Having an Issue? Popper Troubleshooting Tips

Roast too fast? Not dark enough? Something seems wrong with the roaster? Here’s some tips to solve Popper coffee roaster problems

This is an FAQ format page to address various questions and complaints we have had about the roaster, including issues with defective machines!

So far Popper has proven to be reliable, and we have some customers with 100+ roasts completed.

When you manufacture an appliance en masse you are told to expect a defect rate between 1.5% and 3%. That’s not due to a specific problem, but simply that somewhere in the parts and assembly, things aren’t perfect.

But Popper rate of defect has been well under 1% at this point, so we are doing pretty good! This is not surprising, because we have these made at a very reputable factory that designs and builds appliances for major brands. They even have our UL certification/testing staff embedded within the plant. On top of that, we hire a 3rd party testing service to randomly pull out units and test them. Some of you might have noted a small label “ITS” on the box of your popper. ITS = Independent Testing Service.

Popper Coffee Roaster Line Art
Popper Coffee Roaster Line Art

The majority of emails citing issues have been some confusion with directions, especially for people who have roasted before. (You read that right). It seems first-time users will tend to read directions more than experienced roasters! So here are some of the issues we have heard about, and how to address them! These are taken from emails we received…

There are three sections below: Troubleshooting Roasting Problems, Roaster Defect Problems, and Modification of Popper.


Troubleshooting Roasting Problems

The instructions say to roast 100 grams. My machine roasts fine, but only seems to roast 80 grams or so.

Short Answer: Try a different outlet.
Our new instructions will read 90 gram capacity, just to make sure we are under-promising a little. The fact is all units we test roast 100 grams of standard size and weight washed coffee. (You have to make adjustments for some other processes and varieties of green coffee though! They don’t all spin the same.)
That said, we have looked at 2 roasters returned for this issue, and both were fine. They roasted 95-100 grams. Without being able to verify this totally, I have to say I think it’s voltage issues with those 2 owners. Some people have older homes that don’t truly rate 120v at the outlet. Others have another load on the same line drawing power, or more obvious issues, like roasting with an extension cord .(Don’t!).
If you cannot test your line voltage (and the voltage drop that occurs when you use the roaster) then try to find an outlet closest to your electric fuse panel and test the machine there. Or try the machine at a friends house, especially if yours is older construction or has modified or converted electric service. Popper is 1200 watts and needs a good electric supply to work at it’s best.
Another issue here might be in the interpretation of what a good initial rotation of the coffee should look like. If the coffee is moving slowly for the first 30 seconds and gains speed, that is normal! You definitely want to weigh EVERY batch and be consistent, and use a batch size that does result in increased motion of the coffee over the first 30 seconds, If your coffee isn’t spinning at all after 30 seconds, you should stop the roast and remove some! But slower initial rotation is totally fine. Check out our video on this!
In any case, we haven’t seen a roaster that is said to roast only 80% of its capacity that is an actual machine defect – so far they have all been something with the environment they are used in.

I was roasting inside but now have to roast out in the garage, and it’s cold out! I am not getting the same roasts and it seems the machine isn’t working as well any more.

Short Answer: Outside roasting is an issue…. read on…
This might be a compound problem, and one we have seen with other coffee roasters too, especially air roasters. The first issue is ambient temperature. Higher velocity roasters like Popper will definitely roast differently when surrounded by colder air.
The second issue is often the quality of the electric supply in a garage or patio etc. Popper, and other roasters, need a good quality 120v outlet, and garage plugs or outdoor plugs are sometimes not the best.
There’s a safety concern too : Our experience is that people sometimes “take a break” from watching their roaster when they somewhere cold. We had a guy doing winter-time roasting on a patio table, but would sit inside where it was warm. Even though he was “10 feet away” he really couldn’t hear, see or smell the roast, and the coffee charred to a crisp and partially melted the machine. DON’T be that guy!
If you roast in a colder environment, you need to be doubly careful to watch the machine. They roast is absolutely going to be different. And the thermal sensor on the machine likely won’t regulate the high temperature in the same way when it’s cold out. I am sure there’s a safe way to manage all this, but please be aware of the risks in roasting in a garage or other colder place, and stay with your roaster at all times!

