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Old 04-13-2014, 01:06 PM   #1
Sr Mike
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Default Rotisserie/Toaster Oven Coffee Roaster (Pic Heavy)

Rick (Galaga) asked me to start a thread on my DIY coffee roaster. Photos are of a dark roast I did yesterday with Honduran beans.

I have been roasting using a Whirlypop for about 7 years now and did some serious thinking to avoid buying a new roaster or Whirlypop.

For me, 3 main components are needed to roast:
1) Heat
2) Churning
3) Cooling

I was going to buy a new roaster, but each had one main problem; cooling. Of the roasters in my price range they all had complaints about cooling. How much I wanted to roast at a time, type of roaster, and cost was my main driving points that got me thinking about my new setup.

A lot of smoke, the roaster is used in my garage.


I used a counter top rotisserie/toaster oven. I made a basket out of 1/4" wire mesh. That turned out to be a small mistake because the mesh was too spaced out, the beans would simply fall through the spacing. To fix this I cut up and lined the basket with a splatter screen. I think even an 1/8" mesh would be too small for a peaberry bean. Either way this is my first basket and will make another in the future. Inside the basket I made a ridge to help tumble the beans with each turn of the basket. I used 2 springs and made cheap hooks to latch the door shut.

The bar that roatates the basket is 1/4", it fits the wire mesh spacing perfectly and turns the basket without a problem

A look at the ridge to tumble the beans:


The spring latch:


The roast takes A LOT longer, but the beans have been roasted to a beautiful even color every time. On average a 1/2 lbs takes 35-38 minuted depending on the beans and the amount roasted, add another 10 minutes for a whole pound. I may make a larger basket in the future, but in reality I only drink 1/2 lbs a week.

1/2 lbs. Honduran beans ready to be roasted:


For cooling, I use a ShopVac and place my thumb over the hose to help give a stronger blast of air. I put the hose against one end of the basket and it cools the beans extremely quick and blows all the chaff out of the basket. After 30 seconds I can dump the beans into a container and be done. In the picture below you can see the beans are beautifully colored, oily, and no chaff.

The roasted Honduran beans:


The beans will not be ready to brew for about 5 days. Unlike my Whirlypop roasting where the beans are good in 2 days. I did not quite realize this until I roasted up Nicaraguan beans. I have been roasting African and Colombian beans because they are not a favorite of mine and was being used as I learn more about my new roasting setup. After 2 days I was not getting the flavor I love so much with these Nicaraguan beans. On day 5 it was an instant change and I got that pop of flavor I was wanting and expecting 3 days earlier.

I think this is because of the way the beans are cooked, instead of the hot steel of the Whirlypop cooking the beans, it is radiant heat cooking the beans. I don't have any previous experience with drum roasters, this may be common, I don't know.

I also get to step away and not be tied to the roaster while it is going, I use a timer and an alarm and carry it with me if I need to walk away. A longer roast time does not bother me. I do listen for 1st and 2nd crack along with peering into the oven and looking at my roast coloration, which is a tad difficult being that my viewing window in my basket is so small. I have very little mess floating around the oven and it is very easy to clean because there is so little mess. The cleaning consists of removing the bottom tray and wiping it down and cleaning the glass.

Total cost is under $75 new. A used oven and it can be done for about $30.
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