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Topic: Premature 1st crack (10 msgs / 265 lines)
1) From: Phil Palmintere
Or, since I'm using a hot air popper, is it Premature Population? J
I used the hot air popcorn popper, and following some other's suggestions, I
removed the butter tray & opened up the spill cup to try to slow down the
roast.  I even had it plugged in to a 100 foot extension cord (although 12/3
wire).  
Still, my 100 grams of Espresso Monkey hit 1st crack a bit after 3 mins!
And it started 2nd crack around 6 mins.  I stopped it just a few seconds
later.
Oh well, maybe next time I'll use 200 feet of extension cord.
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2) From: Doug Hoople
So how was the cup? Bright enough to set your teeth on edge?
3 minutes is VERY short for 1st. By comparison, I'm surprised that your 2nd
took so long to get to.
Doug
On Mon, Jun 15, 2009 at 9:04 PM, Phil Palmintere <
phil.palmintere> wrote:
<Snip>
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3) From: Allon Stern
On Jun 16, 2009, at 12:04 AM, Phil Palmintere wrote:
<Snip>
Have you tried decreasing the amount of coffee in the roast?
Increasing?
What kind of popper do you have? The Wearever?
Are you at all comfortable dealing with 120VAC? Depending on the  
popper, you may be able to try split-wiring the popper to allow  
separate control over heat/fan. Then you can pulse the heat, or run  
it off a (high power) dimmer or variac, while not changing the fan  
speed.
See:http://members.cox.net/felixdial/popper.coffee.roast.shtmlmaybe try your HG/DB?
-
allon
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4) From: Sam49
Actually, those times are rather typical for many unmodified / 
uncontrolled poppers - at least from what I have read. 
I use a fluid bed roaster also, but not a popper.  I found an old 
Melitta AromaRoast when looking for a popper back in January when I 
wanted to start home roasting.  I've made a few mods including the 
digital thermometer and thermocouple from SM.  I roast with the unit 
inside a box with a few holes cut in the lower sides and the top.  I 
might be able to dispense with the box as the temperatures increase into 
the 80's.
As is often suggested, try a smaller batch, like 75 or 80g.  Depending 
on the air flow of the popper, even dropping to 90g might make a 
difference.  The volume of beans should be small enough that the airflow 
starts moving them around immediately.
The air moves the smaller mass of beans around more and they actually 
take longer to heat and roast as they are at the bottom of the "roast 
chamber" in contact with the hottest air for shorter periods of time as 
they tumble around in the "fluid" stream.
The Melitta's airflow - with the baffle at full open position - will not 
move much more than 80g of beans very well in the first minute or two of 
the roast.  It won't do 85 or more, and 80 often takes a few seconds to 
get going (as the beans dry and lose weight) and 75 always moves 
immediately.  So, I've settled on 75 so I won't have to worry about 
having some scorched beans and since 75 g gives me 6 roasts per pound. 
There are lots of web pages showing how to rewire the poppers to 
separate the fan and heat, and control these so that you can control the 
roast.  There are links to these on the SM website.  A simple rheostat 
would allow you to lower the heat slightly early in the roast if you wanted.
The Melitta allows you to control the roasting temperature by 
controlling the airflow. By closing the baffle, i.e., max heat, I can 
take 75 g of beans  into 2nd crack just as fast as you are reporting.  
However, if I start with it fully open, max air / minimum heat, I can 
stretch it out so that I get to 455 and well into 2nd crack at 13-14 
minutes without stalling the roast.  I sit there watching the 
temperature, recording it every 30 seconds, and manipulate the baffle.  
I usually am pulling the roasts at around 10-11 minutes.
I dump and cook in a wire mesh sieve over a fan blowing up and reach 
ambient air temp in no more than two minutes.
I typically roast 3-4 batches of beans, each of a different bean in a 
session.  Sometimes, I'll roast the same bean at two different levels.  
Typically, I roast one African bean, one Asian variety, and another of 
Central American/Mexican origin (Mexico is part of North America).  If I 
do 4 roasts, I'll often add a South American or a 2nd roast level of one 
bean.  My GF/partner and I have really enjoyed comparing and noting the 
differences in the beans.
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5) From: Frank Awbrey
Phil, a couple of things I have done to extend roast times besides using the
100 foot extension cord is to tilt the popper while it is roasting. This
lets some of the hot air by pass the beans, so the popper doesn't seem to
get as hot as fast. I actually lean the popper against my metal colander.
