My original "Mistral" popper is still going strong and used occasionally as a Home Sample Roaster.... Must be getting on for 6 years old or so......
My Crazy Popper did a few dozen roasts before I moved on to my corretto.
It still works.
My original "Mistral" popper is still going strong and used occasionally as a Home Sample Roaster.... Must be getting on for 6 years old or so......
Buy from K-Mart..they replace anything with issues within a year..no questions asked usually
Hi all, newbie first post here on CS. *Thought this info belonged in a beginners sticky on poppers (I would like to have seen it first before I started) for those who are proficient with a soldering iron... just an example with some suggestions from a fellow beginner...
Initially I stumbled upon one of the US coffee sites and started to get interested in home roasting as it sounded so easy. *Quickly decided poppers were the way to go but they seem to only work with the old Poppery 1 which is not available here. *Quick excursion to local shopping centre and came back with a Breville Crazy Popper (CP) simply because it had highest wattage rating (1200W) and looked the most sturdy. *Later I discovered this site.
You need to separate the fan and heating element so you can have total control over the roast profile - none of this extension cords, boxes and air ducts around the popper or preferred weather... *not a problem as in the CP the fan is a low voltage DC motor, running off a tap in the heating element with unfiltered bridge rectified DC @ just under 16V. *Now these low voltage perm magnet commutator motors are usually quite underrated - only thing to worry about is heating in the armature and back EMF @ the commutator. *Since it is running a fan and is in the air stream I have no hesitation in cranking it up a bit, infact I connected it to a simple variable DC supply consisting of a multitap transformer with a big smoothing cap (0.1F) after the bridge, providing steps at 14, 16, 18 & 21V. *At 21V smoothed the motor is running with a bit less peak voltage than 16v unfiltered so should not cause excessive commutator wear. *If you want to use a bench supply the fan motor consumes 2A @ 16V and 2.6A @ 21V without any bean load (current is lower with bean load).
On the chimney you need one of those common soup tins with a ring pull top and a stepped in bottom (so they stack) of 72mm diameter. *Take off the yellow top from the popper and the soup tin top end (after pulling the top) clips perfectly onto the Al chamber in the CP (like it was designed to do this). *Mount it with a couple of wire struts down to the old top attachment points to take up the spring tension that was being transmitted through the old top. *I think one wants to discard the old top as it is very heavy plastic and will cool beans that come in contact and it holds lots of heat when you are trying to cool down at the end. *Good to have a 2nd tin one can just drop on the top if things get a bit energetic. *Might integrate the chaff collector into this extension.
With the extra fan power it is quite easy to fluidize a 200g load of greens at the start. *A slight angle of only a few degrees from vertical establishes a strong top to bottom circulating current of beans. *One can reduce the fan speed during the roast as the beans get less dense - they lose 12-15% in water and almost double in volume during a roast. *It is quite easy to control the temp just by manually modulating the power switch to the heater - enough thermal inertia that flicking it off for 1~2 secs at a time does not drop bean temps, just slows a rise. *The process delay is around 3~4 secs. *Of course you need a thermocouple in the bean mass. *Dont get distracted!
At the end it is quite sufficient just to turn the heater off and leave the beans in place, if you crank fan speed up (not to max else coffee is ejected like popped corn), you can get temps down below 40C in 60 secs, which is a lot faster than commercial roasters cool theirs. *Another benefit of this approach is that the popper is cooled down as well and is ready to go immediately with a second batch if required.
I have only done a couple of roasts so far, both great (150g & 200g). *Really wanted to be able to do 1/2 weeks worth in one go else too fiddly. *I regard this as a successful proof of concept prototype and expect to connect a ramp/soak controller up to run the show when I want to be doing other things. *You want a roast profile that is longer than that provided by an unmodified popper - relatively fast and accelerating up to 1st crack then quite slow (5C/min) up to 2nd crack or just before. *Since the roasting reactions go exothermic @ first crack expect power requirements to drop there for a while.
