HomeRoast Digest


Topic: Toastmaster popcorn popper roasting too fast! (21 msgs / 492 lines)
1) From: DarrenG
Hi, I am new to the list and to home roasting coffee. I am using a
Toastmaster tpc2 popcorn popper which has the correct type of chamber
similar to a poppery II. The problem that I am having is that it is
roasting too quickly, to a full french roast in about 3 and a half
minutes! It is very difficult to get a specific roast when it is
happening so fast so I was wondering if you had any ideas about how to
slow the roasting down. I have been roasting a little less than half a
cup at a time. I believe the popper is 1200 watts which is the same as
the poppery II I think. Thanks for any suggestions! - Darren

2) From: Gary Townsend
 DarrenG  wrote: 
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 Darren,
Here's a link for you to help you get that hot popper to slow down a little=
!
http://www.edwardspiegel.org/coffee/poppertips.php Gary
 
-- 
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3) From: DarrenG
Gary,
Thanks for the link! Everything on the page will probably apply to my
problem. I'll give it a try tommorrow. Thanks again,
Darren
On 9/1/05, Gary Townsend  wrote:
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le!
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4) From: Gregg Talton
I unplug and plug to stretch the roast on my Poppery II. I also start the=
 
roast with the poppery tilted a bit to improve circulation. Edward Spiegel'=
s 
page is wonderful and you'll get some great information from a visit - I 
know I did. You may also want to slpit wire your popper and seperate the 
heater and fan. I have one popper that has been split wired and it's 
terrific - although the top (bakelite?) was damaged in our recent move.
 Good Roasting,
 Gregg
Belmont, NC
 On 9/2/05, DarrenG  wrote: 
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5) From: Jeffrey Bair
Hi Darren -
I just started myself a couple of weeks ago, also using a toastmaster 
popper. Before you over complicate things, try putting less coffee into the=
 
chamber. I started out weighing it every time, now I find that slightly les=
s 
than 1/3 cup works great with all of the beans I've tried - about 5 
varieties or so. It seems strange at first, but it's true - more beans 
equals hotter, less beans is cooler (hence a slower roast).
Also, Edward Speigel's tilting technique made a big difference for me, 
particularly in getting a distinct separation between first and second 
crack.
Good luck!
Jeff
On 9/2/05, Gregg Talton  wrote:
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6) From: DarrenG
Thanks for your help Gregg and Jeff. I have a couple questions about
the tilting technique. Do you keep it tilted the entire roast and do
you physically hold it up with your hand or just prop it up against
something.
Jeff, typically how long does it take for you to get to the second
crack and how much time do you typically have between cracks using
your method of less than 1/3 cup and tilting. I plan on trying it out
tomorrow myself, but it would be nice to have some sort of comparison
to look at.
Thanks again for the tips, I really appreciate it.
Darren
On 9/2/05, Jeffrey Bair  wrote:
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7) From: DarrenG
One more quick question.
Has anyone tried to widen the air holes in the chamber to increase
airflow? I was thinking this might work to slow the roast down.
Thanks
Darren
On 9/2/05, Jeffrey Bair  wrote:
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8) From: Jeffrey Bair
Hi Darren -
I just went back and took a quick look at my notes. I didn't write down 
details for my first couple of batches, but I've got about a dozen or so 
batches with notes now.
Times vary a lot by bean. Typically I hear my first snap around 1:30 to 2:0=
0 
with first crack cranking at full tilt by 2:30 or 3:00. Then I'll get a 
break of anywhere from :30 to 3:30 or so before second crack gets started.
I've been tempted to try using an extension cord - apparently that will als=
o 
slow things down and might be easier than enlarging the air holes. But the=
 
bottom line is that my wife and I have both been very pleased with our 
results so far, so I figure why mess with success. It just seems like 5 to =
6 
minutes is an awfully fast roast compared to what some people here are 
getting with other methods.
Another interesting thing - coffegeek has a pretty cool podcast now. 
Yesterday I listened to an interview with Ken Davids and he was talking 
about roasting at home. He said that he thinks the number one area where 
home roasters mess up is in relying too much on time. I keep comparing my=
 
times to others and thinking something isn't right, but like I said - the=
 
coffee is the best I've ever had, hands down, so it couldn't be all wrong!
Have fun and try not too think too hard (like me)!
Jeff
On 9/2/05, DarrenG  wrote:
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9) From: DarrenG
Jeff, thanks for your reply. I think I am too worried if I am doing it
"right" and not enjoying the process enough. I'll try a few things,
but if it does not work, it is still much better coffee than I used to
drink, thanks for pointing that out for me.
Thanks Again
Darren
On 9/3/05, Jeffrey Bair  wrote:
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10) From: Edward Spiegel
Hi Darren,
If you take a look at my popper tips pages, you will see some roast times as well as my results with widening the popper slots (the results are dramatic).
Make sure to take a look at the comments section at the bottom of the page. It lists some times for roasts with various slowdown techniques for comparison purposes.
The URL is:http://www.edwardspiegel.org/coffee/poppertips.phpWidening the slots (you don't need to widen them very much) can dramatically change the amount of coffee that you can roast (or slow down the time it takes to roast a particular amount).
Best,
Edward
At 7:40 PM -0700 9/2/05, DarrenG wrote:
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11) From: David B. Westebbe
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Yes.  Do it.  It works great.
You will also be able to get a bigger load with the increased airflow.
It is also possible that you'll want to drill extra holes in the plastic
case to accommodate the extra airflow.
Do it a little at a time, however, because if you open things up too
much, you'll not be ablee to get to first crack.