I am hitting first crack at around 3 minutes. Is this normal?

Short Answer: Change initial heat setting.
It’s possible to roast really fast in Popper, but not ideal. I like to see first crack start at 4 minutes at the soonest (which would read 6:00 on the count-down timer). I feel my best roasts have come from 1st crack at around 5:30 into the roast (which = 4:30 on the countdown timer). I would suggest roasting at a setting of about 1:15 on the heat dial, read as an analog clock face, and turning it down to 1:00 or just under, if that seems a bit fast. Using small adjustments around the 1:00 heat dial position has worked best for me. Fan is ALWAYS set to High initially, and if you want you can turn to Low as first crack approaches as a way to raise the heat in the roast chamber. Here’s our video on roaster adjustments.

My roasts are taking too long. It seems to stall when the coffee turns light brown, but hasn’t hit first crack yet.

Short Answer: Change heat settings.
It’s good to use a gentle warm-up, then slightly increase temperature to bring on 1st crack. You can also switch from High air flow (always start your roasts in High fan speed, 100% of the time!) and switch to low nearing first crack. Once the coffee is brown, it has lost enough weight in the form of moisture content, to make using Low fan speed practical. A combination of slight rise in the Heat setting knob, plus switching to Low fan speed will usually bring on first crack. If your roasts take over 9-10 minutes to hit first crack, I would consider that too slow in an air roaster like Popper. That could be fine in a drum type roaster, but in an air roaster it might lead to a “baked” taste in the coffee. I would target a slower roast in Popper, such as one for espresso, at around a 7:00 first crack, finishing up the roast around 10:00 total roast time (extended from the default using the timer). I have enjoyed some roasts that were as long as 12;00 total roast time, but not all. Some definitely seemed a bit baked.

I can’t get my roasts dark enough in Popper.

Short Answer: Popper isn’t good for Italian roasts, but …
There’s well-developed roasting, and then there’s burnt coffee. If you mean burnt, then Popper isn’t the best for dark roasting. We say that right up front in our descriptions, because home roasting appliances need to be safe, and really dark roasts reach the point of igniting the coffee: fire. The way to roast super dark are non-appliances like stovetop skillet roasting or a stovetop popper. You are going to deal with a lot of smoke and residue from dark roasting though. Popper can definitely produce intense pungent roast flavors, but not charred and burnt oily coffee beans. As I said, there isn’t a home roaster that really will, because it’s just not safe, plus, it really defeats the point. Roasted to that level, coffee basically tastes the same, regardless of where it is from, or how good the green coffee is. It’s best to buy some coffee on Ebay or Amazon, and roast in an iron skillet or modified barbeque drum outdoors, if that’s what you like!
That said, we do have a video with tips for getting coffee into second crack, and we have modified test versions of Popper to do so with ease. We don’t recommend modification as it voids the warranty though. Here’s our video on roasting darker and other adjustments.

Around 440 degrees I hear the fan speed increase and the roaster loses heat / roast stalls out.

Short Answer: The thermal cut-off kicked in. Read on…
There is a thermal cut off switch that prevents the roaster from getting too hot. It’s a safety precaution, and every home roaster has something of the sort … even air popcorn poppers have them. Sometimes it can stop the roast from progressing, for about 30 seconds ( it turns off the heating coils), but then the roaster will rapidly come back up to temperature. When it recovers the roaster will reach a higher temperature than the first thermal cut-off event, but it will, once again, activate at some point.
I have tested many units to find the real-world temperature cut-off point, and there is a range between 440 (only 1 tested that low) and 465 farenheit, measured with a bean probe.
We have a whole video dedicated to roast curves that touches on the activation of the thermal cut-off … in short a gentler roast curve will not trigger the heat loss until a higher temperature, and is a way better roast curve for quality coffee. Here’s our video on roasting darker and other adjustments.
That said, Popper is not really ideal for super dark, full-on rolling second crack, oily bean roasting. We try to highlight this right off the bat in the SM product description … it’s literally in the intro text to the Popper roaster. Super dark roasting is best done on a stovetop or in a barbeque, since there are no controls to limit you at all. But please be careful – you are literally on the verge of ignition with those kinds of dark roasts
There is a way to easily adjust the position of the thermal cut-off sensor to a higher position on the roast chamber, meaning it will kick in only at a higher temperature. My video on how I modify roasters for testing touches on this. It works, but I can’t recommend it since it voids the warranty if you modify the roaster.
If you experience a roaster that doesn’t finish first crack before the thermal cut-off kicks in, definitely check out the video and article about roast curves. If it is still a problem contact [email protected]


Roaster Defect Problems

Popper worked fine for my first 2 roasts. The third time I went to use it, I set the fan to High but it sounded different. The speed of the fan seemed to be varying randomly, going up and down in pitch, and the coffee was moving irregularly.

