What Size RK Drum is Right for Roasting Coffee as a Hobby?

roasted coffee beans

So, you want to try roasting your own coffee? It’s a rewarding hobby that you’ll enjoy for years to come. The freshness of a roast is the most important factor contributing to great tasting coffee. It can even be more important than beans, assuming the beans are at least a minimum quality. 

In fact, I’d rather drink coffee made from fresh roasted so-so beans than coffee roasted 6 months ago from the very best beans you can find.

What size RK Drum should you buy to get started? In general, because the freshness of the roast is so important, you want to roast coffee that will last you not more than 3 weeks. Coffee peaks in taste 2-3 days after roasting and begins a slow process of becoming less and less fresh.  At the 2-3 week mark, we consider it past it’s prime, and on it’s way to going stale.  

The 2 LB RK Drum

The 2 LB RK Drum is so named because you can roast up to 2 lbs of coffee at a time, per 15 minute batch. This smaller size is great for people who are are budget conscious or only roasting for 1-2 people. 2 lbs of coffee is approximately equivalent to 2 bags of coffee, and most people can go through 1 bag in 5-9 days, if they are making coffee every morning. This drum is also the smallest and lightest drum we make, weighing only 4 lbs and measuring 9″ long by 5″ diameter. 

Fully loaded and fully assembled with the rotisserie rod and bearings, the RK Drum assembly weighs around 7 lbs, and is easy enough to handle for pretty much everyone.

RK Drum for Roasting Coffee - 2 lb Capacity

The 2 LB RK Drum

The 2 LB RK Drum is so named because you can roast up to 2 lbs of coffee at a time, per 15 minute batch. This smaller size is great for people who are are budget conscious or only roasting for 1-2 people. 2 lbs of coffee is approximately equivalent to 2 bags of coffee, and most people can go through 1 bag in 5-9 days, if they are making coffee every morning. This drum is also the smallest and lightest drum we make, weighing only 4 lbs and measuring 9″ long by 5″ diameter. 

Fully loaded and fully assembled with the rotisserie rod and bearings, the RK Drum assembly weighs around 7 lbs, and is easy enough to handle for pretty much everyone.

The 4 LB RK Drum

Like the 2 LB RK Drum, the 4 LB RK Drum is so named because it was designed to roast up to 4 lbs of coffee at a time, per 20 minute batch. We have found that if there is good heat and air flow, this drum can be loaded up to 5 lbs, and still produce good, even roasts. This size is great for people who enjoy sharing with friends and family or are heavy coffee drinkers. 4 lbs of coffee is approximately the amount of coffee in 5 bags of coffee, enough for you and a few others. The 4 LB RK Drum weighs 7 lbs and measures 12″ long by 8″ diameter. Fully loaded and assembled, it is around 13 lbs, so it is still very easy for most to handle.

The 4 LB RK Drum weighs 7 lbs and measures 12″ long by 8″ diameter. Fully loaded and assembled, it is around 13 lbs, so it is still very easy for most to handle.

The 4 LB RK Drum

Like the 2 LB RK Drum, the 4 LB RK Drum is so named because it was designed to roast up to 4 lbs of coffee at a time, per 20 minute batch. We have found that if there is good heat and air flow, this drum can be loaded up to 5 lbs, and still produce good, even roasts. This size is great for people who enjoy sharing with friends and family or are heavy coffee drinkers. 4 lbs of coffee is approximately the amount of coffee in 5 bags of coffee, enough for you and a few others. The 4 LB RK Drum weighs 7 lbs and measures 12″ long by 8″ diameter. Fully loaded and assembled, it is around 13 lbs, so it is still very easy for most to handle.

The 4 LB RK Drum weighs 7 lbs and measures 12″ long by 8″ diameter. Fully loaded and assembled, it is around 13 lbs, so it is still very easy for most to handle.

The 6 LB RK Drum

The 6 LB RK Drum is the largest drum we recommend for hobby roasting. With this drum, you will be able to roast 6 lbs of coffee or up to 7.5 lbs of coffee in a grill with good heat and air flow, or up to 21LB per hour. This amount of coffee is great for people who love to share, are heavy coffee drinkers, and those who could see this hobby developing into a side hustle. Once you share a little coffee, you’ll be amazed how easy it is to develop a loyal client base and make extra money. 6 lbs of coffee is approximately the amount of coffee in 8 bags of coffee.

The 6 LB RK Drum weighs 11 lbs and measures 18″ long by 8″ diameter. Fully loaded and assembled, it is around 20 lbs.

It requires a little more effort to handle, but is still doable for almost everyone.  For individuals looking for more volume, we do offer 8 LB and 12 LB options, as well as custom drums.
RK Drum for Roasting Coffee - 6 lb Capacity

The 6 LB RK Drum

The 6 LB RK Drum is the largest drum we recommend for hobby roasting. With this drum, you will be able to roast 6 lbs of coffee or up to 7.5 lbs of coffee in a grill with good heat and air flow, or up to 21LB per hour. This amount of coffee is great for people who love to share, are heavy coffee drinkers, and those who could see this hobby developing into a side hustle. Once you share a little coffee, you’ll be amazed how easy it is to develop a loyal client base and make extra money. 6 lbs of coffee is approximately the amount of coffee in 8 bags of coffee. 

The 6 LB RK Drum weighs 11 lbs and measures 18″ long by 8″ diameter. Fully loaded and assembled, it is around 20 lbs.

It requires a little more effort to handle, but is still doable for almost everyone.  For individuals looking for more volume, we do offer 8 and 12LB options, as well as custom drums.

What Size is Right for You?

No matter what size you decide on, you really can’t go wrong. No other coffee is as delicious and enjoyable as your own fresh roasted coffee.
What factors are you considering in determining what size drum to purchase?

Author: Shane Lewis

Shane is the founder of the green coffee exporter Old Spanish Main, Ltda. in Bogotá, Colombia, having practiced under the renowned grader & cupper Lelly Espitia. He is a cultivator of a #14 Colombian Cup of Excellence coffee. Shane currently designs & manufactures coffee, cacao & grain roasters with RK Drums.

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