A Lot of Hot Air

04 10, 2018
Popcorn Air Poppers
Photo Credit: Paul Lewis   |   Photo Edited By: orange door

Last week, IA Collaborative launched their Kelvin Home Coffee Roaster on Kickstarter. And in case you were in doubt about just how many folks were waiting in the wings to drop $300 on such a machine, the project was fully-funded in a matter of hours. While roasting coffee at home may not be everyone’s cup of joe, there are some good reasons to do so. Firstly, nothing beats brewing and drinking freshly-roasted beans. Secondly, there is a cost savings. Great quality green (unroasted) coffee beans go for as little as $4 a pound—compared to the $15-$20 you’d pay for the equivalent premium roast. Lastly, roasting your own beans affords a level of flavour-control that’s impossible to duplicate with the off-the-shelf stuff.

So I’ve convinced you to try roasting at home—and you’re poised to pull the trigger on the Kelvin. But wait, what if I told you you could get into the home-roasting game with an amazing machine that costs less than $10? Now, before you assume I’m caffeine-confused let me explain…

If you grew up anywhere near the late 70s and 80s you’re probably already familiar with the hot-air corn popper. These things were ubiquitous, and since they have all but been replaced by microwave popcorn, they seem to multiply at thrift stores (there were no less than eight poppers at my local Village last time I checked). As it turns out, the same hot air that is perfect for popping corn happens to be excellent for roasting coffee. Put a small amount of green beans (about 50g) in the chamber meant for corn and let ‘er rip. In about six to ten minutes your coffee will be perfectly roasted. I’ve been doing this for several years now and it’s always a satisfying process—not to mention the geeky wow factor when your overnight guests figure out why you’ve fired up the corn-popper at 6am. So you can opt for the $300 Kelvin, and wait until at February 2019 for the privilege, or you can start roasting right away with a sub-$10 thrift-store find. Granted, your bargain popper may not be as elegant as the Kelvin, but I think at least some of what the Kelvin promises may just be a lot of hot air.

If you’d like to find out more about corn-popper-roasting, there’s plenty of resources online. Mr. Green Beans at is a great place to start.

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