Building a coffee roaster from junk

[Rxdtxd] has tried his hand at roasting coffee beans in a frying pan. It works but he can only roast small batches at once. What he really needed was a large-scale roaster that would have no problem with a few pounds of the green beans all at once. He ended up building this large-scale coffee roaster out of junk parts.

The vessel which holds the beans is the drum from a top-loading washing machine. It was headed for the junk pile, but the fully-enclosed drum is perfect for this purpose. After acquiring it [Rxdtxd] set out welding a frame that would hold either side by the pivot points. He used a geared motor to automate the process. The output shaft on the gear box is meant to drive a chain, but he just welded some pieces onto the gear to use as a coupling.

In the picture above he’s giving the roaster a thorough testing with about ten pounds of beans. A portable gas stove placed below the rotating drum supplies the heat. After the beans have reached the desired darkness he pours them out into a large skillet to cool. Take a peek at the roasting action in the clip after the break.

8 thoughts on “Building a coffee roaster from junk

  1. Nice to see they didn’t use a epoxy coated steel washer body. Not sure how well that would take that much heat – probably not too well.

  2. I like the simplicity and recyclign aspects of the build. Havign said that, I thought one of the main draws to roasting your own coffee was getting the freshest roast possible? Unless you’re opening a boutique or roasting for a large hackerspace it’s going to take quite some time to work through 5-10lbs of beans. By which time many of the volatile flavors you initially had will be gone. I see he uses glass candy jars but I doubt the efficacy of their seal over many months.
    Vacuum packed Aluminized/mylar bags with optional oxygen absorbers(if your a belt and suspenders kind of person, and for use after opening the initial seal) would greatly enhance storage life.

  3. The tub design looks like it came from a Staber washer, which oddly enough looks like the best application for their drum design, nice to know something good came out of it.

    make mine a dark junkyard roast, hold the rust! awesome!

  4. Love the pseudo “lovejoy” coupling. Not being a coffee drinker I probably can’t fully appreciate the effort.

  5. my favorite line and most applicable to all us junkjard scavengers was “Oh, the things that break and get thrown out!.. My heart sings as I wash them in acid.”

  6. nice hack. i personally use a gas grill with a similar stainless steel drum on a heavily modified rotisserie mount. the grill helps to hold some of the heat, so maybe a cover for this setup would do the same…

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