HomeRoast Digest

Topic: My first poppers... (24 msgs / 520 lines)
1) From: Larry Dorman
Well, after checking many flea markets over the last week, I finally 
scored my first two hot air poppers today.  One is the Poppery II and 
the other looks like a dead-on clone that was made by Toastmaster.
Now that I have some poppers, I need some advice on what beans to buy... 
  here is some info that will help you advise (and possibly despise) me.
1) I am, at best, an amateur coffee snob.  I honestly don't aspire to be 
more.  Even more so, I couldn't possibly afford to be more.
2) I'm using an electric blade grinder currently.  I woulnd't mind 
getting a burr grinder in the future, but for now I can't afford one.
3) I use a cheap drip coffee maker.  I'm not into espresso yet and 
likely won't be in the forseeable future.
4) I'm a sacreligious coffee drinker in that I add sweetner (equal or 
splenda) and half/half.
5) I have absolutely no experience roasting... the closest I get is 
having used a hot air popper for its intended purpose.
6) I appreciate the difference between fresh ground coffee vs. the 'rat 
poison in a can' coffee.  I expect to appreciate fresh roasted also. 
However, I doubt that I will detect subtle differences between various 
7) Assuming that I've even sort of gotten the terminology down, then I 
like full city roast.
All this said, I believe I am looking for a cheap, quality bean that is 
fairly easy to roast to full city in a stock air popper and can be 
purchased from Sweet Maria's.  Any recommendations?
In the mean time, I'll go back and research using the Poppery II.  I'd 
also be interested in any info on the toastmaster... I don't think I've 
seen it mentioned in any of the research/reading I've done so far.
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2) From: jeff
i was in a similar position when i first started roasting. only an 
amateur coffee snob. that changes quickly when one starts roasting. as 
for grinder, there is a lot of traffic here about the big boy grinders 
being the only acceptable method.  the whirly blade does fine.  as or 
brewing method, if you can score a cheap french press that would help 
get you on the path to coffee snobbery. my experience w/ the lower end 
drip machines was that the temp was too low for good extraction. mine 
was only putting h2o out at about 180 degrees. try the press if you can 
find one.  re: the experience factor: the learning curve to produce good 
results is short. a couple of batches and you will be on your way.  i 
think that you will fing that you will very quickly be able to tell the 
difference between different beans.  in my experience an easy bean to 
start with is ethiopian yirgacheffe. it tastes great over a wide range 
of roasts and frankly is hard to screw up.  overall it's my favorite 
bean.  that said- you might try one of tom's sampler packs. there is a 
good range of beans in those.
finally- the toastmaster is essentially he same as the poppery II but 
has the benefit of a switch.
hope this helps-
jeff ronk

3) From: AlChemist John
Sometime around 09:46 PM 6/1/2004, Larry Dorman typed:
Never despise.  comment, harang, pester, warn, but never despise (unless it 
is warranted for being a troll or something).  This is about enjoying what 
you drink and how you do that is up to you.
Afford as little to do with it.  Yours taste buds will just naturally learn 
what they like and once you know what they like, you are a professional 
snob.  No extra cash required.
I was this way for around a year.  Then my coffee started tasting bad.  It 
turned into "I can't afford not to get a burr".  I got a Zass 169.
That is cool.  Again, whatever tastes good to you.
I prefer adulterator.  I drink mine with a touch of sugar and goat's milk.
You will get there.
Give it time.  Enjoy the journey.  That is what counts.
oil or no oil for your terminology?  Most home roasters gradually shift to 
a lighter no oil roast as it highlights the flavor of the coffee better as 
opposed to the roast.
Brazils.  I love them.
John Nanci 
AlChemist at large
Zen Roasting , Blending & Espresso pulling by Gestalthttp://www.dreamsandbones.net/blog/http://www.chocolatealchemy.com/

4) From: Ed Needham
...at least you're using good beans!
Ed Needham
To Absurdity and Beyond!
homeroaster ... d.o.t ... com

