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on July 31, 2016
I've been using this three times a week to roast coffee for almost two months now and it hasn't started acting up yet, and it also can still make popcorn, so it seems like a solid choice for the price I paid. A few tricks I've learned:

- For the most even roast (no roast will be perfectly even due to how not all beans are the same consistency) I fill to just barely above the first metal seam with unroasted beans, so that the vents at the bottom are covered but so that the seam is still visible. Too much more and the beans at the bottom will get partially scorched; too little and it will take a really long time to roast due to how the beans bounce around and allow more heat to escape. In practice, using this amount usually results in about 61-64 grams of roasted beans.
- About 6 minutes with the above amount is well through the first crack and gets me a nice medium/city roast.
- To avoid the chaff getting sucked into the vents on the bottom, I put it on top of an upside-down steel colander, so chaff can't build up around the base. This way I also have a receptacle to pour the beans into so they can cool off.

For popcorn it's pretty self-explanatory. In my experience, it leaves the least number of unpopped kernels when the hopper is filled to between the first and second metal seams.

All in all: simple design yet nothing seems to be missing from it, not very bulky, great for the price, works for both popcorn and coffee roasting.
7 people found this helpful
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on November 6, 2015
In the interest of full disclosure, I have never actually made popcorn in this machine. I bought it solely for roasting coffee, and I believe it is one of the best poppers on the market for this application. It has vents on the sides of the popping chamber, rather than the single mesh screen on the bottom. There are numerous articles and videos online with instructions for modifying these to increase performance, but I found that it worked great as-is.

I used the following process with a great deal of success:
1) Turn on the unit and add green coffee beans until the beans JUST stop swirling
2) Put the cover/butter dish on top, and place a large bowl lined with a damp paper towel in front of the spout (to catch chaff)
3) Gently shake the popper to keep the beans moving until the beans will swirl on their own when the machine is left undisturbed
4) At this point, the roast has begun and you may continue until your desired roast level. Guides are available on the Sweet Maria's website
5) Just before the beans reach your desired roast level, quickly turn off the machine, carefully remove the cover, and dump the beans into a metal strainer
6) Toss between two strainers quickly for several minutes to help the beans cool as rapidly as possible and prevent over-roasting
7) Store in a covered, but unsealed container for 24-48 hours to allow the beans to de-gas

Hopefully this works for you!
6 people found this helpful
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on January 21, 2016
I use exclusively as a home coffee roaster. It works very well for this and I get the desired results in less than 8 minutes. I have become real fond of home roasting is it allows me maximum freshness and to eliminate waste. I am the only coffee drinker in the house and only drink on weekends as its free at work. I can roast just enough for the weekend. A pound of whole bean would spoil before I could drink it all. Lastly, yes I know I voided the warranty, I disconnected both wires to the thermostat, stripped them and connected with a wire nut, also wrapped with electrical tape for safety. This keeps the popper at high heat that you want for the beans as its original purpose was to not burn the popcorn. Very happy with this purchase. For the entry level cost of real roasters you can buy several of these. Hey West Bend, please keep making a model that works for coffee roasting please.
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on January 30, 2015
I use this to roast green coffee beans. There are demonstration videos at I found that you really need to disable the temperature limiting device for a good roast. Unscrew the three bottom screws. Carefully slide the internals out. Look for the button thermal sensor near the top of the metal can. Wiggle it until the rivets break. Wrap in black electrical tape and stuff the sensor under the circuit board near the cool air intake. Re-assemble and roast away (outdoors, supervised 100% of the time and with the awareness that the fire safety net has been disabled. You are on your own with only 911 and the fire department to save you if you take your roast way too far.)
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on July 18, 2016
We use it for roasting coffee beans and it works really well. Every bean is roasted to the same level. The only drawback is that you can only do about 1/3 of a cup at a time, but for the price you can't beat it. If you are looking to get into coffee roasting, but not ready to drop $$$ for a coffee roaster, get this one.

Edit: We have roasted 6 pounds of coffee since we bought this roaster. It has worked perfectly every time.
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on November 10, 2014
If you are wanting to roast coffee beans, then this is the hot air popcorn popper you are looking for!! I don't want folks to go through the same pain I did of trying to find the proper hot air popcorn popper that roasts the beans from the side vents and not the very bottom.

