3 Best Retro Coffee Roasters | 2020 Buyers Guide

best retro coffee roaster

Do you have a retro coffee bar? Or do you simply like how things were done in the past? Whatever the case, here you’ll find the best retro coffee roasters, that will give your place that old-school look everyone likes.

Coffee roasting is an art. It’s not something you do in 15 minutes expecting to get the best outcome. It takes time and practice. So this art is really for those who want to improve their skills and who always strive to learn new things about our favorite beverage.

Having a vintage coffee roaster is a bit like having an old-timer. It brings that scent of the past with an overtone of warm nostalgia. It will amaze your older friends, bringing pleasant memories to their minds. 

Vintage coffee roasting machines will also allure your hipster friends (or customers) who go crazy about everything that has “vintage” or “retro” in its name. Okay, this is not really enough- your vintage coffee roasting machine must have that old look, and above all, impeccable roasting capacities.

One disclaimer- the capacity in the Features table corresponds to the capacity on the input. Due to the heating process, coffee beans lose some weight which means that you’ll end up with a slightly smaller amount once you get the beans out.

Let’s see what are the best vintage coffee roasters for sale.

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List of 3 Best Retro Coffee Roasters:

    
Hario RetroHario Retro

  • Capacity: 50 g (1.7 ounces)
  • Material: Heat-resistant glass
  • Mechanism: Drum (manual)
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Nuvo Eco Nuvo Eco

  • Capacity: 70 g (2.4 ounces)
  • Material: Ceramic
  • Mechanism: Shake and jiggle (no kidding)
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DYVEE coffee roasterDYVEE coffee roaster

  • Capacity: 400 g (!) (14 ounces)
  • Material: Quartz glass
  • Mechanism: Drum (automatic)
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1. Hario – Retro Coffee Roaster 50g

Hario Retro - Coffee Roasters

This really looks like something that flew over from an old-school thirties movie. Imagine this- you’re in Casablanca, trying to find a place to rest a bit and drink a cup of delicious, home-roasted coffee.

You find a nice little place, in shade, you get in to order your java, and this is what you see- Hario Retro Coffee Roaster. Yes, it can only roast 50 grams of beans at a time. But this is how things were done in the past. Nice and slow. No rushing. Taking it easy and enjoying the whole process of coffee roasting.

  • Dimensions 10.4 (W) x 5.5 (D) x 7.5 (H) – inches
    264 (W) x 139 (D) x 190 (H)- centimeters
  • FuelMethanol (or something like “Ken’s alcohol fuel”)
  • PricePossibly the most expensive retro coffee roaster in its category

To make things even better, Hario Retro is hand-cranked, so you’ll need to put in a bit of force to get that essence of coffee beans.

To top it all off- guess where this product is made? In Japan! Hario Retro only gets better and better! Japan is known for the quality of its products and Hario is no exception. This particular product is hand-made by Japanese masters. It is made from heat resistant glass (body), so you should be careful when handling it. Better put it in a place where it will stay put and won’t move.

What type of fuel does Hairo use? Most people use methanol, which should be the most stable fuel for roasting coffee with this product. You can vary the temperature via the speed of roller rotation- faster rotation equals less temperature.

Pay attention to cleaning, especially if you’re going to disassemble this vintage coffee bean roaster. Some users noted that during disassembly the products can get damaged.

Yes this text kind of turned into Hario Retro Coffee Roaster Review, but I don’t regret it!

Pros
  • Japanese quality- there’s nothing more I have to say.
  • … actually, there is. This is a hand-made retro coffee roaster!
  • It’s made from heat resistant glass
  • Consistent roast guaranteed
Cons
  • Cleaning might get a bit challenging
  • The glass body is a bit fragile which will especially become evident if handed inappropriately

2. Nuvo Eco – Ceramic Handy Coffee Bean Roaster

Nuvo Eco - Coffee Roasters

Disclaimer: this product kind of looks like an old fan. It has that old-school brownish color and matte finish. Nuvo Eco is actually made from ceramic which is interesting as most new coffee roasters are made from other materials. I guess that ceramic resists heat quite well.

  • Dimensions: 9.9 x 6.4 x 3 (inches)
  • Weight: 12 ounces

It seems that East Asian people really love retro coffee roasters! You wouldn’t guess where this one comes from, not in a million years- Korea! Okay, it’s not North Korea, but still, quite an obscure place for a product like this.

When it comes to South Korea and the quality of products, the story is quite similar to the Japanese situation. You’ll make no mistakes if you opt for the Korean quality.

As the manufacturer states, the inner structure is “waffle-shaped”. Not sure what this is supposed to mean but whenever there are waffles it can’t be a bad situation. This specific structure should in fact assure equal roasting so there you have it. 

There’s another peculiar statement- according to the product description, you can hear a characteristic “popping” sound- this should maybe attract some customers, dunno. Maybe Korean people like that popping sound while making some vintage roasts, who knows?

Honestly, the Nuvo Eco is the opposite of Hario- first of all, it’s quite cheap, it has the waffle shape, and that color that takes you back to your grandma’s house. The handle’s grip is made from cowhide (genuine, not some cheap imitations). The handle itself is a bit short- so be careful when roasting the beans as you can burn your fingers in the process.

