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  • Popcorn Popper @ Target

    Hello all...

    I use a popcorn popper to roast small batches of Robusta to blend with other CS bean varieties to give that extra kick to the palate. Unfortunately, our popcorn popper died the other day (irreparable) so went on the search for a suitable new one.
    Found the one pictured below at our local Target store and as it turns out, performs brilliantly straight out of the box - No mod's needed.

    Tried with 80g of beans first up (which is half my normal batch size for Robusta these days) at which the popper coped with ease. The addition of a chimney, etc would probably help for those who like to roast slightly larger batches, coupled with initial stirring until enough weight loss has been achieved but the fan fitted to these is quite strong and provides plenty of air movement.

    Anyway, thought it may be of interest to other CSers. Here's the details below...

    Mal.
    Click image for larger version

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  • #2
    Bargain at $19 too, a great low-risk, low investment for people to start their home roasting journey.

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    • #3
      Thanks for the heads up Mal. Although, as someone who has recently become addicted to home roasting on a Corretto, this is the last thing I need to know exists. I must resist the temptation to now start doing mini roasts too

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      • #4
        Haha...

        As mentioned though, I only use it for roasting small Robusta batches to add with various Arabica blends later on down the track.
        Have to do this as the Robusta requires a completely different approach in order to get the best out of 'em.
        Quite some time ago, tried adding them in with various Arabica batches pre-roast, but this doesn't do much for me in the end result. Sometimes, by the time I'm nearly finished one of these batches, only then does the Robusta start to make its presence felt, in the cup. Roasting separately a week ahead of my Arabica batches, blending them after that and then waiting another week or so, I get the best of the Robusta right from the first brew...

        Mal.

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        • #5
          Great to know, thanks!

          Might give this a go

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          • #6
            My trusty Breville Crazy Popper died last November. I couldn't find another one, so I bought the Target popper. I managed to kill it in 4 minutes trying to roast 160 gm of India Elephant Hills Peaberry. I was reluctant to get another one and start with a smaller batch, just in case the machine wasn't up to the job, but you've given me the confidence to try it again. Thanks very much.

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            • #7
              You were a bit ambitious trying to roast a 160g batch first up...
              Without significant modification, nearly all poppers will balk at anything larger than 60-80g batch sizes.
              The popper identified above works perfectly at 80g and has roasted many batches to date without trauma.

              Mal.

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              • #8
                I was roasting 120g in my popper, but it definitely needed jiggling early in the roast to keep the beans moving...

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                • #9
                  120g is probably stretching the friendship a bit though...
                  You would have better control doing 2 x 60g I'd reckon.

                  Mal.

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                  • #10
                    Hi Mal,

                    How long do you roast the 80g's of beans for in this popper?

                    Cheers

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                    • #11
                      G'day mate...

                      For the Robusta batches I do, only about 6-7 minutes.
                      If you would like to stretch the time out a bit, you could reduce the batch size down to about 60g and then go from there.

                      For even longer roast times, you would need to start modifying the roaster in various ways and there's lot of info on these options in the stickies above...

                      Mal.

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                      • #12
                        OK cheers.

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                        • #13
                          A tip for those learning on a popper, you want just enough beans to cover the "shark gills" inside.

                          That amount of beans (as Mal mentioned) will be 60-80g and the beans should start moving in cyclone circles, if they don't then either you have too many beans for the fan strength or it might need a stir with a wooden chopstick till the beans lose some weight and will happily cyclone on their own.

                          The popper is a great and cheap proof of concept and a lot of fun on the veranda (where the chaff can blow into the garden).

                          Stainless dog bowl and a heatgun (paint stripper) also works well for larger batches (200-500g), it's a lot of manual work though and soon you'll add a windscreen wiper motor to do the stirring and build your own contraption to improve the process.

                          It's all part of the fun ride of roasting at home.

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                          • #14
                            Well that was hoopy. Just tried my first lot of 80G in the Target popper, went for about 4.5 minutes and I think that was too long. The beans were cycling around OK and I waited for first crack. By the time it stopped the beans looked burned (and the top of the popper kinda melted too.) Should this be done without the clear plastic lid installed? I'll try post a pic of the results.

                            (edit: OK tired a 2nd time, this time I went outside and took the clear plastic 'chimney' off, have posted a 2nd pic, and a third one showing a bean from the first and second roast.) The 2nd batch 'looks' better to me but I'm not sure what metric I'm supposed to use to tell when I've done it right. Any suggestions appreciated.
                            Attached Files
                            Last edited by Director; 8 April 2020, 01:42 PM.

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                            • #15
                              That second roast looks quite nice, looks like a light-medium roast, would be really nice as a filter/V60/Aeropress! First is much too dark to be drinkable, quite burnt.

                              Generally you need to let the beans rest for 5 days or so. But since you are learning to roast grind some and try a shot, give the ground coffee a couple of minutes rest before running a shot.

                              If you do a search on here there is a coffee snobs colour chart for roast beans CS9 etc. I printed out the CoffeeSnobs chart as a reference point. Depending on how you like your beans you can try going from first crack (like snapping matchsticks) -> rolling first crack -> second crack (think of the sound like someone crinkling cellophane) then cooling the beans for a dark roast.

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