Believe it or not, popcorn poppers are great tools for roasting coffee beans. They are a simple, inexpensive, and effective alternatives to using for roasting coffee beans at home, providing the same functionality at a much lower price.
This is one of the most basic ways to roast coffee beans, simply heat them up until they are roasted to your preferences. In effect, you are simply using the popcorn poppers mechanism for cooking to roast coffee beans, adjusting the temperature and time of cook to perfect your coffee beans’ roast.
Choosing the Right Machine for the Job
It is important to know that popcorn poppers are not designed to roast coffee beans and results will vary based on the type of machine you use and how you use it. With a little bit of trial and error, you will be able to find a machine and settings that work great for you to roast perfect coffee beans every time.
When selecting a popcorn popper to roast coffee beans, you’ll need to try to consider how certain performance traits will function. There are two main things to consider when picking the best popcorn popper to roast your coffee beans:
Performance & Durability
First, it’s performance and durability is much more important than its appearance. The sleek, new machine isn’t going to do you any good when it comes to roasting coffee beans. Instead, you want a machine that is durable, has stronger heating elements and wattage, and more powerful fans.
Older machines are great for this. Built to last, these stable, durable machines will give you exactly what you need without adding features that are unnecessary. These should be made of durable material and come with sturdier heating elements. Essentially, the main working components are much more direct, to the point, and efficient.
Some air popcorn poppers come with holes or mesh in the bottom of the machine. While this is good for popping popcorn, it is not ideal for roasting coffee beans. If you want a popcorn machine that will roast coffee beans effectively, you will want to get a machine with a solid bottom. These don’t let the coffee beans get the proper roast as they do not heat enough or evenly.
Since popcorn poppers are not designed to roast coffee beans, no matter which roaster you use, there will be an element of adjustment to make sure it works properly. In practice, you will need to try a few times and alter your methods to make sure you get the coffee beans roasted the way you like.
To make your popcorn popper work to roast coffee, you will not only have to modify how you roast the coffee regarding temperature and timing, but you may also have to modify the popcorn machine itself.
Temperature settings are one of the first things you’ll want to adjust when roasting coffee beans. Having the popcorn popper set too high or too low will either burn or barely toast the coffee beans, so you will want to get a balanced temperature. However, while many popcorn machines typically run at a heat of 350℉, they would need to reach temperatures of close to 480℉ to roast coffee beans. Therefore, modifying to have a thermostat work with your popcorn machine can be a great way to make sure you get the right temperature for your roasting. By using a thermostat to test the temperature, you can set the popper to the right temperature and ensure that your coffee beans are roasted right.
The amount of cooking time for the coffee beans will also affect how they turn out. This will take some testing – most likely through trial and error. Adjusting the amount of time roasting will help you perfect the roast and will need to be considered with the temperature. If you are burning the coffee, you may want to leave them in less time. Conversely, you may want to lower the temperature and increase the amount of time. Ultimately, getting the ideal roast will take some trial and error before you get it the way you like it.
The amount of coffee beans you roast will also play a role in how well the popcorn machine roasts your coffee. Typically, you will find a good amount to put in that works for your popcorn machine. You don’t want to put too much or too little, as they will either not cook enough, not cook evenly, or cook too much. Try a few different amounts, and once you get a good amount, try to stick with it.
Therefore, picking your popcorn machine for roasting coffee beans will somewhat be about choosing the depth of the popcorn popper and how much space there is. Choose one that will fit as much as you want to roast at one time, but don’t get greedy. Remember, this is about attention to detail and precision.
Picking Your Popper
Some great machines that would be easily modified to roast coffee beans include the Presto 04820 PopLite Hot Air Popper, Wabash Valley Farms Whirley-Pop Stovetop Popcorn Popper, or Cuisinart CPM-100 EasyPop Hot Air Popcorn Maker, Red.
When picking the best popcorn popper to use for roasting coffee beans, you’ll want to consider the durability, performance, and design of the popcorn popper. Ideally, making sure your popcorn machine is suited for roasting coffee will take some adjusting and trial and error before you perfect the technique that works best for you.