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Topic: Poppery roasts (20 msgs / 399 lines)
1) From: Tim Deines
Anyone out there still using Poppery-s or similar to roast?  I'm wondering
about roast times, namely the speed of them that I'm getting--8 min. to C+
on Yerga and Kenya AA--first crack at 3:30+/-.  Is this too short a time to
develop sugars?

2) From: Randall Nortman
On Mon, Sep 03, 2007 at 01:44:22PM -0400, Tim Deines wrote:
This is a matter of taste, but I would say that is much too short.
You should not get to first crack before 7 minutes, and the total
roast time should be 10-12 minutes.  I have modified my Poppery with a
dimmer for the heater and a variac for the fan to allow me to control
the profile.  You might try using a smaller load of beans, which
(contrary to what most people guess) will make your roast take longer.

3) From: Tim Deines
Thanks for the info.  I know there are several Poppery mod pages out there.
Do you have a fave?  Is fan control essential (I know it is when Beckham
plays)?  Any other ways to "cheat" the roast cycle, stretch it out?
On 9/3/07 3:29 PM, "Randall Nortman"  wrote:

4) From: Randall Nortman
On Mon, Sep 03, 2007 at 03:43:35PM -0400, Tim Deines wrote:
You can try to cheat by using a long extension cord to lower the
voltage.  It is a rather crude method and difficult to control --
voltage to both fan and heater will be reduced.
I didn't exactly follow any of the mod pages I saw, though I read
through them so that I could identify all the important parts.  I
split-wired mine, with the heater on a 1500W incandescent dimmer and
the fan on a 10A variac.  If I would do it over again, I'd just spring
for a used 15A variac on eBay for the heater and forget about the
dimmer (which was quite expensive itself -- I think almost $40
shipped).  I also adjusted the thermostat to let it get a bit hotter.
You need to boost the fan only if you want to roast larger batches.
The limit with an unboosted fan to get good bean movement, I find, is
about a quarter pound.  With a boosted fan, I do 1/3lb batches, and I
think you can probably do up to 1/2lb.  You can also modify the
housing to improve airflow somewhat without actually boosting the fan
voltage.  I plan to do that at some point, but for now I'm just
boosting the voltage.
Note that I use an original Poppery (P1).  I tried a Poppery II and
found it was not nearly as good.

5) From: Tim Deines
Thanks, Randall.  I'm awaiting shipment of a Poppery I.  Got 2 II's, and
they function well, but I sense that the roasts aren't quite "deep" enough,
i.e. not drawing out complexities.  Not that I'm not enjoying the roasts; I
am!  But I want to get the most out of the beans with the equipment I've
On 9/3/07 3:55 PM, "Randall Nortman"  wrote:

6) From: Rob Piirainen
Check out
Edward's Popper Roasting Tipshttp://www.edwardspiegel.org/easnuke/modules.php?name=Load_Page&uidůRob P.

7) From: Tim Deines
I think you meant me, Rob P., Tim, but no matter.  Thanks for the link!
On 9/3/07 4:20 PM, "Rob Piirainen"  wrote:

8) From: Tim Deines
I ditched the plastic hood, added a soup can and extension chord.  Roasted a
little less than 1/2 c. (no, not weighing...yet) of Harrar (not SM's and I'm
skeptical) and 1st crack came at approximately the 6 min. mark.  I cut the
roast short a little early, I'm afraid, at 10 min., as I couldn't quite
judge where the roast was.  Still, it looks like a solid C+.
By the way, does Harrar tend to roast unevenly, or is that too broad a
question?  Mine was a bit piebald.
And:  Edward's Popper Roasting Tips is a great page.  I'd forgotten about
his.  Thanks again.
On 9/3/07 4:20 PM, "Rob Piirainen"  wrote:

9) From: Jim Anable
This is a multi-part message in MIME format.
Randall Nortman wrote:
I use a variac to boost voltage on the fan, and a second BIG variac to 
dial down voltage on the heater coil.
But I'm wondering, has anybody tried a series light bulb on the heater 
to reduce voltage
I can do 1/2 pound, but I find 200 grams to be about the perfect amount, 
with never having to stir.  This is with 140V plus on the fan.
I'd be interested in that one!
I've also read about replacing with a higher CFM fan???
More air with a pyrex tube is probably the way to go.  I'm using a can 
on the top of my P1, but I have to reduce fan voltage as roast 
progresses, or it'll blow beans out the top.
There is NO COMPARISON.  I started with PII clones and wiring the switch 
to take the main heater in and out.  They are JUNK compared to the P1.

10) From:
I'm using a 1250 watt machine.  I've had some good results with 1st crack around3-4 min, and 2nd begining around 7. There are tons of mods on the internet so you can control the fan & heater separately (that's what I've done) you can also add more beans than you normally do to speed up the roast, and use less to slow it down on a stock machine.
---- Tim Deines  wrote: 

11) From:
For the heater control, I used a standard $5 light switch.  I know how to hit certain profiles with an on-off pattern. ie 14 sec on, 1 sec off up until 1st crack at about 5 min, then slow down the fan to force 1st crack, then bump up the fan a little to extend the time between 1st and 2nd.  Works nearly every time.  With a thermometer, you can force different beans along with the fan speed or the on off-ie 4 on 1 off is great for slowing down the heat too, whereas 19 on 1 off (the most I can go without warpage of the popper guts) ramps up the heat. 
---- Jim Anable  wrote: 

