Coffee roasting at home has never been more accessible, and one of the most versatile tools for this task is a popcorn popper.
In this blog post, we’ll explore the world of coffee bean roasting with these 8 budget-friendly appliances, highlighting their simplicity, affordability, and ability to yield exceptional coffee flavors.
Whether you’re a seasoned coffee connoisseur or a novice looking to embark on a flavorful journey, these popcorn poppers are your gateway to a custom coffee experience.
Let’s get started!
8 Best Popcorn Poppers For Roasting Coffee Beans: At A Glance
- Wabash Valley Farms Stovetop Popcorn Popper: Best Overall
- Franklin’s Original Whirley Pop Stovetop Popcorn Popper: Runner-Up
- Hamilton Beach 73400 Electric Hot Air Popcorn Popper: Best Value For Money
- West Bend Stir Crazy 82505 Electric Popcorn Machine: Best Budget Option
- Zippy Pop Red Stovetop Popcorn Popper: Easiest To Clean
- DASH Hot Air Popcorn Popper Maker: Best For Ease Of Use
- Nostalgia APH200 Air-Pop Popcorn Maker: Best Compact Option
- Norpro Old Time Popcorn Popper: Best Build Quality
1. Wabash Valley Farms Stovetop Popcorn Popper: Best Overall
Our top pick for coffee roasting is the Whirley Pop Stovetop Popcorn Popper, and it’s a favorite for a good reason.
This popcorn popper is designed with a patented stirring system that ensures your popcorn won’t burn – it moves every kernel until it pops, expanding up to 42 times its original size!
Cleanup is a breeze too.
This sturdy aluminum popper, featuring a stay-cool wooden handle and a nylon stirring system, just needs a quick wipe with a paper towel before storing it for later use.
But it’s not just for popcorn; this versatile popper can roast up to 6 quarts of coffee beans in just 3 minutes.
Plus, it’s backed by an impressive 25-year warranty.
As a bonus, the Whirley Pop Stovetop Popcorn Popper comes with a complete movie theater popping kit.
This kit includes fresh popping corn, a secret buttery salt, and gourmet popping oil, so you can enjoy delicious movie-style popcorn right at home.
However, there are a couple of minor drawbacks to consider.
Some users have reported that the temperature can rise too quickly, but this can be easily managed by lowering the stovetop heat.
Another issue is that the nylon stirring system is made of plastic and may not be as durable as desired.
When testing, it worked well for smaller quantities of coffee beans but might struggle if you’re roasting more than half a pound.
Thankfully, Wabash offers replacement gears for these issues
- A patented stirring system prevents burning
- Quick and easy cleanup
- Roasts up to 6 quarts of coffee beans in 3 minutes
- Backed by a 25-year warranty
- Includes a movie theater popping kit
- The temperature may rise too quickly (adjustable)
- The nylon stirring system is less durable for larger quantities
2. Franklin’s Original Whirley Pop Stovetop Popcorn Popper: Runner-Up
The Franklin’s Original Whirley Pop Stovetop Popcorn Popper is your trusty companion for popcorn making, built to endure and consistently deliver mouthwatering results.
Crafted from durable aluminum with all-metal gears, it’s a long-lasting addition to your kitchen.
The stirring mechanism ensures your coffee beans won’t stick, making the roasting process a breeze.
Using it is really simple, thanks to the smooth and easy-to-turn agitating hand crank.
This feature keeps every kernel ready to pop, ensuring each one is fresh and delicious.
Despite its durability, this popper is surprisingly lightweight, and its aluminum kettle efficiently spreads heat for speedy, evenly popped coffee beans.
With a generous six-quart capacity, you can roast a substantial batch of beans in one go.
The metal lid is a nifty touch – it flips up on both sides, allowing you to monitor your beans’ browning without losing too much heat.
While it requires hand washing, cleaning Franklin’s Whirley Pop is a breeze, and it even comes with a lifetime guarantee (though using it for coffee roasting may void that warranty).
However, a few users mentioned that the lid can be somewhat flimsy and prone to dislodging during roasting.
