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Thread: Poppers What are the facts? Are there any facts?

  1. #1
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    Poppers What are the facts? Are there any facts?

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    Hi CSrs,
    I recently examined 4 differently branded poppers:
    Breville, Crazy popper
    Breville, Quick popper
    Maison, from Aldi
    B+D, Hot N Pop
    Internally it looks to me like these 4 machines come from the one manufacturer.
    Apart from visually the major difference between machines is the type of annoying fasteners they are assembled with, this may be due to year of manufacture or unknown patterns of component procurement.
    It is my thought that the distributors (posing as manufacturers) would like us to believe there is differences between these units and brand loyalty should be determined by the various marketing departments and their advertising spend, or ? Thus saving the consumer from making real judgements on a scientific or fitness to function basis. After all there is less mental wear and tear if decisions are made on tribal or related brand loyalty basis.
    My thought has a very good chance of being wrong.
    Does anyone have possession of the facts? I would be interested.

    On popper coffee roasting I have done a few roasts some months ago and am not current or authoritative (I am pretty much ignorant).

    The poppers I have seen claim wattage of around 1200W give or take, from my Corretto experience this suggests that things being equal poppers draw enough power to comfortably roast 300 to 400 grams of green and at around 100g per roast a far too rapid roast.
    Yet when it comes to machine selection higher power consumption is likely to be championed (after all bigger is better everyone knows).
    Not that you could take much notice of the wattage recorded on the unit.

    With so many Newbies using poppers as entry to coffee roasting I fancy some effort is warranted in sorting the wheat from the chaff, or am I the only one in the dark.

    If anyone could shed some light for me I would appreciate it or perhaps you remember a useful thread you could refer me to.

    Thanks
    Lindsay

  2. #2
    CoffeeSnobs Owner Andy's Avatar
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    Re: Poppers What are the facts? Are there any facts?

    Quote Originally Posted by 3C393E342331292231500 link=1251299776/0#0 date=1251299776
    poppers draw enough power to comfortably roast 300 to 400 grams of green and at around 100g per roast a far too rapid roast.
    Yes a popper will produce enough heat to roast 200-300g of beans but it wont move that much weight. Its the agitation of the breadmaker that allows the bigger batch sizes.

    A popper will roast 80g of coffee without any agitation, 100-120g of beans with a little agitation at the start to get get them moving until they shed water and become lighter.

    I think (no scientific fact here) that to roast 300g in a "supersized popper" would require a huge amount of air flow to move the beans... bigger air flow means that it also requires more heat added to the airflow to get to the same roasting temperature (of 200C odd). More air, more heat equals more amps and in no time the uber popper would need 3 phase power.

    ;-)

    I also think with a better fan the volume could increase a little and with some sort of pulsing on the heater element you could ramp the heat to have more control over the results.

    As for facts...
    bang for buck, a popper that can be bought for as little as $20 does a fair job of roasting 80-90g coffee and certainly shows the first time user that home roasting can produce some amazing results.


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    Re: Poppers What are the facts? Are there any facts?

    Hey KT what are you planing on building? I had been thinking of tinkering with my popper. Mine has not really produced any "good" coffee, drinkable yes but good well.........

    I often see BMs around at the salvos for +-$30 so they are a cheap option but then the popper is idle.... :)

    i had ideas of attaching it to a bigger chamber with some sort of sieve / pasta strainer set up. Maybe look for a longer taller cylinder style keeping the same "shape" of the popper roast chamber?

    As Andy points out the airflow may be the issue? Looking at the KK turbo ovens i considered flipping the popper upside down? But am i reinventing the wheel and should just use a KK design or a corretto?

    Temp control of the popper is an issue, what about one as the FAN and a 2nd as the heat source?

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    Re: Poppers What are the facts? Are there any facts?

    Hi Andy and Leeham,

    I am working on a Project I have grandly designated "WP1" next I need a manila folder with "Top Secret" printed corner to corner.
    I dont get enough time for these tasks so am slow and another handicap is my construction Eng background is dodgy/nonexistent Im a Biologist, no Eng. training, limited skills and only basic tools. On the popper I have many thoughts but dont know if I have the stamina to explore all the ideas fully, hope so because the entry cost could not be described as prohibitive. Therefore very accessible to new roasters.
    I have a number of ideas to work through, with the intention of trying the most straightforward mods first (even ones that I am not overly enthusiastic about).
    The quality of my work is best left undescribed, ugly being the first obvious description in polite company.

    Andy, you have obviously done some quality thinking about poppers and what shortcomings should get serious effort. I concur with all you have written here. Ill have something for "show and tell" next month (touches nose).

    Leeham unless you drink your coffee out of a thimble, start the construction of a Corretto, using your normal, modest and cost effective approach, no hurry. Dont forget to check out any convenient "Cash Converters" for BM and HG also. Save the popper for emergrncy backup and the odd quicky.

    Kind Regards
    Lindsay

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    Re: Poppers What are the facts? Are there any facts?

    Quote Originally Posted by 3E3B3C3621332B2033520 link=1251299776/3#3 date=1251382853
    Hi Andy and Leeham,


    Leeham unless you drink your coffee out of a thimble, start the construction of a Corretto, using your normal,

    Kind Regards
    Lindsay
    I had a laugh @ thimble

    yeah even when i was grabbing a cheap popper i was thinking that the roast size was to small for consistent batches and a BM was the go.... (thats my IMO, not saying a popper is no good.....)

    its just the idea of the "fluid bed popper" but a bit larger and more controllable is interesting maybe KKs turbo is the simple method in upscalling a popper?

    i have an old heat gun so will look for a cheap bread maker......


