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Best Coffee Bean Roaster Machine Reviews 2018

TL;DR Summary

Here's a quick rundown of the best coffee bean roasters 

If you’re looking for the ultimate coffee experience, then forget buying pre-roasted beans. There’s nothing quite like the taste of coffee made from beans you roast yourself, but of course, not all roasters are created equally.

We’ve scoured the internet in our search for the best coffee bean roaster on the market today, and after careful consideration, we’ve made our selection! We’ll go into more detail about our top pick and the other finalists we looked at in the sections below.

All of the machines on the above list fall into the “prosumer” category of machines. Our top two picks are technically designed for small coffee houses, but are small enough to fit easily into any decently-sized home kitchen, while the bottom two are designed for home use, but are robust enough that they could be used in some small business settings.

Our Methodology – How We Picked the Winners

There are lots of things to consider when selecting the “right” roaster for you, starting with how you plan to use it.

If for example, you’re just planning on roasting coffee beans for your own consumption, that’s going to guide you down one path. If you want to roast in sufficient quantity to sell small batches or give to friends, that’s something else entirely, and you’re probably going to want to look at small commercial roasters to give you that kind of capability.

Other considerations include whether your machine is gas-powered or electric, and the level of computer control on offer.

In our view, gas-powered machines win out over electric for the same reason that top chefs prefer cooking on gas stoves versus electric. You simply get more control, and that matters, because small changes during the roasting process can have a big impact on flavor.

Sadly, most roasting equipment designed for home use is electric. There simply aren’t many gas-powered, kitchen countertop models to be found, so if that’s what you’re looking for, you’re almost certainly going to want to up the ante and look into commercial-grade equipment, but be warned: Doing so is going to mean spending significantly more for a machine!

Where computer controls are concerned, we like the concept in general, and readily admit that a good computer control system opens up lots of interesting possibilities, but the reality is that most people who are looking for high-tech bells and whistles tend to be doing so for the sake of convenience. What they want, at the end of the day is a “set and forget” coffee bean roaster.

While there is some value to that, if you want to get the most flavor out of roasting your coffee beans, which is the main reason most folks wade into these waters, then relying on predefined computerized profiles takes away from that process. Custom roasting is a hands-on operation. You’ll never get optimal results using a preset, and for that reason, we tend to shy away from such machines.

We understand though, that not everyone will agree, and if you’re looking for a high-tech model, it’s likely you won’t agree with our top picks. That’s perfectly reasonable, and the reason we wanted to outline the thinking behind the selections we ultimately made.

Having done that, let’s take a closer look at our winners!

Top 4 Best Coffee Bean Roasters - Overall

OUR PICK


OVERALL BEST 

Best Coffee Bean Roaster

Espresso Machine Under 600 Dollars
The Arc 800G is a masterpiece
The North 500g is a world class coffee bean roaster
Hotttop KN-8828P-2k+ is a very friendly and easy to use machine
The Huky 500 is one of the best coffee roaster in market today

Rating

Price​​​​

$$$$

$$$

$

$$$

Dimensions

35” x 24” x 28”

40” x 19.5” x 24”

19” x 14” x 10”

15.75” x 7.5” x 13.8”

Weight

115 pounds

107 pounds

19.8 pounds

13.23 pounds

Capacity

RESERVOIR SIZE

1.7 pounds

1.1 pounds

0.5 pound

1.1 pounds

Extras

MILK FROTHING TECHNOLOGY

Gas or electric configurations, offers both Bluetooth and USB connection for data logging

Gas configuration only, USB data logging, heavy duty construction

USB connectivity, third party software available, lively and helpful home roasting community

Gas (stovetop) roaster, can be custom-ordered for electric at your preference

Pros

Lots of customization options, exquisite attention to detail, good service and support staff

Solidly built machine, lots of control options, gas option available, comes in a variety of colors

Advanced tracking and control, thanks to some excellent third-party software, 3 user profiles, easy to use, good support staff

Excellent, robust design and solid construction, nice finishing touches, each one is hand built and made to order!

Cons

Chinese manufacture, long term life expectancy of the machine is unknown

Chinese manufacture, off-brand company so less than world-class support

Very smoky, subpar chaff handling, lightweight construction, Chinese manufacture

Very bare bones compared to the other roasters on the list. Pure analog, no advanced functionality at all.