Additionally, it’s worth noting that this popper is a bit pricier compared to the original Whirley-Pop Popper.
- Durable aluminum construction
- All-metal gears for longevity
- Effortless stirring mechanism
- Lightweight and even heat distribution
- Six-quart capacity for large batches
- Dual-flip metal lid for easy monitoring
- Lifetime guarantee (excluding coffee roasting)
- The lid can be flimsy and dislodges easily
- Relatively higher price compared to the original Whirley-Pop Popper
- The potential of the warranty being voided
3. Hamilton Beach 73400 Electric Hot Air Popcorn Popper: Best Value For Money
This kitchen appliance elevates your popcorn game by using hot air instead of oil, creating a healthier munching option.
It’s capable of popping a generous 18 cups of popcorn in a single batch and even includes a built-in measuring cup that doubles as a butter-melting companion.
The best part? Cleanup is a breeze.
Once the unit has cooled down, you can easily wash the popping chute and measuring cup in warm soapy water.
The popcorn pops directly into your preferred bowl, simplifying both serving and cleanup.
But that’s not all – you have the freedom to customize your snack just the way you like it, whether you’re aiming for a healthy treat or something more indulgent.
Drizzle melted butter and a pinch of salt for the classic flavor, or get creative with options like Parmesan cheese, chili powder, or cinnamon sugar.
You can even take it a step further by adding popcorn to roasted nuts, chocolate chips, and dried fruit to whip up a satisfying trail mix.
And let’s talk speed – this appliance is no slouch.
As soon as you plug it in, you’ll be munching on delicious popcorn in just a few short minutes.
However, it’s essential to consider a couple of downsides.
Firstly, it tends to be rather loud, which can be a bit of a noise nuisance.
Secondly, some users have reported that the machine has a tendency to overheat quickly before it even gets a chance to pop a significant amount of popcorn, which can be a bit frustrating.
- Healthier popcorn with hot air, no oil needed
- Pops up to 18 cups per batch
- Built-in measuring and butter melting cup
- Easy cleanup with removable parts
- Customizable flavors and snack options
- Quick popcorn in just minutes
- Loud operation
- Overheating issues before popping begins
4. West Bend Stir Crazy 82505 Electric Popcorn Machine: Best Budget Option
If you’re after a hassle-free coffee bean roasting experience, the West Bend Stir Crazy 82505 Electric Popcorn Machine has got your back, at a budget price.
With just the push of a button, this electric popcorn popper takes care of the hard work for you, and it’s one of the best and most efficient options out there.
This popular machine can pop up to 6 quarts of popcorn in one go, thanks to its motorized stir rod that ensures even popping.
It also has a smart automatic reversal feature that prevents kernels from getting stuck.
What’s also neat is that the clear, vented cover doubles as a popcorn serving bowl.
With 850 watts of popping power and durable, BPA-free materials, it’s built to last.
The triple-layer heating plate heats up rapidly and ensures a consistent roast.
Plus, the transparent lid allows you to keep an eye on your roast’s progress, helping you achieve your desired roast level.
One thing to note: it’s recommended to use vegetable oil instead of butter, margarine, lard, or shortening to avoid burning the corn or causing smoke during popping.
On the downside, this popcorn maker is a bit on the bulky and heavy side, measuring 13″ W x 10″ L x 10″ H and weighing around 4.4 pounds.
If space-saving is a priority, this might not be the ideal choice for you.
- Effortless one-button operation
- Efficiently pops up to 6 quarts
- Motorized stir rod for even popping
- Automatic kernel prevention
- Clear lid for easy monitoring
- Durable and BPA-free construction
- Rapid, even heating for uniform roasting
- Bulky and heavy design (13″ W x 10″ L x 10″ H, 4.4 pounds)
- Recommended to use vegetable oil to avoid burning and smoke
5. Zippy Pop Red Stovetop Popcorn Popper: Easiest To Clean
The Zippy Pop Red Stovetop Popcorn Popper is another great hassle-free stovetop popcorn popper.
