My first steps in home coffee roasting started with a hot air popcorn popper and quickly progressed to a very nice Behmor 1600 coffee roaster.  It has been a fun and educational journey.  Learning about bean origins, sourcing, and the basics of coffee roasting, have been fun and rewarding.  I’ve roasted some pretty good coffee with the Behmore but consistently good coffee is hit or miss.  Consistency requires more control to and more information from the roaster;  Neither of which the Behmore provides.   So, as promised in my “first steps” post, I am sharing my preliminary research as I seek the best coffee roaster for my needs.

There are many different types of coffee roasters.  My research has filtered out several types of roasters including hot air, electric, and roasters that do not use a drum.  These never made the list.  I also eliminated roasters with horrible reviews as well as those manufacturers who do not offer any representation for sales or service here in the United States.  So, the basic requirements are:

  • Sold in the USA
  • Available Service & customer support in English
  • Drum style roaster
  • 110v Power
  • Fueled by Natural Gas
  • Adjustable gas flow
  • Adjustable drum speed
  • Adjustable air flow
  • Chaff collector
  • Venting system
  • USB Data logging for use with Artisan
  • Cooling tray (preferably with fan or turning wands)
  • Affordable

It’s time to upgrade from the Behmor 1600.  Being a home roaster, I’m looking for a smaller “lab” roaster otherwise known as a “sample” roaster.  These are usually 1 kilo or smaller.  Every roaster I could find that was close to my requirements is listed below.  Some of the information may not be perfectly accurate and I will blame the manufacturer.  Just about every manufacturer with the exception of Mill City lacked details, features, and multiple pictures of their products.  Even the Diedrich IR1 product detail page was sparse.

I thought it might be difficult to sift through the list to find the perfect coffee roaster for me.  It isn’t about the money, but it is about the money.  The Mill City 500 gram roaster manufactured by North appears to offer all of the requirements I need AND it is the least expensive.  While I would love a Diedrich IR1, mostly because of the brand recognition and reputation, I can’t ignore the purchase price of 14,000 dollars.  The Mill City and Diedrich are the only two roasters that checked all the boxes.  So, my next post will be a preliminary review and comparison between the Mill City 500 gram gas roaster vs. the Diedrich IR1 gas roaster.  Stay tuned.