New 100g $89 "Popper" roaster at Sweet Maria's [VIDEO] - Page 3

Discuss roast levels and profiles for espresso, equipment for roasting coffee.
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#21: Post by yakster »

I did pretty good with an unmodded popper and a variac, but wanted larger batch sizes so upgraded to the Behmor then the Bullet.

LMWDP # 272


#22: Post by pcofftenyo »

mikelipino wrote:Thanks for the find on this! This might be the perfect intersection for me of price and basic functionality to try out roasting. My order has been placed.

@pcofftenyo, do you think you'll be adding a thermocouple to the Popper? I watched a few videos by SM installing TCs on poppers, and do you think the chamber could support a TC drilled through the side?

Side note: I get the simplicity of calling in the Popper, but it's going to be really hard to search for info on it on the forum and out in the wild internet
Yeah, the SO hots for it is worth 10 times the cost, fo sho. Heck, I had to buy a La Marzocco to get that sort of interest so there's that!

Not sure if running a TC through the side will be in order: will probably just drop one into the chamber to see what happens. Its a pretty easy solution that coupled with a sheet of graph paper and 2 labeled axes can provide instant feedback regarding the temp/time relationship.

I love it for what it is. It's loads easier than trying to use my Huky for 50 g sample roasts when making pallet sized buying decisions. My 4th roast on it was tons better than 20 50g roasts trying to figure it out on the Huky. Plus can do internal cooling which isn't possible on a popper without heat shutoff. I was lusting for an Ikawa but now not so much.

I wonder how a Bullet does with a 50g charge? Similar in that it's a self contained electric unit.

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#23: Post by renatoa »

pcofftenyo wrote: I wonder how a Bullet does with a 50g charge? Similar in that it's a self contained electric unit.
Probably how the popper cope with just SIX beans :D
Yeah... was some time ago challenged to roast just six beans of coffee by any method. The popper succeeded !


#24: Post by mikelipino »

I did my first roast on the Popper last night (also, my first roast ever) and I thought it went well! I have no basis for comparison, but I found it to be really easy to use. I did a quick crash coarse on air roasting, with the SM Popper videos and some vids on the Freshroast, to get some general pointers. Using a 75 g dose, I hit FC on 5:30 on the nose and started the cooldown at 7:20.

The result was probably a full city (tough to gauge being color blind, but looked at the shape of the bean and sat it next to some light and medium beans I have). The roast itself is really even with no scorching. The beans were the ones provided with the Popper, a Guatemalan Antigua Finca Cabrejo, which I assume are well-behaved training wheel beans. The default profile of 5:30 to FC and 7:00 for light seems spot on. I opted for the added sampler from SM, and I expect that some of those beans will be more finicky. All part of the learning process.

The value for money seems good for a beginner to dip their toes in roasting. I would like to have had some manner or numbers or markings on the heat dial (just so that I can repeat and refine a bit better against my notes), but that can be addressed with a printed sticker or vinyl cling. But I get the logic though, without any sort of markings you're forced to pay attention to the roast, not focus on the numbers, and quickly make adjustments if things are outside expectations.

I'm a long-time home cook, and it felt more like cooking than the exercise in repeatable science that coffee can sometimes be. And like cooking, I expect sometimes the steak will be a bit overdone. At 100 g a batch, it's an acceptable mistake to make while learning.

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#25: Post by yakster »

Thanks for the report, let us know how the coffee turned out.

LMWDP # 272


#26: Post by pcofftenyo »

Here's a few things after about 6 batches.

1-The Guat that comes with it is a training wheel coffee.

2-Did 3 batches yesterday of the same Nicaragua that I have gone through over 20 lb of. A 100g charge is pretty tough to get an even roast on after doing 50g then 75g charges. The roaster generates plenty of heat but it needs more fan to get that batch size moving evenly early on. Had a lot of quakers.

3-With the hood off its pretty easy to use a spoon to sample during 1C for doneness (JUST to smooth). 1:15-1:30 development with steady fan and heat didn't result in roasty over-doneness like my popper friends get.

They're still off-gassing but my first shot of the morning was fine with pretty decent correlation to my Huky roasts. Back to sensory and not enclosed roasting.

I think its going to meet my needs perfectly as a sample roaster given the fan and heat controls without having to hack something. Seems robust so far.


#27: Post by mikelipino »

Tom, thanks for the heads up on the charge size for different beans. I went with the recommendation from SM to run the fan without heat first to see agitation on the Guatemalans, and that's why I started with 75 g as the bean mass was not moving well. Funny thing is that once I started the heat the beans whipped around almost immediately. My next batch of Guats will be closer to 100 g, but your findings on denser beans is well noted once I get off these training wheels.

Initial tasting of these Guats have been interesting. I did what I imagine all beginning roasters do and first tried the beans way too early, a V60 at 12 h. All I could taste was the roast. Tried again with a V60 this morning (36 h), and strangely the drawdown time was 30 s faster than usual for a medium. Looking at the grind, it appeared to be a bit coarser too at the same setting (I do 63-65 on a DF64 for light to med), but I can't think how that's possible running the same setting twice in a morning (maybe it's an optical illusion with the increased chaff in the freshly roasted beans).

The V60 was pretty bright. I could definitely pick up on the tasting notes (oatmeal cookie, fascinating!) but the drawdown and brightness tell me that it's a bit underextracted.

I'm going to read the entirety of the roasting faq on HB, but any initial thoughts what might cause this? Perhaps I can't tell roast level and did a light (or pre-light, edit - I'll call that a suburb roast). It's not possible that home roasted or roast defects would cause it to grind coarser, is it? I kept pretty good notes so if it's modulating timing or temp, I think I could do that somewhat repeatably. Thanks!

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#28: Post by renatoa »

mikelipino wrote:... The default profile of 5:30 to FC and 7:00 for light seems spot on. .
The thermodynamics of the "well tempered" roaster would contradict this assert.
The only way to perform such roast is with hot air in excess of 300C. At 270 C the bean matrix is destroyed, cellulose melt at that temperature.

Also, 21% value of DTR is characteristic for a medium roast.
In Europe, nobody selling specialty coffee would call a 20% DTR roast, light. I've had great coffee that barely started FC that was truly light without being underdeveloped, grassy etc.

In the US the standard for medium seems to be at least SC while in Europe, it varies, but most roasters' medium is between FC and SC. While light is well under 15% DTR.


#29: Post by mikelipino »

Here's a printable dial label, both in the clockface format and regular sequential numbers (helps with my note taking in Excel). The vinyl sticker paper I got is medium stickiness, so I can remove the training wheels once I get a feel for it. But right now I need to be more exact on my notes to learn the basics, especially since it's 3 days until I can properly test/taste the results!


#30: Post by renatoa »

You can taste the next hours after roast, as cupping or brew. This is the flow in almost all professional roastery I know.

Three days could be for espresso, but even this is debatable. The degassing thing is not exact science.