Recommended Air Popcorn Popper Coffee Roaster Design

Air Popcorn Poppers for Coffee Roasting – Some types work better than others!

For air popcorn coffee roasting, you must use a popper in which the hot air enters the popcorn chamber from side vents. We know of three types of this design: The West Bend Poppery II, The Popcorn Pumper, and the Popaire 2 by Hamilton Beach. You may find others that are of the same design; JC Penny brand for example.

The 2 different types of air poppers, showing the recommended type that swirls coffee, and the so called non-recommended type. But add a glass chimney
The 2 different types of air poppers, showing the recommended type that swirls coffee, and the so called non-recommended type. But add a glass chimney and the later type works pretty well! Especially for dark roast lovers.

We don’t recommend using a popper where the hot air enters the popping chamber through a mesh-covered orifice on the bottom. It tends to throw the coffee out of the popper later in the roast, when the coffee loses weight due to moisture content loss. However, you can convert the “non-recommended” type into a workable roaster by adding a glass chimney to the top. Plus it works well for crafting very dark roasts, if that’s your thing.

The correct type of popper swirls the chaff upward and out of the popper into your chaff-collecting bowl.

The recommended popcorn popper tyle, similar the the West Bend Poppery roasters and a host of others. It has a flat bottom with vents around the side that “swirl” the coffee in a cyclonic action.

We have tested all the poppers mentioned above, and prefer the Poppery II. It has the best chute design for home roasting and is rated at 1200 watts.

We currently sell one of these types, the Nostalgia Electric model, as the West bend models are no longer this design.

You might be able to find them at a hardware store, thrift store or discount stores like Walmart or Kmart.

If you have time to visit a few thrift stores, you will probably find the correct type of popper. Ebay works too! Recently folks have said that a Salton model sold at Target works, as does a Toastmaster model sold at Bed, Bath and Beyond. But any popper that looks like the photo below will work!

You should buy one with all the plastic parts intact and uncracked, or else the roast chamber may not attain proper temperatures.

You can’t be sure that a thrift store popper will work: some poppers have two heating elements and if one dies the popper will seem to function but never reach correct roasting temperatures.

Also, some poppers are equipped with a circuit that, if overheated, will permanently disable the machine. It’s a safety feature designed to prevent fires. On the other hand, most thrift store poppers cost around $2 so you won’t have to hock the record collection if you buy a dud!

2 fine air popcorn poppers to use for roasting coffee! The West Bend original Poppery on the right, called by some the Poppery 1. And the bright yellow, original 1400 watt Popcorn Pumper.

Electric Air Popcorn Poppers for Coffee Roasting – models that are known to work well!

We like the Nostalgia – here is a list of other models that customers have said work well, or ones we personally have used that have the recommended design:

  • West Bend Air Crazy (only the model with flat bottom and side vents)
  • West Bend “The Poppery” AKA Poppery 1, 1500 Watts. The Best!
  • West Bend Poppery II (1200 watt model) – a preferred model
  • Popcorn Pumper, Especially the Oldest Model
  • Kitchen Gourmet (from Walgreens)
  • Toastmaster 6203 West Bend Air Crazy
  • Toastess TCP-388 (also TCP-1)

3 Responses

  1. I have been using the Nostalgia model for many years.
    Unfortunately, the ones I bought recently (Dec 2022) do not appear to have
    the same heating ability of previous years purchases.
    Brand new, they can’t get hot enough to do a medium roast
    in 6 to 8 minutes, and they never get to the dark roast stage
    regardless of the time taken.
    Have you tested your Nostalgia units recently and if so
    have your results been satisfactory?

    1. There was a change about 4-5 years ago when they did the re-design of the exterior. It was rated at 1200 watts, and the newer red models were 1040 watts. One of the main reasons we stopped carrying it was to make space for our Poppo kit, which is 1400 watts, but a very different design. I wonder if your old units were the 1200 watt and the new one was the 1040 ?

  2. Thanks, Thompson.
    I definitely have the reduced power 1040 watt model.
    It’s time to upgrade to your Poppo kit.

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