The Whirley Pop 6 Quart stovetop popper happens to be a competent coffee roaster (in the right hands) and has been our standby stovetop roaster for years. This is the same stovetop popper you will read about in Home Coffee Roasting by Ken Davids.
While this method is completely manual (you need to adjust the heat, crank the popper consistently, and dump your roasted coffee into a colander in order to cool it, you will appreciate roasting more than 8oz. of coffee at a time (much more than an air popper, FreshRoast or Nesco).
This method can do a full range of roast levels but even with constant agitation it can take some practice to get even results. Stovetop roasters are better suited for darker roasts (great for espresso). It does produce smoke (more coffee + darker roasts = more smoke) but a good range hood will handle it. You can also use this method on a gas camp stove or other portable heat sources. It makes great popcorn too!
Don't forget to add a thermometer to your order. It's easy to install. Just punch a hole in the popper's lid and insert the thermometer.
The Whirley-Pop is light-gauge aluminum but it is the best designed stovetop popper for roasting coffee out there. The plastic gears work well provided you don't overheat it, and the thin wire agitator is more jam-free than the paddle type ones. Check out our extended review.
Click here to watch a video recorded from a live broadcast we did where we roasted a batch in a Whirley Pop and discussed some useful roasting techniques.
It comes with a tip sheet. You can download it here too.
|Batch Size||8oz+ (225 grams+) yielding 6.8oz+ (190 grams+) of roasted coffee|
|Control||100% Conduction roasting with manual agitation|
|Roast Time||10+ minutes|
|Heating Source||Stovetop, gas or electric, campfire....|
|Height/Width/Depth||8" x 9" x 17.5"|
|Pros||Inexpensive way to roast a lot of coffee; it's fun if you like to be hands-on; you have full control over your airflow, heat and agitation. Good visibility easy to hear the cracks.|
|Cons||A lot of cranking. Difficult to get even results. No chaff handling. Very smoky especially with larger batch sizes or darker roasts.|
|Warranty||90-day pan/wooden part and 25-year mechanical part warranty are voided once you use it for coffee|