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  • Using a popcorn maker to roast beans

    Ive tried this method and it works surprisingly well. Use a wooden chopstick to constantly move the beans around, so that local areas of intense heat dont build up. Generally, roast to a shade or two darker than you think the beans should be. Bitterness is caused by under-roasting, strangely enough. (Or course a burnt roast tastes even worse but this is less likely than you might think).

  • #2
    Re: Using a popcorn maker to roast beans

    Really?  A chopstick to agitate the beans in a pop corn maker? Have you ever used a pop corn maker to roast coffee?

    Re: "...Bitterness is caused by under-roasting...".

    Really?  I think not.

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    • #3
      Re: Using a popcorn maker to roast beans

      Hi Ian
      Ive been roasting with popcorn makers for years now and have been very happy with the results. I might not get all the finer characteristics from each bean, but you can tell different bean characteristics and the flavors change based on CS colour ratings. Results can be a little inconsistent, but it doesnt bother me.

      My set up is two popcorn makers side by side with a moderately sized floor fan behind them blowing at full blast to push the chaff away and help cool down the poppers during and after each roast. With the fan the poppers cool off in about 5 mins and are ready for a second batch. Thats the other benefit to this set up, you can crank out quite a bit of roasts in a relatively short amount of time.

      I used to stir my beans too. In the last year Ive stopped doing that so much but if I have a bean that makes a lot of chaff Ill agitate them to help release the chaff as they roast. I dont think theres any problem with stirring, but I just didnt feel like it was making any difference with my end results. I havent come across the bitterness that you mention, but I havent roasted under the first crack. If I do roast light Ill let the beans set for longer...like 7-10 days, at which point more of the flavours begin to come out.

      After Andys presentation at beanology Im thinking about playing around with some temperature logging. I suspect it will be highly variable and maybe even close to pointless with my set up. Even still it might be a good exercise to learn the terminology and techniques around roasting by temerature. Who knows maybe Ill have enough consistency within my own temp profiles that they will have something to say about my coffee even if those profiles 90% mixed air temperatures to anyone else!

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      • #4
        Re: Using a popcorn maker to roast beans

        Im a seasoned coffee popcorn popper roaster! Sort of - by which I mean Ive roasted maybe 15-20 batches. Its fun and cheap to try, but definitely not perfect! My popper seems to roast really quickly (4 minutes to second crack), which is a lot faster than commercial roasters and Behmors etc. Id like to try and slow it down but that usually involves connecting dimmer switches to the fan or something similar. Im not much of an electrician so I dont think Id be able to do it safely (or use it safely again afterwards!).

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        • #5
          Re: Using a popcorn maker to roast beans

          I am brand new to this roasting with a popper thing.   
          After much CS research I purchased my starter pack, which was delivered very quickly, and roasted 500g of Brazillian pulped natural in my Breville Crazy popper with a tin can chimney on the same day they arrived. 
          The temperature was around 18 degress and the four batches were reaching first crack at around 3-4 mins and I pulled them at or just before 2nd C at 10 mins approx.   I did have a timer, but went by "feel" as I do with cooking etc.   Blended them all together and made one last batch blending the Braz pulped with some Peru Ceja de Selva.   I took this last one right into 2nd C at around 14 mins.   Quite a bit darker and more oily 3 days later, and I can taste it in the brew.   
          The first mellow roast I tasted today and I am thrilled with the results!!  The darker roast makes a very concentrated coffee, that my untrained palette feels is not burnt, just a little darker than my usual "medium roast" tastes.
          Best crema I have ever pulled, (with both) so I am pretty rapt!!  No f***k ups for me right from the first roast!
          Just roasted 400g of Columbian Volcan Galeras Supremo tonight, about 4 degrees cooler, but times are similar, roasting in slightly (about 8%) larger batches.   All looks good and the cooler weather meant the beans were easy to cool after.   
          Feeling a bit too cocky actually 8-), maybe some of you snobs out there can pull me into line? :

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          • #6
            Re: Using a popcorn maker to roast beans

            Originally posted by 65786465717364757578010 link=1331989118/4#4 date=1336477301
            Feeling a bit too cocky actually, maybe some of you snobs out there can pull me into line?
            No need to... you have started home roasting and are getting good results already...

            The rest of the journey is is full of learning and you will never know everything... thats part of the fun (and sometimes the frustration).

            Enjoy!
            8-)

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