I am lucky that I obtained my experimental greens from the boutique roaster that I have been buying from for years, in exactly the same blend as my favourite roasted beans, so I have a good reference point. *Took my roast back there and received a comment that it looked better than some he had seen done there - they have been roasting for more than 30 years. *I have yet to hear the tasting feedback.
Just ordered the CS greens starter pack, interested to see what I get to play with.
ed: remeasured fan motor & documented current requirements
Welcome Eric.... [smiley=thumbsup.gif]
Nicely structured and very informative post mate. Look forward to reading many more from you in the future....
Realized I left one important item out of the above post: if one separates the fan and heater control then you should really add a relay to disable the heater upon loss of fan power per another post here somewhere. *Its an accident waiting to happen.
So far durability looks OK - did 5 back to back roasts today without any drama.
I had it pointed out that there are threads on similar mods here - perhaps the moderators could review and link to the more important ones. *Easier to find from the beginners thread.. current state of the art? 1/2 sticky? *or HowTos? *;)
Good point Eric, about the interlock suggestion... 8-)
I reckon your post is fine where it is mate, for the reasons youve already alluded to. I dont think home-roast newbies can ever have too much good information.... :)
This may sound like a silly idea...
A lot of ovens have a rotisserie attachment. COuld you not skewer a tin can on that, and then tumble your beans in the oven?
Just an idea...
Well... yes you could, but I certainly would not recommend it.Originally Posted by 6E6669696E646F686B746869070 link=1174699442/57#57 date=1237266903
Roasting creates smoke and chaff. If the oven is well vented, then the smoke might not be an issue, but the chaff (for home roasters anyhow) is what makes this a recommended outdoor activity.
Most of us home roasters have some sort of cooling apparatus in place when they dump the beans from the roaster. And you need to get the beans cooling or they will continue to roast with their retained heat.
My cooler is a fan that blows upwards through mesh that also blows away the loose chaff. Doing this inside would get messy.
So, its possible, but I think it would be impractical.
May also present a fire hazard situation too, depending on the design of your oven.... :oOriginally Posted by 7D7A6F797462442A2222221B0 link=1174699442/58#58 date=1237267471
I’ve been buying green beans from coffeesnobs for a number of years now and just recently passed my 400th roast in a popcorn machine. I thought I’d share some of my experiences.
I’ve used two different popcorn machines – the first was a $2 garage sale bargain that lasted 183 roasts before the heating element burned out. The second, which is still going strong is a $20 machine from Go Lo. In both cases, I made a simple chimney extension from a cylindrical tin can, with slits cut in one end to allow the can to be seated in the top of the popcorn popper.
I erected a small wooden shelf outdoors in the carport for roasting, which gives me all weather access to roasting, and is conveniently located near the main switchboard of the house which has a power point for plugging the roaster into. The metal cabinet of the switchboard is also handy for attaching a digital kitchen timer with a magnetic mount.
One of the things I discovered early on was that there were a quite number of factors that could substantially alter the optimum roasting time, whereas I initially thought it would just be a matter of working out the ‘correct’ time and then sticking to that. The factors I found are:
- The type of bean – some beans need longer/shorter. In particular, decaf beans will roast quicker than non-decaf.
- The quantity of beans. I found that even small variations in quantity could alter the roast time. The more beans I tried to roast in one go, the quicker the roast. I’m guessing that the more beans there are in the machine, the more the airflow is restricted, trapping the heat and raising the temperature. For my first machine I found that I could only roast 100g at a time. My second machine has a slightly less powerful heater and I am able to roast 125g a time. *For consistency an accurate measure of beans using a small kitchen scale is essential.