Short Answer: Contact us.
If you used the machine successfully, then noted a difference in the fan, like it was struggling to spin, with the speed going up and down, this is a fan defect. Contact the seller ([email protected]) and tell them about the issue. They should issue a return tag to get the roaster back and inspect it, and replace the machine (if it’s in the 1 year warranty, and I am sure it is at this point!) In any case, don’t use the machine.
This issue usually crops up after a couple uses, But we have noted 2 units where it happens after 20-25 roasts.
While it’s a known issue with a small percentage of fan motors, people should be aware that you can kill the machine by allowing chaff to settle around the base …and that chaff can get sucked up from the bottom vent on the underside into the fan area. Keep chaff buildup away from the base when roasting!
Please note that we did have a customer complain of the roaster fan speed going up and down, but it was happening at a regular interval. It was not a roaster problem, but their line voltage shared with other loads. A defect fan will randomly go up and down at irregular intervals and to a different pitch each time!
We will test your roaster if it comes in for return to see if it is functioning okay to spec. or indeed has an issue, and let you know.

The hinge on the chaff collector is cracked.

Short Answer: Fix it if you can… it’s not a manufacturer defect, most likely.
We check all the machines shipped for box damage, and we actually spent a lot on those cardboard inserts at each end of the roaster to ensure protecting the top end of the Popper.
So the only damage we have found was when UPS punctured a box (it happened) or somebody drops the top when using it. (I have done it myself several times because yeah, I am clumsy, I admit it!) If you drop it and the chaff collector comes apart from the hood, look for the spring and metal ferrule, as demonstrated in this video! It’s easy to put it back together: https://youtu.be/1IWRDOsOdcU
The fact is, you can use the roaster even if the top gets a bit wonky from some accident. I have also repaired hinges I have broken. (I drilled a small hole and inserted a screw to act as a pin in one of them. You could also wire the chaff collector on, which makes emptying it a little harder, but not impossible. I use a vacuum to remove chaff so it mattered little to me when I did it. In any case, there are DIY solutions for this, if you drop the top, including good old super glue.
While dropping the machine or top is not covered by warranty, we might be able to help you out too. We do not have spare parts for the top (long story, but the factory has trouble producing extras from the mold, but we will keep pushing for them).
If you chose to roast without a top, or without a chaff collector in place, theres a couple things to know.
– First – it doesn’t actually seem to impact the roast that much, except for a small loss of heat due to hot air exiting the roaster easier.
-You can also use one of the glass chimneys we sell for air popcorn poppers on top of Popper roaster, in lieu of the top! It actually works well!
-Lastly, be careful of chaff that will now land all around your roaster base! Be sure none gets sucked up into the machine from the air intake vents on the bottom. This is bad for the motor, and could ignite in the machine!
If you did receive popper in a damaged, punctured box, take some pictures and email [email protected] We will make it right.

I received my Popper. It does not say “Popper” on the front!

Short Answer: The roaster should be fine.
We have had 2 cases where the roaster was missing the “Popper” name from the front. I can’t explain this, except to say the roaster should be fine! It was a surprise to me, but I do recall they came up short on the outside chassis and had to use every single one they could find for the first shipment. So that might have meant a few of the outside shells were used before the name was printed on them? Well, maybe you have a rare collectors item there…

I went to use the machine and it was just dead. No power. Nothing lit up. No numbers on timer etc.

Short Answer: Contact us.
We had this occur once. I can’t explain it and when we get that machine back we will do an autopsy to see why! Do, of course, try a different outlet before contacting us. Some people have hit a high over-temp and the machine shuts down or fan. When it cools it will function again. If that’s not the problem, email [email protected]

The Chaff Basket Came Apart from the Clear Hood.

