- Roasting: The process of turning green coffee beans over heat to force
moisture out, bring volatile oils closer to the surface and release the essence of the
- The beans are heated in rotating, horizontal drums that provide a tumbling action to
prevent uneven roasting or scorching. Temperatures for roasting range from 380 to 425¡
Fahrenheit. Precise temperature and timing make the difference between an excellent roast
and burnt beans.
- Roasting changes the chemistry of the bean by converting the starches to sugars, known
as "developing" the bean. During the roasting process, most of the moisture is
cooked off and the beans lose 18 -20 % of their weight. However, the beans gain
smoothness, a caramel taste, and a bitter edge. During the roasting process, the beans
actually plump up to double their size. Once roasted, the beans require rapid cooling.
- Coffee that is neither roasted long enough nor hot enough to bring out the oil has a
pasty, nutty, or bread-like flavor. Coffee roasted too long or at too high a temperature
is thin-bodied, burned, and industrial-flavored. Coffee roasted too long or at too low a
temperature has a baked flavor.
- Beans can be roasted at home by using an ordinary frying pan. Stir often or the beans
will burn. A hot-air popcorn popper also does very well. The temperature is just right for
roasting coffee, and the motion of the air will keep the beans moving quickly so they
don't scorch. At first, the beans will be too heavy for the hot air to move them, so stir
them constantly until they start moving.
Appearance: Light brown; dry surface.
Flavor: Tastes more like toasted grain
than coffee, with distinct sour or acidic tones.
Appearance:Medium brown;dry surface
Flavor: A definite acidy snap,
but riche toned and sweeter than light roast.
Appearance:Very Dark brown; very shiny, oily
Flavor: Burned or charcoal tones plus a
tang; all acidy tones gone.
Light or Full City Roast - A light or full city roast is achieved when
the natural sugars have caramelized. The beans have a rich brown color.
Medium or Vienna Roast - At this point the natural sugars in the bean
have begun to burn. They are just at the edge of darkness. The oils in the beans are just
beginning to surface and the beans are a darker brown than light roast. This level of
roasting produces a very full, rich flavor
French Roast - Once the natural sugars are burning, we have a French
roast. The coffee oils have come to the surface and the beans are dark brown. With this
roast the character of the burning sugars starts to compete with the regional character.
Italian Roast - We've burnt the sugars here! The result is a very dark
brown oily bean. The bittersweet flavor is a result of the dark roast.
Note that burnt does not mean strong. "Strength" in coffee properly refers to
the proportion of coffee to water not the flavor of the bean.