Coffee bean roasting is more a science than art as you learn through experience and experimentation. A coffee roaster is only an apparatus that aids you in roasting the beans, but getting the result right will depend on your experience and practice.
That said, there is no good or bad roaster. Choosing the best coffee bean roaster depends on your personal preferences and the demands of your business. The choice for the features varies as widely as people’s preferences for the strength and taste of their coffee.
Every brand, worth its name, should roast well. Here we have compiled a list based on the features that coffee lovers look for in their coffee roasting machines.
1. Jiawanshun 800g Electric Coffee Roaster Machine
The Jiawanshun is an electric coffee roaster with a capacity of 800gms. The machine weighs about 4kg and takes up considerable space. The roasting time is pretty long because of the large batch size. It takes about 24-40 minutes to roast 500gms of beans.
It has a temperature control knob ranging from 0 to 240 degrees Celsius, which allows for baking different flavors. However, the machine does not have a smoke suppressor and may generate smoke. The machine has a tilt-type pot for an excellent baking effect. The glass cover allows you to check the progress of roasting. Moreover, it is a multipurpose roaster, which can roast popcorn, nuts, peanuts, and melon seeds.
- Unique sloping pan design allows for uniform roasting
- Large roasting capacity
- Multipurpose roaster with a variety of options
- The temperature control knob aids functionality
- No smoke suppressing system
- It does not have a chaff collector
2. Fresh Roast SR800
The SR800 is a machine of smaller capacity but a larger version of its predecessor, the SR540. The SR800 has a roast capacity of 226gms of wet-processed beans. The optimal batch size is, of course, smaller. It can roast only 170gms of dry-processed beans.
So, it would not be suitable for a busy cafe. It has a single knob to adjust the heat, fan, and time. The SR800 has a real-time temperature display and a strong fan that can achieve nine different speeds. The machine has been built with efficient temperature control in mind.
The SR800 comes equipped with a chaff basket. It is also an electric roaster, which runs on 120V. The machine looks quite delicate and sophisticated.
- Relatively short roast time
- Elegant and aesthetic build
- Efficient temperature control
- It comes with a chaff basket
- It has an electric roaster
- Must be plugged directly into a power outlet instead of an extension cord
3. Kaldi Coffee Roaster (Motor Driver Type)
The Kaldi Coffee Roaster uses a gas burner, which you have to buy separately. The machine has a stainless steel body with a wide hopper for the beans, along with a stainless steel chaff tray. The device is sturdy. It comes with a bimetal thermometer attached to the chaff tray and a probe rod to check the beans. The probe rod allows you to pick out a few beans to check their progress easily.
The machine has a perforated drum made of 2mm thickness stainless steel. The drum is slightly tilted and has two agitator blades inside to achieve uniform roasting. It weighs around 4.5 kgs and will be very noticeable on your counter.
The Kaldi coffee roaster has no fancy customization options. It does not even have fancy buttons. It is, however, designed for adequate airflow circulation, which will give the ultimate taste to your coffee. So if the appearance of the roaster does not bother you, it could be the perfect addition to your kitchen.
- Made of sturdy and durable material
- It uses a gas burner
- It comes with a bimetal thermometer
- Perforated drum for uniform roasting
- Difficult to set up
- It needs to be operated in well-ventilated conditions or outdoors
The roaster design is worth paying attention to. The features you need to look for include roasting capacity, heat source, whether you like light or dark roast, roasting consistency, your budget, and safety.
Preference in Roasts
When you roast beans, it produces smoke. It won’t be a problem if you prefer light roast and do not go beyond the first crack. However, if you go past the first crack to get a dark roast, it could get quite smoky if there is no proper ventilation. The process also releases harmful chemicals called diacetyl. So, a roaster with a smoke suppressor would be more suitable for you.
Quantity of Coffee
The roasting capacity of the machine is another feature that is likely to influence your decision when choosing the roaster. For example, if you plan to roast coffee in small batches, you should select an air roaster. On the other hand, if you want to roast in large batches, you should prefer a drum roaster.
Keep in mind that a drum roaster, being larger and roasting a large number of beans, will generate more smoke than an air roaster.
Air Roasters vs Drum Roasters
In air roasters, hot air does the roasting and stirring the beans. Drum roasters use a rotating drum to agitate the beans at the time of roasting. Drum roasters require your attention all the time; you must watch out that you do not burn the beans.
Air roasters roast in small batches, which means it takes a shorter time to roast. When you roast beans for a longer time, they tend to lose their original flavors. That means air roasters could be good at retaining the original flavors. Air roasters take almost half the time for roasting than drum roasters.
Drum roasters are bigger and are therefore more expensive than air roasters. While choosing a coffee roaster, you would be doing injustice on an inexpensive machine if you ignore it, thinking it must be of poor quality. A cheap machine does not necessarily mean bad, and an expensive one does not mean it is good. It all boils down to the design and features.
Consistency is of utmost importance when it comes to retaining customers. Consistency in coffee brewing comes with consistency in coffee roasting. Achieving consistency in coffee bean roasting can be perfected through experimentation.
It is through experimentation you will get to know the optimal batch size for roasting in your machine. The roaster manufacturers mention a recommended roasting size, but this is not the optimal roasting size. Overloading beyond the optimal batch size or underloading could adversely affect the taste of coffee.
Apart from the optimal batch size, other factors that contribute to consistency are the quality of the beans and the temperature controls of the roaster. Therefore, it would be better to choose a machine that gives temperature feedback.
When roasting coffee beans, you are dealing with high temperatures; it can be hazardous sometimes. Therefore, you must have safety measures in place. A machine with precise controls will not demand much of your attention and could be safer to use.
Regular cleaning of the roaster is essential. The roaster should be easy to disassemble so it can be cleaned thoroughly. Any remnants of coffee left behind could alter the taste of the next batch.
Coffee bean roasting is a complex process that requires skill and experience, along with a good roasting machine. However, we realize that it can be difficult for small businesses to invest in expensive coffee roaster machines. This is why we have compiled this list of the best roasting machines suitable for small businesses.
Your personal preferences, from the quality of the roast to the aesthetics of the machine, will influence the roaster you go for. We hope this list can help you narrow down your choices based on your business requirements and budget.