Is It Cheaper to Roast Coffee at Home?

When looking for new ways to switch up your coffee routine and gain more control over your perfect cup, roasting coffee beans is a great place to start. Buying unroasted coffee beans compared to store bought roasted coffee comes with many benefits. Here are some reasons to roast coffee beans at home and some specific insights into the costs behind learning to roast your coffee beans at home.

Why You Should Roast Coffee at Home

Roasting coffee at home has many benefits for expense regulation, customization, and control. Buying roasted coffee beans costs more on average than buying unroasted coffee beans. You also can control your roast profile when roasting at home, so you can always reach your perfected personal preferences.

When you roast your own coffee beans, you have a fresher roast each time you want to brew. The more often you roast, the more experience you gain creating the perfect flavor development and refining roasting skills, along with coffee knowledge. On top of this, roasting is also a hands on chance to appreciate and connect with the craftsmanship and coffee making process personally. By taking the time to learn how to roast at home, you will fall in love with your freshly roasted beans.

Cheap Home Coffee Roaster Options

Popcorn Popper

Using a popcorn popper for your first go around in roasting is the best. It is an inexpensive option and easy to use, with two main styles to choose from. A hand crank popper uses a stovetop, and an air popper has user friendly buttons to make the roasting experience simple.

Using a popcorn popper is a convenient and cost effective place to start. You can easily upgrade when you gain enough insight into the process.

The hand crank roaster can be a bit labor intensive, but it is a good place to observe the roasting process in a more hands on controlled manner. As you better understand your roast, you'll learn what cues to look for to create the perfect roast.

When placing this popcorn popper on your gas burner, you turn the crank until your beans reach the perfect color for your roasting needs.

Even in an air popping popcorn maker, the roasting process can be easily observed for first time use. This style of heated mechanism can provide a view into the more professional setup without the expense of a fancy coffee roaster.

The popcorn popper is a great, inexpensive way to get started roasting coffee. If you're on a tight budget or want to save as much as possible, this is the way to go.

Bread Machine and Heat Gun

The bread machine and heat gun combo may seem a bit intimidating, but the results make the peculiar pair worthwhile. This inexpensive option has items that can be found very commonly at thrift stores or standard appliance sellers for reasonably cheap.

This is more of a DIY approach because you do have to secure the machines together to create the perfect roast environment. The heat gun will be the necessary heat source to roast the beans, while the bread machine rotates them evenly. When perfecting the setup, you can have a very consistent and very customizable, budget solution for your roasting.

Manual Roasters

Manual roasters are best for small batches of roasting that give very controlled results. These style roasters are still moderately inexpensive, while giving you more control over your roast. These roasters let you adjust heat and ventilation, which allow more precise results than the previous roasting options.

Fresh Roast SR540

Fresh roast machines use heated air to roast coffee, similar to a popcorn popper but with much more control. These roasters are an inexpensive start to fancy coffee roasters, starting at $209. While it's a little bit of an investment, you'll make your money back quickly if you consume a lot of coffee.

The Fresh Roast SR series has a larger capacity and an impressive control board to adjust the heat, fan, and time. There are much wider ranges of adjustments in order to offer full and complete roasting abilities. The best feature is that you can save your perfect roast profile as a default once you have it dialed in.

Cost of Green Coffee Beans vs. Roasted Coffee Beans

Purchasing green coffee beans is a money saver, while allowing you to explore more coffee options. When looking through already roasted beans, there are limited choices in comparison to the vast market of green coffee beans.

Not only are green coffee beans cheaper to buy in bulk, but buying before you roast allows you to take any bean to your desired roast profile. Sometimes, pre-roasted coffee beans are only offered in light, medium, or dark. If you bought the unroasted beans, you can turn them into any roast profile of your liking for much cheaper.

You can choose the higher end coffee without fear of breaking the bank, expanding your budget and your options. Unroasted coffee beans also have a longer shelf life than roasted coffee beans, which means you won't waste your coffee beans if you don't drink them within the first few weeks.

To break it down even further, a pound of unroasted coffee beans costs between $5 and $10. Meanwhile, a pound of specialty roasted coffee costs around $20, depending on the roaster. If you enjoy roasting coffee, it's a great way to save a few dollars and enjoy a wider variety of coffee than ever before.


Purchasing green coffee beans to roast at home can be a money saver, especially if you enjoy the process of roasting itself. With the affordable tools and desire to learn, you can make home coffee roasting your new secret weapon.