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Roasting with West Bend Poppery I
Howdy, friends.

I'm brand new to coffee roasting and doing my best to self educate along the way. Hoping to get a couple of tips from anyone roasting with a popcorn popper.

I received my popper yesterday as well as a few different bean varieties from Sweet Maria's. I've roasted three batches so far and haven't heard a single crack. All the youtube videos I've watched make it seem like first crack is really easy to hear, so I'm wondering what I'm doing wrong.

First batch went for 45 minutes (I realize that's way too long). I never heard a crack. Roasting outside in 100 degree weather. The beans definitely roasted, but I never heard any audible cracks.

Second batch with the same beans inside went about 20 minutes without ever hearing a crack.

Decided to get an infrared thermometer to make sure I was hitting the right temps, and just finished roasting a different coffee variety for around 10 minutes without hearing any cracks.

Both of the first two batches were 4.75 oz, which I got from a youtube video. The third batch this morning with the different bean was 3.5 oz.

I took the temperature inside the roaster on the last batch and had a reading up to 420 F, so I assume that's not the problem.

Is my batch size off or am I just deaf?
Just did a third variety of coffee and wasn't even able to get the chaff off of all the beans. Seems like my popper isn't heating up fast enough? The temp read about 380 that time after 5 minutes of roasting.

I read that you want your beans to only slightly move when first roasting, so that's what I did. 145 grams or so.

Anyone had issues like this with their West Bend 1? I see some people modifying them to remove the internal thermostat.
Its a balancing act, enough beans to keep the heat in, while not so many as it cant get them moving. Then the thermostat, etc.
Internal thermostat bypass is mandatory, because tripping at about 180C, this could explain that agonizing long roasts you experienced.
You need more than 220C averaged continuous heat to be able to have first crack under minute 10.
The EU sold poppers also stop the motor when thermostat is off, so we are immediately aware that something is not right. I guess the US models continue to blow until temperature drop enough for thermostat to resume heating, that's why you aren't aware about this issue.
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