Our Winner - The ARC 800G

If we had to describe this roaster using but a single word, the word we’d use would be “Masterpiece.”

It’s a solid piece of equipment and built to last. Even better, it’s got enough bells and whistles to keep technophiles happy, while staying focused on the fundamentals of churning out consistently high-quality roasts, time after time.

An image of the Arc 800G, our top pick in our list of the best coffee bean roaster

This one can do it all. If you’re looking to closely monitor every aspect of your process to make small, incremental changes over time, you can do that thanks to the onboard USB port.

If you want Nth degree control, you can get that too, and in fact, the latest model even comes with variable drum speed.

In terms of capacity, the Arc can handle everything from a small 100g batch, all the way up to 800g, or a hefty 1.7 pounds.

Unfortunately, there are a few drawbacks, the most significant of which is price. This one doesn’t come cheap, but if you’re serious about at-home roasting, then it’s money well spent. Think of it as an investment that will pay you dividends in the form of world-class coffee for decades to come.

In our book, it wins the competition handily, and we’re proud to name it as the best coffee roaster machine for home use on the market today. It’s simply exquisite and produces exceptional results, every time you use it.

Be warned though, given its size and heft, this isn’t something that’s going to easily find a home in just any kitchen. If you’ve got the space for it, however, you won’t find a better or more capable machine out there!

North 500g Gas Coffee Roaster

The North 500g roaster is functionally similar to our top pick, but slightly smaller and offered by a slightly less well-known company.

It’s also correspondingly cheaper, so if money is an issue, but you still want a world-class roaster for home use, then this is an excellent choice. It is perhaps even more solidly built than the Arc but has the drawbacks of slightly reduced capacity, and it may be somewhat harder to get good aftermarket support.

Those two things aside though, we view it as a compelling model, and proudly name it the second best home coffee roaster machine available today.

Note: Where the Arc is available in both gas and electric configurations, the North is available in gas only, though both propane or natural gas configurations are available).

An image of  North 500g, which is our second best coffee roaster

Hottop KN-8828P-2k+

The Hottop roaster has been around for a while and at the time this review was written, comes in three different varieties. Of the three, we find the 2k+ to be the most capable and robust, but all three are exceptional.

We’ve linked to the model comparison page so you can see for yourself which one would work best for you if you’re leaning in the Hottop’s direction.

There are three things we really like about this model:

An image of Hotttop KN-8828P-2k+, a consistently good coffee roaster
  • coffee
    It’s easy to use and delivers a consistently good roast
  • coffee
    It’s got a great, lively and active community that has grown up around it, so help and advice is readily available
  • coffee
    It’s far and away the least expensive of the machines listed here, so if you’re on a budget, this is a great way to break into the home roasting game.

It’s also got a frankly amazing number of customization options, including the ability to save all your roasting parameters at the end of a roast to make it easy to replicate (thus ensuring consistent results) and three profile slots so once you settle on a particular type of bean, you can create a custom profile for one-touch roasting access.

Having said all that, it’s not without its shortcomings.

One of the biggest problems we have with all three of the Hottop models is that they’re electric, and not gas-powered. We realize, of course, that not everyone will have a problem with this, but it did cause the brand to score somewhat lower with us.

The other problem we had with the model is its capacity. Given that it can only handle half a pound of beans at a time, it’s got the lowest capacity of any model on our list.

Depending on how much volume you’re planning to roast at home, that might not be a deal-breaker for you, but for not terribly much more money, you can get your hands on a machine that can handle bigger batches at a time, so is something you should at least consider.

The Huky 500

Not only is the Huky one of the best coffee roasters on the market today, it’s also one of the most interesting. It looks like a machine from an alien planet, and the best part is, every Huky sold is handmade by a man named Kuanho Li, who lives in Taiwan.

You can buy the baseline model (the most recent of which is the “Model T”), but even if you do, each one is marginally different and unique, being hand built, and of course, you can order a variety of customization options.

This essentially gives you the best of both worlds. You can get exactly the machine you want, and wind up with something quite unlike any commercial product sold today.