12) From: Edward Spiegel
At 8:13 AM -0400 9/15/05, David B. Westebbe wrote:
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As an fyi, in the Pumpers (at least in my experience) adding holes to the external case has little if no impact. I even removed mine from the case entirely and it had next to no impact (as opposed to widening the slots which had a huge impact).
Just my .02,
Edward

13) From: Matthew Price
On 9/15/05, Edward Spiegel  wrote:
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 external case has little if no impact. I even removed mine from the case e=
ntirely and it had next to no impact (as opposed to widening the slots whic=
h had a huge impact).
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That was my experience just two days ago :-(.  I knocked out every 3rd
square from the bottom and it had zero effect on the airflow.  The
pumper could just barely push 4oz and that is still the case.
I want to go ahead and tinker with the chamber vents, but haven't had
the time.  Before I do that I would like to know if anyone here has
tried adding holes to the floor of the chamber?  It would seem that a
ring of small holes could help introduce more air into the center of
the column.  This might be especially helpful at the beginning when
there isn't much circulation.
Any thoughts?
Matthew

14) From: Douglas Strait
Mattthew,
I should probably keep quiet since I have never even seen the 
Toastmaster pumper. In the case of the *Wearever* pumper which I do 
have,  holes drilled in the bottom of the chamber would access the 
intake side of the fan which would have the opposite result from what 
you are seeking. I can also confirm that in the case of the Wearever 
pumper, enlarging the holes in the external casing [i.e., the fan 
intake side] has no measurable benefit.
Doug

15) From: DarrenG
Thanks everyone for your help. I ended up using a 50' extension and took
the top cover thing off during the roast. Now it takes about 7-8 minutes fo=
r
a Full City+. Thanks again,
Darren
On 9/16/05, Douglas Strait  wrote:
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16) From: David B. Westebbe
ommodate the extra airflow.
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Yes, but after you widen the slots, THEN you'll need more holes in the
case.

17) From: David B. Westebbe
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Yep.  I did that.  I pushed up the floor to increase the convexity (is
that a word?) and I drilled holes in floor.  I made a fairly large one
in the center, and added a ring of smaller ones around that.  My theory
was that it would help get heat into the center of the bean mass.
 It would seem that a ring of small holes could help 
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My thoughts exactly :)

18) From: Edward Spiegel
At 10:35 AM -0400 9/23/05, David B. Westebbe wrote:
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Maybe with a ToastMaster, but not with a pumper. With the pumpers, adding holes in the external case makes no diff even after widening the slots with a pumper. At least that was the case for me and a couple of others.
Just my .02,
E

19) From: David B. Westebbe
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Actually, I was referring to a 1250 watt Wearever.  Maybe I widened the
slots more than you?  I also switched the fan from the heating coil to a
transformer, and I use a 12 gauge power cord, so it is possible that I
get more airflow (and hence the need for less air restriction) due to
those mods alone.  
The test I used was to have the fan running while I assembled the case.
As I did so, I noticed that the fan slowed down.  I kept cutting and
drilling holes  in the plastic case until it made no difference whether
the case was surrounding the guts, or whether the guts were in the open
air.
I have no idea which mod or mods have made how much of a difference, but
between everything I've done, I can roast much bigger batches than
before.
My next experiment is to use two transformers.  I suspect that the one I
use now is a bottleneck for the electricity to the fan, and that if I
add another in parallel, I'll get more fan speed.  We'll see.
Finally, I might add a switch to bypass the triac circuit, which is a
well-known power hog.

20) From: Edward Spiegel
At 4:49 PM -0400 9/23/05, David B. Westebbe wrote:
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The fan change is probably what did it. I have widened slots in two pumpers and with both of them I compared roast time when the pumper was assembled normally and when the bottom was completely 'open' and there was no difference in roast time. If you are boosting the fan that probably changes things.
Best,
E

21) From: Peter Zulkowski
Back when I was using a Poppery (a year ago?), I widened the slots with 
my trusty Dremel (cast aluminum chamber) , removed all the plastic from 
it and mounted the whole thing to an old aluminum casserole lid. The lid 
fit onto the casserole nicely which in turn had several 2 inch holes in 
it covered with window screen.
For power I used a 140V Variac on the heater and a 140V Variac on the 
fan, and measured the volts where they respectively attached to the 
heater coil and fan motor with dual DVM's. ( Did I say I was obsessed?)
Yes, I did occasionally blow a 20 amp breaker.
I drilled through the side at the top of the chamber downward and 
installed a thin piece of copper tubing through which I passed a K type 
thermocouple probe attached to a digital readout that updates every half 
second.
The result was that I could have plenty of heat with great control, and 
lots of air with great control.
The limit I hit was amount of beans I could roast with all that heat 
escaping. I got a huge glass lamp chimney, and could circulate plenty of 
beans, and heat them too.
The more beans I put in the further they got away from the heater during 
the circulation process, so at some point I realized that I had maxed 
out on what a Poppery could do, and decided that if I wanted larger 
batches (with electricity, {electricity comes out of the wall} ) I 
needed to listen to the sages on this list:
 recirculate the hot air, and insulate.
So far I have not maxed out on what 1450 watts can do, because I have 
yet to insulate seriously, but right now I can do triple (at least) what 
I used to do with the Poppery.
More to come,
PeterZ
Heading back to LHC, SOON!
David B. Westebbe wrote:
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