The lower you angle it, the longer it should take. Another thing you can
do/try (I have done this extensively, but not recently) is to turn the
popper off/on a couple of times during the roast. I have turned it off for
as long as 30-45 seconds at a time. I randomly picked a set temperature for
doing this (in my instance, I turned it off at 300* and again at 375*). But,
I had a temperature probe affixed to the inside of the popper and kept an
eye on the temperature, making sure that it did not drop more than 2 or 3 or
4 degrees at a time.
The ambient temperature around here is starting to warm up pretty good, so I
may start doing that (turn off/on) again. I find that the ambient
temperature has quite a bit to do with the length of roast. 70-75* makes for
3 or 4 minute quicker roast than, say, 40-45*. It is in the mid 70's around
here now.
On Tue, Jun 16, 2009 at 10:19 AM, Sam49  wrote:
<Snip>
-- 
Frank
"Still the one"
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6) From: R Nepsund
I think I'll mention some stuff I was trying.
I wasn't happy with how much I could roast in a popper,   about 120gm
so I decided to bolt a fan+motor from another popper onto the side of
my regular one.  That about doubled how much I could roast, but beans
kept getting blown out and i didn't have much control.   Next I put
together a variable voltage power supply for the new fan (light
dimmer->transformer->rectifier->capacitor).  This helped a lot.  I was
barely able to roast a 1/2 pound and switched to regularly roasting
1/3 of a pound batches.   I was going to keep tweaking this setup, but
for the money I was putting into this i decided that in the long run
it would be better to just get a decent heat gun and use it with a
bread machine and then I would be able to make enough coffee for a
week in a single batch.   I'm drinking from my 1st HG/BM batch now.
I'm going to have to pick up a BM without a Teflon coating some time.
 The tweaking cycle/ upgraditist begins again :-)
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7) From: Dave Kvindlog
I roasted with an unmodified air popper for about a year.  Definitely play
with the roast size, varying the bean mass by weight.  I found that by using
a 50' 14 gauge extension cord and by varying my roast size (using heavier
loads with colder ambient temps), I could get first crack between 04:00 and
04:30 mins, and second crack between 07:30 and 08:00 mins.  Such short roast
times sound strange to those of us who roast by other methods, but my short
roasts were still better than any other store bought coffee I've ever
tasted.  Other roast methods offer you many opportunities to explore and
improve your roasts.
Happy roasting!
On Tue, Jun 16, 2009 at 5:36 PM, R Nepsund  wrote:
<Snip>
-- 
Dave Kvindlog
iHomeroast
Cedar Rapids, Iowa
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8) From: Yakster
I had much better luck with roast times in the unmodified air poppers I
picked up at thrift stores then this, I don't remember offhand which brand
poppers I picked up.  This was with an extension cord.
First crack at 5 - 7 minutes and second at 14 minutes and beyond.  I was
able to borrow a variac for the last few roasts (didn't bother split wiring,
but didn't vary the voltage much) but before this I was kicking on my shop
vac at the end of the extension cord that the popper was running on to drop
the voltage.  It was noisy, but it did slow the roast.
I actually had the popper in a very large stock pot to keep the wind from
affecting the roast and would put another large stock pot over the top for
the initial drying ramp, monitoring the temp with a thermocouple.
Here's a couple of
graphson
the photobucket image sharing site from when I was running air
poppers,
3.5 oz without the variac and 5 oz with.
-Chris
On Tue, Jun 16, 2009 at 10:49 PM, Dave Kvindlog wrote:
<Snip>
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9) From: Angelo
Sounds like you're roasting with the plastic top on. Is this correct? 
If so, I think that might be the cause of the fast times... Try it w/o the top.
If not, you might try less beans... I learned to start my popper and 
to start pouring the beans in until they almost stop spinning. You 
can use the spinning speed to judge how long it will take the beans 
to reach the proper temps...
I used to use a scale, but I find this to be a better method for me...
Angelo
At 12:04 AM 6/16/2009, you wrote:
<Snip>
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10) From: Phil Palmintere
I've been offline for a bit...
The hot air popper is a  Wear-Ever Popcorn Pumper listed as 1250
watts/120V.A.C.   I think this means it draws about 10.4 amps.  One internet
calculator says that a 100 foot length of 12 gauge (AWG) wire pulling 10.4
amps will drop about 1.7 volts.
I am going to try to open it & see how hard it will be to split-wire it.
<Snip>
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