I looked at 7 different models between my adventures at Target, Wal-Mart, our local grocery store, Walgreens and all over Amazon to finally find that this model (82416) does indeed have the vented side wall and not the screen on the bottom.

First impressions: I roasted a total of 10 batches in my first weekend. Each batch consisted of exactly 1/2 level cup of green beans. (1/2 cup of green coffee beans will yield a full cup of roasted coffee beans...the beans essentially double in size when roasted). I roasted two batches without making the modification as seen in this video: .

I roasted my first batch in which first crack occurred at 3min 28 seconds. I roasted the beans for a total of 14 minutes and never could reach the second crack. My second batch, exact same thing...first crack a little closer to the 3 minute mark and by 12 minutes, I gave up on trying to get the second crack.

This popper is only 1040 watts. Ideally, you want about 1400 watts to get that second in order to achieve this, you must detach the thermostat regulator from the roasting stove. Again, watch the above video to see how to do this. *****Disclaimer ***** Since lawyers are sleazy and judges are enablers of frivolous lawsuits, it has now become human nature to no longer take responsibility for own actions and risks and blame others for our stupidity. I have to make the disclaimer that whatever you do with your popcorn popper is at your own risk and you are an adult fully capable of making your own choices and decisions so please do not blame me or anyone else if you get electrocuted or burn your house down. Be safe...otherwise the Darwinian rule will be in effect. ;-)

Now, with that out of the way...onto what you are wanting to know. So with the modification done (which was very easy to accomplish) first crack occurred in 2min 38 seconds....2nd crack occurred at 7min 13sec. The modification was a success and I was able to replicate this several more times. However, I have decided that a "Full City Roast" (roasting the beans to second crack) is not a flavor for me. I have ordered 6 more different varieties of green coffee beans from Sweet Maria's to see if i can tolerate a full city roast with a bean from a different region.

Something I found to be interesting and I will not be able to comment on it just yet until I get my second air popper (which I am picking up today) is that I found my first two batches of bean to have been the best tasting. I am wondering if it was because it took longer to get them to the first crack and then never having reached crack, but continued to roast for a very long time, led to a better flavor. I have read where one can roast a bean too fast and maybe this modification to the popper has done just that. So I ordered a second popcorn popper and I will not do the thermostat modification to it, just to see if it all was a fluke or if truly roasting at a slower rate, really does make the flavor better for my pallet.

Regardless, I am having a blast and will never buy store bought (pre-roasted) coffee again. There is truly a difference in taste and caffeine buzz. (which is probably why I ended up roasting 10 batches this weekend.)

Happy Roasting!

******* Update ********
I wanted to give you all a quick update. I have been roasting for a few weeks now. I have put this popcorn popper through the say the least. In fact, yesterday I purposely roasted eight (8) batches, back to back. Each batch roasting from 5 - 6 minutes depending on what type of roast I was wanting...two (2) batches even went past 7 minutes for a full on "dark" roast. I would roast a batch of beans, dump them out, start the next batch immediately afterwards while i worked at cooling down the previous batch of beans. This popcorn popper essentially ran for just over 40 minutes straight, only stopping for about 15 - 20 seconds between batches.

Impressed!? You bet I am. So much so that I already purchased a second one. I am going to use the second one in a "non-modified" manner (see above for details on modifying the internal thermostat). I prefer my roasts as light-medium to medium. Without repeating all the details above, I am trying to experiment with a longer/slower roast without ever achieving second crack. I want to see how this will either positively or negatively affect the final product. I have heard that roasting longer at lower temps can yield a better final product...we shall see. I will update again in a few weeks.


