Alex has never been professionally involved into the world of coffee, however he knows much more than any average barista. Being an avid coffee lover, Alex is constantly searching for new tips, tools, and techniques to make his morning cup of java even more perfect.
Mary has been dealing with coffee almost all her life long: in her teenage years, she worked as a barista in a number of well-known coffeehouses, later developing her knowledge and skills while studying at the university as well. Several years after graduation, she managed to open her own small coffee bar.
Last updated: March 29, 2021
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Behind water and tea, coffee is the third most consumed beverage in the world. Millions of coffee fans consume this caffeinated drink, themselves. The first part of this process is roasting the beans, and many people enjoy doing this on their own because they can control the flavor profile of the beans to match their tastes. But how can you roast coffee in your kitchen? The answer is simple – you can use a popcorn popper for that!
In this review of the best popcorn poppers for roasting coffee, we take a thorough look at six of the best popcorn poppers units on the market. We kick things off with our editor’s choice, the classic Whirley-Pop Popper Kit and we absolutely love it for the tremendous value you get for this popper as it will give you even roast for any type of coffee blend you want to make. We also fancy its simple design, and if it breaks within the next 25 years, you’re covered under warranty!
Among the six popcorn poppers we reviewed, we’ve focused on a few of the features we thought were essential for roasting coffee. First of all, we took a closer look at the type of popcorn popper. Next, we considered the capacity of the units as it determines how big can be a batch of coffee beans you can roast. Lastly, we took into account the weight and dimensions because you will need to find some space to store these units when you’re not using them. After our in-depth reviews of each product, we’ll present you with our buying guide, which will include lots of other important factors to think of when purchasing the best popcorn popper for roasting coffee beans.
This popper is our editor’s choice for roasting coffee for a good reason. It is made of solid aluminum material that can heat up quickly (within a few minutes) and can withstand the high temperatures of the stovetop. Although some people stated that the temperature rises up too quickly, this minor issue can be mitigated by simply lowering the stovetop heat. Once the beans are inside the popper, the aluminum material really helps to maintain a consistent level of heat throughout the popper to make sure that those beans are being evenly roasted.
It also features a very effective stirring mechanism, which allows you to roast your coffee at a nice steady pace and to a roast of your liking – either lighter or darker roast.
Given its relatively low price for a stovetop popper, it has a deep six-quart capacity which is great for roasting a decent-sized batch of beans. At 16.5 inches wide, 8 inches high, and weighing in at 1.68 pounds, this popper is really light, and its modest size can be stored in conventional spaces.
Another wonderful option for roasting coffee is Franklin’s Original Whirley Pop Stovetop Popcorn Popper. Franklin’s Whirley Pop Popcorn Popper is similar to the original Whirley-Pop Popper except for this one is a bit pricey. It has the same capacity of six-quarts, which should give you a big batch of freshly roasted beans. The stirring mechanism prevents beans from sticking to the pot, and the heat from the stovetop has an even distribution that prevents the beans from burning.
Franklin’s Whirley Pop Popper sports an all-aluminum design as well and like the original Whirley-Pop Popper. Unfortunately, a few people noted that the lid can be flimsy and can get dislodged quite easily during the roasting process.
This stovetop popcorn popper by Franklin is a bit on the heavier side, weighing in at 2.7 pounds, which makes it sturdier. The non-stick feature of this popper makes it a breeze to clean as well. In case you ever had any problems with this popper, it is backed by a lifetime warranty.
The first electric popcorn popper to make our list is the West Bend Stir Crazy 82505. Like all electric popcorn poppers, the Stir Crazy takes all of the manual labor out of the coffee roasting process and does its job with the simple push of a button. And with the Stir Crazy popcorn popper, you’re getting one of the best and most efficient electric poppers.
Thanks to its triple-layer heating plate, it heats up quickly and provides more even and uniform roast. It features a non-stick coating inside of the popper and a motorized stirring rod. The transparent lid allows you to see how your roast is turning out and can give you a really good idea of when your beans are approaching the roast level you’re looking for.
