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Koffee Kosmo
· 08/28/2020 7:15 PM
I have updated my signature and added links to the KKTO roaster build

· 08/16/2020 8:12 AM
I will say, it only happened once, briefly, to me.

· 08/16/2020 7:57 AM
I was blocked too, our hosting provider is dropping the ball lately. thumbdown

Koffee Kosmo
· 08/12/2020 5:37 PM
And I thought it was just me that couldn't access the site All good now - coffee kept me company

· 08/10/2020 8:46 PM
Had to make myself another cup of coffee to get through it.

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My first popcorn popper
Hello! Today I picked up a West Bend Air Crazy from a thrift store. It looked to be in good shape.

Next up: beans. Right?

Any suggestions on the best next steps to take?
This is just to wet the feet... Grin
Then comes the hard part:
Thanks for the tips, renatoa.

My first batch of beans arrived today. I'm excited to start roasting!
I made two batches in the popcorn popper on Sunday and tried them out for the first time today.

For the first batch, the popper was plugged directly into the outlet and seemed to roast very fast. I swear I heard the first few sounds of first crack around 1.5 minutes, but maybe I didn't know what I was doing. I then increased my stirring and tilted the popper. Around the 4 minute mark there was a lot more popping, and I stopped around 4.5 minutes. I cooled by tossing between 2 colanders.

The whole process felt very fast.

For the second batch I wanted to slow things down so I used a 50 foot extension cord thinking that might lengthen the roasting time. It seemed too. I tilted and stirred the whole time. I stopped after 6 minutes.

I tasted them both this morning. The good news: both batches tasted "fresh" as in "not old." It was better than some of the crappiest coffee I've had. Perhaps it would have been praised on a 19th century wagon train.

The bad news. Batch one tasted bitter and lifeless. Batch two tasted burnt and lifeless. I also brewed some beans from a real roaster for the contrast and it was obvious who knows how to roast and who doesn't.

I expect I'll get better at roasting with the popper, but I also feel like there is a hard ceiling coming up soon in terms of how good I can get with an unmodified popcorn popper.

Any tips on how to improve? How vigorous should I be stirring? I tried to make the beans fairly agitated, but I could definitely stir faster if that would help.
The heater power should be significantly reduced, to have maximum 270 C in the hot air, this is where the cellulose matrix of bean start to destroy. An unmodified popper temperature is well above 300C, measured 380 C in some units.
Even better, the first 2-4 minutes would be ideal to be under 200 C, while beans are drying.
This power/heat adjustment will extend the roast process having first crack in the 6-10 minutes ballpark, and total roasting somewhere under 12 minutes.
All the above require machine mod, as described in the post #2 second link article.
Reducing overall machine voltage could work, but you have to lower the voltage significantly, down to 60-70% original power, using a (self)transformer, not extension cords... 50 feet of 14-gauge wire will cause a voltage drop of about 3% only.
Be aware that reducing machine voltage will reduce also the rotating speed, so you will need to stir permanently...
That's why the first step in any popper mod is to separate the motor and heater power circuits.
Thanks renatoa. I appreciate all the feedback. I guess I need to decide my next step. If I'm going to purchase a new/used roaster, I may as well devote money to that purchase. If I'm going to build a roaster, modding the popcorn popper would be a good way for me to know if I really want to build my own. If I can't even successfully mod a popcorn popper, maybe I shouldn't bother thinking I can build a proper roaster.
There are some easy ways (that I know) you can approach home roasting if giving up the popper:
- hotgun with bread machine/mesh drum/flour sifter as agitators
- foreman baby oven with it's own mesh drum
- turbo oven lid with pasta strain pot
All are in the $100 ballpark hardware costs, and easy 1-2 days builds, with a lot of examples here and elsewhere.
Modding a popper is a straightforward mod. I used a dimmer switch and a router speed control. There are enough photos with instructions to make it fairly easy.
Backwoods Roaster
"I wish I could taste as well as I wish I could roast."

As Abraham Lincoln said "Do not trust everything you read on the internet".
Successfully modified my popcorn popper.

That moment when it worked was a beautiful thing. I can hardly believe I did it.

Now to practice roasting some more.
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