Unlike the other units on this particular list, the Huky doesn’t have an onboard power supply. To make it work, you’ve got to set it atop the eye of a gas-powered stove, though it should be noted that one of the recent innovations offered by Kuanho Li is the option to order an electrically powered Huky.

An image of the Huky 500, fourth in our list of the best coffee bean roaster

It’s got a robust capacity, and with the distinction of being hand-built, you’re getting as much a functional roaster as a one of a kind work of art. There’s a lot to be said for that, which is one of the reasons it’s such a popular option. Don’t let this model’s fourth-place position on our list fool you. This is a serious roaster, and one of the best home coffee bean roasters on the market today. Highly recommended.


Top 4 Best Coffee Roasters Under $500

OUR PICK


OVERALL BEST 

Best Coffee Bean Roaster Under $500

Espresso Machine Under 600 Dollars
Last update: December 10, 2018 8:02 am
Last update: December 10, 2018 8:02 am
Last update: December 10, 2018 8:02 am
Last update: December 10, 2018 8:02 am

Rating

Price​​​​

$$$$

$$$

$$$

$$

Dimensions

22.1” x 14.1” x 8”

10.2” x 7.9” x 9.4”

9” x 9” x 15.2”

6” x 6” x 13”

Weight

14.6 pounds

5.5 pounds

24.2 pounds

5.7 pounds

Capacity

RESERVOIR SIZE

8.8 ounces

8.8 ounces

1 pound

4 ounces

Extras

MILK FROTHING TECHNOLOGY

---

---

A few basic preset profiles and electronic controls

App controlled, remote operation, custom roasting profiles

Pros

Gas!, solidly constructed, produces consistent, high quality roasts

Gas!, solidly constructed, produces consistent, high quality roasts

Easy to use, aesthetic fits well into most home kitchens, produces a consistently good roast

Stylish and attractive, fast, and has a surprising number of extras, good chaff management

Cons

Poor chaff management (though better than the mini)

Poor chaff management

Electric, mediocre chaff management

Electric, can produce somewhat uneven roasts, tiny batch size

The machines we’ve talked about so far are fantastic, but let’s face it, not everyone can afford to spend a thousand dollars or more on a single function machine like this. That leads naturally to the question, “what is the best coffee roaster for people who don’t have a ton of money to spend?”

Don’t worry, if you fall into that category, we’ve got you covered!

The machines listed above are what we consider to be the best small batch coffee roasters being sold today.

Obviously, if you’re talking about buying a machine on a budget, then sacrifices must be made somewhere, and the best way to make a big impact on the price of the unit is to cut back on capacity. While it’s true that none of these machines can roast a ton of beans at once, all are well-suited for home use and can provide enough fresh roasted coffee goodness to satisfy most coffee drinkers.

Winner - The KALDI Best Personal Coffee Roaster

In our view, this is hands down the best small coffee roaster in its class. It checks all the important boxes for us, relying on gas power, rather than electricity, being well-made and constructed of sturdy material (stainless steel), and focusing on the fundamentals without getting bogged down in high-tech wizardry.

As much as we love the KALDI roaster though, we readily acknowledge that it may not be a good fit for everyone, and in no particular order, here are the reasons why:

  • coffee
    It doesn’t have a power source of its own. You’ve got to either set it atop your gas-powered stove or grill, or it’s not going to do anything for you. We’re fine with that, but some people will no doubt want something more convenient. “Plug and Play” as it were. This machine isn’t that
  • coffee
    Poor chaff management is probably an understatement; while it’s better than the “Mini” we’ll talk about below, this is still a relatively messy machine and you’ll have some cleanup to do after each batch. The chaff collection bin is nice, but the machine only gets a little better than half the chaff into the bin most of the time, with the rest decorating your stove top.
  • coffee
    The housing gets really hot when the machine is in use. Handle with care!
  • coffee
    The included thermometer is low-quality, and you’ll probably want to buy a better (digital) one

That said, if you can live with those limitations, we think you’ll agree that this is the best personal coffee roaster in its class by a wide margin. We just love it.

An image of KALDI Home, our top pick for the best personal coffee roaster

KALDI Mini Roaster

A mini version of Kaldi Home Roaster

KALDI deserves high praise indeed. Not only did they claim top honors in this category, but dominate the value-priced segment of the market, occupying fully half the space on our table with this, the miniaturized version of our top pick, the KALDI Home Roaster.

