[Homeroast] Who am I responding to?!

Sam Walters sam49.cooks at gmail.com
Wed Jun 22 09:48:03 CDT 2016

Somewhere on the web, and maybe linked in some of the material about popper
roasting on SM website, are instructions about how to separate the circuits
to the fan and heat coil on a popper and use rheostats and drill speed
controllers, etc. to control heat and fan speed separately.  This allows
you to control the roast process.  You do have to buy a capacitor (easy to
order) and solder it into one of the circuits.  I did this about 6 years
ago and it worked fine except I couldn't get large enough roasts.  A glass
oil lamp chimney that sits in the popper throat is a good solution for

Poppers with the heat blowing up the center are like real commercial fluid
bed roasters.  The warning against this type goes back to one anecdotal
incident in a book on homeroasting.  If you overload the popper,
particularly one without separated controls, so that the weight of the cold
beans is more than its fan can move (circulate), then the beans on the
bottom get all the heat and the only ones really roasting.  If you do this
and aren't paying attention, you will burn the beans and potentially start
a fire.  When you can gradually heat the beans while controlling air flow,
this isn't a problem.  It is always a good ideal to be careful and pay
attention when working with high heat.

I had my rewired popper "figured out" in that I knew its maximum load of
beans for the popper fan.  I contemplated trying to increase the air flow
so I could roast more beans, but that was getting somewhat complicated.

Switched to heat gun and have been happy with that ever since.   Simple to
control, easy to vary roast sizes,  use sight, smell, and sounds to gauge
my roasts.  Been doing close to 6 years, most of it with the same heat gun
I got from HF for $10.  Gradually carbonized one wooden spoon which had to
be replaced.  Bought two different sized mixing bowls at thrift stores for
less than $10.  Drilled 3 holes in each to put in sheet metal screws to
keep the bowl from sliding around on the concrete when I stir the beans.
Have foot long set of tweezers to reach in and pick out defective beans
spotted while roasting.  (Only been doing that a few years - made huge
improvement to the quality of my coffee.)


On Tue, Jun 21, 2016 at 5:50 PM, Scot Murphy <deppitybob at gmail.com> wrote:

> To anyone who saw and remembers: A few weeks ago I posted about the
> amazing find of the Cuisinart 900W (IIIRC), a popper that rivaled the Mark
> I Poppery in power and ease of use. It has a central single vent, though,
> where the Poppery had side vents. As a result, I was getting complete
> roasts in about 3 minutes, which is obviously pretty ludicrous. I was told
> to use a full half-cup of beans, which is counter-intuitive to using a
> smaller amount in a smaller chamber. That made good sense, but it
> overflowed the chamber. The mod there is pretty simple: stick a can into
> the chamber. Now, I’d been told I would have to stir the beans vigorously
> for the first couple of minutes. This is difficult because the heat is
> powerful enough to really scorch your hand, no matter how high it is above
> the chamber.
> So…I went out to my redbud tree and searched for a pretty much
> perpendicular branch, so that I could have a central stirrer but keep my
> hand out of it. I found one that kind of works, but need one that *really*
> works. That’s eluding me, but the general idea works well. The half-cup
> idea worked well, too, except that it tends to roast unevenly (mostly
> because of the heat/stirrer issue). I stretched out my roasting time too
> about 7 minutes. Maybe I need a lower-wattage popper? There are plenty of
> cheap ones on the market, including, I’m sure, the Poppery II. I just want
> one that will complete the roast with enough heat, enough air, and with an
> on/off switch. Something that will extend the roast, allow me to mod the
> chamber to allow about 1/2 cups of green beans, and allow me to start after
> the chamber is loaded and without having to plug/unplug the beastie.
> Anyway, for now, this works. To whomever gave me the advice, thank you!
> Scot “roasting on the cheap” Murphy
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