What is Air Roasted Coffee?

Have you had coffee leave you with a sour stomach and an unpleasant, jittery feeling throughout your body? Or one that tastes burnt and bitter?  We usually attribute these characteristics to a particular style of coffee roast or brand of coffee. Maybe it’s neither. In many cases it’s the roasting equipment causing the undesirable flavors. You might stumble onto this realization by having a cup of extraordinary coffee, as we did, ask what made it so, and discover –  Air Roasted Coffee!

With Air Roasted Coffee you taste the coffee not the roaster. It’s the air that roasts the coffee not the surface of the roaster. So the coffee has a very clean taste that is intensely aromatic, minus the acids and bitter tars that are produced by conventional roasters. This roasting method was championed by Michael Sivetz, Chemical Engineer and Coffee Industry Consultant. He wrote the first scientific treatise on coffee, Coffee Technology.  Disappointed with the state of roasting manufacturing, he developed and manufactured the first practical commercial air roaster: the Sivetz Fluid-Bed Roaster.

Most drum roasters today introduce hot air into their roast chamber, then the beans tumble and touch the hot surfaces to roast, like clothing in a clothes dryer. The Sivetz system levitates the beans on a fluidized bed of hot air, keeping the beans moving and not scorching on hot surfaces. The sole use of hot air greatly increases the rate of heat transference to the beans, creating a cleaner, more aromatic roast free of bitter tasting tars. Sivetz sold hundreds of these roasters all around the world, and many have been inspired to create their own air roaster based on his design. We created this website for fans of Air Roasted Coffee and to help you find an Air Roaster near you!


Air Roaster graphic

In the coffee business there are a lot of experts, but few know what they are talking about.

  – Mike Sivetz

Michael Sivetz – Champion of the Fluidized Bed Air Roaster

When Mike Sivetz first began his career in the coffee industry he wasn’t necessarily all that interested in coffee roasters – they were simply one part of a larger responsibility. A chemical engineer, he was first hired by General Foods for their instant coffee division in Brazil. He later went on to Folgers in Houston. His only concern with roasting in both instances was with production output. His interest in roasters began when he was hired to design and build two instant coffee plants, one in Nicaragua and one in Brazil. His primary concern again was simply output. In order for the plants to operate the roasters would be required to run for twenty-four hours a day to build up roasted product for the instant coffee production. Running at such intensity, roasters frequently experienced failures to the bearings due to heat. He wanted to find roasting machines that could stand up to the production requirements and so began looking around for alternatives.

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Air-Roasted Coffee


United States

Roaster/Cafe Locations

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Master Roaster John Gant, Sivetz V Roaster, Circa 1987

John Gant, Master Roaster, with Sivetz V Roaster, circa 1989

Image courtesy of Mark Overly

More to come…

Bookmark this page, drink more coffee, and stay tuned!