Okay, it’s not really a defect but it happens, especially if jarred or dropped. It’s not hard to re-attach it! But one side of the hinge is attached with a small metal ferrule and a spring, while the other side is a plastic nub … look for that ferrule and spring before they are lost for good! Here is a video to demonstrate this, and also suggest an alternate DIY fix: https://youtu.be/1IWRDOsOdcU


Modification of Popper

I want to add a thermometer to Popper.

Short Answer: It’s very helpful, but…
Be aware that it does void the 1 yr warranty if you open up the machine or drill into it.
It is quite easy to add temperature measurement, and useful in guiding the adjustments you make to “profile” the heat during roasting.
Sorry to say that we can’t have people making holes in the machine etc, and honor a warranty. The issue, from the maker’s perspective, is you just don’t know how people will go about doing a modification. Some people are incredibly skilled, others not so much! Most DIY maker types accept this responsibility: It rarely stops them from tinkering with things. I consider myself moderately skilled and have, since I have opened up so many Poppers at this point, damaged several unintentionally despite my familiarity with the guts.
In any case, I show how I add a Rigid SS thermocouple to Popper for testing some units, and it does not require opening up the machine from the base. Still, since people are going to take a drill bit to an appliance in that case, we can’t be sure they will do things right, hence the warranty issue. (“right” means drilling exactly 13.5-14 cm from the top rim, btw).
While its possible to snake a thermocouple in from the top without drilling the into the roaster body, the problem is placement in the machine, how to fix it to a spot. If it moves around, your readings won’t be meaningful. I haven’t found a solution, but let me know if you do!
My video on how I modify Popper units for testing has some info on this.

Can I force this roaster to go darker without cutting out the heat?

Short Answer: Yes but bypassing or modifying the thermal cutout sensor could be risky, and also voids the warranty…
There is a thermal cut off switch mounted on the side of the roast chamber that prevents the roaster from getting too hot. It’s a safety precaution, and every home roaster has something of the sort … even air popcorn poppers have them. If you look into the roast chamber from the top and see a flat area along the side, that is where the sensor is mounted on the outside of the roast chamber wall. My video on how I modify Popper units for testing has some info on this.
Yes, if you open up the machine, it is possible to shift the position of the sensor so it triggers later. Simply moving it to a higher position (half inch or so) up the roast chamber wall means it will kick in only at a higher temperature. My video on how I modify roasters for testing touches on this. It works, but I can’t recommend it since it voids the warranty if you modify the roaster. If you bypass the sensor you have no thermal overheat protection, so please don’t!
Modification is not recommended, potentially dangerous, and voids any warranty for Popper!

I want to record temperatures / roast curves. I was thinking of using Arduino interface. Any tips

Short Answer: Google it.
Yes, people are definitely doing this. Using Phidget / Arduino or other interface for thermocouples. As with air popcorn poppers, all the info is out there. As you know, it voids warranty to to this but Popper isn’t the cost of some of the commercial machines people do this with! As far as handing over control of the roast settings (fan and heat) to a computer, ie automated roasting, I personally wouldn’t do that, but of course people do. Logging temperatures, being able to see live roast curves, and making adjustments yourself using your own judgment and experience is, I feel, the best of both worlds …

17 Responses

  1. i’m sure these tips and info will help a lot of people. your comments and recommendations are spot on. very glad to see that the vast majority of the units work just fine and people are enjoying their Poppers! it really doesn’t take much hardware or time or skill to produce an excellent roast.

    Larry Cotton

  2. I have not read this popper review because I want to give you my 2 cents unclouded by other opinions. I have gone through 3 Kitchen Aide poppers over 10 years. They work ok but required alot of labor and skill to make it wok. The last KA popper I bought caught fir the moment I turned it on. Your popper is exactly what I dreamed of over the past years. You simply beefed up a popcorn popper, made a variable fan speed and a variable heat setting with a timer. The air cooling is a nice touch.
    I set mine at High fan speed, max temp and standard 10 min roast cycle. It roasts perfect light roast coffee automatically, set and forget.
    Here is what I am going to guess is a complaint from others, it roasts too light. Just use the lower fan setting and it will get much darker roasted. If I change anything it will be to roast lighter not darker. The whole reason I roast my own is that Peet’s and StarB burn all their coffee so it all tastes the same. I only roast Yemeni and Kona, they need a light touch.
    This is a fantastic popper. Congratulations. I love American ingenuity. Oh yeah, and it’s priced perfectly. If it lasts 2 years its money well spent.

