Friday, January 2, 2015

Air Popper Roasting Part 1

I started my coffee roasting at what I thought as the beginning, pan roasting (Final Pan Roast - An Edison Success). I openly gave that up and moved on to the next step, Air Popper Roasting.

There are a few factors to consider before starting with an Air Popper:
  1. Temperature: Not all air poppers will get hot enough roast coffee properly.
  2. Ambient Temperature: the outside temperature effects how well it roasts.
  3. Mess: Wherever you plan to use it, make sure you are ok with it being covered in chafe.

I got the Orville Redenbacher Presto
on Black Friday for $15 at Kohls (http://www.kohls.com/product/prd-1109878/orville-redenbachers-hot-air-popper-by-presto.jsp). I looked up what kind of hot air popper to buy and everyone said it has to be one that has the air vents on the side. I spoke to my friend who has been doing this for a while and he said those are really hard to find and it really doesn’t make that big of deal. The main concern there is that chafe can stick to the air vent and possible catch fire. I think having the vents on the side would help with even roasting, but I compensate for that by stirring through the roast (use an ove-glove, because its hot!).

This popper has a listed wattage of 1240. That seems to be good enough. I would probably try to stay above 1000 watts.

I ran a small batch through the popper to see how it will go. This was good because I learned that I had to have more beans in the popper so they didn’t shoot out. It also let me hear the first crack and second crack.
  
Here are the stats on my second batch:
·         Ambient temp: 70 degrees F
·         Coffee: Costa Rican (don't know anymore than that)
·         Amount of beans: 1/2 cup
·         Time of 1st crack: 2:54
·         Finished: 4:00


I pulled them right on the 4-minute mark, which as only a few seconds after the first crack ended. Looking at the roasted coffee, I noticed a few light beans. They were too few and far between to say it was due to the roaster. My friend had a similar issue with these beans and we think this batch was not processed well.

When I drank the coffee a couple days later, it was good, but it wasn’t very sweet. I’m not sure if that is due to the coffee or due to not developing the sugars enough.


For my next roast, now that I have visibility to the beans and my IR thermometer doesn’t register the hot air, I want to see if I can measure the temperature change in the beans as they progress through the roast.