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Thread: please help

  1. #1

    please help

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    Hey all you coffee snobs. I need help. Just made my first attempt at roasting coffee in my popcorn machine. (The beans were Brazil Cerado Daterra Rain Forrest Alliance). As one with no experience in roasting i was a bit shocked to see they came out all different shades of brown. I had to turn the popper off because for some reason it stopped spinning, i think it was mostly finished the first crack although some beans were barely tan, and other were charcoaled. I did a bit of sorting and pulled out any i thought were too dark or light. Is this result normal? Or is my popper sick, or am i just not doing something right? Please Help!

    Cheers, M.

  2. #2
    Senior Member fatboy_1999's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2004

    Re: please help


    How much did you try to roast?

    Basic rule of thumb I use with poppers, if the beans are all spinning (slowly) when you start, you have the right amount in.
    If they are spinning very fast, you may not have enough, and your roast time will be a bit fast.
    If they are not moving much at all, you need to agitate manually (wooden spoon) and/or reduce amount of beans.

    As you have said you have a range of colours, I would say you were not getting enough movement in the popper and therefore some beans roasted at a different rate to others.

    When you say it stopped spinning, do you mean it cut out? Or the beans werent moving?

    Many models have a thermal cutout as they are designed to do batches of popcorn which should only take a few minutes and we are often trying to do 8 or 10 minute roasts. They could also cut out if the beans arent moving enough and heat the popper up too much.

    If the beans werent moving, I would just try to roast a bit less.


  3. #3
    Senior Member robusto's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2005

    Re: please help

    Yes, at first glance it appears the popper was overloaded, with the fan struggling to agitate the beans, causing the retention of excessive heat which may have triggered the thermal overload switch.

    How many grams did you try to roast?

    Now that the popper is cold, can you start it again?

    Popcorn poppers roast far too quickly for coffee beans, and the downside of that in my experience is uneven roasts. You can felp things along, augmenting the fan by stirring manually with a long handled wooden spoon.

    Beans otherwise tend to be spun around en masse, with ones on the outermost "orbit" closest to the heating element getting most heat, and ones nearest the centre least.

    You have to break this concentric spinning cycle with the manual stirrer so most of the beans get a go.


  4. #4

    Re: please help

    Thanks for the ideas- i think i had overloaded the popper. I tried again with half as much and the popper spun them pretty well, though i did have to give them a bit of a stir every so often. The Result- beautifully dark roasted brazillian coffee beans- now ive just gotta hope they taste as good as they look!!! ;)

    Thanks for the hints.


  5. #5
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2005

    Re: please help

    Behmor Coffee Roaster
    Unmodded poppers tend to be able to handle about 50-60g of green beans. Lengthening the roast chamber using soup tins or oil lamp chimneys help increase the batch size. It takes a bit of fiddling to find the optimal batch size, but once you nail it, you have no worries about having the thermal overload cut off.

    Some poppers also have varying characteristics as heater element or fan motor strength. These will have a definite impact on exactly how much coffee you can roast at any one time.

    Re: manual agitation, I prefer the shaking method. Even using a long handled wooden spoon exposes your hand to hot air coming out of the roasting chamber. Just grab the sides of the popper, and shake for 30 seconds if the beans arent moving by themselves. If they are, just give it a shake at random times, to disrupt the concentric circling of the beans in the chamber.

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