List of Current Air Popcorn Poppers for Coffee Roasting

List of Current Air Popcorn Poppers for Coffee Roasting

Postby pacocap » Mon Jul 05, 2010 1:46 pm

Hello. This is my first post on this forum. I have finally decided to bite the bullet and see if home roasting is an option for me. I have an ancient TNT Popcorn Popper that I will try first, but I know I will want to try the air popcorn popper very soon after that. The problem is that most sites, including this one, list poppers that have long been discontinued, including the vaunted Poppery II. I find this and other poppers mentioned on the Recommended Air Popcorn Popper Design page (http://www.sweetmarias.com/airpop/airpopdesign.php) listed, used, on eBay for like $30+. No way I'm gonna pay that for a smelly sticky old thing that may not even work properly (may have a bad element), and I couldn't find one at thrift shops, so I'm looking to buy a NEW popper. There are many available for cheaper than $30, but the problem is that not all of them meet the criteria of having vents that swirl the chaff upward. The other day I looked at a Presto at a store and it had the disrecommended mesh screen at the bottom. I have seen mentioned the Kitchen Gourmet Hot Air Popcorn Popper, supposedly available at Walgreen's, but a search yields no results at all for any popcorn poppers at Walgreen's, so I am guessing that this is yet another recommended discontinued model.

My purpose in starting this thread is to try to get people, who have recently bought and successfully used a currently available air popcorn popper for coffee roasting, to list what machine it is and to comment on their personal experience with it. Please only provide currently available models. Please provide the exact name and model number of the product so people can easily find it with a search engine in order to compare prices. Provide a link to the manufacturer's page describing the model you got, if possible. Mention what type of air flow mechanism it has because manufacturers don't provide this. Presumably it should have the louvered vents shown on the recommendation page:

Image

Talk about pros and cons of using this particular machine. Tell us what you like or dislike about it. This would be very helpful for people like me, who are just starting out, and, I suspect, for others who are looking to replace an aging machine with a new one.
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Toastess TCP-388 Hot Air Corn Popper

Postby pacocap » Thu Jul 08, 2010 10:58 am

I have found what seems to be a worthy contender. The Toastess TCP-388 Hot Air Corn Popper.

Image

I emailed Toastess and asked:
About your Hot Air Corn Popper unique airflow design, is this the kind that has vents on the bottom that make the kernels swirl around in the chamber?

Reply:
Yes, you are correct; the air popper has vents on the bottom that allow the kernels to swirl around in the chamber.

And then:
For Model TCP-388, does the bottom of the popping chamber look like this?

Image
Reply:
The picture you provided is exactly how the TCP-388's vents are laid out.

Ohhhkayyy. So far so good.

I read further:
Nice, cheap...coffee roaster
Pros: Cheap and relatively quiet. I was able to hear both 1st and 2nd crack easily.
Other Thoughts: Successfully roasted two batches of coffee so far. I had good results with 80g of coffee, about 6 minutes to Full City.

Note that there are negative reviews on the same page and on Amazon about what a crappy POS this model is as a popcorn popper but who cares? We are, after all, HACKING this beast to do other than what it was designed for, so we expect to have to modify it somewhat.

It is readily available online for $26.86 including shipping. It is available from Target online, but unfortunately, it is not available at the store, so I can't go and look at it. It will cost $29.16 from Target online with tax and shipping but it may be worth it since I can return it to any store if I really don't like it. Sears online also has it but it is not available in store.

Does anyone here have experience using this popper for coffee roasting?
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Re: List of Current Air Popcorn Poppers for Coffee Roasting

Postby pastorchuck » Sat Jul 17, 2010 8:01 pm

The Toastess TCP-388 is the model I chose to begin home roasting. I've roasted three batches so far. I found that roast happened faster than I expected yielding burnt beans the first try in just about 5 minutes. The second attempt was much better, and by the third, I was able to achieve the roast I was looking for.

The design does alow the chaff to swirl out and the beans were evenly roasted. I found I was able to see the color of the roast clearly. I also found that the unit cooled relatively quickly allowing for another cycle just after I finished cooling the previous one.

Watch the cover, as my first attempt led to some overheating there and a little warping in the vent area. The following attempts did no damage however.