    1. Hi John – yes i think to be frank, it is not ideal for dark roasting, to the levels of Peets and Starbucks (but fresh of course). There are ways, but roasting on Max heat with Low fan setting is really not good. In particular, we never recommend roasting on Low fan speed initially. That should only be used when the coffee is light brown, i.e it has lost moisture content , so it moves okay when switching from High fan to Low fan. It the coffee isn’t moving, don’t do it… As far as getting really dark French roasts, Popper and other electric home roasters don’t work as well as Stovetop Popper type roasting, something without any electronics.

  3. Very happy with the Popper, and have used it regularly with good results. Normally use a small drum roaster in the garage during the warm months here in Michigan, so Popper is great for indoor roasting under a kitchen range fan during the winter months.

    I know that altering a Popper with a temp probe voids the warranty–are you considering offering a Popper v.2 that has a temp probe installed? That would be great….

    1. Yes – I have been talking with someone about doing an “official” modified Popper, with the thermocouple preinstalled … will definitely post that when ready. Most people can add the thermometer without doing harm, but I did just get a return where they drilled it too low, and it was basically probing into the heat coil space, below the roast chamber. Not good… When I set up one for testing, I measure 13.5 cm from the top rim down the back side of the unit – (ie the unit with clear hood removed). With that the probe is about 1/2 inch above the hot air vents.

  4. Excellent advice. I managed to get accurate temperature readings in “popper” by drilling a small hole in the removable plastic cover directly above the middle of the roast chamber and inserting a Taylor “Bi-Therm” thermometer with a rigid 12″ probe (with an adjustable stop that can be set to hold the probe’s tip in the middle of the swirling bean mass, most often somewhere around 10″). The termometer’s range is 50F to 550F. It gives extremely accurate readings via its “analog” dial. I’ve tried a digital Taylor thermometer with a 9″ rigid probe which gives more rapid readings but the probe positioning is not quite as adjustable as the dial thermometer.

    This technique allows the insertion of a thermometer without the need to drill into the case, and so without voiding the machine warranty. The 12″ rigid probe dial thermometer, while a bit slower responding than the digital one is plenty accurate enough for “popper” roasting.

    I can send a picture of the set up if you want to see it.

    1. This sounds like a good option to avoid drilling into the side of the machine. It’s a lot like folks have done with air popcorn poppers and with stovetop poppers – dropping a dial face thermometer in from the top. I haven’t figured it out yet but there should be a way to put a thermocouple in from the top too … the problem is unlike your dial thermometer, how to keep it fixed in one position in the roast chamber. If its moving around in the roast chamber, it’s not going to consistently be measuring the same thing… There are very long thermocouple probes that should do the trick. I see in my box of probes I have one that has an adjustable lock nut and then is 8″ long from there. I think if it was 10″ it would be in the bean mass. The one we currently sell is 50 mm = 2 inches.

  5. I bought the probe along with my Popper thinking I’d take the unit for a few test runs then install the probe … warranty be danged! However, so far I’ve only dangled the probe in the roasting beans a few times to mark the heat knob for where 160°, 200° and 225°C are roughly.

    Admittedly I’ve only had my Popper for a little over a week but after years of roasting coffee over a charcoal starter the Popper is just sooo much faster and easier I don’t think I need real time temperature readings anymore. Knowing where some key temps are on the heating knob is useful but I think most people can work those out with a cooking thermometer of some kind.

    In any event, bean temp is a nice idea but I don’t think it’s a must have for Popper v2.0 I’d much rather have another 5 minutes on the timer and have it count up instead of down.

