burman coffee traders
welcome to burmancoffee.com
the premier site for home coffee roasters!
Home Roasting
ViewBasket CheckOut
WhoweAre
Specials
Equipment
GreenBeans
HomeRoasting
Shopping
CustomerService

Home Coffee Roasting Resources

Understanding Home Coffee Roasters

There are basically two types of home coffee roasters on the market today: fluid bed and drum.

The most common are the fluid bed roasters such as the FreshRoast SR models, the Hearthware I-Roast 2 , and the Nesco Professional . These popular roasters are inexpensive, they will roast a batch in 7-20 minutes and are easy to clean and maintain.

Fluid bed roasters are similar in design to hot-air type popcorn poppers. They have a glass-roasting chamber that allows you to watch as the roast develops, and then stop the roast as desired.
A batch from these roasters yields between 8 - 20 cups, depending on how you make your coffee (strength of coffee and type of brewer). They range in price from $109.99 to $179.99. They are a great way to start home roasting.

See the Bravi, Behmor or Gene Cafe instructions below for information about a drum roaster.

All roasters are sensitive to your home voltage, so it helps to roast on a circuit that is not being used at the same time you are roasting. The time setting may vary so be sure and watch carefully, especially with a new roaster.

Keep in mind that these are Home roasters, not commercial roasters, you will need to let them cool down between batches or you may trigger the thermal protection which requires the roaster to be reset by the manufacturer and may void the warranty.

Using your new home coffee roaster.

NOTE:  Never leave the roasters unattended.  Home coffee roasting is similar to frying bacon on your stovetop, it can and will burn if left unattended.   If you want to stop the roast at any time, just hit the COOL button. Don't turn it to off, the roasters are quite hot and require a cool cycle before handling.

The FreshRoast SR 500 Home Roaster:
The roaster has three parts:  the chaff collector on top, the roasting chamber and the heater base.

  1. Start with four level scoops of green coffee (about 4.5 ounces by weight).
  2. Remove the chaff collector, add the coffee to the roasting chamber and put the chaff collector back on.
  3. Toggle the heat setting from OFF to LOW.  Set the timer for 5 - 9.9 minutes.  You may add time at any point by hitting the UP button.   
  4. Start the roast with a low temperature setting and the highest fan speed to lower moisture content and ensure an even roast.  After approximately two minutes set the temperature to high.  As the roast progresses coffee beans will begin turning over vigorously, especially after first crack, turn the fan speed down to build heat and limit bean-chipping.
  5. As coffee beans roast they will begin to brown, double in size and separate from there chaff, emitting a light audible crack, this is called “first crack”.  Now you’re starting to watch for your desired roast.  We recommend a coffee roast that is dark brown, right before second crack, when the beans turn from dull/flat color  to having a slight sheen on the exterior; this is a full-city roast. If you see oil on the surface, you are into the second crack.
    “Second crack” occurs when internal bean oils and moisture expand from an exothermic reaction, producing a small hole on the bean and emitting a light audible crack similar to popcorn popping; this is the start of a dark roast.  If you see smoke coming from the roaster you are getting into the second crack and at a dark roast, if you’ve gotten to this point you want to hit the COOL button. 
  6. After the cool cycle shuts off, remove the chaff collector (be careful - the roaster is still pretty warm), lift out the roast chamber by its handle and dump the beans.  You should dump the freshly roasted beans in a glass or ceramic bowl and let them set-up for a day or two before putting them in an air tight container. We like to store the set-up roasted beans in a small canning jar.

The only cleaning necessary is to dump out the chaff from the chaff collector and wipe the collector out, I use a small basting brush to clean.  This model yields about 28 cups per batch.
What if your roasts are too dark or too light?  Batch size is critical to the roasting process.  In all air roasters, smaller batches take longer to roast and larger batches roast faster.  It may seem counterintuitive, but hot air flows more freely with fewer beans giving less chance for heat to build up in the chamber.  If your roasts are too dark decrease your batch size to increase air flow or hit the COOL button earlier.  If your roasts are too light increase your batch size to increase trapped hot air or increase time and heat settings.

The FreshRoast SR 300 Home Roaster:
The roaster has three parts:  the chaff collector on top, the roasting chamber and the heater base.

