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Thread: Before roasting with a Popper: Some questions...

  1. #1
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    Before roasting with a Popper: Some questions...

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    Ive recently acquired a Black and Decker Hot n Pop (1200w) and Ive been thinking about giving the home roasting thing a go. Ive been perusing the site, and trying to get a good feel for it, but theres a few questions which Ive not yet found answers to.

    Firstly, I live in a unit, and dont have an open balcony or yard, so Im wondering if its possible to do a roast indoors?
    How much smoke/chaff is generated by the process?
    If Im clever with the design of the chimney on the popper, (like this: http://coffeesnobs.com.au/YaBB.pl?num=1174699442/34#34 ) could I catch 99% of the chaff?

    Secondly, I was wondering if I could modify my popper to be both the roaster and a simple bean cooler. Everyone seems dead set on tipping out the roast into a cooler of some form as soon as the roast is complete, and while I understand the reasons behind this, why not just switch off the heating element of the popper, and let the cool air blown through the machine do the work, with a lot less effort?

    I figure this could be achieved with some simple rewiring of the popper, adding in a switch to bypass the heating element.

    Advantage to this would be that it would be less messing around with the beans, and less chance to spread chaff around the house! Only issue I could see with this is that the cooling air will effectively have to cool the whole popper before the beans start cooling... But with no practical experience in the field, Im unsure of whether this would actually be an issue.

    What do you guys think?

    Cheers,

    Dave.



  2. #2
    Senior Member flynnaus's Avatar
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    Re: Before roasting with a Popper: Some questions...

    Smoke? *I havent noticed a great deal but I have a fan going while roasting.
    Chaff, definitely. *Some beans more than others. I dont think you need to go the extent shown in the other thread. Another CS member nunu suggests a kind of sock made of flywire stuck on the end of the chimney.

    My first roast was inside, near the backdoor, with a fan blowing chaff and smoke out the back door. It still triggered one of my smoke alarms. Does your unit have a garage? You might be better off roasting in it with the door open.


    I dont think its worth trying the cooling mod. Dumping the roast into a colander or sieve and then cooling by fan is dead easy and probably stops the roast quicker.

    I recommend trying several roasts using the tried and trusted methods before considering any mods.

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    Re: Before roasting with a Popper: Some questions...

    I agree with flynn and I really hope you have a garage. If you have any smoke alarms you are in trouble. One of my mates tried this last week, sent the smoke alarm off as well as the wife alarm - wasnt good!

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    Re: Before roasting with a Popper: Some questions...

    Thanks for the tips! My first run will likely be following the guides, with an extension cord, standing on the shared lawn outside, just to see how the standard process works.

    Unfortunately I dont have a garage... The best I have is an enclosed balcony, which is carpeted, and would be hard to clean if it filled with chaff. Optimally, Id like to do this in the kitchen!

    Also, I have a smoke alarm, which is super sensitive, but luckily removable. I commonly take it down when cooking, because it only takes a wisp of smoke from something fallen into the flame to set it off! That said, I obviously dont want my whole house to be too smokey.

    Which is why smoke and chaff are the biggest issues for me. I figure if I can build a system with a good chaff filter, and better yet, eliminate the need to throw the beans around over a fan in the open to cool them and remove chaff, then I might be able to do this inside.

    I have to order the grean beens yet... So I have a while to think about it. :)




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    Senior Member flynnaus's Avatar
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    Re: Before roasting with a Popper: Some questions...

    Running your range hood fan flat out and temporarily disabling the smoke alarm might be the go. You could also create a chimney which will vent directly out a window but that makes it hard to watch the roast for colour.

    You might want to also think about one of the commercial small batch roasters - iRoast, GeneCafe or HotTop. Each has its advantages/drawbacks. I think they all have cooling cycles as well.
    These wouldnt stop smoke - only the chaff.

    I havent tried any of them but none can beat the economy of the popper.

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    Senior Member Philby1981's Avatar
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    Re: Before roasting with a Popper: Some questions...

    Just had a brain wave (my wife hates them) stand at the ready with a dust buster when the charf starts flying out, just be careful not to melt it if the air is too hot though. As for the smoke take the battery out of the smoke detector and if you have a partner make sure they are out when you roast. :P

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    Senior Member Lovey's Avatar
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    Re: Before roasting with a Popper: Some questions...

    Gday Dave,
    another method of cooling the beans down, especially if youre in the kitchen, is to use an oven tray which has been in the freezer.
    Good luck with it,
    Steve,

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    Re: Before roasting with a Popper: Some questions...

    My green beans arrived today, so Ill be thinking more about this tonight, and hopefully doing some roasting on the weekend.

    Ill probably try the stock popper setup first, outside, to get an idea of what its like, but I plan to make some mods after that. Unfortunately I dont have a range hood fan, but I do have a dustbuster, which is a great idea as a backup plan if chaff starts to fly.

    Mod ideas are:
    1. Add a switch to the heating element on the popper, to allow the popper fan to cool the beans. I know this may not cool the beans as quickly as other methods mentioned, but Im willing to sacrifice a *little quality* here for convenience.
    2. Tin can chimney, with a glass top for viewing the roast, and porting to a larger tin can chaff filter. Ill be attempting a cyclonic chaff filter on this, but if that fails, Ill probably use some light weight flywire, or something along those lines.

    Thanks for all the advice so far!

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    Sleep is overrated Thundergod's Avatar
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    Re: Before roasting with a Popper: Some questions...

    Quote Originally Posted by 3A3F283B37303D5E0 link=1246176082/7#7 date=1248241449
    Mod ideas are:
    1. Add a switch to the heating element on the popper, to allow the popper fan to cool the beans. I know this may not cool the beans as quickly as other methods mentioned, but Im willing to sacrifice a *little quality* here for convenience.
    From all Ive read, the heating element and fan are wired as such that they arent easily separated.
    Even if you manage it, I wouldnt recommend it as a cooling method.
    The roasting chamber gets quite hot and youd be trying to cool it down as well as the beans.
    The beans are likely to over-roast when you think you are cooling them.

    Its far easier (and quicker) to tip them out of the popper to cool them down, even if you only tip them from one container to another and let them cool by falling through the air.

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    Re: Before roasting with a Popper: Some questions...

    Behmor Coffee Roaster
    Hi Dave i have only done one roast in my popper so not much info to give you.

    but my attempt at a chaff collector as in this thread had a 75% collection rate (approx). I reckon a flywire or two colanders wired together would work well. My foil collector was double walled and had lots of little holes punched in it with a skewer to let the air pass through.

    http://coffeesnobs.com.au/YaBB.pl?num=1247783496

    one trick you need to sort is how to get the beans out of the hopper fast. Disconnecting your chaff collector may be an issue in this, unless it is really well attached. i just tore mine off the side and tipped them out. i used some little bits of paper to test my collection system

    bewarned the popper is very HOT!! i burnt my finger :(

    after my 1st attempt i will not be roasting inside again, it is a really strong smell. I will just roast outside and not bother with any collection. My Chaff was more like flyash from a bushfire (not burnt) but very light and floated / blew around.

    Have fun, take some pictures :)



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