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Thread: Crazy Popper advice

  1. #1
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    Crazy Popper advice

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

    Ive just ordered a Crazy Popper and a CS Starter Pack and looking forward to making some magic.

    Ive searched the forum here for Crazy Popper advice and not found much mention of this option. *Will this popper do the trick or would I be better with something else?

    Ive found some generic popper articles but I still have a couple of questions;
    • Will the air current cause the beans to move and roast evenly or do I have to agitate them?

    • How do I figure out what my batch size should be?

    • Is any point in doing the temperature probe mod when you have no control over the temperature anyhow?



    Thanks from a roasting newbee.

    Cheers
    Dean

  2. #2
    Senior Member Sullo's Avatar
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    Re: Crazy Popper advice

    Dean
    CP is one of the best poppers to use,
    I tried 80gms without a "chimney" I regularly roast 115grms in it
    Heatwise I just go by sound and cracks, smell and colours, some crack really loud and blow chaff everywhere some dont.
    Try your first batches outside too!
    Checkout Lucindas guide its a great start.
    http://coffeesnobs.com.au/YaBB.pl?num=1174699442

    Hope that helps

    Sullos

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    Re: Crazy Popper advice

    Thanks Sullo.

    I have now found the Roasters section under Equipment. Not sure how I missed that.

    As you say the CP is popular and I now have a bit of reading to do.

    Cheers
    Dean

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    Re: Crazy Popper advice

    Hi all

    Im waiting on my starter pack with my crazy popper at the ready.

    Im sure I have read somewhere else that a "chimney" was not needed for the crazy popper & that the plastic lid it comes with is sufficient. Is this anyone elses experience or does having a "chimney: make a huge difference?

    If a chimney is needed can you guys offer a simple method for collecting the chaff that I assume blows out of the top?

    Thans for your help

    Regards
    Andrew

  5. #5
    Senior Member Sullo's Avatar
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    Re: Crazy Popper advice

    The chimney will increase batch size from around 50grms to 115gms, Ive used an old nestle quik or alpen blend choccy powder they fit reasonably well, remove base small slit up the side and squeeze in!
    Presto instant chimney :D

    edit I should read prv post before replying, try it outside first!

  6. #6
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    Re: Crazy Popper advice

    The Crazy popper is the easist to use to roast beans. Just put the beans in and switch on the button. Knowing when to stop it is a different thing altogether.
    80g is a good start without a chimney, but youll find that without a chimney, youre likely to get escapees. I use a Campbells Soup can cut out for a chimney and it dead easy.
    Depending on the ambient temp (air temp), it can all be over too quickly. I roasted a small batch once at midday (in winter) and it was over by the 5 minute mark. Youll find that people here recommend a longer roast time than a shorter one and Ive been roasting at night just to extend the roast time.
    Ive also been trying to do other things to the popper and have been meaning to take some pics and put it up but havent gotten to it yet. But for starters, 80g without a chimney and its a good start to try and pick out the crack sounds.. Just be prepared for a few escaping beans as they lose wieght when roasted. Typically 80g of green beans ends up being 64-70g roasted (less if youve got escapees).

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    Re: Crazy Popper advice

    Thanks Guys

    Thats some great advice. *All I can do is give it a go!

    I read (coffeegeeks I think) that the clear plastic top of the machine can be used which helps direct the chaff. *Has anyone else tried this?

    Regards
    Andrew

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    Re: Crazy Popper advice

    I was told from early on not to use the top plastic bit. I dont quite know why, maybe the plastic bit will not be able to withstand the heat of the coffee beans or maybe the top bit traps heat too much when you actually want to dissipate heat to lengthen the roast times.

    In fact, one of the mods Ive done to the popper includes removing the whole upper half of the popper to expose only the chamber (as suggested in another post by TG I believe). Ill see if I have time to take the pics of what Ive done.

  9. #9
    Sleep is overrated Thundergod's Avatar
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    Re: Crazy Popper advice

    It was I NTE.

    I use an exhaust extension as a chimney.
    Made by the nice workshop down the road.

    A bit of overkill but it is nice and shiny.

    I believe Grendel did the same before me.

    The plastic top would trap the heat so I never never used it.
    My CP runs pretty hot.
    All my mods were designed to slow the roast down.

    I drilled holes in the base. Remove it first, drill, then put it back.

    It sits very low so try to raise it or as I read here recently, sit it on a milk crate to get more air in.

    With my chimney I was roasting 100g batches.

    To answer one of your questions Deano, you shouldnt need to stir.

    Ive never worried about collecting the chaff.
    I simply roast outside and blow it away with a pedestal fan.
    The fan seems to help cool the roasting chamber a little too and slows the roast marginally.
    I have noticed a small difference in times if the fan is on low instead of high.

    I hope that helps.


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    Re: Crazy Popper advice

    Thanks all

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    Re: Crazy Popper advice

    Yeh, thanks guys.

    Got my CP today in the post and am dying to try it out on the weekend.

    Is the chimney only to stop the escapees or does it serve some other purpose? Seems it would trap heat and therefore shorten roast time when the idea is to extend roast time. I found a metal mesh cylinder which is a tea candle surround which I reckon will be good. Catch the stray beans and yet allow heat to disperse.

    Cheers
    Dean

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    Re: Crazy Popper advice

    The idea of a chimney is to extend the roasting chamber vertically. This makes it possible for bigger batches. Somewhere on the order of 125-150g.

    It does extend roast times, but only slightly.

    Give the mesh cylinder a go, and let us know how things go. Youll definitely want a different solution for winter roasting however.

