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Roasting with a popcorn popper.  Is it worth it?
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Timmer78
Senior Member
Timmer78
Joined: 6 Dec 2012
Posts: 12
Location: New Mexico
Expertise: Just starting

Espresso: Quick Mill QM67
Grinder: Baratza Vario/Bodum Bistro
Vac Pot: none
Drip: Technivorm KBG-741/Hario V60
Roaster: Fresh Roast SR500
Posted Fri Jan 18, 2013, 10:53pm
Subject: Re: Roasting with a popcorn popper.  Is it worth it?
 

lifeandpeace Said:

- I unplug the popper at the time that first crack is firmly established (not at the first pop or two). I then stir like crazy for about :30.  This extends first crack and prevents the train from gaining too much thermal momentum. Substantial dropping of heat after first crack is normal practice for roasting. The beans become exothermic at first crack and can skate along with much less heat being applied. Sometimes I'll do this a second time. Don't let first crack stall. Just moderate it. I could monitor the temps more with my thermocouple, but (1) I get consistently good results and (2) with experience I can rely a lot on time, sight, smell, and sound.

Posted January 15, 2013 link

Your comment about stopping mid roast during first crack got my attention. I've been roastin for almost a month now, I started out with the fresh roast sr500 and the sampler from sweet marias. After ruining the first 7 or 8 batches I'm finally at the point where my roasts don't taste horrible, but the aftertaste of most of my roasts is kind of off. I'm wondering if it might be because I'm still overroasting and could fix this using your method of removing heat for 30 seconds when you hit first crack? Also, I'm not sure what you mean when you say don't let the first crack stall.

Here's how I'm currently roasting most of my beans, I rely mostly on time and paying attention to when first crack occurs. I'm not sure how you can tell by smell where the roast is at. The only way I can notice a significant change in smell is when I get past 2nd crack and then it's easy enough to smell the charcoal/burnt smell of a vienna/french roast. But right now I usually stop my roast about 1 minute after the end of first crack, so I don't notice much change in color/smell between 2 minutes in and the end of my roast around 6 minutes in.

First 2 minutes: Low Heat / High Fan ( to dry out beans and keep them agitated in the chamber)

Next 4 minutes: medium heat / medium fan (I usually get first crack around 3min30seconds in, lasting for 60 seconds approx)

Last 3 minutes on no heat/high fan to cool off beans.

Do you notice anything obviously off with my roast times? Any advice is appreciated :) It sounds like I should try going back to low heat/high fan when I hit first crack and try extending it that way, but how much should I extend it?
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CoffeeRon
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CoffeeRon
Joined: 26 Apr 2009
Posts: 654
Location: Tacoma Wa.
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Wega Lyra, Europiccola(still...
Grinder: K-30 Vario,Pharos, Vario-W,...
Vac Pot: Sunbeam CoffeeMaster
Drip: Melita BCM-4
Roaster: FR SR500,B-1600, SC/TO
Posted Sat Jan 19, 2013, 12:48am
Subject: Re: Roasting with a popcorn popper.  Is it worth it?
 

Hi Tim,
 My first thought on your roast discription is that you're roasting way to fast. Probably getting a grassy taste- the beans won't be fully roasted through that fast. My current routine with my freshroast is this-
 Start on medium heat full fan for the first six minutes
    -First two minutes I carefully set the roaster on my knee and holding from the top with an oven mit, gently bounce the roaster for agitation. (do this at your own risk, I've replaced a bean
     chamber once and a top piece once).
 After six minutes I turn off and back on to full heat. This way avoids having to repetedly push the time button to add more time.
 Usually about seven to eight minutes in I hit first crack. I've never gotten the full roaring cracks with the SR500 as I have with other methods but I know the results I'm getting are delicious.
 I stop the roasts usually between nine and ten minutes, depending on the bean, before second crack kicks in, hitting the cool button.
Hope this gives you some ideas to play with- Happy roasting.

Sorry about taking the thread off topic....now back to our regularly scheduled programming.........

Ron
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lifeandpeace
Senior Member
lifeandpeace
Joined: 9 Nov 2007
Posts: 744
Location: PBI

Espresso: Arrarex Caravel
Grinder: BUNN G1, Zassenhaus knee
Vac Pot: Cory / Hario / Silex
Drip: cloth, glass Hario V60;...
Roaster: RK Drum, WBP II
Posted Sat Jan 19, 2013, 8:27am
Subject: Re: Roasting with a popcorn popper.  Is it worth it?
 

Timmer78 Said:

I'm not sure what you mean when you say don't let the first crack stall.

Posted January 18, 2013 link

Don't let it cool off so much that the cracking stops. It should stay above that temp threshold.



Timmer78 Said:

It sounds like I should try going back to low heat/high fan when I hit first crack and try extending it that way

Posted January 18, 2013 link

Probably so.

When a bunch of roasting misfits using sundry makeshift roasting devices with sundry wattages start talking about roast time and batch size and ambient temps and bean density and finishing ramps and . . .

The data points fly out the window. With time you'll learn the basic concepts of roasting and what works for your device and your palate.

 
www.lampmode.com
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zackz
Senior Member
zackz
Joined: 17 Jan 2013
Posts: 7
Location: Ann Arbor, Michigan
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Saeco Via Veneto
Grinder: Capresso Infinity, Nemox Lux
Drip: Beehouse
Roaster: Poppery I
Posted Sat Jan 19, 2013, 8:27pm
Subject: Re: Roasting with a popcorn popper.  Is it worth it?
 

@lifeandpeace, great tip about extending the first crack. PI has always gone a bit fast for me and I'm not interested in modding it.

To OP, I would say it is most definitely worth it, especially when the popper costs $4-40. Lately I've been using a glass chimney and a candy thermometer that, when clipped to the chimney, sits within the "roast chamber" and monitors temps pretty well. Kenneth Davids' book is great, and the concept of "using all your senses" applies to popper roasting (but it will take a few batches!).

 
_mano cornuto_
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MikeSD
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Joined: 10 Jan 2013
Posts: 53
Location: Florida
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: De'Longhi EC155
Grinder: Hario Skerton, Baratza...
Vac Pot: Yama Stovetop 8 Cup
Drip: Hario Pourover
Roaster: Homemade SC/CO
Posted Mon Jan 21, 2013, 9:38am
Subject: Re: Roasting with a popcorn popper.  Is it worth it?
 

Wow. Thanks for all the replies.  That gives me a good starting place.  I couldn't find any used machines so I went to Target and got an Air Crazy, which I saw for sale on Sweet Maria's site. ( I have their sampler pack coming Friday and didn't want to wait.)  I am going to mod it with the switch turning on and off the heater.  I might use a dimmer at some point by for now I'll stick with the first mod for now.
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Corry
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Corry
Joined: 13 Sep 2011
Posts: 57
Location: North Central Illinois
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Moka Pot
Grinder: Mr. Coffee blade grinder
Vac Pot: French Press
Drip: Cheap Mr. Coffee 5 cup...
Roaster: Poppery I, Popcorn Pumper
Posted Tue Jan 22, 2013, 2:33am
Subject: Re: Roasting with a popcorn popper.  Is it worth it?
 

Happy roasting!  

I see you're already jumping in at this point, but I figured I'd reply anyway.  I've been doing it for going on a year and a half.  Started with a Poppery I that I got for free, and I've since added a Popcorn Pumper.  I switch between them when I'm doing several batches in a row (which tends to happen around the holidays when I give them to my friends).  For me, it's DEFINITELY been worth it.  I live in an apartment and have nowhere outdoors to do it, so the mess can be a pain, but it's still worth it.
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