manufactures a high-quality mini roaster that is smaller in size and slightly cheaper.
Type: Motorized | Capacity: 200 grams | Weight: 10 pounds | Dimensions: 17.3 x 6.3 x 14.57 inches
"The drum did an excellent job of producing uniform and consistent roasts—which can often be a challenge when roasting at home." — Cheyenne Elwell, Product Tester
Runner-Up, Best Overall: Fresh Roast SR540 Coffee Roaster
Easy to clean
Subpar chaff collector
The Fresh Roast SR540 turns raw coffee into a delicious, ready-to-brew batch of beans, and the whole process takes just 10 minutes. Simply turn a knob to select between nine levels of heat and hit go. The item is easy to use, yet it comes with a few advanced features, like a real-time temperature reader and the ability to cool beans once they're finished roasting.
Depending on your coffee-roasting needs, however, the size of the product might be a considerable drawback. It holds just four ounces coffee beans, which works great for personal use but may be a bit small if you want to roast a lot of beans at once. Aside from that, the Fresh Roast SR540 is highly reviewed, affordably priced, and a great way to upgrade your at-home coffee.
Type: Electric | Capacity: 4 ounces | Weight: 5.84 pounds | Dimensions: 6.75 x 6.75 x 12.875 inches
"The Fresh Roast SR540 Coffee Roaster is a delight to use and watch. The moment I pressed start, I watched the green beans transform before my eyes from green to gold to brown." — Cheyenne Elwell, Product Tester
Best Budget: Nuvo Eco Ceramic Handy Coffee Bean Roaster
Easy to use
Value for money
Great for beginners
No instructions included
Nuvo's ceramic coffee bean roaster lets users make coffee via the old-school fire-roasting process. All you have to do is place the item over a gas stove, camp fire, or electric cooktop for an average of 15 minutes (though times do vary) to produce richly roasted coffee beans. Be aware that it is not compatible with induction cooktops, however. The manual, handheld item can roast up to 70 grams of beans at once; this is a smaller capacity than most electric roasters but still enough to brew several cups of coffee afterward.
While the grip does protect your hands, it’s wise to wear gloves while using. The hot roaster should not be placed on a cold surface or immersed in water. Even though it's a serious tool, the item is attractive enough to use as a décor item when it’s not roasting beans, so you can leave it on display rather than hiding it in the pantry. Plus, it comes at a budget price.
Type: Manual (stovetop or gas burner) | Capacity: 70 grams | Weight: 0.8 pounds | Dimensions: 5.2 x 4.9 x 9.57 inches
"Arabica and Robusta are the two main species of coffee. Arabica is harder to grow than Robusta and has lower caffeine. It generally has more sweetness and acidity, too. Pretty much all specialty coffee is Arabica. Robusta is a more robust species, like the name says, because it’s easier to grow in less ideal places. It has more caffeine and is much more bitter. It's often used in Italian espresso blends to add caffeine and punch and a sense of bitterness." — Selina Ullrich, Director of Coffee at East One Coffee Roasters
Best Large Capacity: Mixfin Home Coffee Roaster Machine
No stovetop required
Manually stir while roasting
No chaff collector
Mixfin's Home Coffee Roaster not only has one of the largest bean capacities you can find, it's also one of the most affordably priced machines out there. It holds a whopping 750 grams—roughly 1.6 pounds—of your favorite coffee beans. Customers give the item especially high marks in durability and value for money, suggesting that it's a sound long-term investment for coffee lovers who want to craft their favorite caffeinated drink from step one.
This roaster is also extremely user friendly. The inside is lined with non-stick material for easy cleaning, and it's simple to adjust the temperature thanks to a dial that goes from zero to 240 degrees. Flip the switch and in just 30 minutes you'll have rich, home-roasted coffee beans—or, as an extra perk, you can roast various nuts.
Type: Electric | Capacity: 750 grams | Weight: 6.2 pounds | Dimensions: 11.8 x 13.4 x 6.7 inches
Best Splurge: Sandbox Smart R1 Coffee Roaster
Controlled via Bluetooth app
Slight learning curve
Fairly small capacity
One of the most advanced coffee roasters designed for home use is the Sandbox Smart R1 Roaster. The sleek square device is controlled by Bluetooth and an easy-to-use app. After downloading the app to your phone or tablet, simply select between a light, medium, or dark roast; users can then make adjustments during the roasting process, like changing the fan speed, drum speed, and temperature. The app also tracks roast history should you ever want to look back at your ideal specs.