    1. I hear you on the timer. I was kinda forced to do it as count-down, and with limited time range. It was in lieu of other safety protections that would have been a real nuisance. That is, they would have prevented the user adjusting the roaster beyond the prescribed roast time. The most important thing to me was that the user can fluidly add or take away time … even if the roast entered cooling. With some other machines that have pre-programming, this is a real problem when it comes to usability, and often a coffee goes into cooling and the batch is ruined because you can’t revert back to roast mode manually. So yeah, lesser of 2 evils basically…

  6. I appreciate the notes. My popper’s initial few roasts were pretty perfect – hitting first crack between 4:30 and 5 and getting nice long first cracks. I like a light to medium roast. Now it consistently gets darker than I want, I have to add anywhere between 1-3 minutes to get first crack, and then it is feeble at best – I am guessing only about half the beans actually crack most of the time. No change in location.
    Early on, I tried starting hotter, like 2, then dropping it down anywhere between 12:30 and 1:30. Didn’t work. Recently I’ve tried starting off between 12 and 1 o’clock for nearly a minute, then cranking it up to anywhere between 1 and nearly 2. Does not help. Also tried slowing down the roast, though that generally makes it darker. Pretty confounded. Would love to hear your thoughts, thanks.

    1. Hi Eliana – I think I understand the issue, and I just posted a reply in another thread to Glenn, who was having trouble finding that sweet spot in the middle, where the roast doesn’t stall out trying to get to first crack (like at 12:00 setting on roast dial), nor does it get to first crack too quickly (like it probably will set at 2:00). I am going to paste that reply to Glenn, and please let me know if this is useful. I think that video might help!:

      ” I can relate to this as I have found that for a good City-City+ roast I get best results using a very very narrow range on the heat dial. Since I test my roasts on a unit I added a digital thermometer to, it really helps indicate what the exact result is in roaster temperature when adjustments are made to the heat dial. I talk about this a bit in the video embedded on this page. I talk about it at 3;30 to 4:00 in that video and show it later in the roast… that video is supposed to be about roasting darker in the Popper but it really applies to any good roast progress. In roasting people describe this as “rate of rise” in temperature (ROR) meaning simply degrees per minute or per second that the temperature changes. What I have found is that right around 1:00 position on the heat dial (read as a clock face) there is a very critical point – a bit on one side (12:45 lets say) and there is a nice warmup but will be very slow to reach 1st crack. It can stall out even. Just above (1:15) it progresses well to first crack, but is a bit rapid if the roaster is set at 1:15+ right from the start of roasting. (Note that this range might be a little differnt on each Popper, depending on electrical, ambient temp etc, plus, if you use a paper dial glued on, how it is placed!) So check out that video and let me know if that helps find the sweet spot. What I suggest is a warmup 3-4 minutes or so at the 12:45. If then it needs a bit more to get it toward first crack adjust to 1:15. Sometimes I first lower the fan speed at around 4:00 to help the roast progress, then i slowly increase hear to 1:15 to give the added push to bring on 1st. Then I back off a little keep it slow to the end of the roast (I like 6-7 minute roasts, or even a tad longer with added time.)

      One important thing too – weighing the green coffee batches is really important to get good results. I tend to use 95 grams based on how my green coffee spins in my test popper, with 122 volts measured at outlet. It moves very slow at first but picks up pace even in the first 15-20 seconds. But weighing consistently is really important. LMK of this helps

  7. Hi Tom, loving the Popper and my intro adventure into roasting. Do you think you’ll be making a video on espresso roasting? I’ve been doing as you’ve mentioned a few times and extended the time to 1C from 5.5 to 7 min. In fact just did a test with the same bean (SM Rwanda Kivu) to full city and the same drop temp and weight loss percentage, but with one at 5.5 min to 1C and the other at 7 min to 1C. As expected the 7 min to 1C beans made for a better integrated espresso. But with such a long time to 1C, and because the heat jumps so drastically from heats 12:00 and 12:15, I have to stall to hit 7 min. Is that unavoidable? I know keeping ROR positive is all the rage, but does it really matter? I don’t think my palate is refined enough to taste a stall, but my espresso roasts seem pretty good so far!

    Perhaps if there’s a V60 Popper, I’d suggest to stretch out the usable range of heat. I’d say if most of us keep the dial between say 12:15 and 1:30, it would be nice if those heats were spread along the whole range of the dial.

