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Coffee Roasting with a Hottop

July 5, 2009

I’ve finally replaced my popcorn popper coffee roaster with the Hottop KN-8828B drum roaster. Why? The most pressing reason was the need for larger batch sizes. The Poppery could only handle up to 4.2 ounces at a time, and doing back-to-back roasts made the second batch go way too quickly- often with no time between the first and second crack. You could approximate a roast profile manually by flipping the heat switch on/off, but most of the time its just roasted too quickly- and you have several under developed beans.

Why the Hottop? It does 9oz at a time, very evenly. It does internal voltage monitoring, so you don’t need to mess with a Variac. I’m also into light roast coffee lately, and the Hottop has a really slick cooling cycle to stop the roast really quickly. Here’s a short clip initiating the cool mode manually- embedded below. The high pitches “pop” sounds are the beans in second crack (this particular bean called for a darker roast than most I favor):

Its quieter than the Poppery, so hearing subtle cracks is not an issue- and it has a nice viewing window to keep tabs on progress.

But it does have its down sides. It is higher maintenance than a Poppery, with not one but two proprietary filters that eventually need replacing. It also has anti-lawsuit programming: when certain temperatures are reached, you need to hit a button within a short timeframe or it dumps the beans, whether you like it or not (due to potential fire hazard.) Lastly, the internal temperature monitoring is inaccurate, and while there is a fully programmable model, it should be avoided.

However, I am happy with it. It makes really good coffee with practically no effort (if you choose to roast on Auto), yet has plenty of room to grow with its option to save roast profiles. If you’re just getting into coffee roasting, I’d still suggest a popcorn popper to learn the ropes. Once you graduate from that, the Hottop is a solid machine.


From → Brewing

  1. Dave permalink

    These guys have some pretty neat how-tos and videos…

  2. Good post!
    Thank you!

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