So far, I am pleased and looking forward to some more roasting.
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Re: List of Current Air Popcorn Poppers for Coffee Roasting

Postby pacocap » Sun Jul 18, 2010 9:52 am

Thank you pastorchuck for your reply. I was beginning to think there was no one home here. ;) So you have used it and it works well. That's good to hear. Can you tell me what power rating this unit has? Can you also supply a photo of the vents on the bottom of the chamber? Picture worth thousand words.
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Re: List of Current Air Popcorn Poppers for Coffee Roasting

Postby pastorchuck » Sun Jul 18, 2010 2:14 pm

The unit is rated at 1200W.

Here is a picture of the vents.

Hope this helps.
Attachments
IMG00001-20100718-1702.jpg
Roasting chamber on the Toastess TCP-388
IMG00001-20100718-1702.jpg (21.65 KiB) Viewed 39515 times
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Re: List of Current Air Popcorn Poppers for Coffee Roasting

Postby pacocap » Sun Jul 18, 2010 3:26 pm

This helps a great deal. The West Bend Poppery II is reputedly 1200-1240W so this is comparable. So now we have a complete snapshot of a currently available popper that is verified to be usable as a coffee roaster. I couldn't ask for more. Thanks for your input. And Toastess company, you owe me a commission for every TCP-388 that is purchased for coffee roasting. LOL.
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Toastess Model TCP-1

Postby pacocap » Sun Jul 18, 2010 3:36 pm

I also found this thread about roasting coffee with the Toastess Model TCP-1, apparently an earlier model:
Roasting coffee with a popcorn popper
It is still listed at the Toastess site but I could not find it for sale. Just another data point for Toastess anyway.
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Re: List of Current Air Popcorn Poppers for Coffee Roasting

Postby pastorchuck » Sun Jul 18, 2010 8:07 pm

Glad to be helpful. Surprised I had something to offer so soon :)

I hope the commission idea works (hehe)
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Re: List of Current Air Popcorn Poppers for Coffee Roasting

Postby pastorchuck » Thu Jul 22, 2010 6:17 pm

Just a follow-up. I was able to do eight roasting sessions with good results. On the last session, however, the motor seemed to drop to a lower speed near the end of the roast and it has not recovered. Now I cannot avoid burning even with much attention. At the 2 min. mark things begin to burn. I've tried making adjustments to batch size along with different methods of assisting the mixining of the beans during the roast, but with no appreciable difference.

I am debating whether I want to purchase another and see if the same problem occurs, or if I want to try a different style. Maybe, I just need to jump in and buy a real roaster. We will see where we go from here.
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Re: List of Current Air Popcorn Poppers for Coffee Roasting

Postby Divigation » Sun Jul 25, 2010 6:37 pm

I am using a Kitchen Gourmet popper from Walgreen's that sells for $10 (model B-32B is denoted on the label on the bottom of the unit). It wasn't at the first Walgreen's I hit up but was at the second. Kitchen Gourmet is their brand of cheap appliances. It has the swirling side vents that Sweet Maria's and Davids recommend as you can see here:
20100725-IMGP3127-1.jpg
Kitchen Gourmet (Walgreen's) $10 air popping chamber.
20100725-IMGP3127-1.jpg (59.54 KiB) Viewed 39462 times


This weekend was my first roasting, so I have no point of comparrison, but I got 8 batches out of it this morning and eight this afternoon from a City+ to a Full City+. As for how the roasts look, here is a shot of one of this morning's roasts:
20100725-IMGP3124-1.jpg
A dark roast from this morning in Kitchen Gourmet Popper unmodified.
20100725-IMGP3124-1.jpg (97.9 KiB) Viewed 39462 times


And a lighter one from this afternoon:
20100725-IMGP3126-1.jpg
A lighter afternoon roast from a Kitchen Gourmet Popper unmodified.
20100725-IMGP3126-1.jpg (91.48 KiB) Viewed 39462 times


The butter warmer is meant to be the popcorn scoop and I am using it as the green bean measure, it is around 1/3 cup. Since I am getting good results I haven't tried more. Kicks out around 1.5 ozs per batch in 5.5 to 9 minutes for me so far.

It is rated 1200W and has an on/off switch. The only downside so far is that the unit is held together with triangle head screws, so cracking it open to modify the electronics requires some destruction or a special screw driver or bit. I plan on picking up a second to mod and mess with some time soon but will keep this first unit unmodified until it dies for the sake of research and because it works so why mess with it.
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