  1. Start with three level scoops of green coffee (about 3.4 ounces by weight).
  2. Remove the chaff collector, add the coffee to the roasting chamber and put the chaff collector back on.
  3. Toggle the heat setting to ON.  Set the timer for 5 - 9.9 minutes.  You may add time at any point by hitting the UP button.   
  4. As coffee beans roast they will begin to brown, double in size and separate from there chaff, emitting a light audible crack, this is called “first crack”. Now you’re starting to watch for your desired roast.  We recommend a coffee roast that is dark brown, right before second crack, when the beans turn from dull/flat color  to having a slight sheen on the exterior; this is a full-city roast. If you see oil on the surface, you are into the second crack.
    “Second crack” occurs when internal bean oils and moisture expand from an exothermic reaction, producing a small hole on the bean and emitting a light audible crack similar to popcorn popping; this is the start of a dark roast.  If you see smoke coming from the roaster you are getting into the second crack and at a dark roast, if you’ve gotten to this point you want to hit the COOL button.
  5. After the cool cycle shuts off, remove the chaff collector (be careful - the roaster is still pretty warm), lift out the roast chamber by its handle and dump the beans.  You should dump the freshly roasted beans in a glass or ceramic bowl and let them set-up for a day or two before putting them in an air tight container. We like to store the set-up roasted beans in a small canning jar.

The only cleaning necessary is to dump out the chaff from the chaff collector and wipe the collector out, I use a small basting brush to clean.  This model yields about 28 cups per batch.

What if I am not getting an even roast?  Certain coffees are denser and require help mixing to produce an even roast. Within the first 2 minutes of the roasting process hit the COOL button to kick the roaster into the cool mode for 30 seconds, next switch the heat control to OFF, then back to HEAT.  As the coffee starts to roast again, you will have proper mixing.

What if your roasts are too dark or too light?  Batch size is critical to the roasting process.  In all air roasters smaller batches take longer to roast and larger batches roast faster.  It may seem counterintuitive, but hot air flows more freely with fewer beans giving less chance to build up heat in the chamber.  If your roasts are too dark decrease your batch sizes to increase air flow.  If your roasts are too light increase your batch size to increase trapped hot air. 

The FreshRoast Plus "8" Green Coffee Roaster : (Discontinued)
The roaster has three parts, the chaff collector on top, the roasting chamber, and the heated base.

  1. Start with two heaping scoops of coffee from the scoop the roaster came with. (about 3.5 ounces total)
  2. Remove the chaff collector, add the coffee to the roasting chamber, and put the chaff collector back on.
  3. Set the timer for 4-7 minutes. The timer also adds a two-minute cool down period. Advance the timer to cool when your desired roast has been achieved. If you want to stop the roast at any time, just advance the timer to cool. Don't turn it to off, as the roaster is quite hot and needs the two minutes of cooling before being handled.
  4. After the timer shuts off, remove the chaff collector, (be careful - as the roaster is still pretty warm) lift out the roast chamber by its handle, and dump the beans.

You should dump the freshly roasted beans in a glass or ceramic bowl and let them set up for a day or two before putting them in an air tight container. I like to store the setup roasted beans in a small canning jar.

The only cleaning necessary is to dump out the chaff from the chaff collector and wipe the collector out, I use a small basting brush to clean it. Yields about 12 cups per batch.

Hearthware I-Roast 2 (Discontinued)
Put the roast chamber onto the base. Push down and twist to make sure you get a solid fit. Add two scoops of coffee or 5.3 ounces. Assemble the chaff collector base on top of the roast chamber and make sure you get a solid fit than add the top. I generally use pre-set two, but one works well for smaller batches or darker roasts.. Make sure to watch the roast and hit the cool button when you have reached your desired roast. Keep a log of the roasting times to make your own roasting profiles. Save them to the machine for easy use. If your having trouble getting a dark roast, try increasing your batch size slightly.

Gene Cafe Home Coffee Roaster: A highbred roaster that uses principles from both the fluid bed and drum roasters. The Gene Cafe is relatively quiet, very easy to use, and roasts up to 10-12 ounces, by weight, of coffee per batch. I find it best to weigh out the batches; otherwise the results will be inconsistent. This roaster is sensitive to batch size. If your a dark roast fan you may want to try cutting back your batch size a little.

When roasting high chaff coffees such as dry processed or naturals (for example out Brazil Beija Flor) be sure to cut back the batch size to the lower fill line (around 8 ounces) or there is some risk of the chaff getting stuck in the roast chamber.

I generally roast between 440-470 degrees and set the time around 15-22 minutes. Keep a watch towards the end of the roast, when it achieves your desired roast be sure to end the roasting cycle by hitting the cool/start button. Once you get to know the machine you will be able to set the exact time and temp so you will not need to hit the cool/start button. While the roaster can do multiple batches in a day I would let it cool down in between batch for 40-50 minutes.

After the roast is completed you will have to empty the chaff collector. Be sure to keep an eye on the double screens to make sure they are not getting clogged. If a fair amount of chaff is stuck between screens be sure to unscrew the collector and remove the chaff.

Coffee will taste best if allowed to setup for 24 hours.

