HomeRoast Digest

Topic: More Popper Questions (13 msgs / 290 lines)
1) From: Jeff Oien
I've been reading that it's good to warm up the beans slowly, 4-6 
minutes before really getting on with it. In my Poppery II, even with 
only 1/3 cup, I get first crack at 3:00 at the latest, even when tilting 
the popper. I kind of doubt an extension cord is going to get me to 6 
minutes. Is there a consensus that 3 min to first crack is too soon? If 
so is there a way to deal with this? I can do roast times of 10 min or 
more, but that first crack is always pretty soon.
Also, does a soup can extend the roast like a lamp top does or is this 
just to keep beans from flying out? I don't have any empty ones yet so 
haven't been able to try it.
My goal is sweetness and body as opposed to brightness with virtually no 
budget for extra stuff (good grinder for espresso is more important 
right now).

2) From: Ben Treichel
Jeff Oien wrote:
Reduce your bean load. That will help some.

3) From: Gregg Reno
I extended first crack in my Poppery II from 4:30 to between 7:30 and 8:00
with a cheap 100' extension cord.  It really works - give it a try.

4) From: Dennis Parham
jeff, mine always used to get to 2nd crack in 6mins, and it as just too 
bright for me for espresso . and I hated to only roast 3oz at a time... 
and 4 oz was pushing my low limit in needs per sample...but tolerable.. 
( I like roasting more because I like to sample each roast in several 
ways.. but too bad when you run out!!lol) anyway, you can of course get 
a very nice and shiny variac or 2 to control voltage to heater and 
fan.. and taylor your roast, or... I use an extension cord, 3way plug, 
another modded poppery,  light strip with bulbs in it that plugs to 
3way, fan, and voltage gauge ( of course you can modify the heater in 
yours for switched fan cutoff)..  this is definitely a low tech way, 
but getting down the voltage to heater in what will help.... somehow... 
or...  but for me now...Im going for the Stircrazy/Galloping Gourmet 
setup... it can SLOWLY roast 1-2LBS!!!! 15 min range from what I 
understand...  with first crack around the 6 mark ....from everything I 
have read..this really smooths out the roast like a drum 
roaster...which tends to be better for espresso... more body and 
smoothness.... ILL KNOW IN A WEEK!! :-D!!!
Dennis Parham
On Sep 26, 2004, at 7:43 PM, Jeff Oien wrote:

5) From: Edward Spiegel
Hi Jeff,
That sounds awfully fast, but there are a couple of questions:
1) When you say it hits first crack at 3 minutes are you talking about the very first outlier or the point at which there are no more than a few seconds between snap/crack?
2) Do you get a break between first and second crack?
3) How long does first crack last for you?
You can get great roasts even if first crack happens before 6 minutes.
I'll have more thoughts after knowing a bit more.
At 7:43 PM -0500 9/26/04, Jeff Oien wrote:

6) From: Ken Mary
You can increase airflow by widening the slots and/or drilling holes in the
bottom of the roast chamber. Do this stepwise since this will also lower the
roast temperature. Widen a few slots at a time, then try a roast.

7) From: Jeff Oien
Ken Mary wrote:
Believe it or not I still use this for popcorn too! Will this ruin the 
popcorn making? I need to go to a thrift store to buy another popper as 
a backup.
However, I'm mainly concerned about getting to first crack too soon. The 
rest of the cycle seems ok to me.

