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Thread: Licorice (Myer only) Popcorn Popper - Issues?

  1. #1
    Member Aleanbean's Avatar
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    Licorice (Myer only) Popcorn Popper - Issues?

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    So the story goes I'm completely new to the whole home roasting thing and thought I'd start cheap (full time journalism student with no money)

    I noticed this sticker on the bottom of the popcorn popper I bought today:

    "Maximum operating time is 5 minutes prior to 10 minute cool down period."

    Is this waaaaay too short or will it be do-able?

    Appreciate your help!
    Last edited by Aleanbean; 28th December 2012 at 10:15 PM.

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    Senior Member coffeechris's Avatar
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    Im know electrician, however when i first started roasting i'm pretty sure mine said the same thing. The only advice i can give is be carful. I was and it was fine. Mine ran over and over again for up to 8-10 mins. Happy roasting, post some pics when you have done your first roast.


  3. #3
    Member Aleanbean's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by coffeechris View Post
    Im know electrician, however when i first started roasting i'm pretty sure mine said the same thing. The only advice i can give is be carful. I was and it was fine. Mine ran over and over again for up to 8-10 mins. Happy roasting, post some pics when you have done your first roast.

    Thanks for that, will do. First roast should be by the end of next week, can't wait!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Aleanbean View Post
    I noticed this sticker on the bottom of the popcorn popper I bought today: "Maximum operating time is 5 minutes prior to 10 minute cool down period." Is this waaaaay too short or will it be do-able? Appreciate your help!
    Hello Aleanbean, There are lots of folk here who have been using poppers for years and running them for up to 15 minutes or even more. However, these poppers have been modified to extend roast times. There is always a chance that running one more than 5 minutes may cause it to fail, but the majority seem to last for at least a couple of years as coffee roasters..
    They all have a thermostat which will cut the power to the element if they get too hot, and a thermal fuse as a backup if that fails. The thermostat will reset when the unit cools down, but if the fuse blows it has to be replaced. I have tripped the thermostat a few times while trying different things, but I have never blown a fuse.

    Yours is probably a 1200 watt unit, and with typical Sunshine Coast temperatures at this time of year you will probably get a fast roast and be reaching first crack within four to six minutes, with second crack following within another minute or two. So you will not be running it for much longer than the recommended time anyway.

    You will be able to get a satisfactory roast from it, but timing will be tight, and you should do all you can to keep temps down, and slow the process, even if it is only a little.

    Roast in the coolest part of the day - early morning, or at night.
    Roast small batches - say 60 to 80 grams of green beans.
    Do not use the popper lid.
    If you must use a chimney, use one of the minimum height that will stop the beans from jumping out.
    Put a fan next to the popper so it blows fresh air onto and over the popper.

    The Myer popper looks a lot like one that has been sold under a few different badges. I have a Black & Decker that looks very similar except for the colour.
    In standard form it was better in winter, when I could stretch roast times out to about 10 minutes or so, but in summer it was much faster.

    In summer I use a Target popper which is only 900 watts, and is also easily modified to slow down the first stage of the roast, but still reach second crack if needed.

    Cheers, Leo.

  5. #5
    Member Aleanbean's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by leograyson View Post
    Hello Aleanbean, There are lots of folk here who have been using poppers for years and running them for up to 15 minutes or even more. However, these poppers have been modified to extend roast times. There is always a chance that running one more than 5 minutes may cause it to fail, but the majority seem to last for at least a couple of years as coffee roasters..
    They all have a thermostat which will cut the power to the element if they get too hot, and a thermal fuse as a backup if that fails. The thermostat will reset when the unit cools down, but if the fuse blows it has to be replaced. I have tripped the thermostat a few times while trying different things, but I have never blown a fuse.

    Yours is probably a 1200 watt unit, and with typical Sunshine Coast temperatures at this time of year you will probably get a fast roast and be reaching first crack within four to six minutes, with second crack following within another minute or two. So you will not be running it for much longer than the recommended time anyway.

    You will be able to get a satisfactory roast from it, but timing will be tight, and you should do all you can to keep temps down, and slow the process, even if it is only a little.

    Roast in the coolest part of the day - early morning, or at night.
    Roast small batches - say 60 to 80 grams of green beans.
    Do not use the popper lid.
    If you must use a chimney, use one of the minimum height that will stop the beans from jumping out.
    Put a fan next to the popper so it blows fresh air onto and over the popper.