The many features and settings might require a slight learning curve, and it could take a few batches to figure our your preferences, but once you get the hang of it the high-tech elements will be a delight. There are two main drawbacks to consider before purchasing, though. First, the R1 Roaster comes with an extremely high price tag. Second, it has a somewhat small capacity, only capable of holding up to 100 grams of coffee per roast. Overall, however, this is a cutting-edge machine that will turn coffee lovers into at-home coffee experts.
Type: Electric | Capacity: 100 grams | Weight: 15.4 pounds | Dimensions: 10 x 10.2 x 9 inches
"Some of the biggest things you want in a roaster are temperature control, a fan for air control, and a drum or drum-like roasting surface so you can agitate your coffee and not burn it." — Selina Ullrich
Best Design: Dyvee Gas Coffee Roasting Machine
Can see beans while roasting
Even bean coverage
Slow roast time
This sleek, lightweight roaster only needs to be placed over a gas stove to get your morning coffee started. It's primarily made of stainless steel, but the drum is made of sturdy quartz glass, which lets you see the beans change color as they roast. A wooden handle provides an elegant touch as well.
The roasting process for this item is more hands-on than that of electric models, but it gets the job done nonetheless. As a silver lining, the manual turning offers more control over the beans. It has a fairly large capacity, holding up to 400 grams of coffee beans, but 200 to 300 grams per batch is recommended for optimal use.
Keep in mind that the purchase does not include a gas burner, even though one is featured in photographs. Customers also recommend outside use, as this roaster can get smoky.
Type: Manual (stovetop or gas burner) | Capacity: 400 grams (200 to 300 grams recommended) | Weight: 11.46 pounds | Dimensions: 14.96 x 8.27 x 8.46 inches
Best Handheld: Cafemasy Coffee Bean Roasting Net
Great for beginners
Easy to clean
Coffee lovers looking for a simple and affordable home roaster should check out Cafemasy's Coffee Bean Roasting Net. The item requires more hands-on effort than higher-tech options, but usage is very straightforward and only takes around 10 minutes per batch. Plus, it's a great way for beginners to learn about coffee roasting.
It's recommended to roast over open-flame burners and to consistently shake the beans during the process to avoid burning them. The bottom of the basket is grooved to help beans turn over and change position more easily. While the item can hold up to 100 grams of coffee beans, the brand says the ideal amount per batch is only 50 grams. As a result, it takes a few roasting sessions to prepare enough beans for a full pot of coffee—although, this is a sufficient amount for non-electric brewing devices.
Type: Manual (stovetop or gas burner) | Capacity: 100 grams | Weight: 6.5 ounces | Dimensions: 6.8 x 4.4 x 2 inches
Best Alternative Roaster: Wabash Valley Farms Stainless Steel Whirley-Pop Popcorn Popper
Easy to use
Many popcorn makers can actually be used to roast coffee beans, so they are a wonderful low-budget alternative. This stovetop popper won’t offer you temperature control or smoke suppression, but it’s a dual-use item that does the job well.
Since you can’t control the smoke, you should use this outdoors for coffee roasting or have an open window and a fan ready to remove the smoke and odor. Stir the beans constantly to ensure even roasting and listen for the popping sounds to gauge the roasting stages. You can open the lid toward the end of the roasting time to judge the roasting color. This popper will roast about one cup of beans per batch.
Type: Manual (stovetop or gas burner) | Capacity: 6 quarts | Weight: 2.4 pounds | Dimensions: 16.5 x 9.5 x 8 inches
The Kaldi Motorized Home Roaster (view at Amazon) is a professional-quality device that lets users transform raw coffee into rich, ready-to-brew beans right from home. It's a little expensive, but the price truly falls somewhere in the middle of at-home roasters. For a true bargain, customers should turn to the handheld Nuvo Ceramic Roaster (view at Amazon).
What to Look for in a Coffee Roaster
Is coffee roasting going to be an occasional hobby or a new passion? Most home roasters are designed to roast small amounts of coffee, but it’s a good idea to consider how often you want to roast and the volume of beans you plan to roast at a time.
Manual or Automatic
From fully manual to fully automatic, you can find a coffee roaster that fits your needs. Fully automatic machines make roasting easier but are more expensive, while manual machines are more budget-friendly but require constant attention during the roasting time.
