How long before


New member
Sep 4, 2007
Southeast Louisiana
I'm looking to spend around $ 600.00 for a home roaster. I drink a lot of coffee, and since finding Dallis Coffee in NY, I'm hooked.
How long before I am roasting beans like I can buy from them.

I am also a beer homebrewer for 5+ years. This "hobby" will allow you to go as deep into it as you want. Can get extremely complicated if you want to go there - which I've chosen to do.

Example: hot water and grain is mash. Can do single temp mash, step mash, or decoction mash. And 5 degrees F will make a noticable difference in the finished product.

I'd really like to get to a point where I can roast better at home than I can buy. I'm doing it with beer, and it's been a long and fun road.

Thanks for your advice.


Super Moderator
Feb 16, 2007
Clemmons, NC
Home roasting

I really enjoy home roasting. I have a fresh roast plus 8 that is really inexpensive. For $600 dollars you can get a really good home roaster. I have a swissmar and a gene caffee on my site. I also sell green beans.


New member
Sep 7, 2007
Well, I also brewed my own beer, and I think you'll enjoy the challenge of roasting your own coffee beans. Roasting allows for quick feedback, it's a short roasting process (15 min) and temperature control, timing, and cooling are crucial, as well as, the type of beans and type of roast you prefer. Withing 2 days after roasting, you can enjoy the rewards of home roasting. The home roasting machines are all sold close to the same price for a particular machine, so find a place that also sells green beans. Most of the machines allow you to alter the time and temperature during the roast, as well as when to start the cooling cycle. The knock on some machines is that the cooling cycle is too long, so with some units people will remove the beans from the machine during the cooling cycle to hasten the cooling. A few machines allow you to setup and save a roasting profile (time and temperature for 5-9 segments). Realize that different beans and roast levels require different settings and 10-20 seconds before or after the second crack can make a big difference. Each machine has it's drawbacks or limits and there are advocates for each machine. The three I would suggest you look at are the I-Roast 2, GeneCafe, and the Hottop. The hottop has several different models, and is upgradable from one model to the next, but is the most expensive. Also, consider the maximum weight limit of each roster. Some of the machines would require you do roasting 2-3 times a week. Hope that helps.


New member
Aug 11, 2004
North Georgia, USA
For $600 it will be a long time before you reach a professional level of roasting! Read the threads and you'll see an on-going argument that electric roasters (even small kitchen toys) can't give you the depth of flavor that a commercial drum roaster can achieve.

But, I've never had their coffee. If it is pure c$%p then you might surpass their product on your first try!


New member
Sep 7, 2007
Look for sample roasters which have a 1lb capacity. There are some in the $2,500 to $4,500 range.

Regarding the electric "kitchen toys", the knock on most is that they do not have a preheat cycle which means it is a longer roast time causing the beans to bake rather than roast. Also, some heat via a flow of hot air, which can add dehydration into the mix.

You want the beans to get up to temperature fast, until the first crack and then slow down the heating process so you have more control as the time between the first crack to second crack to charcoal is quick. That's why with some of these machines, people actually begin the cool down cycle before the second crack as the cooling cycle is too long. Also be aware that smoke from the machine needs to be vented as well.

Perhaps some of those who dissed the home roasters would share the technology or science behind why a gas heating roaster is better than electric heating, and also what features a commercial roaster offers that isn't available in home roasters. If you dissed a roaster, they provide information on why they are no good, or is it just personal bias?

You can look at San Francisco, Diedrich, Probat, Ambex, US Roaster to name a few commercial roasters.


New member
May 13, 2007
Tucson, AZ
It will likely take you a while to out-roast a pro. I've been home-roasting for close to 20 yrs, and have owned and used practically every electric roaster out there, and still can't quite compete with the best (I get close, though). My personal favorite is the sc/to combo (all parts cost < $100); the control over temp is unbeatable. You will easily outdo the vast majority of commercial roasting outfits that supply the grocery stores, and a good number of local roasters in your hometown, making it immediately rewarding. But, there are so many different beans out there for roasting to ever become plug-and-chug, unless you buy all of the profiling hardware/software from Ambex (or some of the others) and datalog it all (you'll need some deep pockets for that)- I'm assuming brewing beer is similar, right? I'm about to purchase an Ambex Ym-2 (cost plus datalogging software is around $8k, similar to a new bike, which I'll not be getting this year!)-- even so, much of what I know about roasting will need to be re-learned and logged into a computer to improve my repeatability. Be forewarned about sample roasters (especially the ones from Brazil or Vietnam)- they're not perfect and will require some modifying to improve airflow and ventilation. The next jump up is a commercial roaster with it's associated higher cost ("labor is not cheap in the US", is what I'm told). Hottop's are great and cost near the $600 mark, the iRoast-2 is almost $200, and you can build the sc/to for around $100 w/ basic "diy" skills, and there are several places on the net to read how to go about doing that. Do some reading over on the home-roasting sections on and, searching those terms, and don't forget about sweetmarias (where would the home roaster be without Tom Owen?)-- there is a lot of info out there.

Good luck!