Waynes Senior Member Joined: 22 Nov 2005 Posts: 20 Location: Chicago-North Suburbs Expertise: I love coffee
Posted Tue Dec 20, 2005, 8:36am Subject: Air popper recomendations...
Ok crowd. I started reading these forums trying to find a Christmas gift for my brother in law. You guys have sucked me in. I WAS perfectly content with my maxwell house drip and now YOU PEOPLE have corrupted my sensibilities. Presspot coffee from freshly ground beans has significantly raised the bar. Now a new term. (for me anyway). Fresh roast. Heres my question(s). I suffer from severe Anemia of the budget. I have decided to go the airpopper route to roast. From what I have read, many of the airpopper users have modified their poppers in one way or another. Is it absolutly necessary to do any modifications or does it depend on the popper? Is there a brand/model preference? Is there a place to get "practice" beans to play with? Please feel free to offer suggestions and insights. TIA Wayne
Cleanurcloset Senior Member Joined: 20 Dec 2005 Posts: 3 Location: Land of 10,000 lakes Expertise: I love coffee
Grinder: Bodum Antiqua Drip: French Press Roaster: Z&D; popper
Posted Tue Dec 20, 2005, 10:11am Subject: Re: Air popper recomendations...
I speak from recent experience having just bought an air popper to give home-roasting a try. I wasn't about to try modifying it so it was either going to work out of the box or not. It did. I bought one according to the recommendations on Sweet Maria's with the side venting holes in the popcorn chamber. I got it new for around fifteen bucks. I got it to try homeroasting and then within a day I found a used Zach and Dani's on an auction site for a good price so I got that as well. The popper is fun because it goes so fast and the cracks are very audible. You can get a good dark roast in not much more than 5 minutes. I did a batch of Kenya AA last night and this morning was sipping some of the best tasting coffee yet. I did get a small thermometer from S.M's and just inserted it in one of the vent holes that were already in the cover but really you can judge readiness by the color fairly easily. I think the cover may melt if I keep using it so that may get chucked. Don't think practice beans- think samples and plan for success your first try.
Insane Senior Member Joined: 7 Aug 2005 Posts: 83 Location: San Jose Expertise: I live coffee
Grinder: Delonghi Drip: Starbucks Aroma, French... Roaster: Toastmaster Air Popper
Posted Tue Dec 20, 2005, 12:29pm Subject: Re: Air popper recomendations...
I got one of the $15 ones at Target. It's a Toastmaster model, and I paid $15 in the store. My first roast was fine, though a bit dark for my taste (a touch darker than French roast); so I just need to run it for a little less time. I will run my second batch tonight, so I can have some good stuff in the morning. =)
The roasting seems to take about 7 minutes, give or take a minute depending on how dark you like your roast to be...
Posted Tue Dec 20, 2005, 4:30pm Subject: Re: Air popper recomendations...
I just taught my mom and dad about bean roasting using a popper that we got from a local thrift shop for $3. It works fine. Almost any air popper will do, but you want one with vents on the side of the chamber instead of one with a screen mesh on the bottom of the chamber (there is some disagreement on this)
Keep in mind that air poppers only roast enough beans for 1 or 2 pots of coffee so once you are hooked, you will most likely want to move up to something that handles more beans. I recommend the turbo crazy.
ronnie_b Senior Member Joined: 7 May 2005 Posts: 308 Location: New Jersey Expertise: I love coffee
Grinder: Bodum Antigua Drip: Melitta pour over Roaster: PID'd P1
Posted Tue Dec 20, 2005, 5:07pm Subject: Re: Air popper recomendations...
Welcome to coffee roasting. I use a popper and really like using it. If you do a search here for "popper" you'll find a large number of threads about popper roasting. The most coveted popper is the original West Bend Poppery I. This is because it is the most powerful and robust, it has a 1500 watt heater and a 120 volt AC motor. The early Popcorn Pumper is similar. Almost as good is the Poppery II. You've found that the poppers are very fast roasters. All of the modifications give the roaster the ability to slow down the roast. An unmodified popper can roast a batch in less than 5 minutes while a modified roaster can extend that to whatever roast time you desire. The easiest modification involves separating the main heater from the motor and adding a switch to turn the main heater on and off to control the temp of the roast. Since the PI has a 120V motor, installing the switch is all that is needed for it. Later poppers are a little more problematic. They have a 12V DC motor for the fan. There is no transformer within the popper. The voltage is reduced by running the motor in series with one of the 2 heater wires. There are a couple of ways to modify these poppers and it's been better said by other people. Check out the following websites for more info.
RS67Man Senior Member Joined: 27 Nov 2005 Posts: 30 Location: SpanawayWashington Expertise: I like coffee
Grinder: KA Proline burr Vac Pot: Cory DKG-S Drip: Technivorm MoccaMaster CD Roaster: HG/DB
Posted Tue Dec 20, 2005, 6:02pm Subject: Re: Air popper recomendations...
One roast method not mentioned here, and is a cheap way to get into roasting, is the heatgun/dog bowl, also known as HG/DB. The wagner HT1000 heat gun, about $25~$30 new, and a metal bowl, about 1~2quart size will get you started. You will also need a wooden spoon or a dowel, and something to protect at least one hand from the heat. I use a "OveGlove" but a oven mitt or a welding glove will work as well. The bowl I use is a one quart mixing bowl from a OLD sunbeam mixer. The advantage with HG/DB is you can roast about 4 to 8 times as much than a popper in one batch, and the controll over the roast depends on how you are holding and controlling the heat gun over the beans. With expierience you can get repeatable results. To get controll with a popper, modifications are nessasary. One disadvantage with HG/DB is chaff, it gets blown all over, I have yet to think of a way to controll it. You will also need to cool the beans after the roast is complete, the quicker the better. If the beans spend too much time cooling down, you will lose some of the flavor and complexity of the coffee. Search this forum for bean cooling for ideas. I tried HG/DB when I was waiting for the popper I ordered from Amazon to arrive, got a sucsessful roast first time, and haven't looked back. When the popper arrived, I tried it, but didn't like it, no controll.
I have my best ideas after consuming 10 cups of Technivorm brewed coffee in 30 minutes or less
Posted Wed Dec 21, 2005, 11:55pm Subject: Re: Air popper recomendations...
If you have thrift stores in your area, consider scouring them for a used popper. They're pretty common.
My best poppers are the Proctor-Silex "Pumpers". Strong plastic doesn't warp and the units will pop up to 130 gr. Also good are the West Bend pumper and Poppery II.
The poppers can be too quick or too slow depending on the ambient temperature and amount of beans. Nowadays I use a Powerstat (like a Variac) to control the voltage and hence the temperature. Works great.
Hello. If you want to start on the cheap the best way to go, no doubt, is with the Toastmaster Hot Air Popper you can get at your local Target store. Around $15. If you do not have a Target store in your area you can likely get it online at www.Target.com .
"Coffee leads men to trifle away their time, scald their chops, and spend their money, all for a little base, black, thick, nasty, bitter, stinking nauseous puddle water." ~The Women's Petition Against Coffee, 1674
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