- Ambient temperature and humidity. If the air is cold or humid then the roast will take longer. *Conversely if the air is hot and dry, the beans will roast faster. After a bit of experimentation I developed what I call the ‘Captain Cook’ rule. I’m just old enough to remember the bicentennial celebrations commemorating Captain Cook’s navigation of the east coast of Australia in 1770. Treating these as two separate numbers ’17’ and ‘70’,my ‘Captain Cook’ rule is that I try to always roast when the ambient temperature is below 17 degrees Celsius and above 70% relative humidity. In practice for where I live (Newcastle NSW) this means that I roast at 8am in the mornings –early enough for it to be cool and humid, but not too early as to annoy the neighbours.
- Wind. On windy days, the heat from the machine is dissipated more quickly and roast times are generally 30 seconds to a minute longer than on a still day.
- Consecutive uses of the machine. *I found that if I tried to do a second roast immediately after using the machine, that the second roast would take 30-40 seconds less to achieve the same colour and that invariably it would not be as good as the first. *For this reason I try hard to avoid doing consecutive roasts.
In the attached photo you can see a pair of sifters (plastic handle, metal grate) that I use for cooling the beans after the roast, by pouring the hot beans from one sifter to the other. Also in the photo is a curved wooden spoon that I use for two purposes. In the early part of the roast I stir the beans a little to assist in the escape of chaff, and later in the roast I use the spoon cup to extract some beans from the machine to inspect the color. The spoon was hand-carved by my father from a branch of a jacaranda tree. The curvature of the spoon means that I am able to use it without having to get my hand in the hot air stream coming from the popper.
As for roasting times, because the lighting conditions in the carport can vary greatly, I generally rely on the sound, listening for the second crack and stopping the roast as the second crack begins. By roasting in the cool of the morning the roasting time is about 7 to 8 minutes. I’ve found that the quality drops off if the roast is less than 5 to 6 minutes. *In the 406 roasts I’ve done so far I’ve only really had 2 bad roasts – my very first one which was way under-roasted (too cautious) and a later one that was over-roasted and burnt as I experimented with the times.
I keep a record of each roast, noting down the date, weight of beans, ambient temperature and humidity, bean type, roasting time and any other relevant factors – this has helped me over time to get a good feel for how long a roast of particular beans under particular conditions will take. *
I’ve tried few different beans over the time, but my favourites so far are PNG Wahgi, New Guinea Peaberry and Costa Rica Tarrazu.
I hope my experiences can provide a few tips for someone just starting out in the home roasting caper. The great thing about home roasting is that you can get quite good results with quite a simple setup, but theres also plenty of scope for getting as complicated and sophisticated as you want to go.
Theres some good bits of info in that post.
Possibly it could be used in conjunction with the "Beginners guide to Roasting using a popper"
[postsmovedhere1] 2 [postsmovedhere2] Home Roasting - Tips, Tricks etc [move by] Mal.
Kmart have a Tempo popcorn maker in their catalogue this week for $25. Does this look like it would be suitable for converting to a popper?
The Tempo website suggests it has:
• Overheat protection
• Integrated butter dish in lid
• 240 VAC 50 Hz 1200 W
I dont see why not, add a chimney to it and you should be set to go.
The only question i would have is regarding the overheat protection, i am not sure if this applies to older poppers as well, you may need to point so cool air to the underside of the popper while its running or at least increast the air intake for the fan etc.
Not sure, hopefully someone else can shed some more light on this component of the unit and its potential to interrupt a running roast.
It looks just like my Tiffany popper. Same specs and appearance. As Mal says, stick a soup can chimney on top and away you go. No mods required.
I did 4 x 100g roasts back to back with about 10 min cool down between each. No probs. Roast time around 7 mins to just after second crack for most beans.
Gday linnaen...Originally Posted by 5A5F5858575358360 link=1174699442/63#63 date=1247136142
Heres a good guide from Sweet Marias on how to select the "right" design of Popper to roast coffee.... http://www.sweetmarias.com/airpop/airpopdesign.php
Thanks guys. Will check it out over the weekend if I manage to have one.
/me curses having to report to the AG at this time of year.
