Coffee Roaster Upgrade

A couple years ago I started roasting my own coffee, using an old popcorn popper and some green coffee beans I picked up online.

A year later, I graduated to a little coffee roaster especially designed for home use. It usually did a great job of dissipating the smoke, which allowed me to keep it in the basement, but when I left it unattended one night, some of the beans jammed the agitator, causing the roaster to melt down and the basement to fill with smoke. After a couple months of repeated requests to the company’s customer service department, I got my money back.

My current roaster is a significant upgrade from the cute little pre-packaged roaster that nearly burned down my house. Sure, I’m back in the garage with it, but now I can roast 4 pounds at a time instead of just four ounces.

coffee roaster grill

Sara found the grill for me on, so all I had to do was buy the big drum and the motor to spin it around like a rotisserie. For that, my buddy Steve pointed me to RK Drums.

coffee roaster drum

So far I’ve been pleased with how quickly I can roast a large quantity of premium beans. I still haven’t managed to get all the beans to roast to a consistent level within a batch, but I’m working on it. Doesn’t matter anyway, because the lattes I’m able to make from those beans are heavenly — much better than anything I’ve tasted in any coffee house anywhere. And that makes me very happy.

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11 Responses to Coffee Roaster Upgrade

  1. tracy says:

    mmmm…. I want to taste one of those lattes, Karl!

  2. Karl says:

    Hey Tracy,
    Come on over any time, and I’ll make one for you.

  3. Josh says:

    Very nice! With that quality and quantity maybe you could fetch 99 bucks for a half pound like those Intelligentsia guys in Chicago. Name it El Karlmarelda Especial. Or, just KARL. First name brands seem to work. Like Oprah. Or Jesus.

  4. Dennis says:

    Hey Karl, if I give you my FedEx account number, could you send me a sample of your work? Love it!

  5. Karl says:

    Absolutely, Dennis!

  6. Mary Senter says:

    Hey Karl. I haven’t checked your site in months… fun to see a post about roasting. Very clever setup you have there. Was this your invention? We have a number of people buying green from us and it is pretty amazing to see learn about some of the crazy setups. Our roasters are working with an engineer here in town to come up with a quality home roaster. I am not surprised your little one burned up. We go through our sample roasters several times a year it seems. Anyway, glad to hear you are coming up with some good product. Hope this finds you all well. Mary

  7. Karl says:

    Hi Mary,
    I totally forgot I could buy green coffee from you! I’ll have to start doing that again. Do you have a price list somewhere on your web site? I couldn’t find one.

  8. Mary Senter says:

    Hi Karl. No price list on the website as our website has been so neglected. If you want to buy green, just shoot us an email……ranges from $5-6 lb. We have an excellent Mexican and Panama Carmen right now. M

  9. Hananonn says:

    Hi Karl.
    Just stumbled hear. Did you know of ?
    Bunch of coffee geeks splitting greens at wholesale cost plus really small fee (to cover expenses).
    We started 2 years ago grew to more than a thousand active members.
    Everything is done voluntarily I am one of them but must admit I do part time coffee beside my Tofu business.
    I bet you would like it since we share ideas and beans. Come join us.

  10. Karl says:

    Hi Hananonn,
    Thanks a lot for the recommendation! I’m definitely going to check it out.

  11. Brett Potter says:

    Hey Karl, I have also recently started roasting coffee, and I am consistently impressed with the flavor of the beans I roast! It is amazing how “alive” the coffee tastes when it was roasted fresh within a few days! Have you tried roasting with a little charcoal? I have heard of some people using wood or charcoal to fire their roasters, and they seem to be happy with the results! I have been roasting for a couple years on small hand roasters and popcorn pans, but we recently installed a 2 Kg commercial batch roaster, and I am loving it! All the best!

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