Whether you’re looking for a simple, hands-off experience or prefer to micromanage the process at every stage, there are many affordable, quality home roasters that can turn any kitchen into an authentic Italian Café.
The Kaldi home coffee roaster is an excellent choice for anyone aspiring to produce authentic, professional-grade coffee beans.
This machine isn’t complicated to operate, but does require a gas burner and a few basic pieces of knowledge about the roasting process.
The first thing you notice is that the machine is attractively finished in polished stainless steel.
Although the roaster has a square, boxy, utilitarian shape it is the sort of item you can happily leave in the kitchen bench or on an open shelf, almost as an interesting decorative object.
The top of the roaster has a wooden handle for picking up and move the machine around, and the wood adds a ‘homey’ effect to the minimalistic design.
The machine comes fully assembled, which is a plus. The stainless-steel construction of the roaster, along with the mesh plate situated on the underside, protects the integrity of the machine and allows for a safe roasting experience.
The unit arrives complete with:
- Rotating drum – electric-powered, measuring 2mm thick, is made of stainless steel, and perforated to make sure that hot air circulates evenly throughout your batch.
- Hopper – also made of high-grade stainless-steel, sits comfortably in the roaster and is easily removeable for cleaning and storage
- Thermometer – that reads in Celsius and is attached to the chaff collector
- Chaff Holder – store the skin that comes off the beans during roasting
- Probe rod – allows you to take a sample of beans while roasting and visually check the progress
Technology and Controls
Kaldi is a brand of Korean company Homecaffe, which makes world-class coffee equipment. This machine is in fact a scaled down version of a professional drum roaster, made especially for a budget market segment.
Beans placed in the machine are constantly mixed with the rotating drum. This is old-school technology, which gives you ability to learn the basics of coffee roasting craft.
Because the roaster uses an external heat source there are no need for various buttons and switches, apart from an electrical switch to turn the rotating drum off and on.
You control the roasting temperature by adjusting the flame on the gas burner.
The Kaldi comes with an analog probe thermometer which measures the temperature in the drum in Celsius.
If you prefer you can to replace this with a digital thermoprobe, which has a faster reaction time, is easier to read, and can easily switch between Celsius and Fahrenheit.
This will be an extra cost and is a relatively simple operation, and there are several online tutorials showing exactly how to do it.
The Kaldi roaster can roast up to 300 grams of beans at once, which is quite good for a home roaster and translates to about 40 cups of coffee.
The machine is also great for smaller batches when you just want to practice, or to sample a new bean.
- First you need to place the roaster over the gas burner, and you can use a portable gas burner or on your kitchen stove (provided it’s a gas ring), and make sure the drum is directly over the gas ring.
- Check that the power supply is attached and the drum switch is on, then put the thermo probe into the drum.
- Turn on the gas burner, checking the temperature after a couple of minutes. When the temperature in the drum is around 350 degrees C, pour the beans into the hopper and down into the drum.
- After about 7 minutes, when the temperature is around 380 degrees, you will hear the ‘first crack’. This is the popping sound the beans make when the roasting process is underway. When you hear that, reduce the temperature a little.
- When the first crack finishes, raise the temperature again a little and check a sample of the beans. When they reach the level of roast you desire, turn off the gas. Usually the total roasting time is 12 to 14 minutes.
- The best way to cool the beans down is by spreading them on a tray and leaving them for a while. The actual body of the roaster gets quite hot, so you should also leave that for a whole before moving it.
The Kaldi roaster is relatively easy to clean, just a wipe down after use, and clean out the chaff collecting tray. Of course make sure the machine has cooled down before attempting to clean it.
Oils from the roasting beans can build up inside the drum, and the machines come with instruction on how to dismantle the drum for cleaning.
All things considered, machine is quite easy to use, once you get used to. It has a learning curve and it’s probably not a “set it and forget it” option.
Here are a couple of useful tips you should know the first time you use one.
Ventilation is important. Although it can be used inside your home, the roasting process does produce some smoke and so you should make sure to keep the space well ventilated. If you use the roaster on a kitchen stove top you will need a good hood vent with a strong fan to get rid of the smoke.
The rotating drum can be a bit noisy, so be prepared for that – it doesn’t mean there is something wrong with it!
As mentioned above, the stainless steel body gets very hot. When removing the beans, or handling the machine in any way just after roasting has finished, be very careful and ideally wear oven mitts or some sort of insulated handwear.
Temperature – make sure you check the temperature all the time during the process. It is best to start slowly, on a low to medium heat, and let the drum heat up gradually. This way you will have better control of it.
Price and Value
At its cost, this machine is not the lowest price on the market, and requires the purchase of an additional gas burner unless you home already has a gas stove top.
Even then, you may want a separate burner depending on your kitchen ventilation, how near an open window or door etc. Some users even recommend that you roast outside, although that is very weather dependent particularly in the northern hemisphere.
Replacing the analog thermometer with a digital thermocouple probe is also an extra cost.
However the real value of the Kaldi in its ease of use (once you get used to it) and its solid construction in thick gauge stainless steel. Plus it is a small version of a commercial drum roaster and will give a nice even roast every time.
The Kaldi Motorized home coffee roaster is for you if you want the same level of quality as professional roasters, and it can easily give you that quality.
- Easy to use, no complex digital controls or settings
- Reliable, consistent roasting
- Easy to clean
- Solid construction
- Stainless steel body gets very hot
- Rotating drum can be noisy
- Needs good ventilation
Having read all this, you will now have a pretty good idea of how to use the Kaldi roaster, and exactly what it does. So is it the right coffee roasting machine for you?
It all comes down to how seriously you take your coffee roasting.
There are cheaper coffee roasters on the market, but the Kaldi is a solid well-built machine without complex electronics that will continue to work well for many years.
Of course, off-setting the price a little is the fact that buying green beans and roasting them yourself is a lot cheaper than buying beans already roasted.
P.S. Incidentally, if you didn’t already know, Kaldi was the name of the legendary goat-herder who first discovered the delights of coffee beans way back in the mists of time, when he noticed his goats becoming frisky after chewing on the seeds of a certain tree – the coffee tree.
Possibly just a myth, but the name Kaldi is synonymous with the origins of the coffee bean.
- Kaldi Official Website – https://eng.homecaffe.net/product/kaldi-wide-coffee-roaster/150/category/1/display/2/
- The Spruce Eats – https://www.thespruceeats.com/kaldi-motorized-home-coffee-roaster-review-5184746
- Home Barista | Kaldi Motorized Modifications