Bear in mind that this is a ceramic product so it won’t work with an induction cooktop. During the heating process, you’ll have to shake the Nuvo and move it around a bit (actually quite a bit!). The container is also somewhat small, but then again most retro coffee roasters have small containers.

Nuvo Eco is rather easy to clean (small and smart product), which is a good thing since things can get pretty messy with this roaster- a lot of chaff everywhere. It won’t overheat.

Pros
  • Rather affordable vintage roasting apparatus
  • Cleaning is extremely easy
  • Consistent, equal roast each time
  • In most situations, it won’t overheat
  • High-quality ceramic
Cons
  • Small container (but somewhat better when compared with Hario)
  • Tends to leave a bit of a mess (chaff)

3. DYVEE - Gas Burner Coffee Roasting Machine

DYVEE - Coffee Roasters

Okay, I’ll be honest with you, this one is not entirely vintage- the manufacturer (DYVEE) didn’t try that hard to adorn it with that retro look we all like. However, the mechanism itself is still quite old-school- you’ll heat your beans via a gas burner in no time.

  • Dimensions: 43 x 21 x 21.5 cm
    18.43 x 10.94 x 9.88 inches
  • Weight: 10.6 pounds

There’s one thing I like about this product- capacity! Now if you consider the previous two products, you’ll most likely expect this one to also have a quite low capacity. Wrong! DYVEE will take up to 400 grams of coffee (14 ounces for our American friends). However, the producer advises us that the best roast is achieved when you put about 300 g so this is what I would do if I were you.

The mechanism is the classical rotating thing- just like Hario, so you’ll have no problems to get it right. The best thing is that DYVEE comes with a 12 V mini electrical motor that will spin the drum automatically! This will make it much easier for you as you don’t have to spin it endlessly. Honestly, I’m the kind of guy that wouldn’t mind spinning a coffee roaster manually- for me, it would be like fishing- something that helps me chill a little bit.

The drum is made from quartz glass, which is known for its heat-resistance capabilities. The good thing is that you can actually see the coffee beans as you’re roasting them which is a big plus. You can get it just right, whether you want a light roast, or something as dark as the soul of your mother-in-law.

The gas burner DOESN’T come with the roaster, so be careful about this! The burner is featured on the product’s picture so some people may automatically assume that you get one, but unfortunately, this isn’t the case.

Pros
  • Comes with a mini electric engine that will spin the drum with coffee beans
  • High quality quartz glass drum
  • Easy to clean- you only need to loosen a few screws and you’re good to go
Cons
  • Vibration of the product can cause power stoppage due to ac/dc converter

Retro Coffee Roaster Buyer’s Guide

Now that I’ve mentioned the best vintage coffee roasters (my picks), let’s see how you can prepare to go out and find one on your own if you happen to think that my choice is bad or if you simply wanna go out and see for yourself.

Mechanism

There are many ways to heat the beans up and to move them around so they roast evenly. But it’s safe to say that the two most popular ones are air bed roasters and drum roasters.

These are two rather different methods, and let’s see what are their pros and cons.

First of all, air bed roasters just push the hot air upwards and beans tend to spin and go all over the place. Moreover, this method will get the job done quite quickly, which is sometimes a good thing but other times it will just take away some important flavors. Simply put, this method is great if you prefer lighter beans.

On the other hand, there’s the drum method. It’s fairly simple, you have a drum, below which you put a heat source, you spin the drum with beans inside, and voila! After a while, you’ll have some great beans. I emphasize “after a while” because this method tends to take more time. But do not despair, because this is the best technique to get those darker roasts. And we all know that espresso can only be made from dark, dark roasts, darker than some Scandinavian bands.

Safety

When there’s lots of heat, there’s always a chance that someone gets hurt. So always check if the parts that are going to get hot are situated in safe places, away from your hands. Cooling of the product is another important aspect. To be frank, most retro coffee roasters don’t have this feature because guess why? You’re right, in the past, manufacturers only focused on the essentials.

Smoke handling

Some fancy products have fancy ways to deal with smoke. In my opinion, this is blasphemy since you take away the best part of roasting, that beautiful smell, that godlike aroma. Mhmm even now I can smell it, and it makes me make some more coffee!

But if you don’t want your house to reek of burnt coffee, you’d better find a product that has an appropriate smoke handling system.

Conclusion

Phew, that got me back to the sixties. Just kiddin’, these are some vintage roasters that of course have the modern quality, but they have the looks that will take you on a time trip.

Whether you like retro coffee, the roasting process on its own, or something else, you’ll most certainly find something you need in this text. This text will also come in handy to those retro coffee shop owners who would like to adorn their ambient with something that looks like it roasted millions of kilos of coffee beans.

However, when it comes to the retro coffee menu, you’ll have to read some other articles we’ve written for you.

I love this type of products because they are nice and simple, there’s not a whole lot of technology with them, and we all know what this means- less breaking! 

Top Rated Retro Coffee Roasters:

Ivan is a 24-year old graphic design and computer science student from Serbia who loves driving motorcycle in his free time and is absolutely obsessed with nature, sports and hanging out with friends.

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