Those Kmart ones work really well, picked one up myself about 3 weeks back. Theyre actually the same ones that Andy used in the home roasting demo at celebrate the bean this year
Popper on, beans in, laigh my backside off at the mess of chaff in the kitchen, even with a fan blowing it out
I often get worried about reports of poppers perishing after several roasts...I have been using dual poppers (Sunbeam Cornelius) for about 12 months. I dont think I am having any problems so far. Should I be worried?
Ive had a black and decker and a tiffany brand popper doing two to three roasts each per week since 1997... so Id say no.
That chimney is is epic. I have thought so often of how I could make one with a chaff collector in it and I always go too big with the planning. What an excellent design, well done guys. Just proves that great coffee can still be done on a budget. Now off to find an old tin can...
Im using a kambrook popcorn machine, but im find it is heating the beans up WAAAy to quickly, ie 2nd crack is getting at around 4min mark, is it detrimental to the beans to stop the machine and just keep stirring with residual heat in the popper and turn back on in a bit or just get a new popper?
My trick was to get more cold air into my popper.
Are you able to post a picture of yours?
My advice is to try roasting at the coolest time of the day (usually early morning) and in the coolest place where you can get get a bit of airflow. In the really hot summer weather i sometimes used a fan to blow across the popper to give a bit of airflow and cool things down a bit. I also placed my popper on cold cement/pavers if needed.
I got myself a Breville popper on the weekend and my starter pack arrived on Friday. Now I just need to add the can mod and get a hand grinder and Im in business!
Welcome to CS jetsparrow. Let us know how you went. Need any help...ask us.Originally Posted by 3E312027243526263B23540 link=1174699442/75#75 date=1282018513
Happy roasting, Gary :)
My hand grinder finally arrived so I thought Id give the popper a go tonight. I have absolutely no idea what Im doing but I had a great time watching the beans swirl and slowly change colour :)
I think they roasted too quickly but I didnt time it and they some of the beans were significantly lighter than the others.
Ill give it another go on the weekend after I make a chimney and see how I go.
Thanks for your info on this.
Im very new to roasting - 3 weeks maybe but almost roasting 70g daily sometimes twice daily and just picked up an almost new Cascade air popper for $1 [didnt have the plastic thingy on the top but never use it anyway]. So now I have 2 air poppers [ the other Breville quick popper]. I too use an empty [tomato puree] can *for the chimney - these are slightly smaller than the normal size [baked bean,soup cans] but found that the can would sometimes come off the top of the Breville and was too narrow for the Cascade. Tried converting the baked bean size tin by cutting/snipping but not good and then hit on using a metal pastry cutter [ the narrow edge is serrated and 6cms diameter].It works a treat for both poppers - the [smaller size]can fits inside it snugly and easy to swap between poppers[ can still use for pastry cutting with the can attached].
Just thought it might help those struggling to fit a soup can for the chimney. I almost used a round cheese grater which fitted nicely as tapered one end but the pastry cutter worked well and I use the *cheese grater quite often!
A salmon can works well because they are tapered.
No. I made popcorn in mine yesterday after many coffee roasts and it didnt taste of coffee.Originally Posted by 4F79727D68736E1C0 link=1174699442/44#44 date=1205383235
Just put the plastic thingy aside and replace it with a tapered salmon tin as a chimney for coffee.
Hi All , first post. Picked up a Black & decker popper from Vinnies for $6 the other day and yes it works I had a laugh . Am finishing off the roasted beans I already had and am looking foward to ordering some green beans and getting stuck into home roasting. Im keen to give it a go using all the info I am finding on this great site. (Thanks Divey)
Go for it budgie there will be no looking back! Forget about the roasted beans you already have. Get yourself the sample pack and begin the journey.Originally Posted by 404346405746454B47220 link=1174699442/82#82 date=1334688389
Hi newbie here. Did my first popper roast over the weekend and just want to get insight on this forums expertise on the matter.. how does the roasted supposed to look after? Mine was a bit oily afterwards. Not sure if i over roasted. Roast time for 60g lasted 3mins with rolling cracks and a lot smoke coming out of the popper when i stopped it..