12) From: Rick Copple
Tim Deines wrote:
I use a Pumper popper. At first, that was my main roasting method, but 
then moved up to doing a pound at a time in a wok. Now I use it when I 
want to roast a quick one for a pot (usually when I'm getting low but 
don't have the time or energy for the wok roast).
However, my experience is different from most. Mine roast fast. It hits 
first crack around 3.5 minutes, and will go into second crack shortly 
after 4 minutes on most coffees. By 4.5, I'm moving into Vienna range.
At one point I did the extending the roast times by using an extension 
cord, taking off the hood and using a soup can (which required that I 
roast outside) and leaning it to let hot air escape more instead of 
building under the beans. I was able with that to extend roasting times 
to around 7 minutes for a full city.
At first, it seemed to help. However, all the coffee began tasting baked 
and horrible that I made with it. I finally went back to the way I had 
been doing it and for some reason, the coffee that cooks within 4 
minutes is terrific, and much more flavorful than the coffee that would 
take 7 minutes.
Why is my experience different? I have no idea. Must be something about 
my popper. But all I know is the beans taste much better, but they taste 
baked when it gets above 6 minutes. I guess my popper is just very 
efficient or something.
So, you're back to the general rule. Experiment, do what works and gives 
the best flavor, and don't be scared to go back to the shorter times if 
indeed that does give you the best flavors from your coffee. But 
hopefully the experience of those here will help you find what does that 
best with your machine.
Good luck.
Rick Copplehttp://www.rlcopple.com/

13) From: Ken Mary
I had the same experience. My original popper roasts were in the 5 minute
range and all attempts to extend the time resulted in flat coffee. So I went
for shorter times and the coffee improved. So much so that I purposely built
a fast roaster to achieve second crack in under 2 minutes. When the timing
was right, the fastest were the best. But miss the shutoff by a few seconds
either way and the coffee was either burnt or cardboardy. I settled for
around 3 minutes to first snap of second crack and that gave me very good
coffee with fewer mistakes.
I was disappointed using an original Poppery I, the roast time was around 7
minutes to first snap of second, and resulted in lower quality compared to
the Poppery II clones.
I then converted to drum roasting which provided much better profile control
and much better coffee.

14) From: Tim Deines
I roasted a second 1/2 c. batch of Kenya AA yesterday, and today it tastes
as I'd hoped (which I won't try to describe since I once used patchouli as a
descriptive--turns out, btw, that my partner had used patchouli essence in
that jar for soap!  Yuck!)  Also roasted same amount of Yirga and it's
tasty, too.  Having a good coffee day.
The thing with the Kenya is that the first time I tried it out was on
stovetop, and it came out sour, no matter how much I tried to convince
myself it was "bright."  That was a longer roast, with 1st crack coming
between 10-11 min.  Today's cup comes out of the Poppery II (and yes, it's
chintzy, but it works--leave the PII alone!) with 1st crack at 3:40 and
roast stopped at 8 min.  A far superior roast, I would say.
Come to think of it, my last two stovetop roasts have been hopelessly
sour--one Kenya AA and one blend.  That's disappointing because I feel like
I've got good control there.  Any thoughts?  I'm not paying enough attention
to temperatures right now because of equipment limitations, fyi, though I do
drop beans in on stovetop around 450, expecting the temperature to then drop
into the 200s after beans and lid removal.  I then build the heat back up.
On 9/4/07 3:08 AM, "Rick Copple"  wrote:

15) From: Luke Eelman
I'm currently using a Poppery I with only the switch mod (fan always
on, switch controls heat on/off).  I can stretch first crack to 7 or 8
minutes simply by cycling the heat on and off.  It's a bit tedious,
but it's simple and it works.

16) From: Tim Deines
I'm interested in that mod, partly because I think I might be able to do it
myself.  Are you mechanically inclined or did you follow a mod page?  If the
latter, which one?
On 9/4/07 4:33 PM, "Luke Eelman"  wrote:

17) From: Jim Anable
This is a multi-part message in MIME format.
thirddayhomeroaster wrote:
My previous setup was a PII with the switch controlling the heater.  I 
get MUCH better results with a variac and accurate thermometer.  I 
thought that the PII wired that was was "good enough" until I upgraded.  
There's a world of difference, IMHO.

18) From:
Here's a couple I used:http://members.shaw.ca/espressomio/poptwo.htmlhttp://mdmint.home.comcast.net/coffee/fancontrolproto.htm
google popper mod & see what else you get.  All the machines are fairly identical.
If you are going to make the element switchable, you might as well add the dimmer switch for the fan-You'll be splitting the circuit.  You'll have to get a transformer anyway.  You'll probably need to take the part number to radio shack for the transformer or they won't know how to help you.   Believe me, it is absolutely worth the $5 to add the dimmer switch to the fan.  It's the heater dimmer that is expensive due to the wattage.
---- Tim Deines  wrote: 

19) From: Brett Mason
Developing sugars is easy.
Stopping before developing charcoal takes a lot more care....
Try a 50' extension cord between the plug and the poppery...  You just might
like the delay induced by such a modification.
On 9/3/07, Tim Deines  wrote:

20) From: Cookie (Ann-Marie)
----- Original Message ----
From: Tim Deines 
To: =
 Monday, September 3, 2007 2:43:35 PM
Subject: Re: +Poppery roasts
 Is fan control essential (I know it is when Beckham

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