Coffee roasting question - spotting second crack when using popcorn popper

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Theseus
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Coffee roasting question - spotting second crack when using popcorn popper

Post by Theseus »

Thanks for some tips and encouragement from the BHs I have started roasting my own coffee. It has been a great experience so far in discovering different beans.

I have had over 15 small batches roasted (about 1/3 cup per batch ). One of the challenges I am having is determining the second crack. One one of the beans I have gone 12 minutes seemingly without hearing the second crack. So my question is how loud is the second crack? Will I hear it in the popcorn popper? Is it as loud as first crack?

Ideally I like to get into the second crack and then stop. But I just don’t know how to spot the second crack.
BillyK
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Re: Coffee roasting question - spotting second crack when using popcorn popper

Post by BillyK »

You have to be patient when waiting for the second crack. They aren’t as loud as the first. There will be a few that crack early, but the majority will start cracking around the same time as a more rapid staccato type crack than the louder slower first cracks. I usually like to go about 30 seconds into the 2nd crack, but the amount of smoke is also a good indicator letting you know whether to transition into cool down to avoid too dark of a roast. Some types of beans take a lot longer for the 2nd crack, so you really have to rely on your ears. Sometimes it feels like the second crack will never occur, but then it does!
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Nicolas
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Re: Coffee roasting question - spotting second crack when using popcorn popper

Post by Nicolas »

What is the power rating of your popper? It should be at least 1250 watts, maybe your popper is underpowered. Or it could be your popper is defective. I had such a popper and I once waited a half hour for second crack before I gave up on that popper. Also when I used a popper I always roasted a half cup at a time. I think adding some beans will help move the roast along. Are you using a plastic hood? It helps to retain the heat. The best popper for roasting is the Poppery II from West Bend.

Yes you should definitely hear second crack, it takes no special skill to spot it. It took only a minute or two for me between the cracks when I was using a popper. Also during second crack little tiny pieces of some of the beans will break off and fly out of the popper. Not a lot but you will see them. This is in addition to the chaff.
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Re: Coffee roasting question - spotting second crack when using popcorn popper

Post by Theseus »

Nicolas wrote: Sat Feb 29, 2020 4:41 pm What is the power rating of your popper? It should be at least 1250 watts, maybe your popper is underpowered. Or it could be your popper is defective. I had such a popper and I once waited a half hour for second crack before I gave up on that popper. Also when I used a popper I always roasted a half cup at a time. I think adding some beans will help move the roast along. Are you using a plastic hood? It helps to retain the heat. The best popper for roasting is the Poppery II from West Bend.

Yes you should definitely hear second crack, it takes no special skill to spot it. It took only a minute or two for me between the cracks when I was using a popper. Also during second crack little tiny pieces of some of the beans will break off and fly out of the popper. Not a lot but you will see them. This is in addition to the chaff.
I am using plastic hood. But the blow motor isn't that powerful if I go more than 1/4 cup. So I have to manually stir the beans for the first few minutes. It is 1040w and I am roasting outside in 35-40 degrees. So that probably explains it. I am using https://www.sweetmarias.com/nostalgia-e ... opper.html since they recommended to use that for the first time users. It's only $20 so I am happy to upgrade now that I am enjoying this.

I will try to use a wet towel under the popper (read it somewhere) that restricts airflow and heats up beans.

Is Poppery II available? I heard it's no longer available.
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Re: Coffee roasting question - spotting second crack when using popcorn popper

Post by Theseus »

BillyK wrote: Sat Feb 29, 2020 4:07 pm You have to be patient when waiting for the second crack. They aren’t as loud as the first. There will be a few that crack early, but the majority will start cracking around the same time as a more rapid staccato type crack than the louder slower first cracks. I usually like to go about 30 seconds into the 2nd crack, but the amount of smoke is also a good indicator letting you know whether to transition into cool down to avoid too dark of a roast. Some types of beans take a lot longer for the 2nd crack, so you really have to rely on your ears. Sometimes it feels like the second crack will never occur, but then it does!
Thanks. Will be more patient now that I know my popper is under powered.
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Re: Coffee roasting question - spotting second crack when using popcorn popper

Post by Nicolas »

Theseus wrote: Sat Feb 29, 2020 6:22 pm But the blow motor isn't that powerful if I go more than 1/4 cup. So I have to manually stir the beans for the first few minutes.