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    Re: Poppers What are the facts? Are there any facts?

    Hi Leeham,

    Yo bin readin mi thoughts boi?!?!?!

    Lindsay

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    Senior Member flynnaus's Avatar
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    Re: Poppers What are the facts? Are there any facts?

    Quote Originally Posted by 634C465B220 link=1251299776/1#1 date=1251335408
    Yes a popper will produce enough heat to roast 200-300g of beans
    I was reading through issue# of Beanscene and in Mals profile he mentioned he modded a popper to handle 200 gram roasts.

    Any details of this Mal? I guess we could search the forum but if we can hear it straight from the horses mouth....



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    Re: Poppers What are the facts? Are there any facts?

    Quote Originally Posted by 575D485F5F504442310 link=1251299776/6#6 date=1251434290
    Quote Originally Posted by 634C465B220 link=1251299776/1#1 date=1251335408
    Yes a popper will produce enough heat to roast 200-300g of beans *
    I was reading through issue# of Beanscene and in Mals profile he mentioned he modded a popper to handle 200 gram roasts.

    Any details of this Mal? I guess we could search the forum but if we can hear it straight from the horses mouth....
    Gday flynn_aus....

    I dont believe Im the only one to achieve roast batches of this size with an older design popper, such as the original Tiffany units for example. There are many ways to go about it too depending on your inclination, knowledge and experience of course. Andy has touched on some of the methods that could be used...

    In my case, I just separated the fan power supply and introduced a fairly ordinary lamp dimmer into the primary of the TXFR feeding the fan motor. The motor fitted to my Tiffany is rated at 24V DC but was only supplied with ~18V DC from the original circuit so that left me with plenty of headroom to overdrive the fan to maintain agitation with larger batches. I also replaced the (Main) Heating Element to reduce its output power a little (with one I manufactured myself) and completely removed the winding that used to feed the Fan Motor bridge.

    Having a variable speed fan control is the secret to being able to roast a wide range of batch sizes as it is possible to successfully roast down to <80g if needed. Separating the fan from the heating element also allows you to cool the popper down very quickly too; turn the Heating Element OFF and wind the fan up to a decent speed facilitates cooling in less than a minute. Never used it to cool the beans though, preferred using a separate exhaust fan powered cooler for that.... Much quicker.

    Alternatives to doing this, would be to drive the Main Element with a pulsed output device as Andy mentioned, using a Thyristor/MOSFET and associated control.... Lots of circuitry/parts lists available for this in various Electronics Magazine archives. I know of a few CSers who have done this and regularly roast batches up to and more than 200g.... 8-)

    Hope this helps a bit :)

    Mal.

  9. #9
    Senior Member flynnaus's Avatar
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    Re: Poppers What are the facts? Are there any facts?

    Quote Originally Posted by 4B66626E630F0 link=1251299776/7#7 date=1251444084
    Hope this helps a bit
    Exceeded expectations (as usual) [smiley=thumbsup.gif]

    I hope this is some use to the popper users - Ive moved on to a corretto.

    Though did the older style) poppers come with a larger chamber or did you need to add the chimney for larger batches (or both). And did you use a thermocouple tom monitor temp as well?

    But I still have a Tiffany popper which manages 100g without any initial agitation. It also rarely finishes in under 6 mins and the smaller thermal mass of an 80g batch resulted in an almost 8min roast in my first attempts.

    Still, although much easier, the lack of temp control of a popper (without a mod) means the results are not as good as a corretto.

  10. #10
    Mal Dimal's Avatar
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    Re: Poppers What are the facts? Are there any facts?

    Quote Originally Posted by 58524750505F4B4D3E0 link=1251299776/8#8 date=1251445552
    Though did the older style) poppers come with a larger chamber or did you need to add the chimney for larger batches (or both). And did you use a thermocouple tom monitor temp as well?
    I had a laugh... ;D ;D

    Mine is a really old one; uses a metal fan rotor so never any worries about the fan disintegrating. I omitted mentioning all the other "standard" mods but yes, used the extended roast chamber (a cyclone lamp chimney - so that I could see what was going on), temperature monitoring with an old Fluke DMM and t/couple, etc.

    I still have it stashed away in the back of the cupboard and haul it it out now and again, to roast small batches for cupping new bean varieties or new crops of familiar beans. Its very handy for that purpose as batches as small as this dont do very well in my Corretto...

    Mal.

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    Re: Poppers What are the facts? Are there any facts?

    I have been using a "Cascade" popper from Warehouse for about two years. I have been very happy with the results and regularly roast 125g at a time. Unfortunately, it bit the dust yesterday. Would love to find another or similar, as Sams Warehouse doesnt currently have any.

    I would be happy to join a group that bought and evaluated different brands.

    Any suggestion?

    Phil

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    Re: Poppers What are the facts? Are there any facts?

    Behmor Coffee Roaster
    I use an older 1500 W Popcorn Pumper, bought from ebay. It has a AC fan, so modding it was easy, just had to add another AC cord. I run the heater power through a variac, to control the heat.

    But, I am over here in the US, so I am not sure if this is any help to you guys.

    BTW, I tilt my pumper slightly, and I can run 140g of beans with no stirring. With 150g, I stir a little at the beginning, have not tried larger then that, I dont drink that much coffee :).
    I also modded the airflow a little, I took a screwdriver and used it to make the airflow slots larger.

    Randy



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