There are couple of different methods to roast beans at home. Namely;

  • Using a specific home roaster
  • Using a pan
  • Using a hair dryer
  • Using a (sometimes modified) corn popper

are alternatives I have heard of. I know that using heated air is advantageous as all beans are homogeneously roast. So, using a pan requires too much attention among these methods.

What do you think? Do you know any other methods? Do you think one of these methods are superior to others?

  • This question on getting started in home roasting seems to address your question, but it doesn't show up in the "related" links for some reason; perhaps you haven't seen it. There's a couple of thorough answers that basically boil down to... start with an air corn popper (cheap, easy, effective). Purpose-built coffee roasting machines will perform better, but are quite expensive. If you're looking for more specific information, can you clarify?
    – hoc_age
    Apr 21 '16 at 1:17
  • 1
    @hoc_age Actually, I have missed that question. So, if community agrees we can mark this one as duplicate. Maybe someone would like to add recommendations about commercial home roaster machines as an extension to the previous question. I use "pan" method or "hair dryer" method in a very deep bowl. I may be interested in investing to a roasting machine if someone confirms a good-working one.
    – MTSan
    Apr 22 '16 at 12:49
  • I should have put it "on-hold" pending your response, but it solicited a couple good anecdotes below! If you're looking for a feature list or recommendations, or even a product recommendation (careful on that direction :)), feel free to ask another question! All this talk of roasting might get me into it also...
    – hoc_age
    Apr 22 '16 at 13:10
  • I use a hot air popcorn popper. I bought a Nestco home roaster, which worked fine, had a catalytic converter and chaff-cup, so it was very convenient, but it has a plastic gear or something that will break with a loud crack. If you get close to two years out of one, you're lucky. Not good for a $125 or so investment. Sep 7 '16 at 18:13
  • I actually like the popcorn popper better for quality (the popping/roasting cylinder must have air vent slots in the side of the cylinder, not the bottom). I don't make any modifications, at all. It kicks a lot of smoke, so outdoors is better. I keep a couple skillets in the freezer to cool down the beans as soon as I get them out of the popper. Sep 7 '16 at 18:13

The best would be buying a home roaster, but that would be expensive.

corn popper does an amazing job considering how cheap and easy it is. (hair drying is like corn popper in principle, but will need you to manually make sure the heat is used evenly, corn popper just do it automatically)

Using a pan need some practice but could be lot of fun to try.

So if you have the money and want to invest in it go for home roaster if not popcorn popper would be great.

just remember, you cannot make a good coffee out of bad quality coffee beans while the opposite is true.

Have a Good Roasting :)


Two more methods:

  • Oven roasting. A simple sheet pan and and working oven is all you

  • Campfire or Open flame roasters. Basically a metal box with a long handle.

Expanding on hoc_age's response -->

I prefer air poppers. They're simple and cheap. I have a modified Air Crazy I've used for 3-4 years and a more recently acquired unmodified Poppery 2. The Poppery 2 is easier and roasts larger batches but I haven't really dialed in the method as well as the Air Crazy. The Poppery 2 shows great potential and I'd recommend an old one bought on ebay for any beginner. $20 or so and it roasts 2-3 days worth for my 3 person household per batch.

Commercially produced home roasters can run $200-500. You gain automation and maybe consistency for that price though. I've been so happy with the air poppers I've never bought a machine.

---Side note about air roasting (in poppers at least)- it definitely doesn't produce a homogenous roast for me when using blends. I've spent a lot of time watching the beans while roasting and I attribute this to varying size, density and moisture in the varietals used in the mix. Even single source coffees may vary in these characteristics to a lesser degree.

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