Is Poppery II available? I heard it's no longer available.
You’re right, no longer available. But if you cruise the thrift shops you can find them, some in like-new condition. I paid $2.99 each for mine used, but that was in 2003-2011 timeframe. Could be higher than that now or maybe they’ve dried up since then. The main thing about the Poppery II was that its shape was ideal for coffee roasting. But I’ve used other models/brands to good effect. Make sure it has enough power.

I never had to stir my beans to get them rotating, and I always roasted a half cup at a time. Yes, I would say your unit is underpowered.

And yes, it will take longer to roast in the colder weather. Due to the smoke I always roast in my (unheated but attached) garage in the winter or outside in the summer and in the upper Midwest it gets cold. I used my 1250 Watt poppers in the milder weather but I had one 1750 Watt model that I switched to in the winter, all bought used for cheap.

Eventually I got tired of using the hot air poppers because it took me 5 or 6 batches to roast a pound of green and that took time. So in 2011 I built a “Turbo Crazy” roaster for about $70 which I’ve been using ever since. I did have to replace the convection oven twice when they failed for $40 to $45 each. Plans are below. (This is not my page). With this setup I can roast a pound of green at a time.
http://turbocrazy.atspace.com/index.htm
http://turbocrazy.atspace.com/index_files/project.htm
Last edited by Nicolas on Sun Mar 01, 2020 8:27 am, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: Coffee roasting question - spotting second crack when using popcorn popper

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The things we learn here never fail to amaze me. :sharebeer
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Re: Coffee roasting question - spotting second crack when using popcorn popper

Post by Theseus »

Nicolas wrote: Sat Feb 29, 2020 7:06 pm
Theseus wrote: Sat Feb 29, 2020 6:22 pm But the blow motor isn't that powerful if I go more than 1/4 cup. So I have to manually stir the beans for the first few minutes.

Is Poppery II available? I heard it's no longer available.
You’re right, no longer available. But if you cruise the thrift shops you can find them, some in like-new condition. I paid $2.99 each for mine used, but that was in 2003-2011 timeframe. Could be higher than that now or maybe they’ve dried up since then. The main thing about the Poppery II was that its shape was ideal for coffee roasting. But I’ve used other models/brands to good effect. Make sure it has enough power.

I never had to stir my beans to get them rotating, and I always roasted a half cup at a time. Yes, I would say your unit is underpowered.

And yes, it will take longer to roast in the colder weather. Due to the smoke I always roast in my (unheated but attached) garage in the winter or outside in the summer and in the upper Midwest it gets cold. I used my 1250 Watt poppers in the milder weather but I had one 1750 Watt model that I switched to in the winter, all bought used for cheap.

Eventually I got tired of using the hot air poppers because it took me 5 or 6 batches to roast a pound of green and that took time. So in 2011 I built a “Turbo Crazy” roaster for about $70 which I’ve been using ever since. I did have to replace the convection oven twice when they failed for $40 to $45 each. Plans are below. (This is not my page). With this setup I can roast a pound of green at a time.
http://turbocrazy.atspace.com/index.htm
http://turbocrazy.atspace.com/index_files/project.htm
Wow. That's pretty amazing. I don't know if I have patients to do this much work. I will probably end up spending money getting a roaster.
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Re: Coffee roasting question - spotting second crack when using popcorn popper

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Theseus wrote: Sun Mar 01, 2020 9:20 am I don't know if I have patients to do this much work. I will probably end up spending money getting a roaster.
It’s not that bad actually, I didn’t build the chaff extractor, I just used a cake riser that I bought at a thrift shop for a buck. Actually I’ve been considering getting a Behmor roaster the next time my convection oven fails, I think I’d get a more even roast. But they cost $400 which is hard to swallow, and I’m afraid of a breakdown.

The cheapest I’ve found is here (no affiliation): https://burmancoffee.com/product/home-c ... e-roaster/ because they throw in six pounds of green into the deal.
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Re: Coffee roasting question - spotting second crack when using popcorn popper

Post by Theseus »

Nicolas wrote: Sun Mar 01, 2020 10:47 am
Theseus wrote: Sun Mar 01, 2020 9:20 am I don't know if I have patients to do this much work. I will probably end up spending money getting a roaster.
It’s not that bad actually, I didn’t build the chaff extractor, I just used a cake riser that I bought at a thrift shop for a buck. Actually I’ve been considering getting a Behmor roaster the next time my convection oven fails, I think I’d get a more even roast. But they cost $400 which is hard to swallow, and I’m afraid of a breakdown.

