Coffee Roasting: Learning the Fundamental Art of Making Coffee Can be Fun


Coffee roasting from light to very dark, is an art form in itself. Green beans have none of the flavor we are all accustomed to. Coffee roasting brings out the vibrant flavor from the coffee bean. It is true that before roasting, the 'green' bean contains all the complex acids, protein and caffeine, but just a yukky green-like taste that doesn't resemble coffee.

It is the heat from the roasting process that cause the coffee bean's carbohydrates and fats to turn into aromatic oils. During coffee roasting moisture and carbon dioxide are burnt away, thus breaking down and enhancing the acids and providing the wonderful coffee flavor.

Coffee roasting provides the flavor, but understanding your roast is important too

Coffee roasting is only part of the equation of a true connoisseur, we also have to consider the blend to really reach perfection. It is difficult, if not impossible to describe the taste of a particular roast, as there are so many variants, coffee bean types and roasting times. However as an approximate guide, the following will certainly help you get a better understanding of the coffee roasting basics:

Light Coffee Roasting

Also known as Cinnamon roast, or New England. Set your roaster to about seven minutes. The coffee beans will grow to almost double their size and your light roast is ready. This kind of coffee is very easy to find from mass market coffee roasters. The bean is dry to touch and offers a light bodied flavor that is rather sour to taste.

Medium Coffee Roasting

Your medium roast coffee is also known as Breakfast, American, full City and Regular. To obtain this level of roasting you'll need to set your roaster anywhere from nine to eleven minutes. Perhaps not quite as abundant as light roast in the stores, however it is not so difficult to find. The flavor is sweeter than light roast, and offers a more full bodied cup with a deeper more satisfying aroma.

Dark Coffee Roasting

Also known as French or Continental roast. In order to obtain a nice dark roast around thirteen minutes are necessary. the beans will start to hiss as the oils reach the hot surface of the beans. Dark roast coffee provides a nice deep taste, somewhat spicy and rather sweet.

Really Dark Coffee Roasting

This is about as dark as it gets before the quality of the beans start to deteriorate. Also known as espresso, or Italian roast. Depending on the coffee roaster fourteen to fifteen minutes will be enough to provide a nice Italian style roast. As with dark roasting, the beans will hiss (remember the oils?) and then start to smoke. The natural sugar content of the beans will start to carbonize and caramelize. The results will be a smokey, full flavor.


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