You get to pick exactly where your coffee comes from, choose the roast level, and enjoy it fresh, knowing not only what day it was roasted, be also what time. For beginners, the hand-cranked, stovetop Whirley Pop popcorn maker can be hacked into a bare-bones coffee roaster. For budding home roasters, this cheap mod is an excellent place to start. You can make the roaster as precise or as low-key as you want — either way, it has the potential to make some great coffee.
A huge array of literature has already been generated on the subject of Whirley Pop hacking. I've read about folks welding a drill bit to the hand crank, or creating a shop-vac-powered rapid cooling system. I opted for one of the simplest "Frankenroaster" hacks: punching a hole in the lid of the Whirley Pop to install a digital thermometer.
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