Crafted with premium aluminum and sporting a non-stick interior, this popper has a 4-quart capacity, making it perfect for your snack cravings.
What sets it apart is the patented top-mounted tumbler, armed with a stationary baffle and propeller arms that expertly coat every kernel or snack with your favorite seasonings or toppings.
To make things even more exciting, it comes with a non-slip silicone-rimmed, vented tempered glass lid.
This lid features a nifty flavor port, allowing you to easily add ingredients for culinary adventures like candy-bar popcorn, chili lime popcorn, toasted coconut cashews, classic party mixes, or your very own gourmet creations.
The other thing that we love about the lid is that it’s also see-through, so you can check on the color of your beans without losing any heat.
Cleaning up is a breeze since the aluminum body has a handy non-stick interior and is entirely dishwasher-safe.
Plus, the Zippy requires less oil than traditional popcorn makers, giving you the power to craft healthier snacks with precision.
Now, onto the minor downsides.
Some users have noted that the paddles inside don’t quite reach the edges of the pot, occasionally requiring a shake for even popping.
Additionally, the popper’s kettle is on the smaller side, which means you may need to do multiple batches for larger quantities.
Lastly, despite its smaller capacity, the five-and-a-half-quart model does have a bit of heft, weighing over three pounds.
- Premium aluminum construction
- Patented top-mounted tumbler for even coating
- Vented tempered glass lid with flavor port
- Non-stick interior and dishwasher-safe
- Requires less oil for healthier snacks
- Has a see-through glass lid for easy monitoring
- Paddles may not reach edges, and occasional shaking needed
- Smaller kettle size for roasting beans, multiple batches may be required
- Heavier than expected for its smaller capacity
6. DASH Hot Air Popcorn Popper Maker: Best For Ease Of Use
The DASH Hot Air Popcorn Popper Maker is another quick and easy solution for making popcorn.
This kitchen appliance harnesses hot air to cook the popcorn, minimizing the need for additional oil, which is great for those seeking a healthier snack option.
With the capacity to produce up to 16 cups of popcorn at once and a nifty measuring cup that also serves as a butter melting tray, it’s a versatile addition for coffee enthusiasts, small coffee shops, or anyone interested in casual coffee bean roasting.
Designed in the vibrant city of NYC, this popper boasts non-slip feet for stability.
In terms of performance, it excels at roasting most beans, although occasionally, a few coffee beans may remain unroasted.
One thing to note is that it operates relatively loudly.
On the bright side, cleaning is a breeze because the roasting chamber is easy to remove and clean, making it a convenient addition to any home coffee roasting setup.
- Quick and easy popcorn-making
- Uses hot air, reducing the need for added oil
- Capable of making up to 16 cups at once
- Versatile for coffee roasting
- Non-slip feet for stability
- Easy-to-clean roasting chamber
- Occasional unroasted coffee beans
- Relatively loud operation
7. Nostalgia APH200 Air-Pop Popcorn Maker: Best Compact Option
The Nostalgia APH200 Air-Pop Popcorn Maker is a compact countertop wonder that churns out healthy, air-popped popcorn using hot air instead of oil.
This tabletop-sized machine can whip up a whopping 16 cups of popcorn per batch, making it an ideal companion for parties, gatherings, or cozy family nights at home.
Perfectly sized for apartments, dorms, and campers, its unique popping chamber design creates swirling airflow, resulting in fewer unpopped kernels.
This popper works seamlessly with all Nostalgia popcorn kits and even includes a measuring cap that moonlights as a butter melting tray, ensuring you get the right amount of kernels to avoid overfill.
When it comes to roasting coffee beans, the fan in this model does a commendable job of stirring them without blowing them away.
The clear plastic top allows you to keep a close eye on your beans as they roast.
Speaking of roasting, it’s pretty speedy, taking around four minutes for a medium roast and eight or nine minutes for a dark roast.
However, there are a couple of points to consider.
Some users have noted that due to the circulating air in the chamber, this popcorn popper can be quite loud, requiring you to raise your voice significantly when nearby.