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    Re: Crazy Popper advice

    Today I tried a large fan placed close to the popper, blowing at high speed. Was hoping that as well as the heat dissipation the airstream passing over the chimney top would draw out the hot air quicker.

    It didnt extend the roast time much (extra 30 secs at most), but it solved the chaff problem - it just blew it away. Away to where, I dont know - it dispersed enough not to be noticeable.

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    Re: Crazy Popper advice

    Hey Guys

    I got my starter pack today & tried my first roasts with the CP. *I did this outside, but the problem I had was that I found it hard to recognise when the various cracks were happening, *I ended up just roasting them to the same colour as a batch of commercially roasted beans I had.

    Was this the right thing to do? *Any advice would be much appreciated :)

    Regards
    Andrew

  15. #15
    Sleep is overrated Thundergod's Avatar
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    Re: Crazy Popper advice

    Probably OK Andrew.
    How long did it take overall?

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    Re: Crazy Popper advice

    Hi Deano

    I had the experience where the Crazy Popper I bought wasnt hot enough.

    Once, out of sheer frustration, I left it going for 25 minutes and the beans didnt even turn to charcoal - TRUE.

    Experimenting a bit, I found that the optimum for my particular popper was:

    > increase bean weight to 150g (130g for monsooned malabar due to larger bean size) to increase the thermal mass. I determined this weight as being the greatest green weight still able to be stirred by the airflow.

    > Restrict airflow by placing gaffer tape over the intake vents in the base of the popper

    > Temporarily (for about 10 seconds at a time) restrict the exit airflow by partly obstructing the chimney - I do not reccommend your hand for this activity. This enabled the temp to rise by 10C or so and when the obstruction was removed the temp remained at that level.

    You need at least 150C to get to first crack - measure using a digital multimeter with a thermocouple (a cheap one can be obtained from jaycar or Dick Smith / Tandy for about 40 bux)

    My friend Sullo has a popper which has totally different characteristics to mine so they are definitely not consistent.

    To fix your problem -
    > Identify whether your popper runs hot or cold - see if you can charcoal a batch of beans without modifications.

    > Use a thermocouple to get an idea of the heat in the roasting chamber

    > to get more heat, use a greater weight of beans and / or obstruct the airflow - tape, partly blocking the chimney, put it in a box (hotter external environment)

    > to get less heat, use a lighter load and have a fan blowing across the top of the chimney to draw the heat out of the chamber faster.

    Its all a learning process as well as trial and error but when you get your first decent roast you will know that you will never return to the Nescafe Blend 43.

    Hope this helps

    cheers mate

    jeff

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    Re: Crazy Popper advice

    Thanks TG

    It took approx 11 minutes

  18. #18
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    Re: Crazy Popper advice

    Sounds a bit slow if the CP isnt modified.
    The proof will be in the tasting.

    You could be lucky though, your popper might be just right as it is.

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    Re: Crazy Popper advice

    Thanks TG

    The only modification I made was adding a chimney

    Regards
    Andrew

  20. #20
    Senior Member GregJW's Avatar
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    Re: Crazy Popper advice

    Hi all,
    Thanks for the great posts and advice on this site.
    What started out for me a bit over a month ago as investigating getting a better than department store type home espresso machine (got a Lelit Combi - love it) has led me down the bottomless pit of Coffee Snobbery.
    Ive been having a sneaky look on Evil-Bay for roasters and saw an I-Roast. It ends tomorrow and, although probably a good unit, looked like going past what I thought I would jump in at (given the relative cheap popper option)- probably due to the relative scarcity of these items. (It has- check it out.)
    So, without really making a conscious decision to do so, I dropped in at Bing Lee this arvo to see what I could get a Crazy Popper for and ended up walking out with one at $34. (Even if I (or it) fail at roasting, I have a daughter who loves popcorn, so whats the risk?)
    I have my soup tin and fan ready and have just placed my order for a Green Bean Starter Pack. While Im waiting, I have a lot of great posts to go over (and Im sure will be inspired by some of these great innovations).
    I just wanted a nice cuppa. Is it too late to escape?

    Regards,
    Greg :o

  21. #21
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    Re: Crazy Popper advice

    Got my starter pack today. Excellent service again - thanks Andy.
    Set up the CP outside with my soup tin chimney and fan, with 110gm Columbian Volcan Galerus.
    Ambient temp probably a bit cool- about 13 to14 degrees. Also probably had fan TOO close.
    FC abt 6.00 mins, ending abt 8.30. Then waited, waited, listening, getting impatient :-/.
    At abt 14.30 my wife thought she could hear "something"- I couldnt (but then Im a bit deaf - too much rocknroll).
    Turned off 14.45. Theyre not dark but a nice brown, dont know if they really got there- will wait and see.

    Will change 3 things-
    - try daytime for a higher temp
    - move the fan back
    - get a multi-meter (everyones right- was just guessing and hoping, not knowing what was going on temp-wise).

    So, thanks again Andy, another order. (By the way, am I dumb or how can you have 15.50 of them left? :-?)

    Greg







  22. #22
    Senior Member GregJW's Avatar
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    Re: Crazy Popper advice

    Behmor Coffee Roaster
    OK.
    Had another go this morning. Much warmer (abt 23). Brazil Montes.
    Went very quick. FC abt 3.00-5.00. SC took me by surprise. Finished at 7.00.
    Possibly went too long. Some smoke, but they dont look oily.
    Anyway, cant wait for the multi meter (thanks again Andy) so I can measure whats really happening.
    I think Im on the way. Thanks to all whove put up good advice.

    Greg.



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