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Roasting Un-modified
Anyone else decide to ditch all of the modifications, and just start using their air popper all by itself? I have recently gone to roasting in my Poppery II by just listening, smelling, and looking. I generally listen for first crack, then continue roasting after first crack until I hit the color I’m looking for in my beans. Then I cool and store them to degas. I generally like a medium roast, and this seems to work well for me lately. It just seems simpler to me, and easier. And I’m getting a pretty good cuppa coffee in the process.
Roaster:Poppery II (no mods), Timemore Chestnut C2 Max hand grinder, pour-over or Aeropress
If with your setup the first crack happens after minute 5, then you should be good.
Else, a voltage variator (SCR, not variac), on heater circuit, would be the minimal mod I would start with.
First crack starting at minute five, or first crack ending at minute five? Seems I pull my beans at about the 6 to 7 minute mark. Is that too short a roast to fully develop the beans? I have a total of five Poppery II machines. Some Run hotter than others, so I can pick one that will lengthen my roast if you think that makes more sense.
Roaster:Poppery II (no mods), Timemore Chestnut C2 Max hand grinder, pour-over or Aeropress
Minute 5 is about starting of FC, but is not one of the commandments... our papillae decides everything... that's why we are building or moding machines, for the freedom to experiment.
"Home coffee roasting is as simple (or as technical), as you want to make it." Sweet Maria Grin
6-7 minutes drop sounds ok if this means 5 minutes to FC, and 1:30 of development.
HI Mountainman, I envy you looking at the mountain range you live near or in.
The event that started my quest for building a capable roaster was when the owner/operator of a great roastery in Colorado had me sit in on a sample roast of a Brazilian coffee using his Siemens Sirocco fluidbed roaster which handled 112 gram batches. I had originally come to him so he could show me his Sivetz heatgun based roaster but he bypassed this and demoed his Sirocco instead. His Sirocco had been adjusted so that it ended a light roast at 7 minutes. The Sirocco was similar to your popper in that it maintained a single power level throughout the roast but I'm sure took him a few experimental roasts to dial it in for achieving a 7 minute finish.
While I'm sure the particular Brazilian coffee he roasted for me was not your average Brazilian by a long shot, what I experienced in the cup the next day was nothing short of spectacular. It had all of the magical qualities we only dream of. Chocolate, red wine, spice notes...
Looking back on the development of that roast, it was most likely very similar to the time/temp renatoa mentioned with a first crack start of around 5 minutes and ending at minute 7 for a light roast.
Most of my small fluidbed roasts now are very similar to this simple profile with no controls other than me giving it a two stage power level, 3 minutes at around 80% and the remainder at close to full power. I've achieved as good or better cup quality using this method than any other method including precise PID profile roasting. Eventually, I want to see if I can dial in a single power level to accomplish the 7 minute light roast and find out if there is any difference in cup quality.
1/2 lb and 1 lb drum, Siemens Sirocco fluidbed, presspot, chemex, cajun biggin brewer from the backwoods of Louisiana
Hello all. I just wanted to share my roasting in an air popper. I have been roasting unmodified with the exception of using a variac that I plug my "Popcorn Pumper" popper into for the past 15 years. I can tell you that all are not alike even tho they appear to look the same on the outside. One in particular runs hotter than the rest. I actually mark on the outside of the popper "#1 runs hot. FC at 2 min" . Another runs cooler and I mark that one "runs slow FC at 6 min". I have 3 that are pretty close to temp and run time / fan speed. I usually roast between 4.5 and 5 oz. of beans at a time. I use a STATCO 10 amp variac that has 2 voltage output settings: 120v and 140v. I usually use the 140v setting and have the variac at 85% to start. There are 2 ways for me to start the roast after I put the beans in. I want the beans to start moving slowly around in the popper. If they don't rotate at all I may remove a spoon of the beans to get the rotation I want.... OR I may turn the voltage up which will increase the fan speed which will make the beans rotate faster, but will also increase the temp.

If the beans rotate too fast (for me) I may add some beans which will slow down rotation or I may reduce the voltage which will reduce the fan speed to get to my desired slow rotating beans to start.

I usually roast for 2 minutes at 85 %. Also let me say that I drill a hole in the lid of the top of the popper lid and use a long wooded stick (a 1/4in dowel) thru that hole to agitate the beans while they are rotating in the popper. This helps get more of the chaff off and helps the beans roast more evenly in my opinion. Then I reduce power to 80 % until I hear FC and keep it there to the start of SC. Then I may increase power again for the last minute or so OR whenever I want to stop the roast. I kinda manually work my roasting profile depending on the bean and how I want it roasted.

What I do is all probably very unscientific and may go against coffee roasting norms....but it works for me. I like all kinds of my roasted coffee. most medium roast to dark. I roast for a couple people at work, maybe 2 pounds in a weekend sometimes. For those roasts I use one popper, then a second popper, then a third popper, then back to the first because the first popper has cooled off enough to use it. They love my coffee. I give to relatives and friends and they like it too.

I used to be real anal about my roasting. I would record time and temp (using a laser temp) and voltage percent on each roaster I was using. I would take and record readings through out the roast. Then I would just wing it, look at the beans and check my time. Now the only accessory I use is a digital timer just so I know how long the roast took.

Sometimes mistakes are made. I get sidetracked and the beans roast too dark. Or in trying out a new popper the beans never get dark enough for me. Those "mistake" roasts go into a container together, get mixed up and I end up enjoying coffee from those mistake batches as well.

I do all my roasting outside on my patio. In AZ my roasting is different in the summer vs winter. Temp and humidity affect the time and characteristic of the roast.

Hope you don't mind my long post but just wanted to share my experiences with roasting in a air popper unmodified with the exception using a variac.
I have a Baratza Maestro Plus grinder (plus 2 other backup grinders) and a NINJA coffee Maker that lets me brew a mug 14 to 16 oz. or a whole 10 cup carafe if I want.

I wish you all the best this year and a better next year.

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