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Thread: Crazy Popper: VIRGIN Roast. Need some tips. =)

  1. #1
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    Crazy Popper: VIRGIN Roast. Need some tips. =)

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    Ive been looking forward to this for awhile. Ive read the threads about using a popper and done my fair share of googling.

    Now my beans are going to arrive soon. The time of reckoning is approaching, and since im sure there are a number of beanieholics out there who are using crazy poppers, I was hoping to get some feedback to assure my first VIRGIN ROAST is not a disaster.


    I have a few questions:

    1) Where can i find a thermometer/thermocouple device that can log temperature and preferably upload it to a computer?

    2) Are there any precautions I should be aware of when using the Crazy Popper?

    3) How large should my initial roast/batch size be? I ordered some Peru Organic and Indian Tiger Mountain. What should I strive to achieve in terms of roast level and time taken to FC and SC?

    4) Ive bought a (few) cans of Heinz Special Chicken soup. Do i just have to cut out both ends to make a chimney? Can i just use the breville crazy poppers default lid instead? It has holes ideal for holding a thermometer in place.

  2. #2
    Wine_of_the_Bean
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    Re: Crazy Popper: VIRGIN Roast. Need some tips. =)

    Firstly, try roasting without all of the "extra confusing bits" *(DMM, thermocouple, etc.), this will aid in learning the sensory aspects (sounds, smells) of the roast process.

    General precautions: 1) Try to use in a well-ventilated area; you will smoke up your kitchen if you dont have a ducted hood. *2) Without some sort of chaff collection, you will make a mess, even with a small batch. *3) things will get hot, so make sure you have some sort of gloves etc. on hand so you dont get burnt.

    For the chimney, just cut the bottom of the tin off, using your standard side-cutting can opener. *Using some sharp kitchen shears, cut a single slit about a third to halfway up the side of the tin. *Using gloves, gently squeeze the tin to allow the two now separate parts of the tin to overlap and insert (about 4 cm deep) into the "roasting chamber" of the crazy popper.

    For a chaff collector, get a hold of some metal flyscreen, and cut down to approx. 30cm x 30cm square. *Using gloves, roll the square into a cylinder shape slightly bigger than the tin (chimney). *Then close off one end, and bend cylinder to a 90 degree elbow. *This creates a small "well" to catch the chaff during the roast. *Slide the cylinder over the tin, squeezing a bit to constrict the cylinder above the top of the tin (helps keep chaff from falling between the tin/collector) and you have a chaff collector.

    Starting batch size: Id start at say 100g. *From there, you can increase the batch size by 10 grams each roast until your popper hits thermal cutout. *You just then back off 10 grams or so until the roast completes without cutting out.

    Roast level: Familiarise yourself with the entire roast process. *Observe what happens before first crack, during first crack, before second crack and during second crack. *Poppers roast quickly, so you might only get a minute or two between first crack and second crack, if youre lucky. *After youve gotten used to roasting, then add things like a datalogger etc.

    For cooling, a cookie sheet and fan are all you really need for small popper roasts. *No real need for elaborate cooling apparatus.

  3. #3
    Sleep is overrated Thundergod's Avatar
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    Re: Crazy Popper: VIRGIN Roast. Need some tips. =)

    You dont have much if any control with a popper so a thermometer doesnt help much.

    I did all my CPopper roasts without one.

    100gm is a good troublefree batch size for a Crazy Popper.

    As there are differences between poppers you are going to have to get to know yours.

    If youve read the popper threads here you should be OK.
    My first roast went well.

    Once youve done a couple of roasts you can start thinking about mods to extend roast times.

    I consider myself an expert on easy mods for Crazy Poppers for those that are technically challenged.
    Feel free to ask questions.


  4. #4
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    Re: Crazy Popper: VIRGIN Roast. Need some tips. =)

    Wonderful. I really appreciate your support.


    Will try the mod with the chimney. So if i understand it correctly, I have to remove the top plastic cover with the butter tray and use the chimney instead?

    What is the use of the chimney? I was wondering if i could just put a thermometer through the top lid instead.


    How does this sound:

    LOCATION: Commercial kitchen with huge aluminium exhausts vents.

    POPPER: Breville Crazy Popper

    MODS: Chimney mod. Heinz soup tin.

    BATCH: 100g

    COOLING: 5kg heavy cast iron grillpan.

    BEANS: Peru Organic Grace Villa

    TIMING: ??

    CHAFF: No collecting system. Will sweep and have ShopVac on hand.


    Is the setup ok? Any advice on how to time the roast would be much appreciated.

  5. #5
    Wine_of_the_Bean
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    Re: Crazy Popper: VIRGIN Roast. Need some tips. =)

    The chimney extends the roasting chamber, and also helps keep the beans in. Once they lose a bit of mass during the roast, they tend to start flying around a bit. Its not uncommon to have a few escape, even with the chimney. If you have the chaff collector in place, it also helps keep the beans in.

    You might want a fan to blow over the beans in your grillpan. A thinner tray will wick the heat away much faster than heavy cast iron.

  6. #6
    Sleep is overrated Thundergod's Avatar
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    Re: Crazy Popper: VIRGIN Roast. Need some tips. =)

    Yes remove the plastic cover.

    Location seems OK.

    Timing will be a matter of a stopwatch or other timepiece to keep track of when things "happened", as you wont have much control.

    Lean back and hang on tight!

  7. #7
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    Re: Crazy Popper: VIRGIN Roast. Need some tips. =)

    I have a crazy popper and have roasted about 6 batches so far. I have found that i need to roast under 100g of beans or the roast progresses too rapidly. I have roasted a few different beans and found that with 80-90g i hit first crack around the 4.30 mark and rolling 1st by 5 minutes. 2nd crack varies a lot depending on the bean variety but i have reached SC by 8 mins and up to 12mins for some types. With 100g in the popper i hit First crack at about 3 minutes which is a bit too quick. My popper is totally stock and i roast outside (the amount of chaff is amazing)
    Good luck.


  8. #8
    Wine_of_the_Bean
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    Re: Crazy Popper: VIRGIN Roast. Need some tips. =)

    Behmor Coffee Roaster
    In the summer youre looking at 4 minute roasts. Now thats quick.



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