Coffee can be very intimidating when one finds themselves searching for the best quality ways to prepare the brew. It’s a combination of ingenuity and the proper gear that allows us to take advantage of the naturally-caffeinated bean and make one of the most delicious and sought-after beverages on the planet.
So you’re grinding your beans thirty seconds before brewing, and making coffee with a great water source, and in a quality machine. What more could you ask for, right?
Try roasting your own coffee.
It sounds like a proper challenge but there is an easy workaround for getting good results. Try using a popcorn popper.
Here’s our list of the best popcorn poppers for roasting coffee beans in the comfort of your own home. Now you’re on your way to achieving coffee greatness.
Preparing Roasted Coffee Beans With a Popcorn Popper
There are a few things to keep in mind when one decides to start roasting their own coffee with a popcorn popper. First, is safety. Second, you want to understand the process and why this actually works. It is pretty wonderful for any seasoned coffee lover.
Thus, if you’re choosing your first popper, attention should be given to the depth of the roasting chamber. A chamber that is four and a half inches deep will normally roast 90 grams of green beans (no, not the vegetable but the raw coffee itself) and have enough room for the roasted beans to expand without blowing out of the popper. A three and a half-inch chamber is more than likely going to need a chimney extender to keep the beans from blowing out. So keep that in mind when perusing the details.
Now that you’re a little more familiar with the process, let’s run down the best choices out there for making roasted coffee beans.
The Nostalgia APH200RED 16-Cup Air-Pop
The Nostalgia APH200 is great for roasting coffee beans as it blows hot air into the chamber through vents on the chamber wall, which spins the beans and keeps them moving well. This is a slightly faster roaster process than one might want with their air pop, but it does work well.
Coming in at sixteen cups, this air popper is well-suited for creating a finely roasted coffee bean. Includes a built-in measuring cap to ensure the proper amount of kernels are used, and the clear top housing allows for easy viewing. This is an affordable air-popper and is well worth the investment into the world of home coffee bean roasting.
PopAir Electric Hot Air Popcorn Popper by VICTORIO VKP1162
If you’d prefer to get right to roasting and don’t want to scour the Internet for a vintage popper, consider the Presto PopLite Hot Air Popcorn Popper. This highly-recommended popper can make up to 18 cups of freshly roasted coffee beans in less than two and a half minutes. It’s also particularly quiet for an air popper.
This PopAir Electric Popper by VICTORIO VKP1162 makes for a great internal roaster, at what many experts think is a perfect temperature for a house roast. There’s plenty of debate whether it can get you a dark roast properly, but you’ll have to try it and weigh in on your own experiences.
Hamilton Beach 73400 Hot Air Popcorn Popper
The Hamilton Beach features the perfect design for coffee roasting, with a flat metal bottom in the roasting chamber with vents along the side of the chamber that blow the coffee in a rotating motion. The rotating motion allows for an even roast and keeps the coffee beans from getting scorched.
The Hamilton Beach 73400 finds a great middle ground between a fine even roast and not using too much speed and heat intensity.
Excelvan Hot Air Popcorn Popper Electric Machine Maker
The Excelvan Air Popcorn popper is another great selection for roasting coffee beans. Additionally, this hot air popper is able to reach a higher temperature than many on this list and thus works great for a darker roast. Composed of a high-quality material, the popping chamber contains a food-grade aluminum alloy to resist damage, this is very helpful in the roasting process.
Employing the Spiry design, this popper makes use of air and circulation to ensure that the contents are heat treated equally. This means a much lower chance of burning when roasting coffee beans.
West Bend 82505 Stir Crazy Electric Hot Oil Popcorn Popper
West Bend has been a leader in developing electric kitchen appliances since being founded in West Bend, Wisconsin in 1911. This is the benchmark popcorn popper for roasting coffee beans. The Stirring mechanism makes it easy to avoid burning beans. The West Bend Stir Crazy uses a triple-layer heating plate which increases performance and insulates the body of the popper to fully roast up to nearly seven quarts.