5) From: Craig Shields
I'll take a crack at this, given that I'm prolly the
only one here without a PIDed, supercharged,
independent rear suspension, jet powered roaster. 
Yet, that is.
And, horror, I also use a cheap-ish drip coffee maker
when I'm not pulling shots on my Tea.
First, let me *beg* you to try a few cups without
sweetener or cream.  You might be surprised,
especially given that your roasts will not be as
bitter (hopefully) as Charbuck's.  The natural
sweetness and mouthfeel of the coffee could negate
your need to doctor the nectar.
Three personal favorites:
1) Peru Organic/Fair Trade Ccochapampa
2) Sumatra Mandheling
3) 50/50 blend of Tanzania S. Peaberry and Ethiopian
Yirgacheffe or Sidamo
All, IMO, work well at full city to full city+ and are
pretty forgiving of new roasters (and I've done both
in a popper during the 99.9% downtime I experienced
with my POS Rosto).  If you want something really new
and interesting, try a Yemen or a Harrar; both will be
new experiences to your palate.
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6) From: Ben Treichel
Craig Shields wrote:
You're a brave man.
We all have our 'deficiencies' but most of us don't air them so 
publicly. ;-)

7) From: Stephen Jones
In terms of what bean would satisfy your purposes (drip pot, blade grinder),
I think just about anything will satisfy your needs (aside from what Tom
offers for purely comparative purposes, seehttp://www.sweetmarias.com/coffee.thumbs-down.html). Admittedly, you'll
taste some difference in higher priced beans, but I'm constantly amazed at
how good ordinary beans taste when they're fresh roasted, and how bad
expensive roasted beans taste when they're stale.  My barber in Taiwan used
to say: "Any fish that's fresh tastes good."  I think the same is true for
coffee.  On the other hand, a well meaning friend gave me a pound of
Jamaican blue mountain coffee in a supposedly air tight bag that was already
roasted and I wanted to cry because, sure enough, it tasted bad.
Especially since you're new to popcorn popper roasting, you might want to
get whatever green beans you can find that are inexpensive, because it's
going to take awhile to get the hang of it.  Then once you're reasonably
happy with your results, get one of Tom's samplers and experiment.  
Happy roasting.
Stephen Jones

8) From: Lesley Albjerg
jeff  wrote:
.....as for grinder, there is a lot of traffic here about the big boy grinders 
being the only acceptable method. the whirly blade does fine. 
NO WAY!  I thought that about 18 years ago.  My wife for a practical joke gift  bought me a Zass 169.  For "fun" I used it and the flavor difference blew me away!  Besides, it takes about as much time to whirly blade as it does to grind a batch in the Zass.  The only way a whirly blade would do fine is if you had a screening system to sift the different size grains of grind.
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9) From: Brian Hyde
Now that is something I really do believe.  A good consistent grind is 
the biggest difference short of fresh bean.  It doesn't matter if it's 
made in a drip pot, a vacuum pot, or espresso.  The grind gives you a 
consistent flavor profile.  I recommend to anyone who does not want to 
spend a lot of money but wants a significant improvement in their coffee 
to get a Zass.  Of course I then have to hope that they aren't that lazy 
and won't mind grinding by hand.  
Lesley Albjerg wrote:

10) From: Rick Farris
They wouldn't necessarily have to be lazy.  What if they didn't have any
hands, or had arthritis, or were handicapped in some other way?
-- Rick

11) From: Brian Hyde
I suppose there could be lots of different spins we could put on this 
but what is the point?  Do I need to put a disclaimer at the bottom of 
my emails that says this does not in any way apply to those with any 
sort off physical or mental handicaps?  Applies only to mammals with 
opposable thumbs?  
My friends all happen to be young professionals and college students. 
 All very capable but sometimes lazy none the less.  If the conversation 
was about someone who was challenged in some way I apologize for not 
Rick Farris wrote:

12) From: Rick Farris
You need to thicken up that hide, Brian.  I was just joshin' with you.  You
better pray Gin doesn't get her hooks into you.  :-)

13) From: Craig Shields
I've learned to confront what haunts me!  And, given
that I have an account at Grainger, a plasma torch,
and a mig welder, it's only a matter of time.
Pix to follow.  :)
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14) From: Ben Treichel
Craig Shields wrote:
:-D :-D

15) From: Rick Farris
I definitely remember my first poppers.  I was a young, wet-behind-the-ears
sailor and I had just met this wild young lady at a club in Bremerton,
Washington.  We'd been dancing all evening, and during a slow dance she
ground her crotch into my thigh and whispered in my ear "Have you ever had
sex on poppers?"
Now I wasn't sure what a popper was, (and to be honest I wasn't all that
knowledgeable about sex, either) but if she'd said "Have you ever had sex
wearing women's panties?" I'd have claimed to be an expert at it if it meant
I might be getting into *her* underware ... oh ... wait ... you're not
talking about that kind of popper, are you?
-- Rick

16) From: jeff
i'm getting hammerred on the grinder issue. i concede that a good 
grinder is better than a bad grinder but for those on a budget a high 
grade burr is out of reach.  there seems to be a level of diminishing 
returns on the investment,  especially for those using inexpensive drip 
machines or a press. 
all in all a cup of home roast ground in a whirly is going to be better 
than a stale commercial roast in a 400$ burr grinder.

17) From: Ben Treichel
Rick Farris wrote:
go to your room!!

18) From: Peter Barnes
I'll take a PI.  Give me as much voltage as possible...
Rick Farris wrote:

19) From: prentice
Absolutely true.  For drip, a lot of what is gained with a burr grinder is
consistency.  It is possible to get a decent drip grind with a "good" whirly,
but you'll likely not be able to repeat it every morning.
Quoting jeff :

20) From: Larry Dorman
Craig Shields wrote:
Yeah, I expect that I'll do this.  I occasionally drink a straight cup 
of coffee, but still find that I like it better doctored.
That would be cool... I really don't like using sweetener... it all 
seems to be bad for one's health.
Cool... thanks for the recommendations!
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21) From: Larry Dorman
Stephen Jones wrote:
This actually makes a lot of sense... I'm sure anything I get (even the 
thumbs down stuff) from Sweet Maria's is still better than anything I've 
  ever bought pre-roasted.
I'll probably go ahead and buy a pound each of the two least expensive 
ones recommended in this thread and order a sampler with it.  I can 
practice on the first couple pounds and then enjoy the sampler to see 
how much variance I can really detect.
I'm a fairly quick study and the hot air popper method seems pretty 
straightforward...  I'm sure I'll be back to let everyone know how it 
goes.  Thanks for the advice!
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22) From: Larry Dorman
Brian Hyde wrote:
Are you and others who advocate the burr grinders emphasizing the 
ability to get a consistent cup or is there the implication that an 
inconsistent grind actually results in a bad cup?
If the implication is that an inconsisent grind results in a bad cup, 
what is it that causes that effect?  I can understand different grinds 
resulting in different flavors and intensities, but I don't have a good 
understanding of how it would actually come out bad.
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23) From: Larry Dorman
AlChemist John wrote:
Little to no oil...  although I'll ocassionally drink a dark roast just 
for the variety and to renew my appreciation for the lighter rosts.
Cool... I'll have to check them out.  Thanks!
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24) From: AlChemist John
And it will degrade over time (like most things).  I used a whirly happily 
for about a year.  Suddenly my cups were all bitter and sharp.  The 
"blades" had dulled and were doing a lot more whacking than cutting.  BTW, 
a Zass burr is under $100.
Sometime around 03:43 PM 6/2/2004, prentice typed:
John Nanci 
AlChemist at large
Zen Roasting , Blending & Espresso pulling by Gestalthttp://www.dreamsandbones.net/blog/http://www.chocolatealchemy.com/

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