Coffee roasting produces quite a bit of smoke, no matter what method you use. If you’re going to be using your roaster outdoors, the smoke shouldn’t be a problem, but if you prefer to do the roasting in your kitchen, it might be wise to pick one with a smoke suppression system. You should also consider whether you can position your roaster near a window or under a vent fan.
"If you're roasting coffee at home you'll have to deal with a lot of smoke and find a way get rid of it. There will be more smoke than you’re used to with other kinds of cooking. Some of the better coffee roasters have a ventilation system to deal with it, though." — Selina Ullrich
How do I roast coffee beans?
The exact details of the roasting process vary depending on the type of roaster you own. That said, there are some overarching steps that apply whether you have an electric, motorized, or handheld roaster.
First, buy green coffee in a weight that’s roughly double what you want for finished, roasted coffee beans. This is because coffee beans weigh less the longer they roast, so it takes an average of two pounds of green coffee to produce one pound of roasted beans. Second, make sure the beans are steadily moving once you begin roasting. This is known as “agitating” coffee beans, and it’s to ensure they don’t burn by staying in one place too long. Third, you can listen for the “first crack” of the coffee beans to know they have entered the first stages of being a light roast; a “second crack” indicates that they are hot enough to reach medium-roast level. For more information of roast types, we elaborate below.
Once your beans have reached the desired roast level, the next step is to cool them down right away, otherwise they’ll continue roasting. This is also a good time to remove any chaff if your machine doesn’t do it for you. Finally, allow your newly roasted coffee beans to de-gas (or release CO2) for several hours to several days—yes, there is quite a wide variance—and store them in an airtight container until you’re ready to brew!
What are green coffee beans?
Green coffee refers to raw coffee beans that have not yet been roasted. The rich brown hues we associate with coffee come from the roasting process. Prior to that, coffee beans are plucked from coffee cherries and dried, which turns them various shades of pale green. While green coffee isn’t the easiest to find in person, certain grocery stores and coffee shops do carry it. It’s also readily available online. Selina Ullrich of East One Coffee Roasters says, "There are a couple importers that cater to this market, like Sweet Maria's, Crop to Cup, and La Bodega by Café Imports. Some also make videos and have how-to pages."
What are examples of different coffee roasts?
Coffee roasts are usually divided into four main categories: light, medium, medium-dark, and dark. Within these larger categories are even more specific roast types, many of which will sound familiar. For light roasts, there are Half-City, Cinnamon, and New England Roasts. American Roast is the most popular medium-light roast. For true medium roasts, there are City and Full City Roasts. Dark roast is the largest category, with popular options like Vienna, French, and Italian roasts.
One way to tell the difference while roasting is by listening to the number of times a coffee bean cracks. "A light roast is anything that’s still during first crack," says Selina Ullrich. "If you hit the first crack and wait a minute, that’s a light roast. Wait two minutes and you have a medium-level roast. If you wait for the second crack, you’ll have a dark roast. As you travel along the roasting levels [from light to dark], you diminish the inherent characteristics the coffee itself has on the cup and increase the impact the roasting process has on it."
How should I store coffee beans?
Whether it’s whole bean or ground, coffee lasts longer and tastes better when stored in an airtight container and placed in a cool, dark place. Oxygen, sunlight, moisture, and high heat all negatively affect the quality and shelf life of coffee beans. Under ideal circumstances, whole-bean coffee stays fresh for two weeks. Naturally, it loses freshness more quickly if any one of those four damaging factors are in play. Many coffee lovers turn to the fridge or freezer to store their beans and, while this may seem a logical method of preservation, it is actually quite harmful to coffee due to the high levels of moisture that come from freezer use—not to mention the temperature fluctuation of taking it in and out every day. When in a pinch, coffee can be stored fairly well—though not optimally—in the bag it comes in. Most coffee bags have a circular, one-way valve on the front that is used to release carbon dioxide and keep oxygen out.
Why Trust The Spruce Eats?
This piece was written by Derek Rose, the coffee and tea expert for The Spruce Eats. He researches a variety of coffee products, from measuring scoops to commercial espresso machines, and interviews field experts for their insight. He typically uses non-electric coffee makers at home, alternating between the Bialetti Moka Express (view at Amazon) and the Bodum Brazil French Press (view at Amazon).
Selina Ullrich, the Director of Coffee at East One Coffee Roasters, was interviewed for this piece. She has worked in the coffee industry for more than 10 years. East One was founded in 2017 and has a café in Brooklyn, New York.