Coffee Roasting is Intriguing

Illustration - Coffee Beans and a cup of coffee For the many people who are definitely coffee “addicts”, or even for those who only drink coffee occasionally, it is interesting to learn about the process and benefits of coffee...

Illustration - Coffee Beans and a cup of coffee
Illustration - Coffee Beans and a cup of coffee

For the many people who are definitely coffee “addicts”, or even for those who only drink coffee occasionally, it is interesting to learn about the process and benefits of coffee roasting, which transforms the physical and chemical properties of green coffee beans into roasted coffee products with their distinctive tastes.

Most of us depend on large-scale commercial roasting of the coffee that we buy at the grocery store. However, whether at a specialty shop or from an online company, it is becoming a more and more popular trend to have the coffee roasted in small batches and with a wide variety of flavors. Some coffee lovers will roast their coffee in their own homes for the freshest roast possible.

The roasting process

In large operations, bags of green coffee beans arrive at the dock where they can be stored for up to 18 months in a climate controlled environment. They are opened by hand or machine, dumped into a hopper, screened to remove debris, weighed, moved by a pneumatic or belt conveyor to a storage hopper, then to the roaster, and later cooled.

Raw Coffee Beans
Raw Coffee Beans

Bean temperatures

Internal bean temperatures during roasting highlight specific flavor characteristics. Some Roastmasters prefer to follow a "roast profile" depending on the coffee's origin, processing method, variety, or the desired flavor.

Although much less accurate, but most popular, is determining the degree of roast by judging the bean's color by eye. As heat is absorbed into the beans, the color goes from yellow to increasingly darker shades of brown.

Sound is another indicator of the two temperature thresholds called "cracks" that roasters listen for. At approximately 196 °C (385 °F), the coffee will emit the "first crack”, which marks the beginnings of a "light roast". When the coffee reaches approximately 224 °C (435 °F), it emits a "second crack". If the roast is allowed to progress further, it will soon carbonize and eventually combust.

Most roasters use a combination of temperature, color, smell and sound to monitor the roasting process.

Roast types and flavors

Light roast at 385 degrees – at first crack and as beans expand in size – light bodied - with toasted grain, grassy flavors, and sharp acidity.

Moderate light brown at 400 degrees – preferred by many specialty roasters.

Medium light brown at 410 degrees – developed during first crack - sugars are further caramelized.

Medium brown at 425 degrees - common for most specialty coffee. Good for tasting the character of the bean.

Medium dark brown at 440 degrees - at the beginning of second crack - occasional oil sheen – prominent bittersweet flavors – flavors and aromas become evident.

Moderate dark brown at 450 degrees - in the middle of second crack - light surface oil - more bittersweet caramel flavor.

Dark brown at 460 degrees - at the end of second crack.- shiny with oil - burnt undertones - roast character is dominant - bittersweet flavors are prominent - none of the flavors or aroma of the coffee remain.

Very dark brown at 470 degrees - shiny, distinct burnt tones - thin body.

COFFEE EQUIPMENT

There are many useful and interesting coffee makers, presses, grinders, and mills. You can find a large variety of offerings from very affordable to quite costly and with a selection of features and colors. Your choice would depend on your personal desires. Here are samples of some of the outstanding items that might catch your attention:

Cuisinox Stainless Steel Double Walled Coffee Press

This is a pure infusion of coffee and water, without the use of paper filters, and will create a creamy and exotic rich coffee. Just add boiled water to freshly ground beans, allow it to steep for four minutes, then press down the plunger. Your coffee is kept hot for up to two hours. Note that all Cuisinox cookware has a 25 year limited warranty on manufacture defects.

Peugeot Nicaragua 8.25 Inch Coffee Mill

Peugeot Nicaragua Coffee Mill
Peugeot Nicaragua Coffee Mill

Chefs and homemakers appreciate the outstanding grinding mechanism of this durable and elegant manual burr-type mill, with a lifetime warranty, that produces consistent maximized flavor and aroma. It cracks and grinds roasted beans all the way from espresso fine to percolator coarse and holds approximately two ounces of maximum-flavored ground coffee.

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