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Thread: Newbie popper roasting failure :(

  1. #1
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    Newbie popper roasting failure :(

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    Hi Everyone,

    Yet another popper-roasting newbie here. I acquired a B&D HotnPop (1200W), bought the starter kit and, having read a bunch of threads here, dived right in!

    Only... my first two batches seem to have been total duds. On neither of them could I hear "cracks", either first or second, and in each case neither batch got particularly dark -- were talking weak chocolate milk, here (CS 5 or so, without having a card).

    First batch: 50g of Brazil Pulped Natural. Lots of chaff thrown off, very slow to brown. 24 minutes in I halved it, thinking that fewer beans would heat faster... but 5 minutes later there was no visual change. Eventually gave up after 37 minutes.

    Second batch: Peru Ceja de Silva. 60g, this one I put in and left alone. Didnt touch it, didnt poke it with my spatula, NOTHIN. Still no cracks that I could hear, still lots of chaff and a very slow brown to CS5 then.. no progress.

    So I turn to you, ye holders of the knowledge... whatm I doing wrong? Is it simply too cold outside (14 degrees) to effectively roast? Please help me not let the rest of this lovely lovely coffee go to waste ;)

    Cheers!
    --Dave.

  2. #2
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    Re: Newbie popper roasting failure :(

    Hey Dave,

    I am of about the same experience as you, I have only four popper roasts to my name so far.... but a few things I have found.

    If you have too few beans in the popper, the roast takes longer to heat up. I was doing about 3/4 of a cup at a time. Leave about 1/3 of the volume of the popping chamber for expansion of the bean. I assume this slows air flow, so the air is in contact with the heat element for longer.

    The ambient temp really affects the roast, I had a breeze on one batch and couldnt get it to second crack. I blocked the breeze and things started moving again. Having said that, 14 deg doesnt sound too unlike what I would have been roasting in. You see quite a few people roasting within a cardboard box (top open), so that might be worth a go.

    Have a look on youtube, try a few different searches. I found a few that were helpful.

  3. #3
    Wine_of_the_Bean
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    Re: Newbie popper roasting failure :(

    Both of you need to add a chimney if you dont have one already, and bump the batch size up to at least 100g. You need that thermal mass to help push the roast along.

    In the winter, you also need to hold heat in, so partially cover the chimney with a plank of wood.

  4. #4
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    Re: Newbie popper roasting failure :(

    I did about 40 or so Popper roasts before moving onto a Corretto (which I am loving). *But the popper experience was crucial for me to learn a few basic things with respect to roasting (listening for 1st and 2nd crack, etc). *I put additional air holes in my popper (live in Qld) and cooled it down during summer with 3 small external fans. *As we came into Winter I had to wrap the popper up to retain the heat so that my roasts would not stall. *I was regulary getting 1st crack around 8.30min and then 2nd crack around 15-17 mins, before being pulled.

    I would do 80 gram roasts weighed on electronic scales and always got 66-67 grams roasted weight. *I once did a larger batch (100grams) but it went too quickly and was very very bright in the cup. *Smaller batch sizes I did not try, but they would take longer than the standard 80 grams I was doing.

    I would standardise the batch size at 80 grams and see how your progress goes. *You may need wrap it all up to retain the warmth, but 14 degrees is not too cold for a popper. *If you cant get 80 grams through to a CS8-9 then I would look at the popper.

    If your in SE Qld you could have my old one. (Guessing your not cause we have only had 1 or 2 days that cold)


  5. #5
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    Re: Newbie popper roasting failure :(

    Thats a very serious-looking rig youve got there, Cael! Actually, Im in Brisbane -- it was that cold at 8:00 last night!

    Might try a larger batch today, with a chimney. Does the chimney do anything other than point the chaff upwards?

  6. #6
    Wine_of_the_Bean
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    Re: Newbie popper roasting failure :(

    It makes the roasting chamber bigger, allowing for larger roasts.