Thanks in advance.
Hello ozmac, How a roast looks or should look is not set in stone. Depends on what beans you are roasting and how you intend to use them.
Three minutes is a very fast roast, but that's typical of an un-modified popper in Summer. If there was smoke coming off the beans it's not surprising that they are oily.
You probably went straight from first to second crack, so your roast will be pretty dark, but should be OK for milk coffees, and may be OK for espresso, depending on your taste preferences.
For different roast levels, have a look at this page from a US site, but be aware that they tend to roast a bit lighter over there than we do here in Oz.
Most times we prefer to see an even roast with most of the beans about the same shade of brown, but it isn't always necessary.
Recently I did some beans that came out about four or five different shades, but they make a very nice cup of coffee.
There is a thread based on the Target brand popper here :- Target $16 popcorn maker
It is a long one, and not all of it is useful, but it's worth the effort, because much of it applies to all poppers, not just the Target, and there is some good info on how to slow down the process which is what you need to do next.
Thanks, Deegee. Really grateful with the response and links provided. Just confirmed once again that CS'ers are indeed helpful to newbies like me in their coffee journey.
You're welcome ozmac, it's not that long ago I took my first steps down the same track.
May I ask if you are a DIY'er and if you have any tech or electrical experience ?? .
If you have, there are some very good mods to make a popper a much better roaster.
If not, there are still some simple mods that will help. Most of them are in the Target popper thread.
Things to be aware of in that thread are the seasons and location. Ambient temperature is a Major factor with a popper.
Posts that are good advice in a cold winter can be less useful in high summer, and vice-versa.
Thanks Deegee. This will be a long night for me as i read through the Target popper thread.
Not a DIY person so hope some of the mods wont be too complicated.
Hi, another newbie -
I got my starter pack last week and tried electric wok roasting some Ethiopian Gambella sundried because I couldn't find a popper for sale. They taste ok but they're not what you'd call consistant (cs 4 - 11 I had a laugh). Picked up a Cascade at Salvo's for $5 and did my first roasts today (Peru Ceja de Selva). Rolling first crack at 3:30 to 4 minutes, not much of a second crack but they looked done at about 7 minutes, beautiful and even and brown :-D. Only trouble was not installing a chimney and having to herd the hot little buggers back into the roaster!
Not sure if I can wait a week for them to cure but I do have some reasonably fresh store bought ones that will go off soon I really should use instead...
Hi All, I am new to this site/forum and new to roasting beans. I have ordered some green beans already and will be hitting the shops shortly to get my popcorn maker to roast the beans. I have a question about the Thermocouple. Can anyone tell me where I can get these at a reasonable price, being new and researching them I can only see them for $75. I am after one around the $20 mark as I am only new and just want to into it before splashing the serious cash. I read earlier that you picked one up Lucinda for about $20-$25. Are you able to send me the link to this pretty please? I have jumped on the Jcar site but can't find it for that price.
I have been following this forum and reading all about roasting my own beans and am so excited to roast my first batch thanks for all the hot tips on here they have been amazing in helping me understand roasting from the basics.
One word. Ebay.
well... bought my homemaker popcorn maker, and 500g of colombian green beans.... going to an interesting weekend
I've done my first popper roast. Takes about 5mins only. I think it's because my popper is 1200w (maybe too high).
Has anyone tried to use a Electric Voltage Regulator Controller to control the power output?
I use a variac (variable AC) auto transformer with my popper and can stretch roast times up to 12mins. A variac is used to smoothly adjust the line voltage from 0v right up to the full 240v and beyond. This means you don't need to modify the popper and risk electric shock or even premature death of your popper. You just plug your popper in and away you go. They are pretty pricey but I managed to pick one up for $50. Some even have a meter built in, mine does not so I use a multimeter to record the line voltage.