In terms of size, you can produce quite the big batch of coffee beans with its six-quart capacity. However, this is a motorized electric appliance, and it does weigh more than your stovetop poppers as it weighs 4.4 pounds.
The Zippy Pop Red Stovetop Popcorn Popper is a robust and durable stovetop popcorn popper made of aluminum. Its non-stick coating makes it easy to clean and dishwasher friendly.
It has an exceptional tumbling mechanism where you rotate the knob with a circular motion. With slow and steady motions, you will be able to get a level roast. The only downside some people mention of the mechanism is that the paddles inside don’t quite reach the edges of the pot, which is why you may require to shake the popper. Nevertheless, others had no problems with roasting their beans.
The four-quart capacity of this stovetop popper allows for a good-size batch of beans to be roasted. The clear, see-through top allows you to watch in real-time the progress of your roast.
Even though its capacity is less than the Whirley-Pop Popper, it weighs nearly a pound more, at 2.62 total pounds. Relatively speaking, it’s not that heavy, and its size is almost 15 inches wide (not including the handle) and 8.4 inches tall. Because of its shape resembling a cooking pot, you can safely store it with your other pots and pans.
The Nostalgia APH 200 Air-Pop Popcorn Maker is the first hot air popper on our list and is just another great choice for roasting coffee. This appliance makes the coffee roasting process much easier and quicker because it reaches the high temperatures faster than the other methods (stovetop and electric) and this, in turn, will roast your beans in no time.
The APH 200’s sleek and compact vertical design allows it to be conveniently placed anywhere near an electrical outlet and takes very little space. It is extremely lightweight as well, weighing 1.8 pounds, and the package includes a measuring cup that allows you to roast the optimal amount of beans.
A few users of the APH 200 Air-Pop Popcorn Maker have remarked that due to the circulating air in the chamber, this popcorn popper can be fairly loud to the point where you’ll have to raise your voice significantly to be able to speak with someone nearby.
The Norpro Old Time Popcorn Popper is another good stovetop popper option for roasting your coffee beans. It is similar in design and functionality to the original Whirley-Pop Popper. The Norpro Popcorn Popper is made of non-rusting aluminum, which creates a magnificent heat distribution inside the pot. Its crank gears are made of metal and come with a wooden handle.
The design of this popper is more compact as it is much narrower, yet, taller than the aforementioned classical Whirley-Pop Popper. Because of its size, the capacity is also reduced to four-quarts. It has a compact design, which makes it simple to store, and its weight is just 2.1 pounds. Therefore, we recommend this popper if you want to roast smaller batches of beans.
Unfortunately, due to the compact design and lightweight construction, the unit is not very robust.
Why did it make our list?
Compact and light
Made of non-rusting aluminum
Perfect for roasting small batches of beans
What is not ideal about it?
Not very robust
Things to Consider
In this review, we took a look at six of the best popcorn poppers. We explored three different types of popcorn poppers, the stovetop, the electric, and the air pop poppers. Each of these poppers has their own benefits, and we’ve given you the pros and cons of each product to help you decide, which one suits your needs. If you’re still hesitating and have a few more questions, check out the next few sections which may help you with your decision-making process.
Popcorn popper coffee roasting or pre-roasted coffee beans?
When it comes to coffee, everyone has their own specific tastes and preferences. For those who like to make coffees themselves, there are a few options to roast the coffee beans. One of the ways is to roast coffee with a popcorn popper. This process is simple, especially if you have any of the six popcorn poppers that we have reviewed in this article. Throughout the roasting process, you’ll be able to monitor the progress and can stop at any time it reaches your desired taste preference, for example, lighter roasts or darker roasts. Thus, the main benefit of roasting coffee beans by yourself using a popcorn popper is the control you have over the process and the freshness of the beverage.
On the other hand, some people aren’t really into the homemade roasting process and opting to buy pre-roasted coffee beans. The only problem with pre-roasted coffee beans is that they start losing their aromas the second they are roasted and packed. Depending on when the beans were roasted, this could lead the beans to become stale and not having the full-body flavor that other coffee drinkers prefer.