    The Myer popper looks a lot like one that has been sold under a few different badges. I have a Black & Decker that looks very similar except for the colour.
    In standard form it was better in winter, when I could stretch roast times out to about 10 minutes or so, but in summer it was much faster.

    In summer I use a Target popper which is only 900 watts, and is also easily modified to slow down the first stage of the roast, but still reach second crack if needed.

    Cheers, Leo.
    You're a legend Leo, thank you. Now I just have to try it without modifying, then work out how to mod if it doesn't go as planned

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    If you are really on a budget, I've seen them at "weekend markets" (like a swap meet) for typically around $5.

    I too use a Target 900W popper, and have roasted for over 20 mins no worries (although I ran for a while with a stainless thermometer poked through the grill in the lid; which caused the polycarb to, well, sag a little .

    They also function well for cooling if you can have someone wire a second switch into the heating element circuit (I use my PID controller to kill power to the heater instead).

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    Quote Originally Posted by Aleanbean View Post
    Now I just have to try it without modifying, then work out how to mod if it doesn't go as planned
    If your popper is the same as the Back & Decker, one simple mod is fairly easy, but changes to the electrics may be more difficult (and dangerous).

    I know this is not what you want to hear if you are on a budget, but I now believe that in Queensland you need either one heavily modified popper or two slightly modified units - one for Summer and another for Winter.

    The good news, as MrJack said, is that you may be able to find a 900 watt unit in a flea market or an op-shop for just a few dollars. I recently saw a post that said Target were selling theirs new for $11. If you can get yourself one of these, there is a large thread here which has lots of info re using and modding them.
    http://coffeesnobs.com.au/home-roast...orn-maker.html

    In the meantime you can still make a start with the one you have. Just be aware that it will be a fast roast, listen for the first crack, and be ready to dump the beans into your cooling colander/sieve/tray soon after you hear it. Just how soon will depend on what depth of roast you want.

    Cheers, Leo.

  8. #8
    Member Aleanbean's Avatar
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    Thanks guys, I really appreciate your help! Will definitely try first roast in the one I have, post pictures and ask for more advice! haha

    I'm guessing that although it will be a fast roast, I shouldn't have any issues getting to late first to second crack?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Aleanbean View Post
    I'm guessing that although it will be a fast roast, I shouldn't have any issues getting to late first to second crack?
    I expect that you should have no problems reaching second crack. The difficulty could be judging when first finishes and second starts. Some popper users have reported that they happen with only a minute or so between the two.

    Some first cracks can take longer than others, even in a fast roast. Some will give a few individual snaps spaced out over a minute or two before rolling first gets started, then they will taper off as the last beans finally reach cracking point. The first snaps of second crack can start soon after, so it could be hard to tell the difference between a few late snaps of first crack and the first snaps of second crack.

    This will be more so with some beans than others, but can also be due to poor agitation and uneven heating of the beans. In the first few minutes the beans will go from green to yellow to light tan and there will be a colour variation between the beans at each stage. To minimise this and keep the roast more even, you should be prepared to stir the beans with a chopstick or the handle of a wooden spoon for at least the first two or three minutes. This will help to keep it even and may also slow the process down just a little.

    Cheers, Leo.

    P.S. Does your popper have the wattage on the base plate ??.

  10. #10
    Member Aleanbean's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by leograyson View Post
    P.S. Does your popper have the wattage on the base plate ??.
    It's 1200W, here's a pic

    Popcorn popper.jpg

    and another one, just for the hell of it.

    Popcorn popper.jpg

    Thanks again for the tips

  11. #11
    Member Aleanbean's Avatar
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    The reason I went with a 1200w machine was that I saw good comments about the breville crazy popper, which is also 1200w. Obviously wattage is not the only variable but that's what I went off.

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    Behmor Coffee Roaster
    Quote Originally Posted by Aleanbean View Post
    The reason I went with a 1200w machine was that I saw good comments about the breville crazy popper, which is also 1200w. Obviously wattage is not the only variable but that's what I went off.
    Yeah, just thought I should ask because all I said above was based on the assumption that it was 1200, and you know what happens when you assume.

    Cheers, Leo.



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