Popper coffee roaster comments and questions answered as best we can!
What is the electrical rating of the Popper coffee roaster?
The Popper is 1200 watts. The heating element is 1150 watts and the fan is 50 watts. The fan is DC, while the element is AC.
Popper is UL listed for safety.
What are the dimensions of the popper
7.5 inches deep x 7.5 inches wide x 15.75 inches tall. The base is 12″ tall. It is larger than typical air popcorn poppers. This is to make it stable and accommodate the increased height of the roast chamber.
How much green coffee can you roast in a batch with Popper coffee roaster ?
We recommend 85 grams (3 ounces). In some cases you might want to reduce this to 90 or 95 grams, if the green coffee is not moving sufficiently when you start the roast. You can always check whether there is too much coffee loaded in the roaster by running it in cooling mode a few seconds. Fan speed in cooling mode is same as fan speed on High during roasting.
Our experience is that after a few batches, you will see a new machine start to rotate 100 grams easier. In fact we have had units where we can increase the batch size because of this. I think it’s due to some “seasoning” of the roast chamber surface after a few batches that makes it “slicker”, but I am not really sure!
Can I use an extension cord with Popper?
No, you really shouldn’t.
Can the Popper roaster be used indoors? How about outdoors?
It is not intended for outdoor use – colder air outside will change the roast and could harm the machine.
Popper is not intended for outdoors because it should not be exposed to the elements. That’s why roasting on a porch, covered balcony, garage etc seems to be the best place.
What is the warranty on Popper?
The maker (Agnes LLC) offers a 30 day warranty against manufacturer defect, so this includes any failure that occurs do to a bad part (fan, heating element, etc) provided the machine has been used according to the instructions that come with it, and those spelled out in the User Guide / Safe Use Instructions (i.e. not for commercial use etc). The warranty doesn’t cover misuse, dropping it, etc. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org with any issues or questions.
Why aren’t there numbers on the Heat level knob?
It might seem like an oversight, but the lack of lines and numbers is intentional. The short answer is that your roast set to “2” for 7 minutes is not like Joe’s across town or Julie who lives in a 1930s apartment or Jack who roast outdoors in the Colorado winter.
Line voltage, voltage drop, environmental temperature – this and other factors makes one roaster different than another, even when all the heat dials are set to 2 or C or Medium.
What I like to do is make my own marks on the heat knob for settings that work for me. We also include a sort of “template” in the printed material with Popper you could use to add a scale to the knob, if you want to.
Anyway, there’s way more to say on this, but we thought it best that YOU create marks on YOUR roaster so they actually mean something to YOU! That is, if you really want marks. I’ll going deep into this in a separate post.
Do I need to weigh the green coffee for each batch?
Yes you should …but you can roast by volume instead of weight, by using a scoop or other measure of your choice. Green coffee types vary by volume more than weight
No matter how you prepare your batches to roast, two things are very important: 1. Don’t roast too much coffee: the coffee should move when you turn on the roaster. If it doesn’t it will scorch. 2. Be consistent with how much you roast. Weigh or measure the exact same amount each time. The green coffee batch size is a big variable in roasting, and your roasts will be inconsistent and unpredictable if you vary the amount of coffee you roast. This video shows good bean movement!
My roasts are too fast with Popper!
It’s entirely possible to roast too fast with this machine. There won’t be anything wrong with the coffee per se but super fast roasts aren’t usually the best tasting. You should not use the highest heat setting ( 3:00 position) generally. In all my testing, with appropriate line voltage, I have never had to use 3:00. In fact even 2:00 can be too fast, at least for the entire roast. But this depends greatly, in the case of air roasters, on what you are plugging it into, where, and ambient conditions. In any case, that’s why Popper gives you control of heat, to start out at 2:00 for example, reduce to 1:00 as coffee yellows, and drop to 12:00 just as first crack starts (and for me that’s been a good roast strategy generally).
What’s with the name “Popper”?
The idea was to name it what it is, a popper with features. It’s better than GloboCorp TurboRost 5000 (Hmm… wait, that would have been pretty good too!)
The makers of Popper literally sent the best air popcorn poppers to engineers to try to replicate what the old first-generation poppers could do. That’s because the current poppers on the market are pretty weak. And now those old 70s air poppers are selling for $50-60+ on Ebay. The idea was that the home roasting community needed some better material to work with, and something not super high priced. At the top end, there are options these days, but not so much at the affordable level. If you want an app, get an Ikawa!
Can Popper be used without the chaff collector, or without the whole top hood?
yes, and if you roast somewhere the chaff can just blow out into the environment, you might prefer that. The advantage is improved visibility of the roast, and you can hear the cracks better too. I also use a long wooden spoon to simply reach down and pull out beans to during roasting!
The drawback on this could be that more heat is escaping the roaster, so roasts are slower, or don’t progress. The hood and chaff collector help to restrict some heat from leaving the machine. I use one unit with just the transparent hood and no chaff basket, and during the roast I remove the top to inspect the roast, and replace it. Works well for me…
Can Popper be used with a glass chimney instead of the top hood and chaff basket?
yes, and if that’s the way you have been roasting with a air popcorn popper, I think you will find the same glass chimney fits the Popper roaster too. (Such as the one SM stocks).
Can I pop popcorn in Popper?
First things first … yes you can!
Should you? No. Plus switching between coffee roasting an popcorn popping would mean your coffee tastes like popcorn and your popcorn has coffee roasting residue on it! 🤢
The timer in the photos has a maximum of 10:00 minutes. Can it go higher?
No, 10:00 is the highest value and it goes to cooling cycle. But that doesn’t mean you can’t roast longer! You simply add time during the roast to extend the roast time. You can surely do 9 minute of roast, but we don’t recommend longer than that.
