How To Roast Coffee In A Popcorn Popper

When you want to roast your own coffee, it can be tough to choose a method.

Some may prefer an air or drum roaster, while other’s look for at-home options.

These options may include a frying pan, oven or even popcorn popper.

That’s right, we said it!

Roasting coffee in a popcorn popper is actually a pretty popular option.

It can often be quite easy, and requires less of an investment.

Continue on to learn exactly how to make use of this coffee roasting method!

Is It Possible To Roast Coffee In A Popcorn Popper?

Not only is it possible, some consider it to actually be one of the easier methods out there.

On top of that, a popcorn popper is much less expensive to obtain than a machine designed specifically for roasting coffee beans.

In some cases, you can even find them in thrift stores!

It’s truly a great way to save money on the roasting device as well as by roasting your own beans.

Keep in mind that this option does only roast a few ounces at a time, which might be annoying to those who want to make a lot quickly.

However, if you don’t need such large amounts then it may just be the ideal method!

Should I Use A Popcorn Popper For Roasting Coffee?

Using a popcorn popper to roast coffee is an ideal option when it’s just enough for you and maybe another person.

Otherwise, if you have the time to spend on making larger amounts then you can do that.

Just remember that it won’t roast a lot at a time.

This can also depend on the model you get, so it can be a good idea to research popcorn poppers that are great for roasting coffee beans.

Not all popcorn poppers are going to be as effective as others for coffee beans.

However, most will find that it just takes a little bit of experimenting to get the results you want.

Popcorn Popper Benefits

There are multiple benefits you get from using a popcorn popper for your coffee.

To begin with air popcorn poppers are often less expensive than other methods.

This is especially true when comparing them to drum roasters or air roasters.

Furthermore, the process also tends to be a bit more simple than using other methods.

Most of the items you’ll need are ones you can likely find at home.

This method is a great one for saving money while having a simple method to roast your coffee beans.

Popcorn Popper Drawbacks

As mentioned before, popcorn poppers can’t typically roast a large amount at once.

There’s only so much space they have to offer.

In addition, you’ll need more tools than just the popcorn popper itself, which can bring up the price a little if you don’t already have the other items.

This option also doesn’t include an easy way to get rid of the chaff.

Air roasters often provide a way to blow it away, but in this method you’ll have to deal with it yourself.

However, all it takes is a couple of colanders to get most of the chaff away from your beans.

The Process

What You’ll Need

It’s a good idea to make sure that you have everything you need before you get started.

Most obviously, you’ll need your popcorn popper and green coffee beans.

You’ll also need a couple of colanders to help with cooling and removing the chaff.

If you want to be even more prepared, there are a few more items you can have on hand.

These include a scale, a kitchen timer and a temperature probe.

Using these added tools, you’ll be able to measure out your beans, time the roasting and make sure the beans are getting roasted properly.


Start by plugging in your popcorn popper and turning it on.

After that, measure out the amount of beans you want to roast.

It may also be a good idea to know what kind of roast you’re achieving and about how long it will take.

Keep in mind that this time might differ a little bit depending on the popper you’re using.

Carefully place your beans into the popper, making sure they all get down to the bottom.

If you have a lid piece, it’s a good idea to use it but be aware that chaff may still end up everywhere.

Getting Started

As the heat begins to build, you may find that the beans are still a bit too heavy for the air to move.

Consequently, using a knife or other utensil can help to move the beans around until the water in them has evaporated.

Make sure to keep stirring here and there to make sure the beans roast evenly.

It should be a pretty quick process, so you’ll want to make sure you know the results or temperature you’re looking for.

After about a minute, the water should begin exiting the beans, making stirring less necessary.

What To Watch For

There are some important things to keep in mind while you roast.

These include the various cracks that signify different levels of roasting.

Depending on the roast you’re going for, they may crack once or multiple times.

Many prefer a darker roast, and therefore wait until the second crack.

This crack often has a higher pitch, as there’s less water in the beans themselves.

You’ll also be likely to notice differences in the smell of the smoke depending on how far along they are.

Getting in tune with these things can help you greatly in achieving the perfect roast.

Deciding When To Stop

As previously mentioned, there are a series of cracks that occur while roasting coffee beans.

Not long after the first crack, the beans are going to be considered a light roast.

This is the earliest point at which it’s recommended to brew with them.

The longer they continue to roast after that, the darker the roast becomes.

After the second crack, the beans quickly reach the darkest point at which they are still good.

At that point, it’s important to stop the roasting before they become burnt.

Depending on the kind of coffee you like, it may be worth considering which roast is best.

Cooling The Beans

Once you’ve reached the ideal roasting point, it’s important to cool the beans quickly.

The simplest way to do this is using your colanders.

Place your beans in one colander, and then shift them to the other.

Continue until the beans have cooled down.

This is also a great way to help any remaining chaff to become dislodged from the beans.

Furthermore, this is also why it’s a good idea to use two colanders.

The movement between two different tools is helpful for allowing air to cool the beans, and causing the chaff to come off well.

What To Do After

When your beans have cooled, it’s time to decide when to store them.

Typically, it’s a good idea to let them rest for a while before you attempt brewing with them.

Consequently, the next step is going to be storing them.

You’ll want to use an airtight container, which can be a bag or jar.

Once the beans are in that container, you’ll want to keep them out of the sun and away from moisture.

Both of these things can cause the beans to lose their freshness more quickly.

After 12 to 24 hours have passed, enjoy your deliciously roasted coffee beans!

Is This The Method For You?

It’s worth comparing popcorn popper roasting to the other coffee roasting methods out there.

Take a look at devices made specifically for roasting like the Behmor 1600 and Gene Cafe CBR-101.

You could also try out roasting the beans in your oven, or in a frying pan.

Through your journey, you may find that it takes trying out a few options before finding the ideal one.

Just take your time and expect a bit of a learning curve with each one!

Brian Mounts

Head blogger, editor, and owner of "Top Off My Coffee", a website that has been educating readers about coffee brewing techniques and equipment since 2012.

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