Amazingly, the company managed to shrink the footprint of the machine without sacrificing any capacity inside the roasting drum.

Unfortunately, the sacrifices they had to make in order to pull that off were pretty significant.

The KALDI Mini is unquestionably our top pick, but there are two reasons it might not be for everyone.

The first is, it’s powered by a combination of gas and…well, you.

You need to set the unit on a gas stovetop or grill in order to make it work, but then, you also need to manually turn the crank to rotate the drum.

We don’t take issue with that, but then, we’re hands on people and don’t want to use presets and profiles to automate the roasting process. Not everyone is going to feel that way.

The second big drawback to this machine is the fact that there is no chaff management system, and no attempt to bother with one, which means that it’s messy. For that reason, this one’s ideally suited for use outside on a grill. You can certainly use it indoors on your gas stove, but if you do, understand that there’s going to be significant cleanup involved after each batch.

Again, we don’t regard this as a deal breaker, but we completely understand if it’s not something everybody will be clamoring to sign up for.

Even given those two significant drawbacks, the machine is a wonder. Compact, well-constructed, and capable of producing really consistent roasts, every time you use the machine. At the end of the day, isn’t that what it’s all about?

An image of the KALDI Mini, a capable home coffee roaster

The Behmor 1600 Plus

An image of the Behmor 1600 Plus, a capable home roaster

Don’t let this model’s third-place position on our chart fool you, we absolutely love it! It’s really got a lot going for it, but based on our selection criterion, we had to place it behind the gas-powered units in this price range.

At first glance, the Behmor 1600 Plus looks a lot like a toaster oven. A second glance, however, reveals it to be anything but.

The thing we like best about the Behmor is the fact that it can handle a generous amount of beans per batch, with the highest capacity of any machine in its class. On paper, it says it can handle a pound at a time. In practice, if you load a full pound, you’ll get suboptimal results. We recommend dropping down to fourteen ounces, but even at there, it’s got a larger capacity than any other roaster in the value-priced segment.

It also has a number of presets, but don’t make the mistake of thinking this is a “set and forget” kind of machine. We found the presets to be only of limited value, and if you want to get the most out of this machine, you’ll probably find yourself abandoning their use in short order and just winging it to get the result you’re looking for.

On the drawbacks side, there are a few. First, it’s electric, rather than gas-powered. That’s not a deal breaker, and in fact, some folks might like that better. For us, it counted marginally against the machine, but again, definitely not a deal breaker.

The window is a bit on the smallish side, and that can sometimes make it hard to tell what’s going on with the beans. While the unit’s smoke reduction tech is good, if you open the door to take a peek, you’d better be prepared for some serious smoke, so keep your stove fan on and a window open!

Chaff management could be better too. When you open the door, be prepared for a bit of “shrapnel” and some cleanup afterward.

Perhaps the biggest drawback though is that the unit is underpowered (which is why it won’t actually roast a full pound per batch), and it’s not designed to roast your beans dark. If that’s what you’re looking for, then give this model a pass. It can do light, medium and even semi-dark, but it just doesn’t have the juice to do dark roast justice.

All things considered though, this model is fantastic. If you’re looking for a relatively simple home roaster, the Behmor will serve you well, and it’s no great surprise to us that in other “best home coffee roaster reviews” scattered around the web, the Behmor consistently earns a spot on the list.

An image of the Behmor 1600 Plus, which is an electric-powered home roaster

The Fresh Roast SR 700

If you’re looking for a small, stylish roaster that’s super easy to use and comes with a surprising number of high-tech bells and whistles, then this is the model for you!

Far and away the least expensive roaster on our list, there’s a lot to like about the SR 700, and even though we’re not overly fond of bells and whistles, we have to admit to being impressed by what this little unit can do (although admittedly, one feature, in particular, left us scratching our heads).

First, let’s talk about this machine’s positives. Using it is a snap. It looks a bit like a blender. Pour beans in, push the button, magic happens and beans roast.

An image of the Fresh Roast SR 700, the least expensive on our list of the best home coffee roaster

It’s fast, efficient, and provides decent quality.