If the default roast time is 7:00. Is that a good amount of time to produce a quality roasted coffee?
Yes, when the timer reads 10:00 that means 7:00 roast plus 3:00 cooling cycle at the end. In our experience 7:00 is indeed a good roast time for an air roaster such as Popper, though we have done some really nice extended roasts to 9 minutes for example.
To be clear, just because 7:00 is the initial roast time, that doesn’t mean we think that’s what you should use all the time. We have done faster roasts that are great, but when roasts finish below 5:00 they start to have a certain taste that doesn’t seem to maximize coffee sweetness. Their can be some green or grainy notes because of the bean interior being roasted much lighter than the outside. It can look fine, but the roast taste isn’t at it’s best. We like the City roasts when first crack starts at 5:30 into the roast (that means 4:30 on the count-down timer!) and then 1:30 of further development. That’s a 7:00 roast in total that works out well. We also like an extended roast with a slower warmup phase, targeting a 7:00 first crack (that would mean 3:00 on the Popper clock, right when cooling kicks in) then extending the roast 1:30 to 2:00 longer for further development.
Is Popper good for roasting espresso?
Popper is ideal for light to medium roasts. So if you like dark roasts for espresso, it is not designed for that.
I can’t see easily through the roast through the hood…
The transparent hood is actually tinted a bit yellow (there was no way around this, it is a special high temperature plastic). Even after a couple roasts it can attract some roast residue that makes seeing through it a bit harder. When it is still warm, wipe it with a soft towel. After roasting you can hand wash it with soap to if you like, but do not use any cleaning pads or abrasives!
To see through the hood, the best way is to use a strong LED overhead light. It is amazing to see how a good directional daylight-balanced source can help you see the roast! I don’t recommend it long term, but a decent phone LED light placed on the hood for a few seconds will give you a good indication how much directed light helps.
Another idea (not for everyone) is to go hoodless. Or my version … leave the hood unclipped when roasting and remove it using the small handle in the rear. Removing the hood will bring down the roast changer temperature a little but it doesn’t have a huge impact on the roast process in a cyclonic air roaster like Popper.
I can’t hear the roast over the sound of the fan!
Popper isn’t the loudest roaster. It’s not the quietest either. I don’t have issues with hearing first or second crack in popper, but we know customers who have trouble with this in other air popcorn poppers. (We had a cool prototype version of it that roasted 140 grams, not just 100 – but the fan speed required to do so was incredibly loud. We couldn’t hear the first crack either! Plus the engineers thought the fan couldn’t take it, over time). I don’t have a solution for this, as all air roasters have an issue with hearing the cracks. But I have found some rooms that reflect more sound make it harder to hear. So location might matter on this issue.
Do you have a question or comment?
Contact us and we will answer it in our FAQ!
I was roasting and heard the fan sound change a little, and the roast stopped progressing. What is that?
Popper has a thermal cut out switch. If the roast chamber temperature gets too hot, this could kick in. It cuts out the heat to the electric coil temporarily until the roast chamber temperature comes down. This can take 20-30 seconds. You can avoid this in your roasts by slowing down the roast process. Don’t roast at high temperatures too fast (which isn’t a great roast technique anyway) and the thermal cutout switch should not be an issue.
If it continues to be a problem there is a fairly easy way to re-position the sensor, but this involves opening up the machine so we can’t recommend it.
Can I set the roaster temperature and time and walk away?
You should never, ever walk away from a coffee roaster while it’s in use.
Can I start a new roast as soon as the previous one cools down?
You should wait 30 minutes between roasts.
Also, Popper is intended for home use, and to produce a personal supply of coffee. The warranty doesn’t cover you otherwise.
I notice when setting the heat level, the increase as I turn the knob doesn’t seem to be linear. For example the change from 1:00 to 1:15 on the heat knob isn’t the same as 1:45 to 2:00?
Any electric heat control (that we know of) isn’t going to be perfectly linear in terms of the resulting heat change. We need to map out the Popper heat adjustment on the final version, because we too notice some ranges that have increased impact and ones that have less. Another way to say this is that, for each degree of change in turning the knob, it’s not like the heat increases at a constant rate, such as 10 degrees turn = 20 degrees farenheit increase in burner temperature.
In a way this is another reason we did not include marks or numbers on the knob, and feel it’s better if people mark it themselves (I used a dry erase initially and then marked with a black sharpie to record settings on the knob I liked for warmup and finish roast stages. The black sharpie on black can be seen in the light, but isn’t too obvious.) Anyway, number or marks would infer that each change from 1 to 2 or from 6 to 7 would have the same impact on burner output, and that wouldn’t be true for Popper, nor is it for any electrical heat appliance!
Using a wattmeter with the Popper is an ideal way to see the heat dial changes reflected in watts.
Perhaps this is part of the reason some cooks like gas stovetops?
Does the chaff building up in the basket impact the roast?
During a single roast the buildup of chaff doesn’t seem to impact air flow. We checked this with an anemometer to measure air flow and could not see a difference. Between roasts always empty the chaff basket.
Can I modify the popper to control the heat source by computer?
Probably, but you do void the warranty by opening up the machine. People have modified air popcorn poppers to be controlled with Artisan software via Phidget or Arduino. There’s a lot of that discussion on homeroasters.org
I am starting a small coffee business. Can I use Popper to roast and sell coffee?
Popper is not intended for commercial purposes. So you can use it that way but it voids the warranty … plus the small capacity is going to make it challenging to roast coffee for others. It’s made to just supply you and your household with coffee!
Is there an app I can use to control the roaster?
Maybe. Let us know if you find one.