8) From: Jeff Oien
1) I'm talking about the first single outlying CRACK (3:00 at the 
latest) sound. A faint snap doesn't count. Might get one or two of those 
first. But I'm not talking CRACK CRACK CRACK.
2) I can get at least 2 1/2 min. between 1st and 2nd, lately been able 
to get 3 min. which I would think is pretty decent. That's why I'm 
mainly just concerned with quick ramp up to 1st crack.
3) Average of about 2 min. 1st crack time give or take.
I found a 50' extension cord. I won't be roasting until end of week but 
will try that through first crack next time.
Any other thoughts on fast ramp up and roast times with the goal of 
sweetness and body as opposed to brightness would be appreciated. My 
coffee isn't tasting too bright or anything (well, maybe my very first 
roast taken to Vienna+ at 4:30 total was a little hollow tasting), just 
want to learn. I drink French press, drip and espresso but always 
gravitate to lower acidity and lower fruity.
Edward Spiegel wrote:

9) From: Edward Spiegel
Hi Jeff,
It sounds like you might have a nice profile going already. If the coffee isn't tasting too bright, you may be good to go -- the nose knows as they say. If it is taking on the order of 7 to 9 minutes to get to Vienna that is pretty reasonable and a first outlier at 3 minutes isn't necessarily bad.
At 6:25 PM -0500 9/27/04, Jeff Oien wrote:
Ah. I think most of us consider first crack to start not at the first outlier but when there are only a few seconds between snaps. The first outlier is often as much as a minute ahead of the real first crack (according to my notes sometimes more). So, it would be helpful to know when it really gets going. I have had the first outlier at 3 minutes even if the crack didn't really get going until 4 minutes or later.
If the first crack is hitting somewhere between 3 and 4 minutes and there is a break between first and second (which from your notes there is) you don't really need to worry too much about slowing the ramp. While I often am using a profile that gets first crack at 6 minutes, I also often roast with a different set-up that results in first finishing at about five minutes (which sounds similar to what you are getting). The differences are pretty subtle. The biggest issue is having distinct first and second cracks -- which you are getting.
Are you roasting with the top off or on? If you are roasting with the top on, I would remove it and use a tin can as a chimney instead.
Have you tried stirring using a wooden spoon (using a lift and turn over motion)? I used to do that to good effect but stopped when I found that with my set up tilting was proving quite effective.
I am surprised that tilting isn't working well for you. It generally shifts first crack for me by at least 30 seconds.
Also, don't warm up / preheat your popper.
Another tip that someone has mentioned (but I haven't tried) is to put the popper on top of some 'blue ice' so that the incoming air is starting out cooler. He claimed that this slowed things down quite well.
At 6:25 PM -0500 9/27/04, Jeff Oien wrote:
Keep in mind that really good extension cords don't slow down roasts much -- medium and light duty cords are more effective in this respect than heavy duty cords.

10) From: Edward Spiegel
Do you have a sense of how much of an impact this has? It sounds like a good technique for me to add to my popper tips page and any info you could provide would be great.
At 1:38 PM -0400 9/27/04, Ken Mary wrote:

11) From: Steven Dover
I shoot for first pop in about 3 1/2 minutes. My roasts turn out much better
this way vs a later first pop. - Steve D...using a W'Bend Poppery

12) From: Jeff Oien
Edward Spiegel wrote:
Top is off. It started to melt/bubble the first time I used it.
The tilting may have gotten first outlying crack from about 2:30 to 
about 3:00. But thanks for setting me straight on the crack terminology. 
(I was brought up in a churchgoing family and was never very up on the 
crack terminology.) The beans agitate just fine by using only 1/3 cup 
and tilting a certain amount. When it gets colder I will be using more 
beans with the stirring.  I don't preheat the popper. I may also try the 
ice pack thing.
I have a black Poppery II, no butter dish. This one seems to have more 
ironclad housing. For example, I see no way to take the bottom off. 
Which is fine with me since I'm not very handy with mods.
Thanks again. This should give me enough to experiment and taste for a 
few weeks. Then it will get cold and everything will change.

13) From: Ken Mary
provide would be great.
I have not done the slot widening, just passing on info from others. I have
drilled the roast chamber bottom of one popper and it does increase the
mixing. I drilled eight 1/8 inch holes 3/8 inch from the sidewall. However,
this is a split wired popper so the fan could be turned down to compensate
for the increased airflow. A nonsplitwired popper may not reach second if
too many holes are drilled.
If I find a suitable popper, I will compare profiles before and after
drilling or slot widening.

HomeRoast Digest