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Topic: new toastmaster popper incinerating my coffee (7 msgs / 165 lines)
1) From: Dan Zwell
Hello! I'm new here.
Does anybody have experience roasting with a new Toastmaster popper? I 
just bought one from Target, and it ruined the coffee I tried to 
roast--2nd crack started in about 2 minutes, and the roast rapidly 
progressed to "imminent fire". I think the fan wasn't strong enough. Has 
anybody had a better experience with a new Toastmaster? If so, I may 
return it and buy another, but the high heat may be by design.
I have an older Toastmaster that worked just fine until it died, though 
it roasted slightly faster than I liked. I have a Poppery II that 
doesn't get hot enough to reliable reach 2nd crack. I don't seem to have 
much luck with popcorn poppers.
Any feedback would be appreciated. I fear I'll end up going back to 
supermarket coffee until I find a roaster that works.
-Dan
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2) From: Jeff Wikstrom
Is it moving the coffee?  what is your batch size?
On Mon, Jul 6, 2009 at 8:54 PM, Dan Zwell  wrote:
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3) From: Dan Zwell
No, it's not moving the coffee (enough). The batch was obviously too 
big, but a minute into the roast, I removed a bunch of the beans, and it 
didn't help much. (The air still wasn't pushing the bottom beans to the 
top.) The amount of beans would have been fine in either of my other 
roasters.
-Dan
Jeff Wikstrom wrote:
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4) From: Brian Kamnetz
In general, you want Smaller batch size to make the roast last longer.
Cut back to 1/4 or 1/3 cup of greens. See if that slows things down.
If it does, then you can adjust batch size until you get the length of
time you like for a roast.
Brian
On Mon, Jul 6, 2009 at 11:54 PM, Dan Zwell wrote:
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5) From: Joseph Robertson
Dan,
if you can get your $ back I would suggest using it to buy a small roaster
from Tom our host.
You won't find better product support.
JoeR
On Mon, Jul 6, 2009 at 8:54 PM, Dan Zwell  wrote:
<Snip>
-- 
Ambassador for Specialty Coffee and palate reform.
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6) From: Frank Awbrey
Dan, maybe I can help. I think I have that same popper. My wife bought it
for me 3 or 4 months ago. Cost about $12.00 at Target? Anyway, it replaced
my $10 Walgreens air popper (500 roasts in it before it gave up the ghost).
Mine does not move the air as much as the other one did (but is quieter) and
it does get hotter quicker than the other one. It gets up to about 220* in
the first minute. The Walgreens got up to about 180* in the first minute. It
is also rounded on the base? Therefore it will roll if not careful when
tilting it (which I do). My old one did have a straight edge on one side and
did not roll.
Anyway, some things I do to extend the roast. 1:  I use a 100 foot extension
cord (I have read where a person used 200 feet of cord).  2:  I tilt the
popper as much as possible (lean it on my metal colander) (this allows some
of the hot air coming out of the vents to bypass the beans). I also use a
temperature probe with the tip of the probe down in the area of the bean
mass (it does give me a reference point on all of my roasts. I drilled a
hole the diameter of the metal probe (probe is about 6 or 7 inches long)
down through the plastic lip at the top so that the probe can be pushed down
to the vent). With this probe I can (and have) turned the popper off and
then back on during the roast. When I do this, I monitor the temperature of
the bean mass and do not let it drop more than a couple of degrees before
turning it back on (usually it is off for anywhere from 15 to 30 seconds).
I randomly chose a couple of temperatures to do this (for me, I shut it down
at 300* and again at 375*, again, these were just ramdom temperatures I
chose). Doing this can extend the roast a minute or two.
One last thing I did just this past Monday evening (forget where I read it)
is, I opened up the air vents at the bottom of the popper. I used a screw
driver to try and open the vents. Not real easy or neat, but I did get them
opened somewhat (hard to get to). I only pried open one out of every three
vents (skipped every two) because the person who suggested this said to go
slowly as it can really affect the temperature (more air coming out of the
vents, so less hot, I guess). Anyway, my roasts on Monday were over 8
minutes up to about 9 minutes. Using the temp probe, I shut it down when the
temperature reached about 450* (should be in the neighborhood of a FC roast,
I think).
I did three batches (2/3 cup each). The first one, I did do the off/on on
the popper (I think, going from memory here), the next two is when I did the
prying open of the vents. So, I haven't used that method except for the two
batches. I will evaluate it more in the coming weeks/roasts.
Also, as a note, the ambient temperature does make quite a difference in the
roast lengths. My ambient roasting temperature the past few weeks has been
in the mid to higher 70's (Monday, it was probably close to 80*). When it is
in the 30's or 40's, I can hit 10-12 minute roasts pretty easily.
On Mon, Jul 6, 2009 at 8:54 PM, Dan Zwell  wrote:
<Snip>
-- 
Frank
"Still the one"
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7) From: Dan Zwell
Frank Awbrey wrote:
<Snip>
Thanks for all the advice. Based on the fact that you can roast 2/3 cup, 
I'm sure my unit was defective. Mine did not have enough airflow to 
roast anywhere near that amount. In fact, I'm not sure it could evenly 
roast any amount of beans. I could have opened the vents like you 
suggested, but the fan was so weak that I don't think it would have 
helped. I returned it.
For now, I'm going to try modding a WBP-II. Because it doesn't get hot 
enough to consistently reach 2nd crack, I will add a dimmer to the fan. 
I didn't want to have to do mods, but I realized that I can't be cheap 
with both my time and my money.
Thanks!
Dan
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