You can fiddle with and save your roasting settings for one-touch convenience later, so once you zero in on what settings you prefer for a given type of bean, it’s extremely simple to replicate your results from one batch to the next.

Also, this machine comes the closest we’ve seen to being “set and forget,” so if that’s what you’re looking for, then this one deserves particular attention.

On the other hand, the machine has some issues, shortcomings and one downright strange feature. In no particular order, these are:

  • coffee
    Tiny capacity. If you plan on roasting in bulk, this machine is a poor choice.
  • coffee
    Although the unit is highly programmable, there are no pre-programmed profiles, and the learning curve to create them is quite steep
  • coffee
    There’s no temperature readout on the front panel of the unit. Given how important temperature is to the process, that really matters and is something that ought to be there.
  • coffee
    Somewhat fragile, owing to its lightweight construction
  • coffee
    App-controlled. Why you’d want to control a coffee roaster that you need to manually load beans into and watch the process via your phone or computer, we’re not exactly sure, but yes…you can! (see our final note below regarding this topic!)

The single biggest shortcoming of the unit though is the fact that due to the way it is designed, it’s very difficult to get a consistent roast from the machine. You’ll wind up with beans roasting at different rates, and seldom will you see a nice, uniform coloration in any batch you do.

For coffee purists, that’s the kiss of death, and we can’t see many purists gravitating to this machine for that reason.

If you’re a casual coffee drinker though and looking for a great, low-cost way to experiment with home roasting, it’s hard to argue with this one’s feature set, capabilities, or price tag.

Final Note: Actually, while we did poke some good-natured fun at this model for the ability to control it via an app, the presence of the USB port built into the device and the ability to connect a laptop computer to it is pretty handy.

There are some great open source programs that have grown up around this model, allowing you to create highly customized profiles and provide better tracking (including temperature tracking, which is notably absent from the control panel of the machine itself), and this is unquestionably a good thing.

While we don’t consider the SR 700 to be the best coffee roaster for home use, we can totally see why technophiles would fall in love with it!


Top 4 Best Coffee Roaster Machines for Small Business

While the machines we mentioned at the start of this review could be made to work in a business setting, if you’re going to custom roast coffee beans for profit, you’re probably going to want, and ultimately need something larger and more robust than any of those models can provide.

In this next segment then, we’ll identify what we feel to be the best coffee roaster for small business, and highlight some other excellent models to consider. Before we get into details, let’s take a high-level look at our winner and the various runners up!

OUR PICK


OVERALL BEST

Best Coffee Roaster Machine for Small Business

Espresso Machine Under 600 Dollars
Probatino is a marvel of design and engineering
Sedona Elite 3200 is one of the best commercial coffee roasters on the market today
Mill City’s Gas-Powered Roaster comes with a USB port for data logging
Artisan 2.5 is extremely fast and affordable commercial roaster machine

Rating

Price​​​​

$$$$

$$$

$$$$$

$

Dimensions

36.5” x 24” x 45”

44” x 26” x 44”

59.8” x 37.8” x 65”

12” x 19” x 57”

Weight

260 pounds

330 pounds

771.6 pounds

80 pounds

Capacity

RESERVOIR SIZE

2.2 pounds

7 pounds

13.25 pounds

3 pounds

Pros

A legendary machine, offered by a giant in the industry. Top notch quality, service and support

A solid, well performing machine for the money.

Highest capacity of any machine listed here. If quantity counts for more than quality, this is the one you want.

Extremely fast and affordable, produces consistent quality roasts

Cons

Pricey, given its capacity compared to some of the other machines on our list

Some problems in the past with customer service and support.

Decent quality, though not quite on par with what you get from the Probat.

You’ll outgrow it quickly, and it’s not nearly as solidly built as the other machines on our list

Winner - The Legendary Probatino

Probat Burns is widely regarded as maker of the best commercial coffee roaster machines on the market today, and we find ourselves in agreement with the general consensus. The Probatino is a marvel of design and engineering and is a study in excellence.

Everything about this machine is well thought out and perfectly placed. From the ergonomic operator board to the easy-access flame adjustment dial to the magnetic bean cooling and dumping bin, you won’t have any difficulty controlling every aspect of the roasting process from start to finish.