  7. #7
    Sleep is overrated Thundergod's Avatar
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    Re: Newbie popper roasting failure :(

    The chimney also help pull the heat through the beans and extends the size of the roasting chamber.

  8. #8
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    Re: Newbie popper roasting failure :(

    Well, yesterday I chucked both batches (total: 110g) back into the popper and let er rip. Still seemed to take AGES to make progress (really do have to get a tin can on there!) but, by the 16 minute mark the beans were looking good and dark -- CS8 or so, Id say.

    Rested them overnight, and tried them this morning. Not bad! Not bad at all. Still didnt hear first or second crack -- the only crack I heard was after I tipped the beans out into the bowl, there was a sole lone "crack".

  9. #9
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    Re: Newbie popper roasting failure :(

    Dave

    50 or 60g will not get the temperature high enough.

    For a chimney on a popcorn popper, I use a 415g Alaska Salmon can. Eat the salmon, wash the can, remove the label glue with meths and remove the can bottom with a file.

    These cans with their taper are a perfect fit to all the poppers I have used. I fill the popper with beans up to the plated screw in the side of the chamber. About 150g of greens. The chimney can be extended by adding more cans. The roast temperature can be adjusted by the amount of beans. More beans slow down the air flow and increase the temp.

    The chimney helps to stop the beans jumping out.

    I donít use any fancy thermocouples. For a start I stir with a wooden spoon handle, and then check the colour with a table spoon. * *

    When the roast is right I cool and clean it with a colander and oven trays.

    Barry
    Sydney *

  10. #10
    Senior Member sidewayss's Avatar
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    Re: Newbie popper roasting failure :(

    I have a Mistral popper rated at 1200watts. Only took me 3-4 minutes for the whole roasting process, and all this in the kitchem with ambient temp of 16-17 deg celcius. I,,m worried because of the short roasting time, since this is the first time roasting ever, and i have to wait for beans to degass for 3-4 days, the suspense is killing me. Now i would kill for a Behmor...

  11. #11
    Senior Member GregWormald's Avatar
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    Re: Newbie popper roasting failure :(

    Quote Originally Posted by 322825243620383232410 link=1277896234/9#9 date=1280513444
    Now i would kill for a Behmor...
    ***Noooooo!!!*** dont do it!!!!!
    They dont allow coffee roasting in jail cells. Save your money instead!

    Greg

  12. #12
    Senior Member Luke_G's Avatar
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    Re: Newbie popper roasting failure :(

    Sounds like a case of the old "not enough beans and too cold ambient temp".

    When i used a popper i would use 1 level measuring cup full of beans and shake or tilt the popper slightly till they agitated by them self.

    When its super cold or windy outside contemplate roasting in the shed or putting the popper in a box(open top) to stop it from drawing too much cold air.

  13. #13
    Senior Member sidewayss's Avatar
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    Re: Newbie popper roasting failure :(

    Quote Originally Posted by 7D485F5D6D5548575B565E3A0 link=1277896234/10#10 date=1280544583
    Quote Originally Posted by 322825243620383232410 link=1277896234/9#9 date=1280513444
    Now i would kill for a Behmor...
    ***Noooooo!!!*** dont do it!!!!!
    They dont allow coffee roasting in jail cells. Save your money instead!

    Greg
    OK. ill put down my .50 Barrett and walk away >:(....I kill you damn popper...bang bang...mwaahahahaha. Still had a desert eagle pistol in my pocket. Look at that popper go. looks like a tin can on a wall being shot off in a western movie yeehaa. Only joking. Ok...reeeelaaax Gary, telling myself. It,s amazing to hear these stories of people having trouble with not enough heat. Poppers i thought are inherently hot, which explains the average short roasting times compared to correttos. I,ve got one foot on the popper, and one foot about to step into the corretto world, but i really want to do the popper thing properly before stepping up. Cooling the thing down is my main aim.

    Gary

  14. #14
    Senior Member sidewayss's Avatar
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    Re: Newbie popper roasting failure :(

    Behmor Coffee Roaster
    And...i,m only putting in 50 gms each roasting with my Mistral



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