There are many things that go together to make the home cinema experience an enjoyable one – the surround sound, a great quality picture, and of course the film. But there are other smaller details that can turn a good movie experience into a great one and one of our personal favourites is the addition of popcorn!
We’ve discussed popcorn before on Home Cinema Buyer – not only is it the ultimate cinema snack, but in terms of health, it is one of the better ones – far better that crisps and chocolate for example.
As popcorn makers go, there are two types available for home users – heated air blown models, and kettle style (read more on the difference here). The particular model we’re looking at here is a 2.5oz kettle type popcorn maker from JM Posner.
As you will see from the photo, it is quite a large sized popcorn maker measuring 29cm x 26cm x 43cm high. The clear front door and sides, and outer casing are all plastic, but it is a sturdy and well made machine. The kettle is a small stainless steel bowl with a hinged lid and stirrers inside.
It does require some basic putting together, but takes a matter of minutes and is very easy. When you first open the box it will be fairly obvious what you need to do – simply attach the kettle to the hooks at the top, connect the kettle lead to the power supply unit, slide in the tray at the bottom, and clip on the door. You’re then ready to make popcorn!
Making your first batch of popcorn
To make your first batch of popcorn you simply turn on the unit using the switch on the front of the unit and wait for the kettle to heat up. After two minutes the temperature will be warm enough so that a tablespoon of oil can be added. JM Posner recommends special popcorn oil, but vegetable oil works just as well, and we’ve also tried adding less oil with no negative affects.
Immediately after adding the oil, you pour in the kernels using the supplied measuring spoon. The rotating stirrer keeps the kernels moving and ensures the heat and oil is distributed evenly across the batch.
Soon after the exciting bit happens, and seeing the fluffy white popcorn pour out of the kettle is a real joy! Whilst air blown popcorn makers are simple, we found that the whole experience of using this model much more enjoyable. There is something very satisfying about starting with a kettle of kernels and ending up with a bowl full of freshly popped popcorn.
The popcorn will tumble out of the kettle into the tray below. This was about 2cm smaller than the base of the machine which meant that some of the popcorn ended up in the gaps at the side as it fell from the kettle. Not a major problem, but it meant that a few bits of popcorn ended up on the floor as the tray was removed.
Flavour that popcorn!
JM Posner also supplies a range of flavourings from ‘Kernal Seasons’ to enhance your popcorn. These range from popular flavours like butter, caramel and salt and vinegar, to more exotic offerings such as chocolate marshmallow, nacho cheese, and the very hot Cajun spice. These are very low calorie (less than 1 kcal per serving) and are all natural and MSG free too and come in a shaker pot which looks like it will flavour a good 20 to 30 batches of popcorn. The flavours are easily applied to popcorn whilst it is still in the tray and sticks to it well – although a few squirts of SprayLight oil on the popcorn first will help sure it stays on if you wish. Of all the flavours we tried, there were none that we didn’t like – even the very hot Cajun had us coming back for more!
Cleaning the popcorn maker
The downside to kettle popcorn makers is there is more cleaning to be done – luckily this is pretty easy. The instructions said to add some water into the kettle and turn on for a few minutes – the heat and stirrers ensured that any left over hulls were removed before the water was poured away. All that’s left to be done then is to wash the tray, before drying and replacing ready to use another day.
The 2.5 oz kettle popcorn maker is obviously an indulgence when compared to a small and simple £30 air blown model. We could taste the difference though, and although slight, the popcorn had a more authentic flavour and was less dry than our other air heated machine. The experience was more enjoyable too and it became something we all loved to watch in action.
As well as performance, it also looks cool – the styling is just what you would expect to see in the foyer of a real cinema and if you have a dedicated room for your home cinema, or have the space, then this model will look great.