Additionally, it can get quite hot if you roast several rounds in a row, so a break between batches might be necessary.
Lastly, its bean capacity is limited to about a quarter cup at a time, so multiple rounds are needed for larger quantities.
- Produces healthy, air-popped popcorn
- Compact and convenient for various settings
- Unique chamber design reduces unpopped kernels
- Works well with Nostalgia popcorn kits
- Efficient fan for coffee bean roasting
- Quick roasting times
- Can be fairly loud due to the circulating air
- Gets hot with continuous use, and may need breaks
- Limited bean capacity, multiple rounds required
8. Norpro Old Time Popcorn Popper: Best Build Quality
The Norpro Old Time Popcorn Popper is a delightful stovetop popcorn maker that lets you relive popcorn-making like the old days.
Crafted from rust-free aluminum, it’s built to withstand the test of time while adding a touch of nostalgia to your kitchen.
With its hand-crank stirrer, your popcorn keeps moving for even popping.
The crank gears are built from sturdy steel and feature a burn-free wood handle for safe handling.
This versatile popper can be used with or without oil, churning out 4 quarts (3.8 liters) of popcorn goodness.
Compact and weighing just 2.1 pounds, it’s a handy addition for those looking to roast smaller batches of beans.
However, there are a few things to keep in mind.
Its compact design and lightweight construction mean it’s not the sturdiest option out there, and it may not win any design awards.
Also, the thin aluminum sides of the kettle are prone to scratching and dings, and the bottom can warp when used on the stove.
- Nostalgic old-time popcorn-making experience
- Rust-free aluminum for durability
- Hand-crank stirrer for even popping
- Versatile use with or without oil
- Compact and easy to store
- Lightweight (2.1 pounds)
- Not the most robust design
- The kettle’s thin aluminum sides can scratch easily
- The bottom may warp on the stove
- Stirring gears are not the sturdiest
Choosing the Best Popcorn Poppers for Roasting Coffee Beans: A Comprehensive Buyer’s Guide
Roasting coffee beans at home can be a rewarding and cost-effective venture, and using a popcorn popper is a popular method for achieving excellent results.
However, not all popcorn poppers are created equal when it comes to coffee bean roasting.
To ensure you make the right choice, consider the following key factors:
Heat Source and Control
When selecting a popcorn popper for coffee roasting, you’ll want to pay attention to the heat source and the degree of control it offers.
Electric hot air poppers are a popular choice due to their consistent and controllable heat output.
Stovetop poppers, on the other hand, rely on direct flame, which can be less precise but allows for greater hands-on control.
Consider your level of experience and comfort with temperature adjustments when making your choice.
Coffee beans expand during roasting, so it’s crucial to choose a popper with an appropriate capacity for your needs.
Most hot air poppers can handle about 90-120 grams (3-4 ounces) of green coffee beans per batch, while stovetop poppers typically accommodate more significant quantities, up to half a pound or more.
Keep in mind that larger batches may require more attention and experience to roast evenly.
Effective bean agitation is essential for even roasting.
Look for poppers with stirring mechanisms that keep the beans moving throughout the roasting process.
Popcorn poppers equipped with stirring arms, baffles, or propellers are particularly effective at preventing uneven roasts.
Ventilation and Cooling
Proper ventilation and cooling are crucial to achieving the desired roast level and avoiding over-roasting.
Choose a popper that allows for good airflow to release smoke and chaff during the roast.
Some models have built-in cooling features, such as fans or extended cooling trays, which can help expedite the cooling process and prevent scorching.
Material and Durability
The material of your popcorn popper can impact its longevity and performance.
Look for durable materials like stainless steel or aluminum, which are less likely to warp or degrade over time.
Additionally, consider the quality of the stirring mechanism, ensuring it’s built to withstand the rigors of frequent roasting.
Ease of Cleaning
Roasting coffee beans can generate a fair amount of chaff, which can accumulate in the popper.
Select a popper with easy-to-clean components, like removable chaff trays or easily accessible interiors.
Keep in mind that some parts may require handwashing, so check for user-friendly cleaning features.