So, when deciding whether to roast your coffee using a popcorn popper or purchasing pre-roasted beans, it really just comes down to personal preferences and tastes. If you’re one who loves the freshest coffee, do the complete coffee-making process yourself. If you don’t mind the pre-roasted beans losing a bit of its flavor after the packaging, then choose this option.
How to pick the best popcorn popper for roasting coffee
As we have already mentioned, everything depends on your needs. To help you with your decision, we will take a look at features like types of poppers, their capacity to be able to roast larger batches of beans, weight and dimensions, which are crucial to consider because the unit will require some storage space. Furthermore, we will pay attention to the durability of the products and other important characteristics. We hope that you will get all the important information and get the answers to any questions. Let’s get started!
Types of popcorn poppers
In our review of the best popcorn popper for roasting coffee beans, we’ve taken a look at six different popper products and three different types of poppers. We reviewed four different stovetop units, like Franklin’s Original Whirley Pop Stovetop Popcorn Popper. This kind of poppers requires a stove to be put on. You wait a bit for it to heat up to start the coffee roasting process. Then, you turn a stirring mechanism handle manually.
The second type of popcorn popper we looked at was the electric popper. The West Best Stir Crazy 82505 fell into this category, and it is great because all you have to do to get a perfect coating, is to press the button. It does not require a stove as it produces an impressive amount of heat in very little time. The heating throughout the roasting process is consistent, and you get a uniform roast.
The last type of popper we studied is the hot air popper. Arguably the best popcorn air popper for roasting coffee, the Nostalgia APH200 Air-Pop Popcorn Maker is a compact and impressive appliance that can effectively roast your coffee beans. The hot air circulates in the chamber to make the beans spin and produces a roast that is faster compared to other poppers. In addition, it has a lightweight construction.
Another important feature of the popcorn poppers is its capacity. The capacity of different poppers we reviewed ranged from four to six quarts or roughly 16 to 24 cups. This is plenty of space to be able to roast good-size batches of beans, and you’ll want to be careful with the number of coffee beans to put into the popcorn popper. Following the right level will ensure that the beans will be evenly roasted throughout the roasting process.
Putting in too many beans may leave a layer of unroasted beans at the bottom of the popcorn popper, so be sure to measure the coffee beans properly.
Generally speaking, these popcorn poppers are very light pieces of equipment and can be easily transported anywhere throughout your kitchen or house. Among the best popcorn poppers for roasting coffee beans, we took a look at, the weight of these products ranged between 1.8-4.4 pounds. Weight is essential to make the cleaning process easier too.
The popcorn poppers for roasting coffee beans come in all different shapes and sizes, but we can find some similarities among most of the ones we reviewed. Most of the other popcorn poppers have similar shapes and are relatively easy to store. In terms of how much storage space you’ll need to store your popcorn popper, you’ll have to find a space that is at least 18 inches tall, wide, and high because you’ll want to be able to fit those popcorn poppers that have either handles or stirring handles comfortably.
Depending on the type of popcorn popper you purchase (i.e., stovetop, air pop, electric), the durability can and will vary. Some models like the Franklin Original Whirley Pop Stovetop Popcorn Popper offer a lifetime warranty. In fact, you should be able to get at least a few years of usage out of these popcorn poppers by maintaining it well. The best way to prolong the life of your popcorn popper for roasting coffee is to clean it every time after use.
It can be just an absolute nightmare to wash the pots so they will rust and quickly lose their condition. For that reason, all of the popcorn poppers on our list can prevent sticking. Having the non-stick coating is amazing because you will not have to spend a lot of time to remove chunks of your beans from the sides or the bottom of the popper.
A few beans can get burned in your batches from time to time but burning a good amount of the beans will effectively ruin them so that you will have to do the whole roasting process again to brew your coffee.
The popcorn poppers that use some sort of a stirring mechanism are the stovetop and electric poppers. The air pop poppers do not need a stirring device and instead use a swirling airflow.
