So I've been roasting my own coffee for a few months with the $10 popper from Walgreens with pleasing results. As a result of the roasting however, the plastic shield and butter tray have melted and deformed to the point that they no longer even fit together. Can anyone offer any suggestions on how to fix this or replace it without buying a new popper? Would putting a spare piece of wood or the like over the top of the roasting chamber do the trick?
Putting anything on top of the roaster and blocking the opening will defeat the operation of the roaster. It is a fluid bed technology, and depends on the fluid (air) flowing around the beans. Blocking the opening will prevent the flow of the fluid.
Why do you want something to block the opening? I operate my roaster without anything on top of the opening, with good results. If you are concerned about beans flying out of the throat of the roaster, then a hurricane lamp chimney or soup can chimney works great to extend the roasting chamber.
Dana Leighton - Espresso hack and CoffeeGeek moderator
I use a glass chimney from Walmart. I don't know what the diameter of your roast chamber is but the chimney is a little over 3 inches which is a couple of hairs wider than my popper. There is a rolled edge at the bottom of the glass that I grind down with a dremel.
Canned salmon cans work great on my Walgreens poppers, as it's tapered at the bottom. I extended the height by wrapping a 6 inch sheet of thin aluminum around it -- fastened by nuts/bolts. I use it on all my poppers. I slid the top portion of an oven mitt over/around the chimney to allow me to handle the chimney during the roast.
Another really good place to find something to stick on the top of your roaster are home improvement stores or interior decoration stores (think Home Depot or Hobby Lobby or the like). You can usually pick up a mildly hourglass-shaped glass latern or lighting replacement for around 3 dollars. The curved shape means it sits very well in my roaster, the glass means it won't melt and I can see the beans, and the open top means no air-flow restriction. Zip-stripping a metal mesh to the top also allows it to catch most chaff.
sirdydimus Senior Member Joined: 14 Aug 2009 Posts: 6 Location: USA Expertise: Professional
Posted Sun Aug 16, 2009, 4:14pm Subject: Re: Popcorn Popper Mod/Repair Questions
This seems to be a common problem with popcorn roasters. I think it is because coffee beans hold more heat than popcorn and the temperature climbs higher than the machine is actually designed for. I have this same popper and tossed the plastic lid. I was using an old soup can I modified with a screen on top. The screen was great when I didnít have a place to roast outside it caught most of the chaff. I have a patio now so I just roll up a piece of tinfoil into a tube and stick it in the roaster, seems to work pretty well.
The manual that came with my popper said quite clearly that it was intended to run a 3 minute popping cycle, then have 10 minutes of cooldown before running again.
I think it's probably just that these are cheap plastic appliances - my mother's air popper, used only as directed, for popcorn, one batch a week had a bubbled, cracked, melted hood within a few dozen uses, too.
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