The cheapest I’ve found is here (no affiliation): https://burmancoffee.com/product/home-c ... e-roaster/ because they throw in six pounds of green into the deal.
Yeah. This is the machine I am thinking of buying as well. Sweet María as well as coffee bean corral has the same price with some freebies thrown in like this.
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Re: Coffee roasting question - spotting second crack when using popcorn popper

Post by Nicolas »

Theseus wrote: Sun Mar 01, 2020 11:01 am
Nicolas wrote: Sun Mar 01, 2020 10:47 am
Theseus wrote: Sun Mar 01, 2020 9:20 am I don't know if I have patients to do this much work. I will probably end up spending money getting a roaster.
It’s not that bad actually, I didn’t build the chaff extractor, I just used a cake riser that I bought at a thrift shop for a buck. Actually I’ve been considering getting a Behmor roaster the next time my convection oven fails, I think I’d get a more even roast. But they cost $400 which is hard to swallow, and I’m afraid of a breakdown.

The cheapest I’ve found is here (no affiliation): https://burmancoffee.com/product/home-c ... e-roaster/ because they throw in six pounds of green into the deal.
Yeah. This is the machine I am thinking of buying as well. Sweet María as well as coffee bean corral has the same price with some freebies thrown in like this.
SM and Coffee Bean Corral charge for shipping, Burman’s is free. I think that would tip it in Burman’s favor.
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Re: Coffee roasting question - spotting second crack when using popcorn popper

Post by Theseus »

Nicolas wrote: Sun Mar 01, 2020 11:14 am
Theseus wrote: Sun Mar 01, 2020 11:01 am
Nicolas wrote: Sun Mar 01, 2020 10:47 am
Theseus wrote: Sun Mar 01, 2020 9:20 am I don't know if I have patients to do this much work. I will probably end up spending money getting a roaster.
It’s not that bad actually, I didn’t build the chaff extractor, I just used a cake riser that I bought at a thrift shop for a buck. Actually I’ve been considering getting a Behmor roaster the next time my convection oven fails, I think I’d get a more even roast. But they cost $400 which is hard to swallow, and I’m afraid of a breakdown.

The cheapest I’ve found is here (no affiliation): https://burmancoffee.com/product/home-c ... e-roaster/ because they throw in six pounds of green into the deal.
Yeah. This is the machine I am thinking of buying as well. Sweet María as well as coffee bean corral has the same price with some freebies thrown in like this.
SM and Coffee Bean Corral charge for shipping, Burman’s is free. I think that would tip it in Burman’s favor.
Thanks for the tip. I didn’t know that. So have ordered coffee beans from both of them and paid shipping. Will check it out.
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Re: Coffee roasting question - spotting second crack when using popcorn popper

Post by Nicolas »

Theseus wrote: Sun Mar 01, 2020 11:28 am
Nicolas wrote: Sun Mar 01, 2020 11:14 am
Theseus wrote: Sun Mar 01, 2020 11:01 am
Nicolas wrote: Sun Mar 01, 2020 10:47 am
Theseus wrote: Sun Mar 01, 2020 9:20 am I don't know if I have patients to do this much work. I will probably end up spending money getting a roaster.
It’s not that bad actually, I didn’t build the chaff extractor, I just used a cake riser that I bought at a thrift shop for a buck. Actually I’ve been considering getting a Behmor roaster the next time my convection oven fails, I think I’d get a more even roast. But they cost $400 which is hard to swallow, and I’m afraid of a breakdown.

The cheapest I’ve found is here (no affiliation): https://burmancoffee.com/product/home-c ... e-roaster/ because they throw in six pounds of green into the deal.
Yeah. This is the machine I am thinking of buying as well. Sweet María as well as coffee bean corral has the same price with some freebies thrown in like this.
SM and Coffee Bean Corral charge for shipping, Burman’s is free. I think that would tip it in Burman’s favor.
Thanks for the tip. I didn’t know that. So have ordered coffee beans from both of them and paid shipping. Will check it out.
The free shipping is just for the roaster, it seems they do charge shipping for beans.

The best place I’ve found for beans is the Green Coffee Buying Club. https://www.greencoffeebuyingclub.com/index.php
This is a green coffee bean co-op. You are paying wholesale plus a 50¢ per pound club fee. If you’re lucky, one of the club distributors will be in your local area, so you can pick up the beans in person and avoid the shipping and PayPal fees. (That’s what I do). The bean quality is just as good as at SM and is considerably cheaper.
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