Some electric hot air poppers can be quite noisy during operation.
If noise is a concern for you, consider quieter models or stovetop poppers, which tend to produce less noise.
Safety is paramount, especially when dealing with hot surfaces and potentially flammable materials.
Ensure the popper has appropriate safety features like overheat protection or cool-touch handles.
Additionally, be aware of fire safety precautions and follow manufacturer guidelines when roasting coffee.
Price and Warranty
Popcorn poppers for coffee roasting come in a range of price points.
While cost can be a factor, prioritize quality and features that align with your roasting goals.
Also, check for manufacturer warranties, which can provide peace of mind in case of any unexpected issues.
What Are The Different Types Of Popcorn Makers?
In the world of popcorn makers, you’ll find various types to suit your popping preferences:
Hot-Air Popcorn Poppers
These handy countertop poppers use hot air to make popcorn, resulting in a healthier snack without the need for oil.
They’re a breeze to operate and clean.
Stovetop Popcorn Poppers
Crafted from aluminum or stainless steel, these pot-like poppers come with a lid and a crank.
The crank keeps the kernels in motion, preventing burning and sticking.
Electric Popcorn Poppers
If speed and convenience are your priorities, electric poppers have got you covered.
They come in two primary types:
- Air Poppers: Utilizing a high-temperature fan, they work swiftly.
- Stirring Popcorn Makers: These employ a stirring arm, cooking oil, and a nonstick hot plate to create delectable popcorn.
Microwave Popcorn Poppers
Made of silicone, these nifty gadgets are perfect for microwave use, offering hassle-free popcorn popping.
Movie Theater-Style Popcorn Poppers
For large-scale popcorn production, look no further than these robust machines designed for commercial settings.
They churn out popcorn quickly, reminiscent of the movie theater experience.
These mobile popcorn makers are ideal for events and parties, adding a touch of nostalgia to your gatherings.
A Comprehensive Guide: How to Use a Popcorn Popper to Roast Coffee Beans
Roasting coffee beans with a popcorn popper is a rewarding and cost-effective way to enjoy freshly roasted coffee.
Follow these step-by-step instructions to roast your beans to perfection:
Ingredients and Equipment:
- Green coffee beans
- Popcorn popper (stovetop or electric)
- Measuring cup or kitchen scale
- Cooling tray or metal colander
- Oven mitts or heat-resistant gloves
- Fire extinguisher (for safety)
Step 1: Choose the Right Popper
Start by selecting a popcorn popper suitable for coffee roasting.
Electric hot air poppers and stovetop poppers with stirring mechanisms are preferred options.
Ensure that the popper is clean and free from any popcorn residue.
Step 2: Measure Your Coffee Beans
Determine the amount of coffee beans you want to roast.
A typical starting point is around 90-120 grams (3-4 ounces) of green coffee beans per batch.
You can adjust the quantity based on your popper’s capacity and preferences.
Step 3: Preheat the Popper
Preheat your popcorn popper to the appropriate temperature for coffee roasting.
For electric hot air poppers, simply plug them in and allow them to reach their maximum temperature.
For stovetop poppers, set the burner to medium-high heat.
Step 4: Add the Coffee Beans
Place the measured green coffee beans into the preheated popcorn popper.
Ensure an even layer of beans for consistent roasting.
Avoid overfilling, as the beans need room to expand during the roast.
Step 5: Monitor the Roast
As the coffee beans roast, they will go through several stages: drying, yellowing, first crack, and beyond.
Keep a close eye on the beans and listen for the distinct “first crack” sound, which signifies the beginning of the roast.
Note that some beans may undergo a “second crack” for a darker roast.
Step 6: Control Roast Level
To control the roast level, you can adjust the roasting time.
For a lighter roast, stop the roast shortly after the first crack.
For a medium roast, continue roasting until the beans reach your desired level.
For a dark roast, extend the roasting time beyond the second crack.
Step 7: Cool the Beans
Quickly transfer the roasted coffee beans to a cooling tray or metal colander.