    And an epiphany I had when I had the same issues as other commenters suddenly going too dark on previously controlled roasts. I had the same problem roasting my usual 90g, suddenly needing to stall before 1C to keep times reasonable and then it flying through 1C into 2C. It hit me to up the charge weight to 96g. It brought the control right back. For whatever reason I think the Popper settles and increases power making the additional thermal mass of beans necessary. Hope that helps someone!

    1. Thanks for a very informative post Mike! Yes I agree that a video focused on espresso would be great – It is on my list. When I first started testing prototypes of the machine I was really excited about having an air roasters that can really do espresso in the first place – I found popcorn poppers couldn’t get good espresso profiles unless they were heavily modified to draw out all the phases of development. But I know Popper is not a “finely tuned instrument” either in terms of the truly usable range of roast adjustment and the heat dial. Increasingly I too find I am using a narrower range between 12:30 and 1:00. I also know that this is an issue with any electric burner control across the board, that we are presented with a dial for control and assume that a change from “1” to “2” is going to be the same incremental shift from “2” to “3”, when in fact it’s all pretty arbitrary. If you map out the actual changes on an appliance heat adjusment they are not linear at a set increment … I know this doesnt matter with making toast, but it sure does in roasting coffee. So ideally yes, the dial should only include a useable range, and with finer control. I am hoping to get there, but the path is not clear while keeping cost down. Anyway you hit on my #2 concern here. (#1 is reliability/safety!) I don’t have an answer but its definitely a focus of where I want to get to with this roaster.

      Also – I do believe that losing some temperature in the roast process is ok as part of an approach to roasting, especially espresso. Or at least being able to hold stable. I remember this was a big topic I used to have the with the stumptown people back in the day, who felt the same way. I have had very good roasts from Popper despite some struggles with the overheat cutout switch kicking in at 455-460 f. I just dont think heat loss is the same with 100 grams as it is with 100 kilos in a batch! Air roasting is so different too. Coffee surface temperatures adhere to environment temperature much much differently than a cast iron drum roaster. So there’s that too.

  8. I am an atypical roaster in that I am only making 50 gram batches in the popper. I used the “popper” beans to get familiar with the machine. I used the suggested settings except that I turned the fan to high for the first batch. It was already into 2nd crack at the 3 min mark when it started it’s cool down with 50 grams. By the time I finished roasting those beans I had a good understanding of the functions of the machine. Whenever time permits I make Turkish coffee…more favorable to have a lighter roast so I have most of a pound outgassing right now. Eight 50 gram batches were all roasted at the same settings, with the popper sitting under the exhaust on my stove. It doesn’t vent outside but that still reduced the balance of the aroma and hazy smoke in my apartment. I have a small vacuum that I clean the unit with after every popping. All eight batches were processed to between city and city + and each batch was very consistent to the previous ones. I used a 9 minute cycle with Nicaragua Jinotega La Bastilla Estate for the first of the 6 (1lb) bean bags I purchased with the machine. I have a couple more days of outgassing before I can enjoy them.

    I found the machine very intuitive after reading through your helpful hints. I also found it to be very consistent in the roast. After doing many 50 g batches I could tell that the machine would be bogged at 100 grams. There is just me so I don’t really need a larger batch size. I am a nerd from way back, love appliances in general, used to work on Navy nuclear propulsion systems and I am compelled to say that for the buck, this is a really great appliance that is very fit for my use. Hopefully, we’ll make it beyond that first year without incident.

  9. Too much smoke to roast in the house, too much smoke in the garage (Flagstaff – cold winter). Our range hood vents to the outside. Made a carboard, three-sided container – sits in top of stove, Popper on a half-sheet pan – all the smoke gets pulled outside. Works well. Roasting my beans has been the best thing I’ve done to improve my espresso. I am really, really happy. Been chasing great shots for years. Thanks for Popper – Thanks Sweet Marias

  10. Hi Thompson, I don’t see another way to respond to your response than by creating a new post, so here we go (see my January post). I have tried all of your suggestions and more, and I get nothing but too-dark roasts and not more than half of the beans getting to first crack, at best.

    1. Hi Eliana – I’ll try emailing you directly because I am confused. Your roasts are too dark? But you also say all the coffee is not even getting to first crack, which is too light?

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