In this post, we are not going to discuss the qualitative advantages people claim over roasting your beans, such as getting them to the exact point you want, knowing exactly when your beans were roasted or the satisfaction of doing it yourself. Today we are just going to check if it makes economic sense to do it.
How much does it cost to buy freshly roasted beans?We already established that an 8oz bag of locally roasted coffee could be in average $15, with two bags per month this adds up to $360 per year.
So, how much does it cost to roast your beans?Two components need to be considered to answer this question: the ongoing cost of the green beans and the initial investment on a roaster.
For all of us, who are getting started on roasting coffee, Sweet Marias is going to be the site to go for everything you need: information, green beans, roasters, etc. All the equipment and prices discussed here will be based on this site.
By looking at the cost of the green beans, we can see their prices can go from $6 to $8 per pound for beans they consider good for espresso. There are 16oz in one pound, double the size of an average roasted coffee bag; this means I would spend $84 per year on coffee beans. In other words, savings of $276.
Comparison Table (without investment)
Average Price per bag
Price per Oz
Oz per year
Cost per Year
There are a couple of different types of Hot Air Roasters, and the prices go from $20 to $179. However, the $20 one is really a popcorn popper which makes me doubt it will create a consistently good quality product. On the other hand, the SR500 which costs $179, although similar to the popcorn popper, was created to roast coffee. With this model, in the first year, I could recover the investment, even considering the additional costs and waste.
Here is a nice video about the SR500 in action
ConclusionI believe that the SR500 Hot Air Roaster is the way to go to get introduced into the coffee roasting experience. If you normally finish a 12 oz bag of roasted coffee every two weeks, you could recover your investment in less than a year, and you could potentially save a couple hundred dollars per year after that. It seems it gives you enough consistency on small batches, and even if you decide that coffee roasting is not for you, the investment is not as significant as with other types of roasters.
Do you have any experience roasting coffee? Leave your comments and recommendations