This step is crucial to halt the roasting process and prevent over-roasting.
Shake the beans gently or stir them to facilitate cooling.
Step 8: Remove Chaff and Rest
After cooling, you may notice chaff (the papery outer layer) on the beans.
Remove any remaining chaff by gently blowing on the beans or using a fine mesh strainer.
Allow the beans to rest for a few hours to release any residual gases.
Step 9: Store Your Freshly Roasted Coffee
Once your coffee beans have rested, transfer them to an airtight container to preserve freshness.
Wait at least 12-24 hours before grinding and brewing your freshly roasted coffee for the best flavor.
- Always roast coffee beans in a well-ventilated area to dissipate smoke.
- Use oven mitts or heat-resistant gloves when handling hot poppers.
- Have a fire extinguisher on hand as a safety precaution.
- Follow the manufacturer’s guidelines and safety recommendations for your specific popcorn popper.
Why Should You Roast Your Own Coffee Beans?
Roasting your coffee beans at home offers several compelling reasons to consider.
Let’s take a look at some of the main reasons why you’d want to roast your own coffee beans at home:
Roasting coffee beans at home ensures that you have the freshest coffee possible.
Coffee beans start to lose flavor and aroma shortly after roasting, and commercial coffee may sit on shelves for weeks or months.
Home roasting allows you to enjoy coffee at its peak freshness.
When you roast your coffee, you have control over the roast level and flavor profile.
You can experiment with different beans and roast styles to create a coffee that suits your personal taste preferences.
Buying green coffee beans is often more affordable than purchasing roasted beans.
Home roasting can be a budget-friendly way to enjoy high-quality coffee without breaking the bank.
Home roasting fills your kitchen with the delightful aroma of fresh coffee beans.
It’s an aromatic experience that adds to the overall enjoyment of coffee preparation.
Roasting coffee at home is an educational journey.
You’ll learn about the different stages of roasting, how beans develop flavor, and gain a deeper appreciation for the coffee you consume.
The Verdict: Which Popcorn Popper Is Best?
In summary, we’ve selected the Wabash Valley Farms Stovetop Popcorn Popper as our Best Overall choice due to its excellent performance, durability, and ease of use.
The Franklin’s Original Whirley Pop Stovetop Popcorn Popper earns the Runner-Up position for its lasting quality and efficient roasting.
For those seeking affordability without compromising quality, the Hamilton Beach 73400 Electric Hot Air Popcorn Popper is our top pick for Best Value For Money, delivering convenience and healthier popcorn options.
Can I roast coffee beans with any type of popcorn popper?
Not all popcorn poppers are suitable for coffee bean roasting.
It’s recommended to use a popcorn popper that has a built-in stirring mechanism, as this helps ensure even roasting.
Electric hot air poppers and stovetop poppers with stirring arms are popular choices for coffee roasting.
Can I use a microwave popcorn popper for roasting coffee beans?
While microwave popcorn poppers are convenient for making popcorn, they are not typically suitable for coffee bean roasting.
They lack the necessary agitation and temperature control for even roasting.
In addition, the plastic can give the beans a more unpleasant taste.
It’s best to use dedicated popcorn poppers.
Can I roast large batches of coffee beans with a popcorn popper?
Yes, however, the roasting capacity of a popcorn popper varies depending on the type and model.
Hot air poppers typically handle smaller quantities, while stovetop poppers can roast larger batches.
If you plan to roast significant amounts of coffee, consider a popcorn popper with a higher capacity to save time and effort.
How do I clean a stovetop popcorn popper after roasting coffee beans?
Cleaning a stovetop popcorn popper after roasting coffee beans involves removing any residual chaff and oils.
Allow the popper to cool, then disassemble it, if possible.
Wash the parts with warm, soapy water, paying attention to the roasting chamber and stirring mechanism.
Ensure thorough drying before storage.
How long does it take to roast coffee beans in a popcorn popper?
Roasting coffee beans in a popcorn popper takes between 4-10 minutes, depending on the desired roast level, the amount of beans being roasted, and the specific popcorn popper being used.