With any new popcorn roaster that one uses to roast coffee, you have to learn to use it correctly. There’s a procedure, and if any of the popper s on this list didn’t meet your needs then keep in mind that if the beans do not move when you put them in the roasting chamber, stir them with a wooden spoon or use fewer beans.
If the temperature rise is slow, partially cover the top of the roasting chamber.
Always keep a careful observation on the beans as well as making sure that the by the second crack of the beans you are ready to get them out of the chamber and away from the heat source. Of course, this is all variable with the heat of your air popper, but it’s wise to at least start looking over your beans and determining whether they are roasted to the point you would like. This usually takes about seven minutes to get a city roast, but pushing further can yield a dark roast or burnt beans so be cautious at this point.
As with anything in the coffee game, practice makes perfect. We hope that this list helps you find the missing element in your morning coffee routine, but there’s still more to learn, as always, so check out the rest of our blog for more insights.
The 5 Best Popcorn Poppers for Roasting Coffee at Home
It took a long time before I had all of the requirements for the best possible coffee down. The first thing I did was get my hands on a good grinder to make sure I am brewing the freshest beans possible at all times.
I only buy whole beans to grind myself, and I store my opened package of beans in airtight containers. This way they are always as fresh as possible. There is one step that comes before either of these, and will result in fresh, delicious coffee from home. That step is roasting your own beans.
Most people shy away when they hear the term “roast your own coffee”. There is a bit of a learning curve, but the process itself is not as hard as it may seem. You can have fresh roasted coffee beans in no time at home, without having to buy expensive equipment.
A popular method for roasting coffee beans at home is using a popcorn popper. Stovetop and electric popcorn poppers are popular among the at-home coffee connoisseurs. Stovetop popcorn poppers are closest to the professional coffee roasters, as they allow you to accurately control the temperature.
If you’re looking to roast your beans at home, don’t write off the popcorn popper method for roasting your coffee. This is an affordable, accurate way to roast beans in a way that doesn’t require fancy material or too much time learning the process.
We’ve taken a look at the best popcorn poppers for roasting coffee to highlight the features of some of the best machines out there today.
Nostalgia RHP310 8-Cup Hot Air Popcorn Maker
We’re looking to roast coffee here, so the nostalgic popcorn maker imagery may not be necessary, but does add to the overall nice design of the machine.
This popcorn popper is small and compact, and can sit easily on a countertop without taking up much space.
It comes equipped with a popping chamber which controls the airflow to ensure that everything is evenly roasted. The cap comes with a measuring unit, so you can easily use it to measure out the amount of beans you are roasting.
The machine is simple and easy to use, and made of BPA free plastic.
This machine does not have the classic popcorn maker look, and instead resembles a pot you’d use on a stovetop.
The popper is made from an aluminum base, and is heated on the stove. You can fit between .25 to 1.5 pounds of coffee beans at a time, which allows for a good chunk of beans to be roasted at once.
The popper comes with a thermometer, which can be useful for monitoring your roast. It is a stovetop popper, so you can easily control the temperature and monitor the progress of your beans.
Great Northern Popcorn Original
The Great Northern is a great popcorn popper for roasting beans. It is a stovetop machine, so you will have better control over temperature and be able to monitor the progress of your beans.
It comes equipped with a spinning mechanism that is used to prevent the contents from burning. This is especially useful for roasting coffee as it’s important to get the right temperature.
The knobs and handles are made of real wood, giving the popcorn popper a sleek look with its stainless steel pot. It also has an easy pour lid to make removal of your ground beans extra easy.
The popcorn popper also comes with a heat pad that ensures an even cook. The lid is vented, which prevents any moisture from escaping. All of the gears are made from high quality metals.
West Bend 82505 Stir Crazy Electric Hot Oil Popcorn Popper
This popcorn popper is electric, but still offers a lot of the benefits from using stove top poppers. One of these benefits is a clear view of your beans as you roast them for easy monitoring.
