Popper V.1 Clearance FAQ

What do we mean by Popper V.1? When is Popper V.2 coming and what’s the difference? Why the “clearance” price?

We thought we would answer some common questions about the transition from the first to second generation Popper coffee roaster here. (Popper is an air coffee roaster for home use that is available here at a clearance price of $79, and includes 1 lb of green coffee to get you going …)

What do we mean by Popper V.1?

The first 2 manufacturing runs of the Popper are what we are calling “Popper V.1” as we prepare to do a 3rd run with modifications, which we are calling V.2 for now.

When is Popper V.2 coming?

Not for a long time actually, because final parts haven’t been approved at this writing (Feb 2023) and things are moving pretty slow. The target was production in July 2023, which would not have them here in USA until around September or October 2023. All that can change though. Manufacturing has been very slow generally.

Why offer a “clearance” on Popper V.1?

We wanted to grab people’s attention by calling it a clearance honestly. It’s not like there are a few units left. There are 1800 at this writing! We aren’t doing a “clearance” to get rid of them fast. We used the word to draw people’s attention to the fact we frame it as a roaster for light and medium roasts, and that there is a 30 day warranty against manufacturing defect. For more see in the next question…

What are the changes in the marketing of Popper at the lower clearance price?

We think Popper is a great roaster, have stress tested it for 180+ roasts and 40 lbs of coffee, and have confidence in its roast quality. We think our original marketing material, and thus the way people used it, put a lot of stress on the machine and led to issues with the fan motor. We didn’t anticipate that.
1. The main issues were roasting very dark, not allowing the machine to cool enough between roasts, and extending roasts a long time to get into dark roast ranges.
2. Machines we inspected that had fan motor failure often showed signs of misuse, repeated dark roasts, lack of chaff basket cleaning. And while our instructions read not to do these things, they didn’t make it clear the machine could fail if you repeatedly do them. So we changed the instructions.
3. We frame the Popper as a good machine for light and medium roasts. If you want dark roasts this isn’t right for you. Stovetop roasting is great for repeated dark roasts.
4. We state that you should start out roasting 85 gram batch size. You can likely increase that to a maximum of 100, if you have watched our video and see the coffee is rotating well.
5. We require 30 minute rest time to cool the machine between batches. This was never intended as a back-to-back roaster. It’s a small capacity machine, not one to produce pounds of coffee per week.
At our clearance price, the warranty is only 30 days from date of sale. If you buy it, please use it in that time frame to be sure it has no issues. We will absolutely replace a machine that fails or has a manufacturing defect in that time, after we receive it back for inspection at our warehouse.

How can I roast on the Popper and make the machine last?

Really, heed the instructions that come with it, don’t overload it with coffee by weighing out your batches, don’t roast dark, let it cool between roasts as instructed … We highly recommend using a digital scale to weigh out your batches so you get good results! We think using a wattmeter with the Popper is brilliant! It lets you know exactly what your heat setting is in watts, talking some of the guesswork out of getting consistent results.

How long should my V.1 Popper last if I follow the instructions and roast light-to-medium levels?

Our stress tests on V.1 Poppers are successful for 180 roasts of 85-100 grams, totalling about 42.5 pounds of coffee. (Meaning that it still works great at 180 roasts). We calculate that at 15 months of use roasting 3 batches per week. For $79 that seems like a pretty good deal.

What if I have a problem after the 30 day period?

Contact us at [email protected] . We have some parts for the hood and chaff collector, and can assist on other issues. Please start using the machine though, when you receive it, so if you have an issue, we can back it up.
But to be clear, the warranty is only 30 days and only covers manufacturer defect, not errors in use. Hence the low clearance price. By buying it you are accepting those terms.
The warranty does not cover misuse and is not a warranty of customer satisfaction.
(FYI If you have a fan motor issue, and you have some tech skills (ie can fix an appliance), we are working on getting a good supply of the V.2 motor we intend to use, which we have tested as being able to handle higher heat levels than the V.1 motor. So you can potentially repair your Popper and do a lot more roasting on it! We hope to have the motors in stock by June 2023, and they will be inexpensive).

What will be the changes with the V.2 Popper when available?

Basically it will be a different motor with harder carbons. At this point that’s the only change, although we are looking into a different fan. We think Popper design matches it’s intention, a Popcorn popper with added controls. We just want it to be durable for the way people use it, and many people want to roast darker. Calling it V.1 and 2 makes it sound like a big upgrade, and it isn’t actually, but we don’t have any better idea to make the distinction. And “clearance” makes it sound like we only have a few and want to sell them really fast, which is also not the case. But it’s the best way we could think of to try to get people to slow down, and think before buying it.

New Video (6:30 minutes) Popper Changes as it Ages

This video might be informative for those looking at the Popper product …

I offer some roast tips in this video: Weigh all your green coffee batches, and how I use a simple inexpensive watt meter to know how much heat I am sending to the coil via the unmarked heat knob. This machine is a Popper version one I specifically pulled from new stock to stress test.

I also mention how to make the machine last. 1. Don’t roast dark :-(. 2. Keep it clean, especially the chaff basket. 3. Cooling between roast for 30 minutes.