***** Another Update as of 12/18/2014 ******
This popcorn popper will not give up! I spent yesterday, roasting 12 back-to-back batches and this popcorn popper did not miss a beat. I have literally roasted 57 batches to date with this unit. (Yes, I have been keeping records...only because i like to monitor my roast times for accuracy.). Per my above review, I did purchase another one of these particular poppers in hopes of being able to do a longer roast to "first crack" without any modifications to the thermostat. However, the new popper that i received has not only been able to get to "first crack" within 3 minutes, but is also capable of roasting the beans to "second crack" without any modifications to the thermostat. (unlike my first popper that I purchased) Obviously, these are not tightly regulated at the factory so it is possible that some of you might receive a popper that will get hot enough to reach "second crack" without having to make the thermostat modifications. I suppose it is just the luck of the draw.

Having two poppers has been nice, especially this time of the year since I am roasting coffee for family and friends as Christmas gifts. Something worthy of mentioning to you up and coming roasters, as I know this is an obvious statement but one cannot assume...if you do roast coffee beans, do not do it inside. It is very messy and I have been "told" that the odor of the cooking beans seems to become embedded in the walls, carpet and ceiling...for a very long time. With that said, it is the winter months and as such, roasting outside becomes problematic in that the cold air being sucked up by the fan and forced passed the heating coils and into the cooking chamber, has a very negative affect on roast times and in some cases, I was not even able to get to first crack...and the times that I did, the beans were roasted unevenly.

A way to overcome the above is to get a rather large box (much taller and much wider than the popcorn popper. Place the box over the popcorn popper without sealing the bottom of the box. (By not sealing up the bottom of the box, it allows you to quickly lift the box straight up and out of the way when you need to remove the beans from the cooker.) As you roast the beans, fold over the top flaps of the box, so that the expelled heat from the popper is trapped inside the box and drawn back up into the popcorn popper. This will allow you folks in the colder states to achieve proper and even roasting of the beans.

Warning!!! Fire Hazard!!! Do not leave the popper aware that not only is the popcorn popper recirculating the hot air, but it is also sucking up the expelled chaffe which can cause a fire and or block all the intake vents, causing a nasty overheat/meltdown situation. To combat this issue, you can take some cheese cloth and place it over the bottom of the popper to act as a filter. I use a rubber band around the base of my popper to hold the cheese cloth in place.

Lastly, you are putting high heat temps into a cardboard box...while I have never caught a box on fire, be aware that this is a possibility. Please use common sense and defer to my disclaimer in my original review, up above. Accountability and responsibility for your own actions. A novel concept, I know.

Thanks for reading my review...happy roasting my friends!
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on July 24, 2016
I used this for making popcorn and for roasting coffee beans. It was fantastic for both! I was a little worried that it would be too small, but it is absolutely perfect. Also, it has the on/off switch which many models lack.. I am very pleased!
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on May 9, 2017
Makes popcorn like a champ. So easy to use, practically anyone can make popcorn for themselves. The butter dish on top is perfect for warming up the butter while popping sweet kernels of deliciousness.
2 people found this helpful
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on August 10, 2013
Sometimes you just have to learn the hard way. I had read the other reviews that said it was noisy but thought "how bad could it be?" Well, it's noisy. What's worse is that it takes forever to pop corn. It was going to be a coffee roaster but didn't get hot enough to really roast properly - the beans darkened after about 15 minutes but never audibly "popped" as they should. And the lid does soften when heated. And did I mention the plastic stink? Usually a heating appliance will stink a bit when it first heats up but clears up. This one stinks and stinks. My kitchen smelled like a chemical factory - and I'm supposed to eat this stuff?

At least it has an on/off switch. This was actually the reason I picked it.

Just get a poplite and be done with it. Zero stars.
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on August 21, 2011
I have a Presto air popper, which worked well on popcorn. However, the grains of sorghum were so light they got blown out of the popper before they popped. The Air Crazy is built different. Instead of blowing hot air up from the bottom through a mesh like the Presto, the air comes in through vents in a solid aluminum cylinder from the sides. The tiny grains of sorghum are only circulated in the Air Crazy. As with other means of popping sorghum, you only get about 70% popped. And since the popped kernels are so small, they don't get easily blown out of the popper. You have to tip it while they pop so they fall into a bowl. I haven't tried to just leave it so that the grains build up in the popper so I don't know if they would burn. Still when compared to popping them in my Stir Crazy, popping in a pot with continuous stirring or trying my microwave powerpop - this is by far the best and easiest method and no oil needed.
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