Our all-time favorite popper-roaster, the West Bend Poppery 2, is becoming harder to find; it was discontinued years ago and has only been available in thrift stores and on ebay. The hunt for an affordable air popcorn popper that works as a coffee roaster has become quite a hassle in some areas. There are still poppers that are sold at Walgreens, Target or other stores that can work; but they can be hit or miss since they are all built differently and might not be available.
For this reason, we decided to test the waters and offer an air popper. The West Bend Air Crazy beat out the other poppers we tested. Any popper you use for roasting will eventually wear down due to the amount of time the motor and heating element need to stay on. Roasting with a popper is a very much a DIY method but we think you will get better results in comparison to using a frying pan or a stovetop popcorn popper. The one popper that we have abused the most (since 2011) is starting to resist getting to second crack but is still roasting coffee. Consecutive roasts are not recommended as they are a good way to burn out the fan and heating element. Although using an air popper is a good way to get started, we don't consider them to be up to par with machines actually made for coffee roasting.
So, with that said, we are offering a hot air popcorn popper to use as a home coffee roaster. The hard facts:
- Hot air popcorn poppers are not made for coffee roasting.
- The manufacturer’s warranty will be voided when you use it for anything other than popping corn.
- Please keep in mind that we are selling this as the best popper we know of but it won’t last forever. Unless the machine is DOA (Dead On Arrival), we cannot accept any returns or honor any refunds.
- All poppers are different and you might need to add an extension cord, or roast in a cooler place (or vice versa) to slow down or heat up the roast. This is strictly a DIY method.
So, Caveat Emptor! (Let the Buyer Beware!) Do we sound ambivalent about selling these? We are.
Be sure to read the details page on using a hot air popper - there are two videos there to show the process so you know what to expect. Also every roaster we sell ships with a Tip Sheet, Download the Air Popper Tip Sheet Here.
If you decide to purchase and Air Crazy from another retailer, be sure that it is not the one with mesh at the bottom of the roast chamber. Westbend makes 2 models with identical names. We tested the one with the mesh and it's nearly impossible to roast coffee in it. Click here to see how you can tell the difference.
|Batch Size||Half of a cup (about 80 grams) is a good amount to start with|
|Control||None, other than a little manual shaking|
|Roast Time||A batch should will range from about 5 to 12 minutes|
|Heating Source||Heat created from a hot coil is blown into the chamber through vents.|
|Height/Width/Depth||12" x 4" x 6.5|
|Volts/Watts||120v / 1040w|
|Pros||Inexpensive; Small batches mean more variety; 1st and 2nd cracks are easy to hear; roast process is very easy to see.|
|Cons||You need to find a way to manage the airborne chaff; inconsistant roasts due to many variables; manual cooling|
|Warranty||The manufacturer's warranty will be voided when used for anything other than popping corn|