Popper Coffee Roaster – Changes as it Ages : Video 6:30 Minutes

Some Links: Popper is a Coffee Roaster | Inexpensive Wattmeter | Low Cost Digital Gram Scale

25 Responses

  1. Instead of V.2, though I think that is fine, consider these alternative names- they’re all the rage in automotive and other things.

    ‘Black’ edition, with (obviously) a matte black finish to go with those darker roasts.

    Or, my favorite,
    ‘Carbon’ edition, because of the higher carbon content in the metal you mentioned and a carbon fiber look to it needs to match

    Either one will cost a little more because of these upgrades, naturally.

  2. I’ll be the first to order the new replacement motor (two motors, actually) when it becomes available. My first Popper has a worn-out motor, and I recently purchased a second V.1 Popper that will eventually need a replacement motor.

    1. Great – yes the supply of new motors is being made now. Changing out the motor takes about 15 minutes and means another 200+ roasts. Cost is less than $5.

  3. 211 roast so far on my V1 Popper; roast chamber is very dark, lid still in excellent condition, rotation is still good especially after yellowing always using 90g samples – still going strong. I did notice that the unit doesn’t get as hot as it used to and takes a bit more time to get FC and FC+ (using your weight loss charts as a roast level guide) roast especially in the winter with cooler ambient temps. Air flow through the unit is good though the heating coils and motor do suffer a bit of degradation as time goes on. Hope it last until V2 arrives.

    1. Thanks for the update Gary. As I mentioned the new motors are being made now, so an existing unit can get a new life… I am not sure if they heat shift I experienced is “maturing” of the heat element wire coils. I noticed the change, but it was pretty easy to adjust for. But one thing I have noted when that change continues is that the connectors to the little thermal switch really matter. If they seem loose at all, full heat wont reach the coils, because all the current for the heat is passing through the thermal switch. Its a good thing to check if you notice you keep needing to push the Popper more and more to get the roast level you want. Of course some have completely bypassed the switch, and seen a big boost in power to the coil. But that has its own drawbacks and risks obviously

  4. I’ve been using my popper weekly for a total of under 100 roasts. The last two batches didn’t roast all the way. Even after running a batch through 2 cycles, the coffee is at the lightest drinkable roast. Is that an indication that it’s time to get a new roaster?

    1. I wonder what is happening specifically … does it seems to be cycling from high to low heat towards the end of the roast? It could be that the over-temperature sensor is kicking in when it shouldnt.

  5. My Popper finally died today (motor will not agitate effectively got the woo-woo-woos), that makes 222 roasts to date (44lbs. of coffee). Definitely worth it. Are you guys still on schedule to have V2 motors available in June 2023? Please advise.
    Best, Gary

    1. Hi Gary. The motors are being manufactured now and yes, hopefully will be here by June. If you could email us at [email protected] about this we can notify you with updates, and when they arrive!

  6. Why not take apart aI Roast machine and make a copy of that, I’ve been using mine about twice a week for 5 years now.

    1. We like the I Roast, but wanted to create something with a slightly simpler design. Overall, we’re really happy with the direction of our Poppers and are excited for V2.

      Thanks for being such a longtime customer!

      Cheers,
      Dan

  7. That would be an “I Roast” machine (I have version 2) BTW, buying from you for about 20 years now I think.

  8. You know…there was no easy way to tell from your website that the Popper was your brainchild. I would have bought one long ago, before blowing thru numerous Poplites per year now, because the new ones seem to overheat and stall vs. my very old Poplite which just keeps on going. Please put a Sweetmarias label on the info on your website. I’m sure I’m not the only person who thought this was a purchase from an obscure manufacturer, an item you were blowing out as a clearance item.

    1. You are exactly right. on SM that is not something we say, and that’s because it is a personal side project (of me, Tom), and from a separate company. So yes personally it is related to me, and I think that point is clear in nearly every video (there are 15+) to support it. But no it is not a SM-produced coffee roaster. I know since I write so much and am voice of SM many times, that’s confusing, understandably. But this project has a separate warehouse, separate accounting, separate taxes etc etc, and distributes to SM like other vendors. Related, but not the same is best description.

  9. I find your watt meter information a very useful possibility for me. Can you recommend a brand and price? Also as I use a heavy duty ext cord to my popper would a meter still be appropriate? Thanks, Tom if you are able to answer.

    1. Watt meters are useful for electric roasters regardless, but they are especially useful if you are using an extension cord or power strip. We recommend plugging your roaster directly into a wall outlet if possible, but if you need to use an extension cord a watt meter will help you see and understand the actual wattage you are receiving at your roaster. In testing in our warehouse, we see drops of up to several hundred watts using an extension cord, even a high quality one. Your roaster will plug into the watt meter, and the watt meter will attach to your outlet or plug. We offer the watt meter we use for sale on our website. This meter is a basic version (the brand name version most often used is the Kil-A-Watt).

  10. I regret that I did not order a replacement fan motor when I first saw them on your site. I cannot find them now. Are they still available? If not, will they be available again? Thank you.

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