Caffe Rosto (No U.S.A. distributor): (Discontinued)
Remove the glass top and add a level scoop , (1 cup) of coffee. Set the timer to 7 the first time to see how it roasts. With a fluid bed roaster, like the Caffe Rosto, the more coffee you roast, the hotter it gets. I find a heaping cup is the most you should roast. When done, remove the chaff collector and dump the beans into a canning jar or cool and keep in a zip lock bag. Vacuum or brush out the chaff collector and the area under the chaff collector. Yields about 15- 20 cups of coffee per batch.

The Nesco Professional Smokeless Home Roaster
Start by filling the roaster to the upper fill line. Make sure the back seal is connected to the top and not the tower, and that the top is well seated. Set the timer for 20 minutes the first time. Add more time and /or reduce the amount of coffee to the lower fill line if necessary for a darker roast. Keep the screen in the top clean. This roaster has a nifty smoke reduction system and is definitely the choice for those who don't have adequate venting. Yields enough for 15-20 cups per batch. If your having trouble getting a dark roast, try decreasing your batch size slightly.

With the Nesco, it is best to avoid small beans such as the Yemen Mocha.

The Bravi : (Discontinued)
An electric, radiant heat drum roaster. If you are a serious coffee drinker and consume at least a half-pound of coffee per week, this may be the way to go. The Bravi is relatively quiet, very easy to use, and roasts 8 ounces, by weight, of coffee per batch.

I find it best to weigh out the 8 ounces, otherwise the results will be inconsistent. This automatic roaster is more sensitive to batch size. If your a dark roast fan you may want to try cutting back your batch size a little.

Basic Instructions:
You set the degree of roast, and about 20-25 minutes later, it is done! You will want a vacuum around to clean up the chaff after each batch and a quick wipe down with a damp sponge or rag.

Drawbacks include the inability to watch the roasts develop, (you have to roast by ear and nose), and the need to vent. All the home roasters put out some smoke and it is recommended to roast under a stove top vent, or where you can open some windows, but the Bravi is roasting more coffee at a time and you will want some kind of stove top or Jennair venting. An alternative is to roast in the garage.

The main advantage of the Bravi is that professional coffee roasters pay 3-5 thousand dollars for a small drum roaster that roasts 1/2- 2 pounds, making the Bravi, at under $400, a terrific bargain.

The Behmor 1600 Coffee Roaster :
Read the full version and check out the latest updates to the owners manual here.

The Behmor has a full one pound capacity and a smoke suppression system. It is considered one of the best values for a home coffee roaster but it takes a little experience to master.

Start by putting either a 1/4, 1/2 or full pound of green coffee beans into the drum. Pop the drum into the machine, make sure to put the chaff collector in after the drum. Plug in the machine and choose your settings.Its best to sieve all coffees before inserting the drum.

When choosing your settings make sure to pick the appropriate batch size. Next, choose your heat setting, p1-p5 with p1 being the hottest setting and p5 being the coolest setting.
I find myself mostly roasting with p2. After that, choose your time setting, either A, B, C, and D. Some time settings are disabled with p1 and p2 to prevent burning of the green coffee beans.
The times associated with A, B, C, and D change depending on the chosen batch size. After you have chosen all the settings hit the roast button. You can always add time or take away time during a roast using the + and - buttons.

As with any roaster, make sure to hit the cool button when your desired roast is achieved or the machine is producing visible smoke.

When roasting the green coffee beans, make sure to keep an eye on the beans. The roast will progress slowly at first but become very rapid close to the end. You should be able to hear the cracks for the Behmor is a quiet roaster. With certain coffees, it is hard to tell first crack from the second crack, so make sure to hit the cool button if you see much visible smoke. The machine will hardly smoke until it hits the second crack. Be aware that the machine will continue roasting for 30-45 seconds after the cool button has been hit.

When roasting high chaff coffee or small bean coffee like the Yemen Mocha and Ethiopian Harrar in the Behmor, limit your batch size to ½ pound, and after adding the coffee to the drum, shake the drum and rotate over a plate or table to let most of the very small or broken beans fall out before inserting the drum into the roaster. The Behmor smaller bean drum will do better, but its best to sieve all coffees before inserting the drum.

Cleaning the Behmor is very simple, just vacuum out the chaff still in the machine when the roast is completed. Every 5-7 batches, make sure to run an empty cycle through the Behmor to clean the smoke reduction system.

If having trouble getting a darker roast try slightly reducing your batch size.

Home Roasting Equipment

Tips on the Basic Home Roasting Process

Using Grinders

Using a Chemex Coffee Maker

Links to more resources

coffee cup
learn about "green coffee beans" and how we determine our coffee selections