There are permanently attached cord wraps sitting under the machine meant for easy cleanup with no tangled cords. The cover and heating base handles are all coated to protect from the heat so users can grab the whole machine without getting burned.
The lid is easy to invert for the best storage options. The base is heat resistant to prevent any burns to your countertop.
Ozeri Popcorn and Snack Maker (ZY5-4Q-BLK)
This stovetop popcorn popper resembles a normal pot you’d use on your stovetop. It comes in a sleek black design with a stainless steel lid.
The popper comes with a patented tumbling mechanism that easily mixes the contents while ensuring none of them burn. The pot itself has a volume of four quarts, and the interior is made from aluminum.
The lid is made from vented tempered glass, and has a non-slip silicone top. The popper is dishwasher safe, making it a convenient choice.
If you’re looking to roast from home, choosing a popcorn popper is a great option. There are some things to keep in mind as you shop around.
The type of popcorn maker is important, as not all work well for this purpose. For instance, you cannot use a microwave popcorn maker to roast coffee.
Stovetop and electric are best, and many favor stovetop over electric. This is because with stovetop popcorn poppers you have more ability to control the temperature of the pot, and can also monitor the beans as they roast.
Before making your purchase, figure out what your exact plans are. If you will be roasting large amounts at a given time, you’ll want to go for a machine with a large capacity. A compact popcorn popper would not be a good choice. If you don’t expect to do large amounts of roasting at a given time, a smaller popcorn popper may be a more efficient choice.
Keep in mind that you can’t leave your roasting coffee unattended, so it’s probably a good idea to not use a machine that allows you to leave the machine alone while roasting. Some smoke will be produced, so you’ll want to make sure you are in the right conditions to be roasting.
Why do we roast coffee beans?
The roast of the coffee beans is one of the most important factors in the flavor of the coffee. Different roasts result in different tasting coffee, with differing levels of caffeine.
The point of roasting is to bring out the aromas and unique flavors locked inside coffee beans. Before roasting, the beans are green and do not have any of the distinct flavors we know from our beloved coffee.
Why use a popcorn maker instead of a real coffee roaster?
Not everyone is equipped to purchase an industrial coffee roaster. Popcorn poppers are great alternatives because they are low cost, and not typically advertised as something that can roast coffee beans.
A lot of people are able to roast using their old poppers without having to make a new purchase at all. The versatility of the item makes it a convenient choice.
Are there other ways to roast coffee at home?
The popcorn popper method is an easy and controlled way to roast beans at home. Alternatively, some people roast their beans over the stovetop using a frying pan. This is a method that takes some skill and learning to achieve a great roast, and not as efficient as a real coffee roaster.
Roasting coffee from a popcorn popper is a great method for someone less experience who is looking to roast their beans at home. It is an affordable choice, and allows the user to control the roast of their beans.
There are a lot of popcorn machines out there, and it is important to figure out what their functions are before using them to roast coffee. Luckily there is a huge market for various machines, so finding the right one is easily attainable.
I would go for the Great Northern popcorn popper because it suits all of my individual needs. I like making homemade popcorn, so I made sure to sort through which machine would allow me to do both.
The Great Northern fits the look of my kitchen, and would store easily with my other pots. I like the look of the handles, and how they protect against heat. The whole device has a nostalgic feel to it, without being too distinctly a popcorn maker.
Although I don’t plan to roast large amounts of coffee at at a time, this machine works well for me because it will hold a lot of popped corn. This is not true of everyone, so be sure to narrow down what you need.
Whatever you end up choosing, you will be able to roast fresh coffee beans from home which will greatly improve the quality of your daily cup. You will have full control over the roast, meaning you can switch up from light and dark roasts to vary the flavor and effects.
As the roast gets darker, the beans contain less caffeine. By roasting at home, you can control all of these elements.