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Thread: First roast - advice from the experts

  1. #1
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    First roast - advice from the experts

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

    Man, I never would have thought I could get addicted to roasting coffee beans, but how cool! Seeing the chaff fly off, the gradual change in colours, smell, etc, and then ending up with something you can grind, drink and enjoy...

    I found a Breville Crazy Popper on Gumtree for $20 and used that today to have a go at my first roast. I fashioned a little chimney from a corn tin and that seemed to work. Now the frustrating thing is that I am quite methodical and I ended up with beans that (I think - please correct me if I'm wrong) look OK, but was pretty much by accident.

    It was 12 in Melbourne today when I had a go. I put the popper with chimney in a large bucket as it was pretty cool. 80 grams (2/3 cup of the Peru beans from The Shop on this site) into the popper. The beans slowly changed colour but I didn't get to 1st crack until about 13 minutes and even then I only heard about a dozen pops. I couldn't discern a 2nd crack. I got smoke at 15 minutes and the popper shut off automatically. It was luck that I got out what I did. A couple of questions:

    1. I'm assuming the 1st Crack should be quite audible even above the sound of the popper. How long on average would you hear the cracking for?

    2. I've heard the second crack described like crinkling cellophane - not as easy to hear? Maybe I really need to get my ear down to the machine and listen better.

    3. How common is it for the popper to shut off (it's obviously a safety issue at a certain temp threshold)? I'm not confident enough with electronics to pull it apart and do anything.

    Thanks,

    Paul
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  2. #2
    Senior Member artman's Avatar
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    That looks pretty awesome for a first roast!

    First crack is quite audible generally and second crack much quieter. The crinkling cellophane is a good analogy.

    I only used a popper once many many years ago and I am sure the neighbours were ready to call the fire brigade! It happens a lot quicker in a popper and I guess first crack would be around 5 to 10 mins, second crack a few minutes post first crack? I am sure the regular poppers will chime in with info.

    Enjoy the bug!!

    Cheers

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    I think you might have had too much beans. I used to use 60gm at 20C. We're they swirling around much? To much and they won't heat up fast enough. To little and the beans spin around the sides but the hot air goes up the middle though I guess it depends on the popper design.

    First crack roughly 30-60sec, 2nd crack is much quieter and is actually quite hard to hear over the sound of a popper.
    Use less beans and it shouldn't shut off

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    Many thanks for the replies guys.

    Quote Originally Posted by MrFreddofrog View Post
    We're they swirling around much? To much and they won't heat up fast enough.
    Use less beans and it shouldn't shut off
    They were swirling around a lot. I had a wooden spoon at the ready thinking I would need to swirl them myself, but there wasn't any need.

    I may have misinterpreted - from what I've read I thought you needed to add more beans if you wanted it to get hotter faster (more mass for the air to circulate and thus the beans won't swirl as much). Am I thinking about this the wrong way?
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    That's interesting. I found putting in too little amount of beans causes the beans to swirl lots causing a whirlpool effect where the hot air just escaped through the centre whirlpool funnel. Beans never got to first crack even after 20mins.

    60gms gave me enough enough mass so there was no whirlpool hole in the centre for the heat to escape quickly.

    Sounds counter intuitive but maybe you actually need to add more beans to stop the heat escaping but not enough mass that it preventing a decent swirl.

  6. #6
    Senior Member LeroyC's Avatar
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    Yep, more beans in a Crazy Popper for faster roasting. The heat gets trapped inside the bean mass and they'll roast faster. The actual power that you get from different Crazy Poppers is incredibly varied. Mine used to roast really fast at times. And I mean fast - first crack in about 3.5min!! A Crazy Popper with a chimney should be able to hold up to about 160g, so try weighing out that much then tip them in slowly. Watch them start to spin then slow down until they nearly stop. If the spinning stops altogether you've added too much. You want them turning slowly. Then spend the first 1-2min stirring them with a wooden spoon handle to help release chaff. After this they will have lost some weight and should be spinning quite easily on their own, although ideally it'll be a sort of tumbling action rather than a whirlpool. If you can achieve the tumbling action you're on the right track. Then just give them the occasional stir and listen carefully for first crack which should be clearly audible (although it depends a bit on the beans) and sounds a bit like popcorn popping. Good luck, it's good fun.

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    You can reduce the heat by using long extension cords which causes a small voltage drop. I used to do this to lengthen the time between first and second crack.

    Note that it will also reduce the fan speed and hence swirl speed but by that time the beans are getting lighter from moisture loss anyway.

  8. #8
    Senior Member LeroyC's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MrFreddofrog View Post
    You can reduce the heat by using long extension cords which causes a small voltage drop. I used to do this to lengthen the time between first and second crack.

    Note that it will also reduce the fan speed and hence swirl speed but by that time the beans are getting lighter from moisture loss anyway.
    Yeah I thought that'd work too, but they're just such a budget piece of crap appliance that the accepted variations in performance out of the factory must be quite large. I used quite a long extension cord and was still hitting first crack in 3min sometimes!!!! Mine must've been turbocharged somehow.
    Of course the OP actually wants to speed their roast up so maybe they need to remove an extension cord if they used one for the roast mentioned above?

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    Super Moderator Javaphile's Avatar
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    Extension cords don't have much effect when running on a 220v grid. Only in 110v countries will you see much effect from using one.


    Java "Drop what?" phile
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    Senior Member LeroyC's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Javaphile View Post
    Extension cords don't have much effect when running on a 220v grid. Only in 110v countries will you see much effect from using one.


    Java "Drop what?" phile
    That explains it then.

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    60g - what 50 after roasting? It takes me that to dial in the grind for a new roast. Is this 'single roasting'?

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    Yes 60g. That's all my popper could handle. Didn't bother me. I could do a lot of experimentation without wasting a whole lot of beans, from barely warm (not recommended) to almost flambe (actually quite drinkable).

    Quote Originally Posted by LeroyC View Post
    ....Of course the OP actually wants to speed their roast up so maybe they need to remove an extension cord if they used one for the roast mentioned above?
    haha, yeah good point.

    Quote Originally Posted by LeroyC View Post
    That explains it then.
    Mine made a difference, must have been my awesome bunnnigs chinese ones, more plastic than copper.

  13. #13
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    Behmor Coffee Roaster
    Quote Originally Posted by pgseye View Post
    I may have misinterpreted - from what I've read I thought you needed to add more beans if you wanted it to get hotter faster (more mass for the air to circulate and thus the beans won't swirl as much). Am I thinking about this the wrong way?
    No mate, your thinking is correct...
    There's some misinformation creeping into this thread already...

    Well worth your while to read through the thread on Roasting with Poppers here, give some of the ideas a go and if you have any further queries after that, fire away (not the beans of course )...
    http://coffeesnobs.com.au/roasters/2...ng-popper.html

    Mal.
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