For stovetop poppers, the stirring mechanism must be manually rotated. It will require you to hold the handle in place with one hand while the other hand rotates the lever in a circular motion. This motion pushes the metal or aluminum crank paddles of the stovetop popper to stir the beans while roasting.
For electrical poppers, the work is done for you with the simple push of a button. The stirring rod inside of the electric popper is motorized and allows you to have a uniform and consistent bean coating.
All stovetop popcorn poppers come with two handles. The first one is to hold the popper in place and the second handle is needed to rotate the stirring mechanism inside to during the roasting. These handles are comfortable and easy to hold. They are designed to protect your fingers from the high temperature.
When choosing the best popcorn popper for roasting coffee beans, you should be mindful that this is not the only option for roasting your coffee beans. People generally prefer using a more traditional coffee roasting machines to roast their coffee beans. However, their sole purpose is for roasting coffee beans, and they are priced fairly higher than popcorn poppers. We took a look at some of the coffee roasting machines on Amazon and other e-commerce sites and for those with lots of good reviews (4.5 stars and above), they all cost at least $90 and above.
The popcorn poppers are traditionally used for popcorn only, but over the last decade, people have used them to roast their coffee beans. These products are much more affordable than coffee roasting machines. For example, our Editor’s Choice popcorn popper, the Whirley-Pop Popper Kit, will only cost you about $30. The most expensive option we reviewed, the Franklin’s Original Whirley Pop Stovetop Popcorn Popper, will only set you back roughly $50.
If the price is the determining factor when choosing a product to roast your coffee beans, you should definitely go for a popcorn popper.
This is a common question for coffee lovers who try to roast beans in a popcorn popper, and the best answer is that it depends on different factors. Let’s begin with the flavor profile of the beans you want to get. Do you enjoy darker roasts or lighter roast coffee? If you’re one who enjoys lighter roasts, which will come off tasting tangy and sweet, you’ll most likely be done your roasting in a popcorn popper in roughly 4-7 minutes. You’ll want to ensure that your roasted coffee beans have a light brown color for a light roast. But if you prefer a darker roast, which is bolder and a bit on the burnt side, anywhere from 7-10 minutes is enough. You’ll know it’s done when you see your beans getting a very dark brown (almost black) color.
In terms of washing these units, they are very wash-friendly and easy to maintain. Some of these popcorn poppers have an anti-sticking coating on them making it a breeze to clean. However, just remember, the unit itself is very hot after roasting the beans so it’s best to leave it for a few minutes before you begin washing them. You can wash them by hand using warm water and a wet cloth. You can even use the dishwasher to clean some of the units like the Zippy Pop Red Stovetop Popcorn Popper if that is easier for you.
It should go without saying that popcorn poppers were originally made for popcorn. However, if you’re able to maintain these popcorn poppers well and wash them after each and every use, they will last you a long time. Despite the low price tag, these units are quite durable. Some manufacturers have a warranty on their products. With Whirley-Pop Popper Kit, you will get a 25-year warranty while the Franklin Original Whirley Pop Stovetop Popcorn Popper has a lifetime warranty.
In the battle of best popcorn poppers for roasting coffee beans, we’ve taken a close look at six of the best units out there, but we’ve identified three of our favorites. The first place goes to our editor’s choice, the Whirley-Pop Popper Kit. Without a doubt, it is the best stovetop popcorn popper for roasting coffee beans. It has a marvelous design and a stirring mechanism that prevents the beans from burning. We loved its overall value as one of the cheapest and popular popcorn poppers on the market.
Our second favorite is another stovetop unit, the Franklin’s Original Whirley Pop Stovetop Popcorn Popper. We adore the lifetime warranty, which shows that the manufacturer is sure that this is a high-end product. We are also amazed by the stirring mechanism that prevents beans from sticking to the pot and burning.
Last but not least, we really enjoyed the electric popper, West Bend Stir Crazy 82505. With this popper, you don’t have to manually stir the beans as its motorized stirring rod does all the work for you.
For our money, these three are the best popcorn poppers for roasting coffee beans on the market today.