We simply love this machine, but having said that, it’s not without its flaws. In our view, the two biggest are the price and the relatively low capacity.

All those exquisitely designed features don’t come cheap, so you can expect to pay a premium for the honor of owning one of these, but if you find the capacity of this particular model to be lacking, the company manufactures much larger models too, so the sky’s the limit here…if your budget can support it!

An image of the Probatino, an excellent commercial coffee roaster

The Sedona Elite 3200

An image of the Sedona Elite 3200, a solid commercial coffee roaster

Sedona makes solid machines, and the 3200 is a workhorse if ever there was one. It’s attractively priced, well appointed, and has just about every high-tech bell and whistle you could ask for.

The slogan associated with the 3200 is that it was designed with the beginner in mind, but has all the fine-grained control that a Master Roaster could ask for, and that’s certainly true.

With precise temperature controls and an infinite variable control ventilation control system, this model allows you to take control over literally every aspect of the roasting process if you wish while offering enough in the way of automation to allow a beginner to get up and running quickly and easily. Combining both on the same machine is no easy feat, so kudos to Sedona for that!

The only reason the company didn’t place top honors is that in the past, they have had some customer service and support issues. Those appear to have been resolved, but that, taken together with the fact that the company just doesn’t have Probat Burns’ stellar reputation for excellence were enough to force us to move them to the second position on the chart.

We love the machine, and it earns a solid recommendation from us as one of the best commercial coffee roasters on the market today, but we feel its second-place position is justified.

Mill City's 6kg Gas-Powered Roaster

The Mill City roaster has the distinction of having the highest capacity of any machine on our list. It’s a solid value for the money, but in terms of durability, longevity, and quality, doesn’t quite measure up to our top picks.

Even so, if you’re looking for high capacity and reasonable consistency at a fair price, it’s hard to beat this model. Plus it has a USB port for data logging, so you can keep precise records and make incremental changes over time to your roasting process, tweaking and perfecting as you go.

It wouldn’t have made our list at all if it had any glaring, deal-breaking flaws, but we find that this machine, while good, falls short of being exceptional, which is why we placed it third.

The Artisan 2.5

An image of the Artisan 2.5, a best value commercial coffee roaster

Businesses come in all shapes and sizes, and if the machines we’ve talked about so far are just more than you think you’ll ever need, consider the plucky Artisan 2.5. Artisan makes significantly larger machines, but we find this one to be among the best values in the industry today. You can literally buy 3-4 of them for the price of some of the other machines on our list, and the 2.5 has a decent hourly throughput, despite its diminutive size.

That said, this should be regarded as more of a “light duty” machine and lacks the durability and longevity of the other models we’ve talked about so far. While providing exceptional value for the money, the biggest potential drawback to the 2.5 is the fact that you’re likely to outgrow it in relatively short order.

Given its almost shockingly low price tag, even that doesn’t have to be a deal breaker though. After all, if you do outgrow it, you’ll still be able to use it as a backup or reserve machine, and it will serve you well in that capacity. Besides, if that should happen, it means business is booming, which is a rather happy dilemma.

If you’re not sure which machine to buy, or if money’s tight, this is a great way to get into the game without tying up too much of your budget in equipment.

A Quick Word About Industrial Coffee Roasting Machines

We didn’t include a separate section on industrial coffee roasting equipment because our recommendations would fall broadly in line with those we gave for commercial equipment.

Most manufacturers of commercial coffee roasters make industrial-scale equipment too, so really, it comes down to following those guidelines and selecting the machine with the capacity you’re looking for, which is entirely subjective and based on each reader’s needs, aims and long-term goals.

Best Coffee Bean Roaster Review Conclusion

So what’s the best coffee bean roaster machine on the market today? As you’ve seen in the piece above, the answer to that question depends on a lot of factors, but it comes down to how you plan on using it.

There are tons of great options out there, and any of the machines we’ve talked about here will serve you well. We stand by our top picks in the three categories we covered, but ultimately the real question is which machine is best for you?

Do you agree with our top picks, or are your needs leading you in some other direction? Let us know, and whatever machine you ultimately choose, drink up and enjoy!

Sources & Resources

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